Two sisters team up to create a beautifully peaceful Michigan vacation home in the sylvan lakeside surroundings of Union Pier.
The soaring veranda beckons with a gorgeous woodburning fireplace complemented by Arhaus’ Coburn sectional and Crate and Barrel’s Dunewood whitewashed dining table and benches.
When designer and Logan Square resident Dorothy Zalewski started dreaming about a second home where her husband and two boys could escape the fast pace of the city, she heard the nostalgic call of southwest Michigan. It only made sense, given her happy childhood memories of family vacations spent in the area. Her partner in the project? Her sister, architect Katherine Zalewski, who shares her fondness for the place and proved to be an ideal collaborator. Says Dorothy, “It quickly became our passion project as we began working on it together.”
The first-level bath boasts a steam shower and a vanity from the Porcelanosa City Collection in white gloss.
I was very interested in the healthy lifestyles of Nordic countries, where health, comfort and sustainability are prioritized,” explains Dorothy. “This fascination led us to the core concept of the house—creating a Scandinavian-inspired all-season retreat to relax, unwind and reconnect with nature.” Adds Katherine, “Sustainability was a priority and design force in the home’s creation, from the selection of natural, warm, eco-friendly materials to the design of multifunctional sunlit spaces perfect for large family gatherings.”
A Flight Duo floating staircase with Vedera glass railing and balcony guardrail by Viewrail is a show-stopper in the great room.
“We were extremely challenged by the sudden constraints of the pandemic and not knowing the future,” notes Katherine. “Luckily we persevered through health challenges, higher material costs and a longer construction phase.” Those obstacles had an unexpected benefit, notes Dorothy, leading to “some unexpected solutions that contributed to the overall uniqueness of the home.”
The stunning kitchen from Scavolini’s DeLinea Collection is gorgeously complemented by a dramatic waterfall countertop by Terra Stone Design in Vicostone Super White quartz.
“The 2 ½-story living room and veranda is an awe-inspiring space that emits gasps from everyone who enters the home,” enthuses Katherine.
The primary bath captures the home’s natural ethos with a moving wall that allows bathers to literally let the outside in.
“The structure is only 1,700 square feet but feels much larger because of the 28-foot ceiling height and clearstory triangular glass opening. The space still feels intimate and peaceful, however, because of the wood and natural interior finishes and endless views of the landscape seen through the moveable glass walls.” Adds Dorothy, “As soon as you step in, the great room just lets you breathe and exudes a feeling of togetherness. We are also very proud of creating this home responsibly with sustainability in mind. Each furnishing was hand chosen or locally sourced; a repurposed shipping container was transformed into an outdoor sauna to enjoy during brisk days. The home is all about peace, nature, and the feeling of being home.”
A repurposed shipping container now serves as a sauna for chilly Michigan days and nights.
Sums up Dorothy, “We still can’t believe how beautiful and unique this home is. It feels like the home has been there forever, and it makes us so happy to see how well nature is embracing it.”
The structure’s chic Nordic sensibility makes a stunning impression from the exterior.
Union Pier, Mich.
Katherine Zalewski; Brooks Architectural Inc.
Plumbing fixtures throughout
Coburn sectionals in great room and veranda
CRATE AND BARREL
Dining table on veranda
Exterior deck, interior/exterior cladding
Various windows and doors
MIDWEST GLASS & MIRROR
Various glass throughout
Media center and bathroom vanities
Kitchen in DeLinea
TERRA STONE DESIGN
Vicostone Quartz kitchen countertop