I can’t think of a better way to spend an early autumn day than being in Wisconsin’s northwoods, but it was even better to be next to a lake, on a golf course, photographing the thoughtful, innovative architecture of Hank Louis, head of Gigaplex in Park City and formerly a member of the U of U architecture school’s faculty and founder of the Design-Build Bluff program.
It was indeed a day to envy and it probably will draw the usual questions: Is that really your job? Do people pay you or do you have to pay them to do it?
Hank Louis reconsiders design for senior living with this project. He addresses not just accessibility but social interactions and arranging for the caretakers to be located close but within a proper social distance for the privacy of both the seniors and caretakers.
The mix of painted and natural wood gives the space a cottage/cabin look appropriate to its forested lakeside setting. The main living open space includes a kitchen and pantry in a long front-to-rear rectangle inclusive of a living area and a deck (behind the camera in this photo). The spaces are wheel chair accessible, including kitchen storage and the height of the sink on the far end of the island.
The ample windows in the living room look out to the fairway and green. It’s a private golf course where those living there are acquainted with most of the players. The golf cart track in front of the home allows for conversations and encouragement from the deck, or the couple can watch the activity from inside. The efficient Swedish wood stove can be attended to from a wheel chair and all the storage is accessible except the upper shelves of the sideboard that holds only decorative items. Broad openings connect to an office beyond to the bedroom, and there are pocket doors on each.
The bedroom has its own deck at the far end and access to the bathroom from each side of the bed.
The bathroom allows plenty of room to maneuver with a roll-in shower and bars for balance. The vanity has dual basins, and all storage is kept low.
From the rear, steps go up to the caretaker’s apartment. The laundry facilities are on the lower floor and generous storage cabinets line the hallway upstairs.
The angled beam stretching the length of the home created this interesting corner of the upstairs sitting room where a chair is set to look out to the fairway and green. I particularly liked the continuation of the metal ribbed roof inside to unite the interior and exterior.
Similarly, the upward sweep creates angles and peeks of blue sky that are irresistible to a man with a camera.
Sometimes I have to admit, I live a charmed life to take me to such a beautiful location and to see and photograph such good architecture. And I do like the travel.
I finished a little early and had a couple of hours before my flight home from Minneapolis. I had set my sites on going to the Walker Art Museum, where I had some photos shown a couple of years ago but didn’t make it to the exhibit. Unfortunately it didn’t open until 11:00, so instead I headed to the Art Institute of Minneapolis and got to spend two hours with the Impressionist exhibit on the third floor. Minneapolis and St. Paul are great fall destinations for a vacation. I hope to head back next fall and see the rest of the Art Institute, the Walker Museum, the history museum and Capitol building in St. Paul, and walk through a scattering of bright fall leaves in perfect temperatures on the way to a sidewalk cafe.
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