Striking modern home set in a deep ravine overlooking Lake Michigan


This spectacular two-story modern home was designed by Robbins Architecture, nestled atop a deep ravine along Lake Michigan, in Glencoe, Illinois. The architects devised this home with expansive walls of glass to maximize views of the beauty and drama of the surrounding landscape. “An intermittent pattern of carefully composed windows within a limestone-paneled wall creates both a sense of privacy against the street and sculptural patterning for the façade,” states the architects.

Project Team: Architect: Robbins Architecture / General Contractor: Goldberg General Contracting / Interior Design : T. Clifton Design / Landscape Architect : Barker Evans Landscape Architecture / Lighting Designer: Anne Kustner Lighting Design


Stairwells and circulation were placed on the street side, which helps to maintain privacy, while still allowing light to filter through. In the living spaces, views of the ravine and trees create expansive connections to nature through every season.

Accolades: 2017 Distinguished Building Awards—AIA Chicago


Sustainable Factors: While a house with so many glass elements allows for energy efficient daylighting, solar heat gain and heat loss proved to be the major sustainability challenge. The architects addressed this challenge by employing large overhangs, motorized shades, high performance double-glazed, low E-coated windows and an advanced mechanical system. In addition, code required R values were surpassed with the quantity of spray foam insulation on both the exterior walls and roof.

Other sustainable decisions included the selection of Indiana limestone for the exterior panels. The use of a local material reduced the waste of resources required to transport and allowed for a long-life cycle eliminating the need for removal and replacement.

Finally, in respect for the site, no large trees were removed, indigenous plants were selected and minimal hardscape was added keeping the impervious surfaces to a minimum.


Above: Circulation spaces were placed on the street side of the home, this helped to provide privacy at the front of the home while maximizing ravine views at rear.


Above: The front of the home provided more of a slot window pattern with only a hint of what was beyond. In the great room, the views are completely changed thanks to expansive walls of glass that frames views of the ravine.



What We Love: This beautiful modern home on Lake Michigan features bright and airy living spaces and plenty of sustainable design features that is very idyllic. The architects did an incredible job of designing this home to offer privacy from the street and open up at the back of the home to bring in natural light and views… Readers, please share with us what details in this home most appeal to you and why in the Comments below!

Note: Have a look at a couple of other home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of Robbins Architecture: Astounding modern home surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains and Transitional style lake house retreat in Michigan by Robbins Architecture.



Above: The home’s interior showcases tree house-like vistas thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. Natural light helps to bring in plenty of natural light.



Above: The sinks, cabinets and closets are all custom. The sink is integrated with the counter in Corian. The cabinets and closets are made by Stay Straight cabinets in Chicago, as per the architects design.




Above: The rear facade of this home is angled slightly to allow for lake views from each of the bedrooms on the second story.



Photos: Steve Hall


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