Contemporary $ 2.45 million V-shaped features lake views from every room


Tucked on the shore of West Bloomfield’s Pine Lake, this stunning contemporary home is for sale for the second time only.

On deep, thin land that recedes rapidly, the house stretches out toward Pine Lake with two long wings, “embracing the lake,” its architect Dirk Denison said. The sloping shape and floor-to-ceiling windows give every room a view of the lake.

Thirty years ago, this was the first home designed by Denison, then 32, who went on to create a major Chicago-based firm. The design of the house won several architectural awards. It is featured in several architectural magazines and books, called the Piku Residence for the owners who commissioned it.

Besides its original architecture, the house was flowered by Michigan sculptor Gary Kulak, who heads the fine arts department at Cranbrook Schools.

They include a glass and steel structure that protrudes from the kitchen, signed by Kulak, and large exterior steel wire shades for rooms that receive direct afternoon sun.

The eminent sculptor Gary Kulak built some of the original parts of the house, and here he signed his work.

It is designed so that a couple can live on one floor with their separate space in the two wings, public and private. The longest wing to the north is the public space. It contains a kitchen, a dining room, a living room without walls to interrupt. The living room is the furthest away with a 180 degree view of the lake and a large white onyx fireplace.

“That was the challenge,” said Denison, speaking from Chicago, noting that the site is steep and narrow with the busy Middlebelt Road at its top end.

“On a difficult site, how do you create a living room, a dining room, a kitchen that all have a view of the lake?

Ultimately, he said, “It was a simple idea to make a line (with the pieces) and fold the line into the site.”

The shorter wing to the south is a private space. It houses an office and the owner’s large suite. Outside, inside the V where the two wings meet, a deck is fitted out as an open space. Denison called the profile of the house “in the shape of a bird.”

From every room on the main floor, the view extends over the 395-acre Pine Lake.  On the tall, thin pitch, this was accomplished by putting all the pieces in a row, placed at an angle.

Because the site is moving away so quickly, an open space opens up at lake level, under the ground floor. This is also glazed and finished in ancillary rooms – a family room, two more bedrooms, a kitchenette, a workshop, a large workroom and storage space for things like navigation equipment.

The current owners have made two major changes to the original design. To protect the house from Middlebelt Road, Denison had set up two two-car garages at the top of the site, facing the road.

He disguised them behind an 80 foot wall of steel – CorTen, steel that self-oxidizes and turns a rust color within a few years. That large curve of rusty steel was the face the house showed to the world.

The second owners, however, wanted to break this bay. They replaced the CorTen on the doors themselves with more conventional steel and glass garage doors. Now the road side view includes CorTen as well as the checkerboard pattern of these doors.

The second owners, an avid swimmer, also added an indoor pool under the private wing, which had not been finished. It now contains the swim pool with glass at one end, so that from the pool a swimmer can see the lake.

A spyglass through part of the pubic wing runs from the dining area to the living room with a white onyx fireplace at its end.  The tilt of the house on this site created a view of the lake from every room.

It is a great home for art collectors. The early owners in particular were prominent patrons. The second owners also have murals and sculptures throughout. It also has a beautiful landscape which includes rocks, a stream and a waterfall.

The house faces directly west across the lake, so among its assets are spectacular sunsets.

Pine Lake covers 395 acres and is 90 feet deep at its lowest point. It is an all-sport lake popular for fishing, boating, water skiing and jet skiing. It is a private lake for residents without public access.

Superb Contemporary

A note on the photos

In order to limit our staff’s exposure to the coronavirus, the Detroit Free Press is temporarily suspending its practice of using our photographers to capture images for House Envy and instead uses photographs prepared by realtors, with photographers’ credit. We thank the Estate Agents for assisting in this effort.


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