Whole House Less Than $200,000


Custom Design/Build, Ann Arbor, Mich.

The owners wanted to transform their cottage into a low-maintenance, contemporary Zen-like cottage that would serve as a vacation retreat. Exposed concrete columns and corrugated steel combine with a standard shingle roofline to marry a cutting-edge design with cost consciousness. Board-and-batten siding and trim, high-efficiency windows, recycled timbers and an efficient thermal envelope offer a low-maintenance, eco-friendly design. A 500-square-foot addition over the garage accommodates a new bed and bath wing. A cupola, south-facing skylights and exterior chimney create interest and add light to the interior. The downstairs full bath was downsized to allow more space in the kitchen. The new bathroom layout enables direct outdoor access. A cedar, screened-in porch doubles the size of the great room when the double French doors are opened. The home’s interior focuses on the private woodlands to the rear. Indoor/outdoor spaces were created on three sides of the house to expand vistas and living space.


Rochman Design-Build, Ann Arbor, Mich.

This remodel encompassed making the first floor more open, which previously had limited sight lines and caused poorly arranged spaces and awkward traffic patterns. The project opens the floor plan between the kitchen and dining room while offering ample seating. The full bath was converted into a powder room, which allowed for the addition of a mudroom with cubbies for each family member. The existing wall between the dining room and kitchen was the central support structure for the second floor and housed various drain lines and electrical elements. The design team installed three large laminated veneer lumber beams across the span for support, then built a soffit to contain and supply new PVC drain lines and ductwork that runs horizontally to new vertical chases at each end. The kitchen also had a load-bearing wall the team removed; they added LVLs for support.