Lake Leelanau Residential Architecture

CBI: Gold Award Winner

2022 Best in American Living Gold Award Winner


CBI Design Professionals is the most recent recipient of the BALA 2022 One-of-a-Kind Custom Home (2,001–3,000 sq.ft.) Gold award. BALA is the premier awards program that spotlights the best residential designs in the building industry. The awards were presented during the recent International Builders Show.

Luxury residential design is a specialty of CBI Design Professionals. The newly built home that earned this group such a prestigious award is on the shores of Lake Leelanau and features wrap-around porches, a hidden boat house, a private hot tub terrace, and more. 

The design of the lake house architecture is intentionally meant to pay homage to bygone eras where traditional wood detailing was a feature in and of itself. Every room in the award-winning home has a view of the water but still affords plenty of privacy as well. 

Residential Architecure Firm Lake Leelanau

Designed to complement the local cottage vernacular, the lakeside home is an idyllic representation of CBI Design Professionals’ commitment to respecting local character while simultaneously achieving customized functional appeal.

As elite custom residential architects, CBI Design Professionals insisted on using locally sourced materials, including wood materials and stone, whenever possible for the project. 

These materials are also part of the historical vernacular of homes along Lake Leelanau. The natural, local materials add to the home’s charm and its ability to nestle right into its surroundings. The builder for the project was Burkholder Construction.

CBI Design Professionals was founded by Robert Clarke, who serves as the company president. Established in 1989, the firm has managed elite projects that include residential, educational, commercial, and religious properties. 

Along with the 2022 One-of-a-Kind Custom Home Gold BALA Award and dozens of others, a few of the additional recent awards earned by CBI Design Professionals include 3rd place in the Large Remodel category, 3rd place for the Addition Project category, and 3rd place for the Historic Renovation Restoration category for the Detroit Design Awards.


Residential Architecture firm lake leelanau

Residential Architecture Firm Big Rapids

Top 3 Reasons to Hire Luxury Architects

One of the highlights of our business is talking with prospective luxury residential clients about plans.

Sometimes it’s designing and bringing to completion a new luxury home for discerning clients. Other times it’s discussing a major renovation or remodel of a historic luxury property.

From the planning process to overseeing and managing the actual construction, projects like these can be daunting. Before they talk with us, prospective clients often wonder, where do we begin?

And that’s to say nothing about the considerable budgets luxury residential construction entail.

We’ve found during these conversations that three reasons for hiring luxury architects come up time and again. Let’s take a look at each of these considerations.

Luxury Residential Architects Michigan

Turning Dreams into Stunning Reality

As architects of luxury residences for more than 30 years, we take clients’ needs and dreams and turn them into reality. The end result is a functional, beautiful home that suits the site.

From our initial discussions, we begin to develop preliminary plans that meet the clients’ criteria. Is sustainability important? Is accessibility important?

If it’s an existing home, are there historical factors to be considered and referenced? Is the design well suited to the site?

Drawing on our years of experience, we are able to offer solutions the client may not have considered. We ensure that there is consistency in design down to the smallest details.

In the end, the project should seamlessly blend beauty, utility, and economy.

Overseeing the Project from Start to Finish

With any major luxury residential project, it’s a long journey from dream to plans to reality. Zoning, feasibility studies, contracts, permitting requirements, materials sourcing, scheduling, the list goes on and on.

Most clients have neither the time nor the experience to manage the project’s complexities on a day-to-day basis. Clients wonder where to begin. That’s where we step in.

We’re known for working with builders and contractors on behalf of our clients throughout the build process. Our office collaborates with the entire design and construction team, keeping the project running on track.

The Bottom Line: Budget

Before we first talk, every client has a budget in mind. As experienced architects, we incorporate and source materials and solutions that can work within a client’s budget.

By working closely with builders and contractors we trust, we can help avoid costly surprises and delays. Keeping the project running smoothly and on time is critical to staying within budget. 

luxury residential design

A Final Word on Luxury Architects

Over our years working with luxury home clients, we’ve found that the reasons clients choose us for their project boils down to three primary things.

Our portfolio of stunning projects shows our ability to guide the clients’ dreams from initial discussions to breathtaking reality.

Managing a long and complex build process takes proven expertise. On project after project, we’ve shown our management skills.

We bring added value and cost savings to every project with our hard-earned knowledge and relationships.

We’d love to sit down with you to explore how, as your luxury architects, we can turn your dreams into reality. Contact Us Today to start the process!

Residential Architecture Bloomfield Township

CBI Recognized with Top Honors

Luxury Residential Design

Building a Custom Lake House

For this Lake House project, we incorporate the natural surroundings in our design process. The home optimizes sweeping lake views and natural light to create a natural, calm experience.

Simple but striking design elements are built into multiple aspects of the home, such as the wall of built-ins and the fireplace, adding just the right amount of character to the living area while keeping a focus on the natural light and lake views. While a home suspension cable staircase in the middle of the home, creating contrast in design elements.

Luxury Residential Design

A Spring Transformation

Spring has us in a transformative mood!

For this adaptive re-use project in Hillsdale, Michigan, we converted a carriage house that certainly had seen better days, into a multi-family residence.

Though our updates were extensive, it was important for us and the client that the historical character of the original structure be preserved. The end result could not have been better, and the client could not have been more pleased. 

If there are two things we adore, one is an adaptive re-use project that gives new life to a historic



building and the other is a happy client.

Considering an adaptive re-use project for a historical building? Give us a call today!

Luxury Residential Design

Working Virtually Amid the Pandemic

As we began this expansion of a family cottage for a former client the COVID-19 pandemic began, putting the world on hold for some time. On the beautiful lakeshore of Lake Erie on Pointe Pelee Island in Ontario, Canada, this cottage has been inaccessible to us (and our client!) for the duration of the project. But, just because the process is virtual, does not mean work had to stop. 

We originally did a few quick doodles over a picture for them to show how the character of a new screen porch could look. We gradually have worked with the builder on the island to develop details of how to actually build that character. Along the way the project has expanded to replace the windows, deck, and create sunscreen trellises across the lakeside,” says Robert Clarke on the challenges of working virtually. “No one could cross the border to see how it really is coming together!”  

It is a challengbut we are getting through it and the builder has been great with sending us updated images throughout the process.

The owner is very anxious to go see and experience the new space and all its character. Hopefully, for this summer things will be clear and the home will be ready for enjoyment. We must say, the views across the lake have made it all worth the wait.

Luxury Residential Design

Making New Memories While Preserving Old

One of many memories.

This historic home, which we were delighted to work with, saw many celebrations throughout its long life. Based on the photo included on the right, the home certainly saw its fair share of get-togethers and celebrations. Our historically sensitive renovation effort and expansion was done using careful work to preserve old memories while leaving room for many more to come.  

Take a close look at the before and after photos for this project. Originally built in the 1920s, We matched the stone in the new additions with the original for a seamless expansion of this historic home.

Looking to update, expand, or preserve your historic home? Give us a call or email, today!

Renovation Architects

Home For the Holidays

Happy Holidays to all!

This year of at-home celebration does not have to be boring, just find exciting ways to bring the outside in. Take a cue from this two-story fireplace featured on the left. It’s designed with the same Michigan Split Face Fieldstone that was used on the exterior of the home. During the process, we designed custom fireplace with sightlines across the room to the window, at just the right height to see what’s going on, on the other side.

Another idea could see you opening that special bottle of wine you have been saving for just the occasion. In this instance, take a gander at our specially designed wine cellar on the right.

As this tumultuous year comes to an end it feels extra important to take the time for reflection. And having the perfect space for it certainly helps!

This two-story library featured not only has three sitting areas but houses multiple collections including one comprised of maps!

Reflect on what you are passionate about and how you can bring more of it into your life.

Need more space for it? We are but a call away.

Renovation Architects

The Story of a Historic Renovation

A few years after living in this 100-year-old home, the family decided it was time for a few changes. Enter our CBI team.

The home, with its white clapboard and Michigan Split Fieldstone façade, from the very beginning, was approached as one of historical sensitivity. The renovation began with removing the aluminum siding that covered the original wood and the original single car garage – building a laundry room, family room and mud entry in its place.

A new three-car garage replaced the single garage that was removed in the first phase of renovations. Pay attention to the arches in the feature photo. These and the quite perfectly matched (by hand) Michigan Split Fieldstone seamlessly connect the old and new additions to the L-shaped home. From the beginning, this kind of historical sensitivity was very important to the family – to expand the home to suit a contemporary lifestyle but to stay true to its original character.

That is what we delivered down to the finest detail.

Renovating the spaces of a historic home is always a challenge especially when reconciling the old and new, traditional and contemporary. One of our tips is to find ways to subtly reference the original in the new. In this foyer on the right, we created new arches that exactly match the original, historic proportions. And though new, the slate tiles reference the size and pattern of the original flooring throughout the home.

Another aspect of the project, a garden room, opens up to the patio as well as the adjoining living room. During the process, we designed the layout to be easily adaptable to any size and style of gathering. While there may not be many guests, for now, the hosts are enjoying the serenity of the room’s simplicity and sweeping views.

Residential Architect Firm

Renovating a 100-year-old Bloomfield Township Home

This 100-year-old Bloomfield Township home, originally built for a prominent family, is steeped in history. When the owners called us regarding some renovations, we just knew we had an extraordinary project at hand. We are always conscious of the delicate balance required when redesigning a historic home, and this one was certainly no exception.

We started at the front of the home for this historical project, taking the old screened-in porch and converting it into a wine tasting room. During the process, we also preserved the original watering trough for horses. Though the flagstone floor and salvaged ceiling beans are new, they also reference the original textures and patterns found throughout the home.

Over the course of the process, we carried materials that make a nod to the historical features of ages past, such as the fieldstone, throughout the entire home — inside and out! — connecting the newly renovated spaces to the historical narrative.