Rustic Elegance – New Custom Home in Traverse City - featured image

The homeowners of this new custom home in Traverse City weren’t aware of the term “Parkitecture.” It’s a unique term used to describe homes that have been designed and built patterned after National Parks. “Parkitecture” homes are true to the manner of the environment, using materials that are rustic and natural, with interiors that utilize an abundance of natural timbers. This seems to be the perfect description of this three-story home built two miles west of Traverse City on the highest, most densely tree-covered hilltop, also known as Radio Hill. “From the top floor looking out, the trees are so close you feel as if you are in them,” share the homeowners.

The home, which appears smaller than it actually is, integrates linear elegance, rustic flavor and European flair. The homeowner shares, “Most people come in and are surprised at how the space, totaling 5,000 square feet, is used.”

Builder Chris Mason, of Lakeshore Custom Homes, describes the home as “rustic elegance.” Copper gutters, a custom-domed entry door, and log railings accented with iron detailing, showcase the exterior elegance.

After extensive travels in Europe and developing a fondness for the architectural interest of domed entrance doors, it became a must for this country dream home.

The homeowner and his father built the door which layers top and bottom Douglas fir over ¾-inch plywood. A heavy-duty door jamb was built to match. The rivets were purchased from a hardware store in Austria.

The challenge of this spectacular site, with its five acres of pines and hardwoods, was the driveway and maintaining as many as trees as possible. The drive takes a 90-degree turn at the bottom of the hill. To make the drive safe and user-friendly during the winter months when it is covered with ice and snow, a two track was added as a safety measure at the curve to prevent any slide-offs.

The owners give Mason credit as a master builder and master craftsman. They boast the fact he is on the building site every day, and adapts easily to making the unexpected changes that were required in using unique building materials. For example, there were no specs for the rough sawn cedar timbers and beams. The homeowners described what they wanted and Mason was able to create, to a tee, what they described.

Because the lower level ash timbers didn’t have the manufacturer’s prefabricated stamp required by law to meet building requirements, the building inspector wouldn’t give his approval. An engineer’s approval was needed for them to pass inspection. “He told us the timbers would hold up three houses the same size,” shares the homeowner.

The respect for nature is also displayed in the home’s wood floor, which is constructed of simple-styled maple boards hand nailed with exposed square head nails, along with its pine and cedar walls, and ceilings.

According to Mason, the finished product has an element of surprise and a grand flourish of style. “I have built rustic homes and elegant homes, but this is the first to combine elements of both styles. I have to say, it worked amazingly well.

Lakeshore Custom Homes is proud to be your Traverse City custom home builder.

Contemporary Home on a Lake Michigan Critical Dune - featured image

Featured in the Spring, 2018 issue of Michigan Home and Lifestyle magazine.

Northern Michigan is home to some of the most spectacular coastlines. It’s easy to understand why so many people choose to live here. Sand dunes are one of the natural features that attract many to the area – there’s nothing that quite compares to the view of Lake Michigan from atop a dune.

What is a Critical Dune?

In 1989, the State of Michigan deemed the state’s dunes to be “unique and irreplaceable” and passed a law regulating development activities in a relatively small portion of the dune system regarded to be the most environmentally sensitive. These dunes are designated as “critical dunes”.

Located on a Lake Michigan critical dune near Frankfort, MI, this 1970s era home spoke to the homeowners when they first saw it. Though the home didn’t fit their needs perfectly when they purchased it, they saw potential for all that the home could be.

They contacted Chris Mason of Lakeshore Custom Homes about their overall desire for the home, both short-and long-term and a plan was set in place. Minor renovations were made to the home immediately to make it more comfortable while the long-term renovation and expansion plans were drawn up.

“Our focus with any renovation is making the additions, or our contribution to the home, look like it was part of the home all along,” said Mason. And that is what they did.

The original 2,728 square-foot-home had four bedrooms and three bathrooms, in addition to the living, dining, and kitchen spaces. The plans would make this home larger and more comfortable while ensuring that the design integrity remained intact and the dunes were not disturbed.

Designed to Preserve

While Mason said that the project went smoothly overall, the biggest challenge was working around the critical dune. The state of Michigan has a large number of natural areas and resources, many of which are protected by the government to help preserve the state’s unique natural ecosystems. Critical dunes are an example of one of those natural areas. There are many critical dunes located along Michigan’s lakeshores, and because this home is positioned on top of one, Mason had to go through the government’s regulations to make the changes that he and the homeowners had in mind.

“You can’t tell now from the outside, but between the main house and the addition, there’s a connector piece where a critical dune runs underneath,” Mason said.

Once they had determined the best approach to working with the dunes, the construction of the new portion of the home became the focus. The garage was torn down to the foundation and rebuilt, extending it from the street where it originally sat, all the way to the existing home. This reconstruction included a new two car garage with living area above, taking the overall size of the home to 4,387-square-feet.

Updates and Upgrades

Not only does the new space hold an upgraded master suite and bunkroom, it also contains a kitchenette with library ladder, and additional dining and living space. Every effort was made to insure this portion of the home would be comfortable. In-floor radiant heat and extra close-cell foam insulation in the walls insure the space is extra cozy.

Attention was paid to every detail of this entire project, with custom built-ins throughout the home including features such as the lockers in the mudroom, entry shelving, and the bunkbeds in the bunkroom.

In the main part of the home, the kitchen, dining, and living spaces were opened up to create the homeowners dream kitchen and open living area. The kitchen includes features such as a custom hood vent, quartz countertops, white oak doors and beams, a built-in butler’s pantry replete with barn door, and a Thermadoor range.

The existing stone fireplace was a focal point on its own and when walls were removed, the decision was made to modify it so that one side burns wood and one side contains a gas fireplace. This stunning feature of the home is really a standout now, giving it the attention it deserves.

Tongue and groove cedar siding was added to the exterior and the entrance doors are custom handmade white oak, measuring 2 ½” thick (compared to the normal door width of ¾”). Ironwood was used for the decking with cable railing to finish it.

The home is a beautiful cohesive blending of the old and new portions of the structure. The large glass windows give the homeowners a panoramic, hilltop view of Lake Michigan and the space is bright and airy.

Of the whole project, Mason says “Through this entire process, we became very good friends with these homeowners, and we want them to love their new home. I’m in this business because I enjoy the long-term relationships I build with my clients. Making people happy is what it’s all about.”

Download the Living in Michigan’s Critical Dunes guide from the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts for more information about critical dunes.

 

Lakeshore Custom Homes can help you plan and design your dream home. Contact us to set up a design consultation. If you can dream it, we can build it. Let us turn your dream into reality!

What Does a Custom Home Builder Do? - featured image

Lakeshore Custom Homes is one of the Traverse City and Northern Michigan area’s most experienced custom home builders. But what exactly do we do?

Custom home builders assist and guide the home owner through the numerous details that go into the home building process. From helping you choose an appropriate building lot, answering questions and guiding you through the many options in materials, fixtures, finishes, and the vast number of other possibilities in creating your home. Our goal is help guide you to the right decisions and to build your dream home on time and according to your budget.

A custom home builder manages all aspects of building a new home. Much like a conductor of a symphony, the builder coordinates and guides the efforts of everyone involved in the construction process. This includes the builder’s full-time employees as well as any sub-contractors.

Lakeshore Custom Homes will normally be responsible for obtaining all permits, and working with building inspectors and any other governing authorities, and the designer or architect. We are also responsible for managing inspections and approvals and ultimately obtaining your occupancy permit. As materials are delivered to the work site, they are inspected before they are used.

A builder must be aware of how the Michigan Residential Building Code varies from county to county as well as by township.  Lakeshore Custom Homes is experienced working with officials from Benzie, Leelanau, and Grand Traverse Counties to obtain all the necessary permits and inspections.

Another very important task is to manage the finances of the building project. This typically means preparing the contract with the home owner, providing lien waivers, tracking costs, submitting pay requests for completed work to your bank, and making any necessary adjustments for any owner requested change orders to the contract. We are also experienced working with most major lenders and can assist you with obtaining a construction loan.

Throughout the entire process, we emphasize communication and planning. This avoids costly delays and makes certain that we complete your home on time and on budget.

See our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information about Lakeshore Custom Homes.

Lakeshore Custom Homes can help you plan and design your dream home. Contact us to set up a design consultation. If you can dream it, we can build it. Let us turn your dream into reality!

8 Northern Michigan Waterfront Home Must Haves - featured image

Northern Michigan is known for its scenic rivers, beautiful lakes and pristine beaches. Places like Glen Arbor and Glen Lake, Empire, Sutton’s Bay, Leland, Frankfort, Traverse City, Crystal Lake, and the Old Mission Peninsula, have become destinations for those looking for the ultimate waterfront home lifestyle.

Some people look to this area for the peace and serenity that water can provide, while others are eager for the recreational opportunities that abound on both water and land.

Here are a few ideas that can enhance your waterfront living experience to your new home or a home remodeling project.

Picture Windows

No better way to bring the outdoors to the indoors and enjoy the scenery.

Decks and Patios

Enjoy the outdoors with the comforts of home close by.

Fire Pits

A campfire on the beach is fun but sometimes relaxing around a fire in your own backyard is more relaxing. Consider a gas firepit as an option for easy cleanup and never having to worry about wet firewood.

Outdoor Kitchens

From a simple grill to a full feature outdoor kitchen, nothing compares to an outdoor cookout or backyard BBQ.

Walkways to the Water

Take your time and make your path to the water’s edge a bit more relaxed. Winding pathways can also help control erosion. Maybe even add a bench along the way to take a break and relax. Don’t forget light-scaping the path for enhancing the mood and for easy navigation at night.

Docks

An essential even if you’re a landlubber. Today there are many options for dock materials and designs. Non-slip surfaces, motorized boat lifts, canopies, hammocks, slides, lighting, the options are endless. You might never come back inside!

Private Garden

Create your own sanctuary. Relax in the tranquility of a space landscaped with your favorite shrubs, bushes, flowers and trees. A fountain or water feature can be a nice touch too! Add a few benches, a pergola or a gazebo and this can become a quiet gathering space.

Sauna

Winter is reason to stay indoors when Northern Michigan has so many places to ski, snowshoe, or hike. A cozy sauna is a great way to warm up after an invigorating day on the trails.

 

Lakeshore Custom Homes can help you plan and design your dream home. Contact us to set up a design consultation. If you can dream it, we can build it. Let us turn your dream into reality!

Must Have Design Features for Your Northern Michigan Custom Home - featured image

Planning and designing your new home should include features and details that will make your home more livable as well as an extension of your personal style. The planning stage is the perfect time to make sure that your new home has all the features that you truly desire. Here are a few ideas to ponder as you draw up your wish list.

Entryways

Living in Northern Michigan means four season weather conditions. You’ll want your dream home to be accommodating regardless of the season. If you plan to live year-round in Northern Michigan, you may wish to consider an attached garage with a breezeway or an entrance that leads into a mud room This is convenient for hanging damp clothes, and to shed wet or muddy shoes before tracking in a mess to the rest of the home.

Storm doors with a screen option allows for summer breezes to flow through your home while offering protection in harsher weather. And of course, having a closet or coat room nearby is very convenient to accommodate your seasonal wardrobe changes.

Open Floor Plans

Nothing beats an open floor plan for adding the feel of spaciousness no matter the size of the home. Popular designs include large windows to let in light and to appreciate the beauty of your setting. Often this area becomes the central feature of the home and sets the stage for the rest of your design ideas.

Lighting

Lighting is often overlooked and adding the required wiring and fixtures later can be a nuisance. Home owners in Northern Michigan need to consider how seasonal changes in natural and ambient lighting will affect each room and plan accordingly. Be sure to consider how trees and landscaping can change the amount of available light with the change of seasons. Sometimes flipping the blueprint or changing the orientation of the house on the land can make a significant impact.

Laundry Rooms

No one ever complained about having too big of a laundry room. With all the outdoor recreation opportunities that our area has, you’ll likely find need to accommodate extra laundry as well as storage for the extra gear and clothing.

Closets

Like laundry, extra space for storing your wardrobe is super desirable. Walk-in closets are great as they can be designed to arrange easier access and provide better lighting making for a much more functional space. Consider finishing the interior with genuine cedar. Cedar naturally repels moths and other insects, it is low maintenance, and provides a natural fresh scent!

Pantries

Sometimes living in Northern Michigan means that your closest grocery store might not be so convenient. Having extra room to store staples can make country living more enjoyable. Walk-in pantries also give you more space to store kitchen gadgets that might otherwise take up up counter space.

Wine Rooms and Wine Closets

Whether you prefer one of the Grand Traverse region’s wineries of perhaps something from another part of the world, climate controlled wine storage is highly desirable. Besides protecting your investment, a well-designed wine room can be a beautiful accent to your home.

Bars

There’s something special about a home bar. Perhaps you entertain frequently, and a bar makes a great place to congregate or maybe you’ve always wanted a place where everybody knows your name. With Northern Michigan being home to so many great breweries, a built-in tap system is a perfect way to enjoy the local flavor.

Home Theater or Audio Room

Are you a film buff or an audiophile? If so, then a dedicated home theater or audio room should be in your plans. Special design considerations such as dimensions, wall construction, insulation, floor and ceiling materials, wiring, lighting, seating, and other details make for an environment that is ideal to relax and enjoy your favorite film or musical recording.

Luxury Garages

Why build a dream home and then have an ordinary garage? Luxury garages are one of the hottest trends these days. Well-lit with fully finished walls and ceilings, epoxy floors, plenty of storage, extra electrical outlets, and extra room for all your toys and maybe even a convertible for cruising down M22. With creature comforts like this, your garage becomes a natural extension of your home. Heating and cooling, televisions, sound systems, wet bars, and bathrooms round out often asked for features when designing your perfect garage.

Secret Rooms

Maybe you want to have a private space for a home office, a humidor, or perhaps a safe room? Either way, a secret room can be a unique addition to your home.

 

Lakeshore Custom Homes can help you plan and design your dream home. Contact us to set up a design consultation. If you can dream it, we can build it. Let us turn your dream into reality!