Northern Michigan Outdoor Living: Enhance Your Space with Wrap-around Porches, Covered Patios, Sunrooms, Decks, and More - featured image

Are you looking for a home that provides a unique and unforgettable living experience? Look no further than Lakeshore Custom Homes! Our team utilizes only the highest-quality materials to ensure the longevity of your outdoor living features, whether it’s a wrap-around porch, covered patio, fire pit, or outdoor kitchen. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your new waterfront oasis!

Wrap-around Porches

A hallmark of traditional Northern Michigan architecture, wrap-around porches provide a charming and inviting space to enjoy the outdoors. These expansive porches typically encircle the entire home perimeter, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. With ample space for seating areas, dining sets, and rocking chairs, wrap-around porches encourage relaxation and outdoor gatherings. Whether sipping morning coffee while watching the sunrise or enjoying a glass of local wine at sunset, these versatile spaces are perfect for connecting with nature and soaking in the beauty of Northern Michigan.

Covered Patios

In Northern Michigan’s ever-changing climate, covered patios offer a sheltered retreat from rain, snow, and harsh sunlight, allowing homeowners to enjoy the outdoors year-round. These extensions of the indoor living space are typically outfitted with sturdy roofing and support structures, protecting while maintaining an open-air feel. Covered patios are ideal for hosting outdoor dinners, cozying up with a book on a rainy day, or simply relaxing in the shade during hot summer afternoons. With comfortable seating, ambient lighting, and decorative elements, covered patios become versatile and inviting outdoor sanctuaries.


A sunroom is a space that seamlessly connects the comfort of indoors with the beauty of the outdoors. These spaces are designed to capture the natural light and warmth of the sun while also providing shelter from the elements. Sunrooms can be used as a cozy reading nook, a peaceful yoga retreat, or an indoor garden. They create a sanctuary for year-round enjoyment with ample natural ventilation and beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. Sunrooms offer a perfect blend of comfort and tranquility, providing a climate-controlled environment for relaxation and entertainment. Whether it’s a crisp winter morning or a breezy summer afternoon, sunrooms offer an ideal space to connect with nature while enjoying a comfortable indoor environment.

Interior view of a custom home built by Lakeshore Custom homes



An essential part of Northern Michigan’s waterfront living, offering stunning views and a serene ambiance. Our decks provide large outdoor spaces for relaxation and entertainment, extending from the main living areas or perched atop a bluff overlooking the lake. We design our decks with attention to detail and using premium materials, ensuring they are perfect for enjoying morning coffee, hosting alfresco dinners, or simply basking in the beauty of Northern Michigan’s landscapes. Our decks are constructed to be durable, and their thoughtful design seamlessly integrates with the natural surroundings, enhancing the allure of waterfront living. They provide an idyllic retreat for homeowners to unwind and connect with nature.


Fire Pits or Fireplaces

Adding warmth, ambiance, and a focal point to outdoor gatherings, fire pits or fireplaces are popular features in Northern Michigan’s custom homes. Whether nestled in a backyard garden or on a patio overlooking a lake, these cozy amenities create inviting spaces for roasting marshmallows, sharing stories, and stargazing on chilly evenings. Fire pits typically feature a circular or rectangular design with built-in seating. At the same time, fireplaces offer a more formal and architectural element.

Outdoor Kitchens

Transforming outdoor spaces into culinary havens, outdoor kitchens are equipped with all the amenities needed for cooking and entertaining alfresco. From built-in grills and countertops to sinks, refrigerators, and storage cabinets, these custom setups allow homeowners to prepare meals and host gatherings without stepping indoors. Outdoor kitchens make cooking and dining in Northern Michigan’s beautiful surroundings a breeze, providing an easy option between indoor and outdoor living, perfect for grilling fresh-caught fish from the nearby lake or hosting a summer barbecue.

Built-in Seating

Maximizing space and comfort, built-in seating options such as benches, seating walls, and outdoor sofas offer functional and stylish solutions for outdoor lounging and entertaining. These permanent fixtures are seamlessly integrated into the landscape, providing designated seating areas that optimize space and enhance the flow of outdoor spaces. Whether surrounding a fire pit, framing a dining area, or lining a garden path, built-in seating invites relaxation and encourages socializing while adding architectural interest and visual appeal to custom homes in Northern Michigan.

Custom Landscaping

Blending seamlessly with the natural surroundings, custom landscaping enhances the beauty and tranquility of outdoor living spaces in Northern Michigan. Native plants, trees, shrubs, and perennial gardens are carefully selected and arranged to complement the home’s architecture and create a cohesive outdoor environment. From vibrant floral displays and lush greenery to meandering pathways and tranquil water features, custom landscaping adds texture, color, and character to outdoor spaces, inviting homeowners to connect with nature and enjoy the serenity of their surroundings year-round.

Lanscpaing surrounding a waterfront custom home near Traverse City, Michigan

Water Features

Add a unique element of serenity and tranquility to outdoor spaces; water features such as ponds, fountains, and streams create captivating focal points and enhance the natural beauty of Northern Michigan’s landscapes. Whether nestled within a garden, integrated into a patio, or positioned alongside a porch, these soothing amenities provide visual interest, attract local wildlife, and create a calming atmosphere for outdoor relaxation and contemplation. The gentle sound of trickling water, the shimmering reflections of sunlight, and the playful movements of aquatic life all contribute to the sensory experience of water features, making them cherished elements of custom homes in Northern Michigan.

Outdoor Lighting

Extending the usability of outdoor spaces into the evening hours, strategic outdoor lighting solutions enhance safety, ambiance, and visual interest in Northern Michigan’s custom homes. From soft accent lighting to illuminate pathways and highlight architectural features to functional task lighting for cooking and dining areas, outdoor lighting adds warmth and depth to outdoor environments while creating inviting and enchanting nighttime landscapes. Whether enjoying a cozy dinner under the stars or hosting a lively outdoor gathering with friends and family, well-designed outdoor lighting enhances the beauty and functionality of outdoor living spaces in Northern Michigan.

Outdoor Entertainment Systems

Creating immersive entertainment experiences in the great outdoors, outdoor entertainment systems allow homeowners to enjoy music, movies, and more while basking in the beauty of Northern Michigan’s landscapes. Integrated speakers, outdoor TVs, and sound systems are strategically positioned throughout outdoor spaces, providing high-quality audiovisual experiences for outdoor gatherings, parties, and events. Whether hosting a backyard barbecue, watching the big game under the stars, or relaxing with a movie on a balmy summer evening, outdoor entertainment systems enhance the enjoyment and versatility of custom homes in Northern Michigan.

Hot Tubs, Spas, and Saunas

Providing relaxation, rejuvenation, and therapeutic benefits, hot tubs, spas, and saunas offer year-round enjoyment and luxurious comfort in Northern Michigan’s custom homes. Nestled within secluded backyard corners, on private decks overlooking scenic vistas, or within dedicated spa areas, these rejuvenating amenities create intimate retreats for unwinding after a long day or celebrating special occasions with loved ones. With customized features such as massage jets, LED lighting, temperature controls, and aromatherapy options, hot tubs, spas, and saunas provide personalized wellness experiences that promote relaxation, stress relief, and overall well-being amidst the natural beauty of Northern Michigan. Whether enjoying the warmth of a sauna on a crisp winter’s day or soaking in the therapeutic waters of a hot tub under the stars, these rejuvenating amenities enhance the outdoor living experience and create cherished moments of relaxation and indulgence in Northern Michigan’s breathtaking surroundings.

Privacy Screens or Fencing

Creating secluded retreats within outdoor spaces, privacy screens or fencing offer homeowners peace of mind and intimacy in Northern Michigan’s custom homes. Whether surrounding a patio, enclosing a garden, or separating neighboring properties, these architectural elements provide privacy from prying eyes and shield outdoor areas from unwanted noise and distractions. With various materials such as wood, metal, or composite, privacy screens and fencing can be customized to match the style and aesthetic of the home while enhancing the comfort and seclusion of outdoor living spaces.

Natural Stone or Paver Walkways

Enhancing curb appeal and functionality, natural stone or paver walkways provide durable and visually striking pathways that connect outdoor spaces and guide visitors throughout the property. Whether leading from the driveway to the front entrance, meandering through a garden, or encircling a patio, these meticulously crafted walkways add texture, pattern, and visual interest to outdoor environments while facilitating safe and easy navigation. Selecting from a vast range of materials, colors, and patterns, homeowners can create custom walkways that complement the architecture and landscaping of their Northern Michigan homes while adding charm and elegance to their outdoor living spaces.

Climate Control Features

Ensuring comfort and usability year-round, climate control features such as ceiling fans, outdoor heaters, and misting systems help regulate temperature and create ideal outdoor environments in Northern Michigan’s custom homes. Ceiling fans provide gentle airflow and help circulate cool air during hot summer days, while outdoor heaters offer warmth and coziness on chilly evenings and throughout the winter. Misting systems cool outdoor spaces by dispersing a fine mist of water, relieving sweltering temperatures, and creating a refreshing oasis for outdoor relaxation and enjoyment. With these climate control features, homeowners can extend the usability of their outdoor living spaces and maximize comfort in Northern Michigan’s ever-changing climate.

Storage Solutions

Organizing and protecting outdoor essentials, storage solutions such as outdoor storage boxes, sheds, and cabinets provide convenient storage options for gardening tools, outdoor furniture cushions, and seasonal decorations in Northern Michigan’s custom homes. Designed to withstand the elements and blend seamlessly with the home’s architecture, these functional storage solutions keep outdoor spaces tidy, clutter-free, and ready for use year-round. Whether storing gardening supplies in a shed, stowing away patio furniture cushions in a storage box, or keeping barbecue accessories neatly organized in outdoor cabinets, homeowners can maintain a clean and organized outdoor environment while preserving the beauty and functionality of their custom homes in Northern Michigan.

Customizable Elements

Adding personality and charm to outdoor spaces, customizable elements such as built-in planters, pergolas, and outdoor art installations allow homeowners to express their unique style and preferences in Northern Michigan’s custom homes. Built-in planters provide opportunities to showcase colorful flowers, herbs, and greenery, adding vibrancy and life to outdoor environments. Pergolas create shaded retreats and architectural focal points, supporting climbing vines, hanging plants, and outdoor lighting fixtures. Outdoor art installations, such as sculptures, murals, and mosaics, add visual interest and intrigue to outdoor spaces, sparking conversation and delighting the senses. With these customizable elements, homeowners can personalize their outdoor living spaces and create distinctive and inviting retreats that reflect their tastes and lifestyles in Northern Michigan’s breathtaking natural surroundings.

Lakeshore Custom Homes is a specialized company that creates custom-built homes that seamlessly blend in with the beautiful landscapes of Northern Michigan. Our experienced designers and builders work with you to understand and bring your vision to life while ensuring that every aspect of your home complements its surroundings. Our team takes immense pride in our collaborative approach and is dedicated to delivering exceptional results that exceed expectations. Let’s work together to bring your vision to life!

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

Are you ready to make your dream home a reality?
Contact us today
to make an appointment to discuss your home-building plans. We’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you to the perfect home.

Advantages of Spray Foam Insulation in New Homes - featured image

Updated 12/15/2023

Are you building a new home and considering which insulation to use? With so many new home insulation options, it can be overwhelming to make a decision. However, one type of insulation that is gaining popularity is spray foam insulation.

Let’s take a look at why using spray foam insulation in new homes has become one of our most popular options here at Lakeshore Custom Homes!

Traditionally, fiberglass batts or blown-in cellulose have been the go-to insulation choices for homes. However, spray foam insulation offers many advantages that make it an attractive option for new home construction.

Spray foam insulation can provide superior insulation, air sealing, and moisture control, and reduced energy consumption compared to traditional insulation methods.

What is Spray Foam Insulation?

Spray foam insulation is a two-component material that expands and hardens upon application, creating an insulating and air-sealing barrier. This foam sticks to surfaces, fills gaps and provides a barrier that prevents air leakage and helps keep heat inside during cold weather and outside during hot weather, making the building more energy efficient.

Two spray foam insulation types exist:

  1. Open-cell spray foam: This type of foam has a lower density and expands more upon application. The resulting foam structure has interconnected cells, which allows for some air and moisture permeability. Open-cell spray foam has a lower R-value per inch (typically around 3.5 to 4 per inch) than closed-cell foam, but it can still provide adequate insulation and soundproofing. It is generally more affordable than closed-cell foam.
  2. Closed-cell spray foam: With a higher density and more compact cell structure, closed-cell foam forms a rigid, impermeable barrier that resists moisture and air infiltration. In addition, it has a higher R-value per inch (typically around 6 to 7 per inch), making it a more effective insulator. The closed-cell foam adds structural strength to the building and is more water damage-resistant. However, closed-cell spray foam is usually more expensive than open-cell foam.

Spray foam insulation is applied using specialized equipment that mixes and sprays the two liquid components onto the surface to be insulated, such as walls, ceilings, or floors. The foam expands to fill gaps, cracks, and crevices, conforming to the shape of the cavity and forming a continuous, airtight insulation layer.

 What Are the Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation?

Using foam insulation when building a house in Northern Michigan offers several advantages due to the region’s cold climate and unique environmental conditions. Some of the main benefits include:

  • High R-value: Foam insulation provides a high R-value per inch, which measures the material’s resistance to heat flow. This means better thermal performance, ideal for insulating houses in cold climates.
  • Air sealing: Foam insulation, especially spray foam, can fill wall cavities, gaps and cracks, forming an air barrier. This reduces drafts and air infiltration, increasing the home’s energy efficiency and comfort.
  • Moisture resistance: Closed-cell foam insulation can resist moisture, potentially preventing mold and mildew growth, particularly in areas with high humidity or water exposure.
  • Structural strength: Closed-cell spray foam can add structural strength to walls and roofs, increasing the overall stability and durability of the building.
  • Pest resistance: Foam insulation is less attractive to pests such as rodents and insects than other insulation materials, reducing the likelihood of infestations.
  • Soundproofing: Foam insulation offers better soundproofing than other insulation materials, helping to reduce noise transmission between rooms and from outside the house.
  • Ease of installation: Spray foam insulation can be easily applied to difficult-to-reach areas, such as around electrical outlets, plumbing, and irregularly shaped spaces, ensuring complete coverage and improved insulation performance. This reduces the time and effort needed during the installation process, saving labor costs, and minimizing disruptions to the construction timeline.
  • Longevity and durability: Foam insulation has a long lifespan and maintains its performance characteristics over time, reducing the need for replacement or maintenance.
  • Energy savings and lower energy bills: The enhanced insulation performance of foam materials can lead to significant energy savings, reducing heating and cooling costs for homeowners in Northern Michigan’s cold climate.
  • Environmentally friendly: Some foam insulation products are made from renewable or recycled materials, reducing the environmental impact of the insulation. Additionally, energy savings from using foam insulation contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Overall, using foam insulation when building a house in Northern Michigan can provide numerous benefits regarding energy efficiency, comfort, durability, and environmental impact. These advantages make foam insulation popular for homeowners and builders in cold climates.

 Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between open-cell and closed-cell spray foam insulation?

Open-cell foam has a lower density, lower R-value per inch (around 3.5 to 4) and is more permeable to air and moisture. As a result, it is generally more affordable than closed-cell foam. On the other hand, closed-cell foam has a higher density and R-value per inch (around 6 to 7) and forms a rigid, impermeable barrier that resists moisture and air infiltration. It also adds structural strength to the building.

How much does spray foam insulation cost?

The cost of spray foam insulation is determined by various factors, including the type of material used (open-cell or closed-cell), labor costs, and the size and complexity of the project. On average, open-cell foam costs between $0.35 to $0.55 per board foot, while closed-cell foam costs between $1.00 to $1.50 per board foot.
Please note that pricing is subject to change, and the size and scope of the project can influence the final price.

What is the R-value of spray foam insulation?

The R-value of open-cell spray foam is typically around 3.5 to 4 per inch, while the R-value of closed-cell spray foam is around 6 to 7 per inch. The R-value measures the material’s resistance to heat flow, with higher R-values providing better insulation performance.

Is spray foam insulation safe for my home and the environment?

Spray foam insulation is generally considered safe when installed correctly by professionals. However, it can release chemicals during installation and curing, so proper ventilation and safety precautions are crucial. In addition, some spray foam products are made from renewable or recycled materials, making them more environmentally friendly. In contrast, the energy savings associated with foam insulation can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

How long does spray foam insulation last?

Spray foam insulation has a long lifespan and can maintain its performance characteristics for decades. In addition, it is resistant to degradation and settling, which makes it a durable insulation solution.

Does spray foam insulation provide soundproofing benefits?

Yes, spray foam insulation benefits soundproofing by reducing noise transmission between rooms and outside the house. Open-cell foam is particularly effective at absorbing and dampening sound due to its less dense and more porous structure.

How does spray foam insulation affect indoor air quality?

During installation and curing, spray foam insulation can release chemicals and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can affect indoor air quality. Therefore, proper ventilation and safety precautions during installation are essential. However, once cured, spray foam insulation typically does not emit significant VOCs or contribute to poor indoor air quality. Since the insulation is applied early in the initial construction timeline, this is rarely a concern for the homeowner when the house is completed.

What are the energy savings associated with spray foam insulation?

Spray foam insulation can yield significant energy savings due to its high R-value, air-sealing properties, and moisture resistance. Of course, the energy savings will depend on the home’s design, local climate, and occupant behavior, but homeowners can expect reduced heating and cooling costs.

Can spray foam insulation be applied to any surface or area in my home?

Spray foam insulation can be applied to various surfaces and areas, including walls, ceilings, floors, attics, and crawl spaces. It is instrumental in hard-to-reach or irregularly shaped spaces where traditional insulation materials may not provide complete coverage.

Can spray foam insulation cause damage to my home or its structural components?

When installed correctly, spray foam insulation should not cause damage to your home or its structural components. However, improper installation or using the wrong type of foam for a specific application can result in issues such as trapped moisture, mold growth, or structural damage. Therefore, working with a professional installer must ensure the correct foam type and proper installation techniques are followed.

Which is the correct type of spray foam insulation for my project?

Consider factors such as the desired R-value, moisture resistance, structural reinforcement, and budget when choosing the right type of spray foam insulation. Consulting with a professional installer or energy auditor can help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and home characteristics.

What other insulation options are there besides spray foam?

There are several alternatives to spray foam insulation, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Some popular options include:

  • Fiberglass batts: These pre-cut sections of insulation made from fine glass fibers are popular due to their affordability and ease of installation, though they may not provide the same air sealing as spray foam.
  • Mineral wool: Also known as rock wool or slag wool, mineral wool is made from rock, slag, or recycled materials. It offers excellent fire resistance and soundproofing properties but can be more expensive than fiberglass.
  • Cellulose: Made from recycled paper products, cellulose insulation, is an eco-friendly option. It can be blown in or installed as dense-packed cellulose, providing good thermal performance and soundproofing. However, it may settle over time, reducing its effectiveness.
  • Rigid foam board: Rigid foam insulation, made from various types of plastic, is available in different thicknesses. It has a higher R-value per inch than fiberglass or cellulose and is often used in exterior applications or new construction.

Deciding On What Type of Insulation to Use

When choosing an insulation material, consider factors such as R-value, moisture resistance, air sealing capabilities, environmental impact, fire resistance, soundproofing properties, and cost. The right insulation for your new home will depend on your specific needs and budget.

In conclusion, spray foam insulation is a great choice for building energy-efficient homes as it provides a high R-value, air-sealing properties, and moisture resistance.

At Lakeshore Custom Homes, we specialize in building energy-efficient homes using spray foam insulation. We have an experienced team of installers who can help you ensure your new home is properly insulated and sealed for maximum energy efficiency.

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

Are you ready to make your dream home a reality?
Contact us today
to make an appointment to discuss your home-building plans. We’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you to the perfect home.

Lake House Zoning Considerations - featured image

Before you can begin construction of your new lake house, you must apply for a building permit. The requirements for the building permit include submitting a site plan and having a land use permit. Both of which require complying with local zoning ordinances.

It is important to understand that zoning ordinances vary by each township, and their interpretation can be difficult. This is why it is essential to thoroughly research the ordinances and anticipate how they may apply to your situation. Also, note that zoning may apply differently to existing structures versus new construction.

Building a waterfront or lakeshore home means paying particular attention to specific zoning rules governing bodies of water, streams, and wetlands. This is important to understand before applying for site plan and building permits. Lakeshore Custom Homes has years of experience and we can guide you through this process and help you avoid costly mistakes.

Why Zoning?

Zoning ordinances are intended to regulate land use for the greater good of the community.

Local zoning ordinances define what use is allowable. Zoning laws also help assure that homes will be built in compliance with the Michigan State Construction Code and the Department of Public Health.

Zoning defines what uses are approved and describes non-buildable areas and non-conforming uses.

Understanding the zoning for a parcel of land is essential, especially before purchasing the land, so your intended use doesn’t conflict with the ordinance. Of course, you can petition for a variance, but that can be challenging.

Examples of zoning that affects building a Lakehouse

  • Setbacks are common requirements for all new home construction, but bodies of water create special rules that must be factored into your site design.
  • Townships, such as Frankfort, Empire, Leland, or Suttons Bay for example, with Lake Michigan frontage will also define the Waterfront Setback Datum.
  • Zoning ordinances usually regulate boat houses. For example, Glen Arbor township restricts the number of stories and height of boathouses but makes no setback restrictions regarding shorelines.
  • Docks, shoreline retaining walls, and dredging also fall under zoning ordinances.
  • Lake Access easement is another consideration when planning to build a lakefront home. Most townships outline flood insurance requirements.
  • Lot coverage, or the amount of area that your home will occupy, is another definition that you need to be mindful of when planning your new home and any other structures. Sometimes lots, especially smaller ones, may not accommodate the floorplan that you have in mind.
  • Of special note to building in Northern Michigan are the Michigan Wetlands Protection Act, the Shorelands Protection and Management Act, and the Michigan Sand Dunes Protection and Management Act. We are well versed in complying with each of these and can advise you if your property is affected by these laws.

Lakeshore Custom Homes pays attention to all the details that make for an extraordinary home. Our attention to these details helps make your home-building experience less stressful and more enjoyable.

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

Are you ready to make your dream home a reality?
Contact us today
to make an appointment to discuss your home building plans. We’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you to the perfect home.

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

(Updated 3/22/2022)

Planning and designing your new custom 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 ensure that your new home has all the features you truly desire. As your custom builder, Lakeshore Custom Homes can guide you through the entire custom home design process. Here are a few popular design trends and ideas to ponder as you create your wish list.


Living in Traverse City or Northern Michigan means four-season weather conditions. You’ll want your dream home to be accommodating regardless of the season. Suppose you plan to live year-round in Northern Michigan. In that case, consider an attached garage with a breezeway or an entrance that leads into a mudroom. This option is convenient for hanging damp clothes and shedding wet or muddy shoes before tracking in a mess to the rest of the house. Often this design consideration sets the stage for the rest of the floor plan.

Storm doors with a screen option allow summer breezes to flow through 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 to add 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 house and sets the stage for the rest of your design ideas.


Lighting is often overlooked, and adding the required wiring and fixtures later can be a nuisance. Homeowners in Northern Michigan need to consider how seasonal changes in natural and ambient lighting will affect each room and plan accordingly.

Be sure to think about how trees and landscaping can change the available light with the change of seasons. Sometimes flipping the blueprint or changing the house’s orientation on the land can make a significant impact.

Custom Built-ins

Custom built-ins are a popular feature among luxury custom homes. These can include built-in bookcases, entertainment centers, and closet organizers. They provide additional storage space while creating a unique design element in the house.

Laundry Rooms

No one ever complained about having too big of a laundry room. However, with all our area’s outdoor recreation opportunities, you’ll likely need to accommodate extra laundry and storage for extra gear and clothing.


Like laundry, extra closet 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, is low maintenance, and provides a natural fresh scent!

Spa-Like Bathrooms

Luxurious bathrooms that provide a spa-like experience are becoming more popular. Features can include heated floors, large soaking tubs, rain showers, steam rooms, and multiple showerheads.


Sometimes living in Northern Michigan means your closest grocery store might not be so convenient. However, 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 counter space.

Wine Rooms and Wine Closets

Whether you prefer one of the Grand Traverse region’s wineries or 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 accent your home beautifully. They can be designed to fit any size or shape, with features such as temperature control and custom lighting to showcase the wine collection.


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 having 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, 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 ideal acoustic environment. Perfect for relaxing and enjoying your favorite film or musical recording!

Home Office

Traverse City or Northern Michigan is a popular choice for those who can work remotely. Consider having additional electric outlets and a dedicated Internet router or network cable. Lighting is critical for reducing eye strain so consider both windows and lighting fixtures in your plans.

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. When designing your perfect garage, heating, and cooling, televisions, sound systems, wet bars, and bathrooms are often asked for features.

Secret Rooms

You may want a private space for a home office, a humidor, or a safe room. Either way, a secret room can be a unique addition to your home.

Outdoor Spaces

There has been a shift toward more open patio or deck areas to enjoy the outdoors that Northern Michigan offers. Outdoor living spaces have become increasingly popular. This can include outdoor kitchens, fire pits, swimming pools, and hot tubs. Homeowners can also add landscaping and features such as outdoor speakers, TV screens, and water features.

COVID-19 Home Building Trends

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed more focus on the home and amenities that can help make your time at home even more enjoyable.

With moviegoers deterred from attending theaters and theater closures, many new film releases are now being streamed. Subsequently, larger, more luxurious home theater rooms are in demand.

The same applies to home fitness rooms, as traditional gyms and fitness clubs face restrictions. The upside is that a home gym can save you travel time as well as time saved, not waiting for a machine to become available. Plus, a home gym no longer means working out alone or being isolated. Streaming fitness services like Peloton are popular. Planet Fitness is even streaming “Home Work-Ins,” and dozens of other services are available, including yoga, dance, and strength classes.

Working from home is now mainstream and upgrading your Internet and home networking are vital. You can add network cables throughout the house to facilitate additional WIFI routers. These can easily be added to new construction and will reduce clutter. More and more, Smart Home features are in demand.

With less time dining out, the kitchens, pantries, and dining areas have more focus. Larger pantries and more spacious kitchens make it easier for more cooks in the kitchen and dining spaces that are more open and flexible.

Touchless technology has experienced an increase in popularity due to the public’s desire to minimize the transmission of germs and viruses. Touchless bath and kitchen fixtures are also more popular, and more styles and options are available than ever before. Motion-activated faucets, touchless toilets, and automatic doors are a few examples.

With more family members at home at the same time, privacy is more valued, and bedrooms and dens can offer a needed quiet space or retreat. Simple additions like additional furniture, like a recliner and reading light, can add a more comfortable touch to these spaces.

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

Are you ready to make your dream home a reality?
Contact us today
to make an appointment to discuss your home-building plans. We’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you to the perfect home.

Building an Energy Efficient Custom Home - featured image

(Updated 12/15/22)

When planning your Northern Michigan custom home, energy efficiency is a special consideration, especially with the harsh winters we often experience.

One of the best things about building a new custom home is that it lets you get things right from the start. The planning stage is the perfect opportunity to make sure all the things you wish were different in your current home are done right when planning and building your new home. When building an energy-efficient custom home, we consider various factors determining efficiency.

Home Layout and the Sun

When designing your home, keep in mind how the sun will track across the property throughout the day and each season. Will windows receive adequate light or too much? How will this affect your heating and cooling? Will you need additional daytime interior lighting to be comfortable? Will you use solar panels, and will they have adequate direct sunshine?

Trees and landscaping can help or hinder. Shade is welcome, but trees can sometimes block sunlight where you would otherwise want it. Will you need to plant, trim, or remove trees?


Insulation serves two purposes; It retains heat during the winter and keeps heat out in summer. As a result, insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your home’s energy performance. And, of course, it is always easier and less expensive to add insulation during the construction process rather than later.

While many brands and types of insulation are available, the most critical factor is their proper use and installation based on your actual blueprint and design. We discuss this with each prospective customer to offer the absolute best outcome.

Regardless of the insulation type, Lakeshore Custom Homes always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions to ensure the best performance and longevity.

Sealing and Caulking

We pay special attention to sealing places that can allow air to enter or exit the home. These places can also allow moisture in as well. Typically, these locations are windows and doors, and where exhaust fans, dryer vents, plumbing, electrical outlets, and utilities penetrate through exterior walls or roofing.

We apply the appropriate caulk or sealant depending on the location, the materials to be sealed, and any additional flashings or fittings.

We are incredibly attentive to sealing and insulating where the sill plate, band board, and floor joists meet. These can lead to energy losses if not tended to properly.

Windows and Doors

Energy-efficient windows and proper installation, sealing, and insulation can significantly impact your energy efficiency.

We recommend ENERGY STAR® rated windows from Andersen, Marvin, Simonton, and Windsor. Each company offers a wide variety of styles and finishes and has warranties that back up their quality.

Window treatments, curtains, and blinds also influence your windows’ overall energy efficiency.

Also, see our in-depth article Choosing Windows For Your Custom Home.

Heating and Cooling

Now that your future home will be well insulated and properly sealed, an energy-efficient heating and cooling system will perform even better. Properly sizing the heating and cooling system to match the size of your home is important. This allows the system to operate efficiently and to be the most cost-effective.


One area that is frequently overlooked is ductwork. Part of doing it right from the very start includes sealing ducts. Unfortunately, in the hundreds of feet of ductwork in a typical home, there are countless places where air can leak. Air losses here only make your heating and cooling system work that much harder and drives up utility bills.

Sealing the seams of your ductwork prevents air from escaping and improves the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. This reduces energy losses, helps control moisture, and creates a more temperature-stable environment.

Insulating ductwork where it passes through crawl spaces will also increase your heating and cooling efficiency and help control condensation and moisture.

Solar Electric

Solar panels are gaining popularity in Northern Michigan. This is due to more efficient panels, favorable tax incentives for homeowners, and cooperation with electric utility companies to buy excess power produced by individual homeowners. If you are considering a solar system, we can work with you and our electricians to ensure that your needs are met.

Water Heaters

Selecting the right size water heater that meets your needs is an important decision. Overly large heaters can waste energy and money. Too small can do the same (not to mention being annoying and inconvenient). On-demand  or tankless water heaters might be the right choice and can be used with traditional water heaters to provide adequate and timely hot water when and where you need it. We also insulate all hot water pipes to help keep the water warm and reduce energy costs.

Household Appliances

Besides heating and cooling, your major appliances, such as refrigerators, ranges, ovens, washers, and dryers, account for most of your utility costs. Look for ENERGY STAR® ratings when selecting these. Don’t forget lightbulbs, home entertainment, and computers either.

Smart Home Features

Technology can help automatically manage your heating, cooling, and lighting costs. For additional information, see our article that discusses Smart Homes in detail.

Backup Generators

While not necessarily related to energy efficiency, it is worth considering during the planning stages. For example, suppose a backup generator is desired. In that case, we can ensure that the electric system is designed to accommodate a generator. Even if you don’t install one right away, this can save you time and money should you decide to install one later.

View our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

Are you ready to make your dream home a reality?
Please contact us today
to make an appointment to discuss your home-building plans. We’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you to the perfect home.

Moisture Control for Your Northern Michigan Custom Home - featured image

Moisture control is one of the most critical concerns when building a quality custom home. Northern Michigan’s climate has abundant rain and snow that must be managed to maintain a dry and healthy home.

Excess or unwanted moisture inside your home can lead to mold and mildew, wood rot, damage insulation, and even attract termites and other pests.

Lakeshore Custom Homes takes special care and consideration when planning and building your new home, from the foundation to the roof and everything in between.

Keeping Moisture Out of The Home Is the First Line of Defense

Site Prep and Foundation

Preparing your building site is the very first step. Next, we examine the building site and determine the proper grading to help move water away from the house.

Then the foundation is designed with drainage to move water away from the house. Next, waterproof coatings are added to the exterior of the foundation to keep moisture out. Finally, depending on the water table, a sump pump system may be required and, if so, designed to evacuate the water efficiently.

Vapor barriers are used in crawl spaces to prevent moisture that can rise from the soil.


Before exterior siding is applied, we wrap the home with a water-resistant membrane. This membrane protects the wood from any moisture that might find its way past the siding and protects the home during construction. In addition, we use treated wood in appropriate locations to ensure longevity.

This wrap is carefully overlapped into window and door openings so that when the windows and doors are installed, a waterproof barrier is present to help avoid moisture from finding its way inside. In addition, windows and doors receive flashings to create an overlapping physical barrier and help move moisture away from their framework.

Any holes to accommodate exhaust fans, dryer vents, plumbing, electrical outlets, and utilities also receive similar treatment to keep moisture out. Additionally, caulking is used where necessary to create a pliable seal that can accommodate temperature changes and avoid cracking over time.


Modern roofs are designed to move water, ice, and snow away from the house and protect the underlying insulation and air gap within the attic space.

Shingles and a water-resistant underlayment protect the underlying roofing materials and allow the water to drain away. In addition, gutters and downspouts provide a means to direct the water further away from the home and foundation.

Regardless of which roofing material you choose, we always follow the manufacturer’s installation guidelines to achieve the best results and protect your investment.

Special attention is given to roof valleys, dormers, gables, chimneys, skylights, and vents since these all need appropriate flashings.

Ventilation of the attic area is essential so that this space remains dry and allows the insulation to create an effective thermal barrier. In addition, ventilation helps eliminate condensation that can occur as outside temperatures fluctuate. Soffit and ridge vents are the most common method of achieving this. However, other techniques might be used depending on your individual home design.

Special Considerations for Ice and Snow

During the freezes-thaw cycle of winter and as winter ends and spring arrives, melting snow and ice need proper drainage.

Step flashings are critical in northern Michigan due to our large snowfalls. We are mindful of how snow may drift and accumulate on your roof. When the snow melts, it could seep behind the siding. To prevent this, we install appropriate flashing that creates an additional barrier and directs the moisture away.

Ice barriers prevent water from collecting between the edge of the shingles and the underlying wooden roof structure. A special membrane underlayment is used to protect the wooden roof decking. Heated eaves are a potential option that can help prevent ice dams. Contact us so we can discuss the pros and cons of this based on your roof and home design.

Controlling Moisture Inside Your Home

While Northern Michigan isn’t terribly humid, our changing seasons and variable weather mean that all homes will have a certain degree of moisture inside.

One of the ironies of creating a tightly sealed home is that while it can keep moisture out, it can also trap moisture inside. This means that extra attention to ventilation is important.

Cooking and bathing are two significant sources of moisture that can be controlled with ventilation. Range hoods and bathroom ventilation fans are the norms in modern homes.

Condensation from central air systems can be controlled by insulating ductwork. In addition, whole-house dehumidifiers and moisture extraction systems can help manage the interior air humidity making your home healthier and more comfortable.

Winter will usually mean a drop in humidity. While this is welcome to an extent, too dry of air can make it feel cold, damage wooden furniture, lead to dry, itchy skin and eyes, and can even impair one’s immune system. A well-planned heating and cooling system can address both summer humidity and winter dryness.


Landscaping can play an essential role in managing moisture too. In addition to grading, what you plant can assist in helping to absorb water and minimize erosion. Certain plants absorb more moisture from the soil than others. Also, be sure to leave enough space between the house and shrubs and plants to promote airflow.

Avoid planting trees with wide-spreading root systems, as these can crack or damage the foundation or drainage system. Keep this in mind if your home has a leech field and septic system.

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

Are you ready to make your dream home a reality?
Contact us today
to make an appointment to discuss your home-building plans. We’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you to the perfect home.

Northern Michigan Smart Homes - featured image

When planning a custom home in Northern Michigan, regardless if it is your primary residence, seasonal, or a weekend “up North” getaway retreat, Smart Homes or Home Automation can make your life a bit easier, more secure, and comfortable, and give you peace of mind.

Weather, distance, busy lifestyles, and managing family schedules are all part of living in Northern Michigan. These can sometimes present unique challenges that a Smart Home system can help manage for you. In addition, being able to monitor your home’s temperature and environment, control lighting, and monitor the security of your home from anywhere in the world can be convenient and a time saver.

A home automation system can save and help reduce energy costs and may earn you a discount on your homeowner’s insurance.

Smart Home technology has become affordable and is much more sophisticated, all while being much easier to use!

Consider many of the new Smart Home features when planning your new custom home. Many of the features mentioned below can be installed individually, but a system-wide approach can yield more benefits.


Basic home security systems monitor your home against burglars or intruders. Door and window sensors and motion detectors are typical of most systems, but with new technology, your home can be even more secure.

Fire, Smoke, Water, and More.
Protecting your home is more than just deterring thieves. Keeping your home and your family safe includes monitoring for smoke and fire, carbon monoxide, water and flood detection, and radon gas.

New smart-style detectors can text or email you alerts when smoke or carbon monoxide is detected. Similarly, some water sensors can detect leaks and automatically shut off the main water supply. Temperature and humidity can be monitored as well.

Doors, Deadbolts, and Locks
Have you ever wondered if you closed all the windows and locked every door while driving away from your home? Andersen Window and Door VeriLock® security sensors are an optional feature for windows and doors. These discreet sensors allow for remote monitoring with a smartphone app, so you can be assured that everything is secure. In addition, the VeriLock® sensors work with many different security systems, so you won’t have to have a multitude of apps to sort through.

If you shop online and dread having UPS leave your package on the porch, you can add a programable garage door keypad to allow the driver access to your garage. Even better is that you can assign a temporary passcode for each order so that you maintain security. No more sharing a code and having to deal with complex reprogramming. This is also helpful if you need to permit access for anyone else. You can even receive text alerts when the keycode has been used, so you know when and who is at your home.

Entry doors can also have keyless PIN padlocks that allow you to set individual codes for each person and send a text message when used. This makes it easy to monitor who is coming and going if your children have arrived home, etc. Individual doors can also have sensors that can track movement through your home.

A home automation system can give you extra security and peace of mind by creating the illusion that your home is occupied while you are away. So if you are at work, away on vacation, or your house is a seasonal or getaway home, it will appear to be occupied, reducing the chance of intruders.

Being able to control lighting is convenient both at home and remotely. In addition, outdoor lighting can enhance your security and deter burglars.

Lights can be programmed to turn on and off in a natural manner. In addition, window blinds and shades can be raised or lowered to enhance the “at home” appearance.

Of course, being able to turn on lights before you arrive home after dark is both comforting and convenient.

Many home security systems include cameras that allow you to see what is happening at home in real-time. Monitoring from inside your home or remotely can give you peace of mind knowing who is at your door before opening it. Most cameras have motion detection and night vision and can also record activity. Some can even alert and share videos with the police if an intrusion is detected.

Beyond basic home security, cameras can be great for monitoring pets, children, and babysitters. With an intercom or two-way speaker system, you can communicate with them while away from home. This can be incredibly calming to a nervous pet allowing you to remain in contact during your absence.

Comfort and Convenience

Beyond basic programable thermostat features, newer thermostats can monitor the health of your furnace, including diagnostics. Some thermostat displays even have weather radar and forecasts.

Virtual Assistants or Smart Speakers like Amazon Echo (Alexa) or Google Home, allow you to control many of your home’s devices while away or from the comfort of your favorite recliner. For example, adjust the lighting, temperature, and music, or brew a cup of coffee with a voice command.

Home Audio
It used to be when you set up a home audio system; you had wires connecting your audio components to your speakers. In addition, the wires often dictated where you could place your speakers. Today you can build a high-quality home audio system without wires. This allows much more freedom in speaker placement, and you are not limited to just one room. New audio systems also allow you to play different music in each room.

Irrigation for Lawn and Garden
With traditional lawn irrigation systems, they run on a set schedule. With a smart system, you can have a lush lawn, beautiful landscaping, and a garden by watering as needed and not necessarily on a set schedule. Your lawn, flowers, and plants get the precise amount of water when needed—no more watering your lawn while it is raining.

Home Appliances
Most home appliances are now available with Smart Home Technology. Washers and dryers, refrigerators, stoves, and vacuum cleaners are all available with convenience and time-saving features.

Why waste time waiting on laundry? Get text alerts when your wash is done. Same when your laundry is ready to come out of the dryer. How about an oven that can let you know how much longer until your roast is ready while you relax on the patio or dock?

Some refrigerators can send you suggested shopping lists. In addition, you can remotely control the temperature and get alerts if the temperature rises too warm.

Increasingly popular is furniture with USB ports and charging for your phone, but have you considered a refrigerated coffee table? No more running to the kitchen for a beverage. However, they do require some planning to accommodate electrical outlets.

Robotic vacuum cleaners like Roomba or Neato can keep your floors tidy while you’re away.

Virtual Home Gym
Virtual home gyms have taken off due to the pandemic. The Peloton stationary bicycle, Echelon, and Zwift have led the way. But, of course, you aren’t limited to cycling; virtual coaching systems for weightlifting, yoga, and other workouts are available. Tempo Studio and Mirror are two popular options.

Smart mattresses that can monitor your sleep quality, automatically adjust your room temperature while you are asleep, and even wake you with a gentle vibration are now available. In addition, lighting options for automatic dimming and filtering of blue light are popular.

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

Are you ready to make your dream home a reality?
Contact us today
to make an appointment to discuss your home-building plans. We’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you to the perfect home.

Keeping it Clean – New Construction House Cleaning - featured image

COVID-19 Update
We continue taking precautions to keep our employees and homeowners safe. We are following the guidelines set by the CDC and MIOSHA, during this global pandemic. In addition, we are continuing to build custom homes that will last generations. So give us a call, and we will make your custom home dream come to life.

The following article was originally published in November 2014.

New Construction House Cleaning

Lakeshore Custom Homes is proud that we will always keep our job sites clean. We insist on creating a professional atmosphere at all of our job locations. This should be a standard among all builders, but unfortunately, it isn’t. Keeping a job site clean throughout the entire building process impacts everyone’s safety and helps increase productivity.

New construction house cleaning differs from what many consider “residential cleaning.” It consists of three phases: A Rough Clean, Maintenance Clean, and Final Clean.

  1. Rough Clean

    The “rough” clean-up is performed once the exterior walls and framing of the project are complete. Large debris is removed from the interior as well as the exterior of the building. It generally involves a rough sweep/shop vac of the floors. The goal is to remove and haul away as much debris as possible, remove materials no longer being used, and eliminate as much dust as possible from the work area (including heating vents).

  2. Maintenance Clean

    The “rough” clean-up is performed once the exterior walls and framing of the project are complete. Large debris is removed from the interior as well as the exterior of the building. It generally involves a rough sweep/shop vac of the floors. The goal is to remove and haul away as much debris as possible, remove materials no longer being used, and eliminate as much dust as possible from the work area (including heating vents).

  3. Final Clean

    The “final” clean-up is performed once all the construction has ended and the building is complete. This phase is quite detailed:

      1. Stickers and decals must be removed from all surfaces, including interior and exterior windows.
      2. Putty, paste, and adhesive are removed from floors, tubs, sinks, and showers.
      3. All cabinets and drawers must be vacuumed to remove the dust and then wiped clean.
      4. Floors and carpets are cleaned.
      5. Light fixtures, mirrors, appliances, counters, ceiling fans, vents, hardware, and cabinetry are cleaned.

    A touch-up is sometimes required at the end if a contractor needs to address something on a punch list.

The end result is a turn-key, walk-in-ready home. If you are looking for a reputable builder, don’t hesitate to contact me at Lakeshore Custom Homes at (231) 642-0724.


Chris Mason, Owner

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

Are you ready to make your dream home a reality?
Contact us today
to make an appointment to discuss your home-building plans. We’ll be with you every step of the way to guide you to the perfect home.

Choosing Siding For Your Custom Home - featured image

Siding is also one of the first things you notice about a home; it can and should be beautiful! Choosing siding for your new home offers you many choices in materials, textures, and colors. The options are nearly limitless. With today’s materials, there are very few limitations. So what style do you have in mind: board and batten, shake shingles, clapboard, stucco, or perhaps a rustic log home look?

Beyond appearance, siding also serves a functional purpose being the outermost part of your home. It’s the first defense against rain, snow, and wind. This is especially important considering Northern Michigan’s harsh winters! Think of siding as armor for your house. It protects your insulation and the underlying structure of your walls from the elements, helps reduce noise, and can add to the structural integrity of your home. Siding also plays a role in retaining warmth in the winter and keeping the heat out in the summer.

Types of Siding For Your Home

Most homes will use a combination of materials to achieve your desired look. When deciding on siding options, you should consider aesthetics, energy efficiency, durability, and maintenance.


Brick is a classic choice. It is durable, low-maintenance, and holds up to extreme conditions. Often it is used as an accent material. Brick veneer is another option that gives the appearance of brick at a lower cost.


Stone siding gives a stunning appearance. Like brick, it is typically used as an accent. The styles and color options are available in either genuine or cultured. Weather and insect resistance is excellent, and insulation values vary.

Wood Siding

Real Cedar is a beautiful and smart choice for siding. Cedar is a durable wood that is naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insects and has good insulation properties. These natural properties mean whatever you build with it will last longer and require less maintenance. In addition, natural Cedar is beautiful, versatile, and is a sustainable building product.

Engineered Wood Siding

Engineered wood siding, like LP Smart Siding, is a composite material made from natural wood and enhanced to make it more robust, durable, and versatile than traditional wood. Like traditional wood, LP Smart Siding has an insulation R-value greater than conventional vinyl siding. Additional advantages include fire, water, and impact resistance, and it is safe from insect damage.

Fiber-Cement Siding

Fiber-cement siding offers the look of wood at a lower cost. However, it has a different insulation value than other materials can offer. It also requires more maintenance (painting and caulking) and can absorb moisture. Chipping and cracking are other long-term concerns.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is the least expensive option but also the least durable. In addition, it is more prone to wind damage than other materials. It is available in various styles, colors, and textures.

Final Thoughts

When choosing siding, you will want to consider the overall appearance of your home. What color roofing as well as trim? What about landscaping or lightscaping? All of these influence the overall look of your home, and small changes can have a dramatic effect.

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

Are you ready to make your dream home a reality? Let our experience guide you through selecting the right siding style and materials.
Call us today or use the Contact form to start planning your new home!

Choosing Windows For Your Custom Home - featured image

(Updated 2/12/2023)

Choosing windows is one of the most important decisions when designing your custom home. Windows play a critical role since they have such a significant impact on your home. Windows provide both aesthetic beauty and serve functional purposes. Attention to detail in the planning and design phases can reap substantial rewards in both cost savings and the long-term enjoyment of your new home.

Beautiful Views

Chances are that the location of your home has a beautiful view. Windows are much like a picture frame, accentuating the view and emphasizing architectural lines. From inside, windows and trim complement your view. From the outside, windows provide character and beauty to the overall look of your home.

Planning for Sunlight

Of course, windows allow natural light into your home. However, how light falls into a room can bring out other design details and provide a comfortable setting for your daily activities. Consider how you will use each room, the time of day (or night), where the sun is throughout the day, and how it varies according to seasons. These considerations also play into what additional artificial lighting you will need. These considerations help select the appropriate style and size of windows and locations within each room.

Another concern is UV light filtering. Constant exposure to sunlight can age and damage carpets, furniture, and most anything else that is exposed for long periods. Many windows are available with UV filtering that can reduce exposure and potential damage.

Durability and Weather

Northern Michigan has harsh winters, so durability is an important consideration. If your home is on the water, especially larger lakes like Crystal Lake, Glen Lake, and especially Lake Michigan, then additional protection from high winds and storms are another concern.

High winds, rain, and snowstorms can challenge ordinary windows. Andersen, Marvin, and Simonton brands offer coastal-grade windows that address these concerns. Impact-resistant glass, additional structural reinforcements, enhanced cladding, and weather sealing create a window that protects your home in the harshest of conditions and remains beautiful.

Winter weather also brings low temperatures. Double-paned windows (now commonplace) and triple-pane windows offer even more energy savings. In addition, ENERGY STAR® rated windows help reduce heating and cooling costs.

A well-designed window also helps reduce noise too. This can be especially nice during storms or if you have an active waterfront or family.


You’ll also want to consider convenience when selecting windows. How easily can you open and close the window? Is one style easier than another? What about cleaning? Will you want screens? You may wish to consider how a window style may work or appear with an awning.


A unique optional feature from Andersen is their VeriLock® Sensors. Integrated with a home security system, you can detect whether a window is open or closed and if it is locked. This is primarily a nice feature for those with summer or part-time homes. In addition, you can easily see the status from a smartphone app when leaving home or checking up remotely.

Recommended Window Brands

Lakeshore recommends Andersen, Marvin, Simonton, and Windsor windows. Each company offers various styles and finishes and has warranties that back up their quality for your peace of mind.

Please view our portfolio to see examples of some of the finest homes in Northern Michigan.

We have experience working with each of these brands, and we welcome an opportunity to discuss your custom home plans. So call us today or use the Contact form to start planning your new home!


Helpful Resources

Andersen YouTube Channel