Chicago’s North Shore and Lake Michigan: Waterfront Residential Architecture and Interior Design Inspiration

Morgante Wilson Architects

Jul 12, 2021 - 5 min read

Chicago’s North Shore and Lake Michigan: Waterfront Residential Architecture and Interior Design Inspiration

If you’re into the idea of biophilic design – which basically means increasing connectivity between the people who live in a home and the natural environment surrounding it – this is the post for you! As residential architects and interior designers, we especially love creating biophilic homes on water. For many of our clients along Chicago’s North Shore, that means primary residences with amazing Lake Michigan views. And for the luckiest of them all, it can also mean second homes on Wisconsin lakes, Michigan shores, and even Virgin Island inlets. Come along as we visit a few of our favorites!

This home in Wilmette, Illinois – along the shores of Lake Michigan - proves there’s no comparison to the peace and tranquility that comes from living beside water and waves. No matter how crazy the day might have been, walking through the door each evening and catching the first glimpse of the lake means instant relaxation – which is why it can be seen from just about every space in the house, minus the powder room!

Built as a second home for a Chicago-based family, this exemplifies waterside living on a truly grand scale. Located on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, it’s meant to be shared with frequent visiting friends and family, and was designed for easy indoor-outdoor living and entertaining. Airy, open, and anchored by view-framing elliptical arches, it’s beachy but sophisticated; welcoming yet exciting. We love that interplay here.

Everything about this second home is easy and breezy. But don’t be fooled – it’s as thoughtfully designed and carefully detailed as any primary residence we’ve ever created. From its trussed and paneled ceiling treatments to the porthole-style shelves at the head of each bed in the kids’ bunk room, this is house that pays architectural homage to its location without an ounce of pretension or kitsch. And how about all those windows overlooking the water beyond?!

There is so much to love about this tranquil getaway home in Greenlake, Wisconsin. But our absolute favorite thing about it is its large, multi-function living area that makes everyday living – and entertaining – a true delight. Dinner party for 16? Just push the tables together and you’re ready to go. After dinner Monopoly game for four? Pull those tables apart, and let the kids cozy up for an evening of fun. Lake views, of course, are paramount, truly making you feel as though indoors and outdoors are one. We know this to be true because we’ve been lucky enough to spend weekends here (yes, we have the best clients in the world!).

Gracious, elegant, and a true showstopper, this home along Chicago’s North Shore was a fun challenge for our residential architects. We made important modifications to the floor plan to correct numerous traffic flow issues and boost sightlines – along with physical connections – to the shores of Lake Michigan just steps away. This house is a great example of how lakeside living can feel more European than nautical.

Located in Stevensville, Michigan, we suspect this farmhouse-style home is what a lot of people think of when they conjure an image of a lake house. Comforting and familiar, it makes you think of front porch lemonade and evening fireflies. A relaxing vacation retreat designed to be centered around the family room and outdoor terrace, it gathers family members together with ease – whether they’re enjoying movie night, splashing together in the pool, or enjoying magnificent views. We can hardly imagine a more charming place to be.

Of course, if waterside locations aren’t your thing, we’ve got mountain homes that’ll knock your socks (or should we say, skis?) off too! Check out our MWA's Website to see more.

Morgante Wilson Architects provides architectural and interior design services in Chicago, Deerfield, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Northbrook, Northfield, Ravinia, Wilmette, and Winnetka – along with Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Utah, Wisconsin and the U.S. Virgin Islands.