Harbert Cottage

Harbert, Michigan / United States of America


The property has been in the possession of the owner since 1974 and he has a strong sentimental attachment to the house. Although its roof was caving in and its slab was slowly sinking, the size and general layout of the house worked. The project became an opportunity to re-engineer and reinvigorate the classic American ranch house. 

The design of the renovation was shaped by principles of simplicity, ease, durability, and environmental responsiveness. The visual interest of the structure comes from revealing rather than concealing the building's construction. 

The slopes of the roof were steepened and then topped with energy efficient structurally insulated panels and a heat reflecting standing seam metal roof. The new roof was formed using the most basic of mass produced builders' trusses. At the peak of the trusses in two locations, clerestories were added which draw in sunlight and create a chimney effect, pulling hot air up and out of the house. Coupled with generous overhangs, the detailing of the roof minimizes the need for air conditioning. A new geothermal system further minimizes energy consumption.

Architect of record

Greg Howe
Searl Lamaster Howe Architects
500 North Dearborn Street, Suite #950
Chicago, IL 60654, United States
Phone: 312-251-9200

General contractor

Jake Estkowski
Estkowski Construction
2348 Riverside Court
Benton, MI 49022, United States
Phone: 269-277-3707


Tony Soluri
Tony Soluri Photography
288 Addison Road
Riverside, IL 60546, United States
Phone: 312-282-0946