A west-coast couple with a passion for sculpture and nature were drawn to a Midwest prairie, gravitating toward friends and a more central location for family to “come home.”  Ithaca is so-named because it’s “the place you long to return to…”

The sculptural design provides dynamic movement and sense of interior volume that belies its small footprint. A limited finish palette also contributes to a feeling of spaciousness:  light maple oriented horizontally, light plaster, bamboo flooring, and stained or polished concrete.  A richly textured and tightly stacked fireplace chimney tower of local field stone acts as a central anchor to the home.  Extensive built-in cabinets and carefully placed and sometimes hidden storage help maintain a pristine but warm interior.

The soil is only inches deep with solid bedrock below, so the home is constructed on a floating slab of concrete in order to avoid disturbing the natural fracture karst of Door County’s sensitive environment.  The soil removed during construction was preserved on-site so that the seed stock of the native grasses and vegetation could be reintroduced at completion of construction.  Rain gardens and rainwater catchment barrels protect the land from erosion and provide for a kitchen garden’s drip watering system.

This house became Door County’s first LEED Platinum home, and is one of the most energy-efficient houses in Wisconsin.


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