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.

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.

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.

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

Shoreline Erosion Control - featured image

(Updated 2/13/2023)

If you own a lake house, you are most likely well aware of rising water levels in Michigan, and the Great Lakes have been in the news as record high levels have caused beaches to erode and, in some cases, damaged homes and businesses. In Leland, Michigan, historic Fishtown has experienced flooding due to seiches and high-water levels. Throughout Benzie and Leelanau counties, Lake Michigan beaches have eroded to a fraction of what they were just a few years ago.

The rising water levels are due to record snowpack and rainfall over the last few years. In contrast, not long ago, we were experiencing record-low water levels. Historically, the Great Lakes go through a natural cycle of water-level changes. Therefore, waterfront homeowners must plan for both high and low water levels.

Wind, waves, and ice all play a role in erosion. However, the shoreline also contributes to how well it can resist these forces. Native vegetation helps buffer the impact of wave and wind erosion, and the composition of the soil and underlying rock contribute to how the shoreline is affected.

What can a homeowner do to protect their shoreline and property?

Adding a seawall may seem logical, but alternatives should be considered whenever possible. Seawalls can sometimes create more erosion by redirecting wave forces downward and undercutting the wall or by flanking and eroding the areas directly adjacent to the wall. Of course, a property on Lake Michigan versus an inland lake will have different conditions to consider.

Rock (rock armor or “rip-rap”) can be used as an alternative to seawalls. A rock revetment absorbs wave energy better than seawalls and reduces the chance of undercutting and flanking. They also provide better access for wildlife to and from the water than a seawall. Rock revetments are also long-lasting and can last for years. It should be noted that seawalls and revetments require approval by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

The Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership recommends the following strategies for preventing shoreline erosion.

  • Site your house a minimum of 100 feet from the lake.
  • Limit turf grass, especially at the lake edge. Keep as many trees, shrubs, and native plants as possible.
  • Minimize impervious surfaces to help prevent stormwater from running directly into the lake. This helps minimize the washing away of sand.
  • Keep the native plants in the lake or only remove a limited amount for boating access or swimming. Plants in the water along the shore help protect the shoreline by absorbing wave energy.

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.

Lakehouse Foundations and Septic Systems - featured image

It is said that you are never more than six miles from a body of water in Michigan. Michigan also has the longest freshwater coastline in the world. We are very fortunate to have such an abundance of water! No wonder so many people dream of owning a waterfront home.

When you envision your perfect home on the water, you probably think of the beautiful views, the sunsets, boating, and swimming, or the calming effect water has on many of us. But with all the idyllic charm comes the reality that building a custom waterfront home can be challenging due to the very nature of waterfront property.

When building a waterfront home, foundations and septic systems are two unique challenges. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Water Tables, Foundations, and Basements

Having a home near water usually means a high water table. However, many things determine your actual water table, including soil type, drainage, and distance from the body of water.

The water table will influence your foundation design, and a full basement might not be an option. State and local building codes also play a role in determining the requirements for your home’s foundation.

During the planning stage, a survey of the property can help determine the elevation of your basement and other critical points in relationship to the water table and the base flood elevation for the surrounding properties. This will help determine whether a full basement is practical or a crawlspace is more appropriate. An Elevation Certificate can be issued by the surveyor and is an essential for obtaining flood insurance.

Water drainage also needs to be considered when planning your new home. Managing water away from the foundation can be facilitated in many ways, including French drains, gutters, landscaping, and vegetation.

Based on your individual situation and house design, we will design and build a foundation that is appropriate for your conditions and will endure the unique natural forces that waterfront properties face. While this may sound daunting, rest assured that Lakeshore Custom Homes has years of experience building custom waterfront homes in unique settings.

Septic Systems for Waterfront Homes

A well-designed and properly functioning septic system safeguards ground water and nearby lakes and streams from contamination. Obviously if you are investing in a waterfront home, you want to be assured that you will have safe drinking water and be able to enjoy your lake to its fullest while protecting your investment.

Factors that affect the design of a home septic system include:

  • Household size
  • Soil type
  • Site slope
  • Proximity to bodies of water

In most cases, a traditional septic system will be approved by your local health department, however in special circumstances, there are many other alternative design options. We are experienced working with the county health departments and local building inspectors. We will advise you on the design and placement of septic systems and wells.

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 Home Site Selection Tips - featured image

(Updated 2/16/2023)

A home on the lake is a dream for many. You envision the perfect spot, lake or stream, summer days filled with rest, relaxation, beautiful sunrises, or sunsets—a place to retreat from the stresses of daily life. However, the last thing you want is a poorly chosen or planned home site.

Lakeshore Custom Homes specializes in waterfront custom homes. We have plenty of experience to help you build the perfect waterfront home that you’ll enjoy for years to come. So let our expertise guide you to the ideal new home in Northern Michigan.

When looking for the perfect waterfront property, consider the following significant factors:

A big part of owning a waterfront home is the satisfaction of a fantastic water view! But does the property have a good view of the water?

Where will the sun rise and set?  Consider how the sun will fall throughout the day. This can help you determine the orientation of your home. You will want to consider how this will affect the ideal location of decks, awnings, the size and placement of windows, landscaping, etc.

How will you access your lake or other body of water? How accessible is it? Will you need stairs? Is your lake an “All Access” lake, or are motorboats prohibited? Will you need retention walls or other erosion control? What is the historical high-water mark, and how might that affect things in the future? How do the seasons affect the water levels? Are there any dams that control the water level? (Lake Leelanau and Lower Herring lake are both managed by dams.)

How deep is the water table? Will you need a sump pump or special septic system? Is a public sewer service available?

Is your beach area swimmable? Is the bottom sandy or rocky?

From which direction does the prevailing wind come? How will breezes affect your enjoyment of your property? Will you need a windbreak or landscaping to manage it?

Trees and Landscaping
Do any trees affect the view of the lake? Will this change over time? Will tree roots threaten septic systems or the house foundation in the future? What landscaping might you wish to add? Do you want additional privacy, wind protection, and possibly adding trees or shrubs to manage snow drifts in the winter?

Lake or Homeowner Associations
Associations may add additional restrictions beyond local zoning ordinances. Will association rules conflict with your personal enjoyment of the water and your home? Associations, while sometimes restrictive, are often helpful in maintaining lakes and implementing improvements by allowing members to combine resources.

Privacy and Noise
A busy lake with a lot of boat traffic may not offer the privacy you desire. Noise may be a problem as well. Lake Michigan’s beaches are public property (up to the high-water mark), and you’ll likely have people strolling the beaches. Private lakes offer more control over the beaches, but you still may have boaters.

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 the Right Roofing Material For Your Northern Michigan Custom Home - featured image

When building a custom home in Northern Michigan, you’re faced with selecting from many roofing options. Of course, style matters but so does selecting the suitable roofing materials that protect your investment.

Beyond materials alone, the proper usage of the material, along with the appropriate design, is critical. Therefore, we always discuss with our clients the different options in both design and materials so that you can rest easy knowing you made the right choice.

Our climate presents challenges, and selecting materials that can hold up to and protect your home from harsh winters, heat, direct sunlight, and moisture is an important decision. Luckily there are many options for an attractive and protective roof.

Roofing Materials for Northern Michigan

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are the most popular choice due to their lower initial cost and are available in various colors. Asphalt shingles are versatile and work well with complicated rooflines. In the extreme weather conditions that Northern Michigan poses, the average lifespan of asphalt shingles is 15-20 years. Some manufacturers offer premium grades that can extend the lifespan.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs come in not only various colors but also a variety of appearances. Metal roofs often look like other materials. While standing ridge roofs are common, you can choose shake, shingles, slate, or classic Mediterranean tile.

Metal roofs are a popular choice in Northern Michigan. They tend to be better at shedding snow, leaves, and pine needles than traditional asphalt or fiberglass shingles.

Metal roofs are lighter in weight than many other materials. This means there is less total weight on your roofing trusses. This is beneficial considering Northern Michigan’s snowfall. But, of course, our homes are built to withstand heavy snow loads. Snow shields help prevent large sections of snow from falling like an avalanche and are strategically placed to protect walkways and doorways.

Metal roofs are also energy efficient and can help reduce heating and cooling costs. Another big plus in Northern Michigan!

Metal roofs do have a few downsides. They can be noisier in rainstorms, although insulation helps make this less noticeable. While their initial cost is higher, the long-term or total cost of ownership is often lower than other roofing choices.

Slate or Concrete Tile Roofing

Slate and concrete tile make for a gorgeous roof but are considerably heavier than metal or asphalt shingle roofing. This means that the extra reinforcement is necessary to accommodate the added weight of our Northern Michigan snowfalls. Durability is excellent, but costs tend to run higher than other choices.

Roof Care and Maintenance

No matter what material you choose, all roofs need care and maintenance. For example, cleaning gutters, removing tree branches or debris, and inspecting flashing should be done annually to prevent problems.

Factors that affect roofing material choices and longevity include:

  • Roof pitch; steeper pitches tend to shed rain, snow, and debris, better prolonging the lifespan of the roofing material. Complicated pitches and gables can add to material and labor costs as well.
  • Surrounding environmental factors include the amount of direct sunlight or shade and nearby trees that can shed leaves, pine needles, or other debris. Mold, moss, and algae can also affect your roof’s integrity.
  • A well-designed roof includes proper insulation and ventilation to mitigate icicles and ice dams.

Lakeshore Custom Homes will consult with you and help you make an educated decision. We can guide you through many choices and help you choose the best options based on your home design, site selection, budget, and local factors. We are committed to providing the best quality construction so you can enjoy your custom home.

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.

Things to Consider Before Building A Lake House - featured image

Building a Lake House

Updated 12/15/2023

Building a lake house is a dream for many. Living in a lakefront home is an idyllic experience, regardless if it’s a summer getaway or a year-round lake house.

Northern Michigan is the premier destination for vacationers, retirees, or anyone wanting to live in the beauty of nature that only life “up north” can offer. It is often said that “You are never farther than five miles from any body of water,” and it’s true! Northern Michigan is full of lakes, rivers, and ponds. Northern Michigan is the perfect place to build your lake house with its natural beauty and a wide variety of year-round activities.

But without proper planning and guidance, the dream could quickly become your worst nightmare. So before you begin construction, you should know all the details to build a custom home on waterfront property, especially in the Traverse City and Northern Michigan region.

Most likely, your dream home is planted in your mind, from the fantastic designer chef’s kitchen to a luxurious master bathroom with dual walk-in showers and a soaking tub with a skylight and panoramic sunset views from the private deck off of an elegant master bedroom.

You’ve got the perfect Northern Michigan lake house in mind, and now it’s time to get the ball rolling.

Building a custom waterfront home is not your average construction process. Consulting a reputable builder with extensive knowledge of waterfront custom homes should be your first step. A knowledgeable builder will have the ability to educate and guide you through the myriad of steps involved in building your lakefront home.

Lakeshore Custom Homes has years of experience building luxury homes on waterfront property in Northern Michigan’s Grand Traverse, Leelanau, and Benzie regions. As a result, we can offer you unique insight into waterfront building in the area that few builders can.

Lakeshore Custom Homes can offer valuable expertise and guidance on the following:

  • Site selection. Will the property accommodate your design and house orientation?
  • Zoning restrictions. Waterfront zoning restrictions vary widely and can be confusing.
  • Can a building permit even be acquired for your particular lake property?
  • Construction costs. Lake property building costs tend to be higher than the average cost.
  • Will you need a special septic system? Will your drainage plan meet code?
  • Are you aware of seasonal and historic water levels?
  • Do you need an Elevation Certificate?
  • How deep is the water table? Will it affect having a basement or crawlspace?
  • Does your property contain any wetlands?
  • Are you located in a flood zone? Will you need flood insurance?
  • Does the soil drain quickly? Will you need special foundations or septic systems?
  • What type of landscaping will you need to manage erosion?
  • Will you need erosion control for your beach?
  • Special considerations for docks.
  • Which direction are the prevailing winds? How will they affect your enjoyment of your property?
  • Design consideration for privacy and noise control. Some lakes can be rather busy and noisy. We can assist in choosing the right windows and window treatments, insulation, landscaping, and other design features that less experienced builders might miss.
  • Sand Dunes require special consideration too. Critical Dunes are protected and need special care when building on or near them.
  • Roofing, siding, and windows must be appropriate for the unique challenges that Northern Michigan and lakefront weather present.
  • Help and advise on selecting appropriate materials and levels of quality for your waterfront projects.

All these items require special care and consideration to ensure that the process of building your dream home will be as smooth and painless as possible. Well-planned design and construction can reduce your long-term cost of ownership and lower maintenance costs too.

The good news is that Lakeshore Custom Homes is a skilled waterfront home builder and has years of experience building lake houses. We can guide you through the planning and construction process to help you avoid unexpected problems and get the home you want.

Good communication is the key to a great home building experience.

We take great pride in providing excellent communication with our clients. Building a home requires a great working relationship with your building team. We specialize in building lake homes, and our building process helps eliminate problems. There will likely be a few bumps in the road. Still, effective communication will make traveling the route from start to finish as smooth as possible.

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

Are you ready to make your lake house dream a reality? Contact us today to make an appointment to discuss your home-building plans. We look forward to building a lake home just for you!