The Coffou Cottage by Brininstool + Lynch is a 2,800sf residence in Michigan City, Indiana. The residence was completed in 2008 and was designed for the Coffou family as a natural retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city of Chicago. The northern shores of Indiana have long been a destination for those looking for a reprieve from city life, so the site was a natural selection for clients looking for a sense of privacy.
After selecting a site that met their needs, the clients sought out Brininstool, Kerwin, and Lynch to design a modest and simple residence that capitalizes on the fantastic natural views of the site which included Lake Michigan to north and pastoral views to the South. These diametrically opposite view opportunities resulted in two distinct architectural responses — the cottage was designed as a simple structure with a horizontal rain screen constructed of red cedar slats to privatize the northern entry and the southern façade is a wall of operable glass. Not only does this approach maximize the desired pastoral views, it also maximizes solar gain in the winter.
In keeping with the simplicity of structure, the floor plan of the 3-bedroom Coffou Cottage is logical and organized. The public living spaces (kitchen, dining, and living areas) are arranged as a large open space and frame the views to the adjacent meadow and woods. A traditional hearth fireplace is positioned in the front hallway, effectively separating the public and private sectors of the residence. The primary material for the residence (interior and exterior) is Red Cedar, which was used to establish a material warmth and visual interest. This material selection is amplified by the raw concrete used for the floor, which also serves as the primary heat mechanism through radiant flooring.