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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8 Northern Michigan Waterfront Home Must Haves - featured image

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

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

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

Picture Windows

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

Decks and Patios

Enjoy the outdoors with the comforts of home close by.

Fire Pits

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

Outdoor Kitchens

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

Walkways to the Water

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

Docks

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

Private Garden

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

Sauna

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

 

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

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

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

Entryways

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

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

Open Floor Plans

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

Lighting

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

Laundry Rooms

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

Closets

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

Pantries

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

Wine Rooms and Wine Closets

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

Bars

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

Home Theater or Audio Room

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

Luxury Garages

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

Secret Rooms

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

 

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

Spring Cleaning and New Beginnings …Remodel or Build New? - featured image

It is something we just can’t avoid, that itch to start fresh each spring! For some, it involves cleaning, changing decorations based on the holidays, recycling furniture and replacing linens with items lighter and more seasonal. That said, sometimes the spring resurfaces that desire for MAJOR change…Remodel to create more space, redesign existing space, add a seasonal room OR building new in order to accomplish the changes you desire.

With home prices depressed and the resale market slow in the last several years, many homeowners with life changes or structural needs, have chosen to remodel their existing homes as a way to freshen up and redesign their living space. Home equity loan rates have been desirable offering homeowners with significant equity assurance when borrowing on a home they intended to remain in for many years. Sometimes, the option to refinance for remodeling purposes has allowed homeowners to reduce their interest rate while keeping their payment the same, even following remodeling costs. Further, studies have shown over time that investments in kitchens, bathrooms and even outdoor livings spaces in northern Michigan add value that will remain for many years and through resale.

As the housing market begins to rebound, making the decision to remodel or build new becomes more challenging. As housing prices creep upward, gaining on the pre-2008 values, some homeowners may be hopeful that a “For Sale” sign will result in their ability to start fresh recouping their investment and walking away with funds for a new beginning.

So…how do you decide whether to remodel or build? Factors to consider include:

1. Where are you in your family life? Just beginning to have children, in the middle of the teen years, empty nester, new grandparents, assisting aging parents in a different community?

If you are just beginning family life, assessing “room to grow” and flexible spaces will be pivotal to your decision to remodel or rebuild. A walk-out lower level in your home could be divided in to two bedrooms as your family grows. Large, unfinished spaces are fabulous gathering places for healthy, teen activities right in your home. Further, they could even be made in to efficiency apartments for aging parents who may need seasonal or occasional assistance from family members.

2. Where does employment factor in to the location of your home? Do you work from home, commute on public transit, drive your car alone at night?

If you work from home, having a dedicated space that separates work from personal life can help create a healthy balance in your family. Redesigning a bedroom, den or large closet can offer a small office like environment with very little cost. If you commute a long distance to your place of work, perhaps remodeling is not appropriate if you anticipate a career position with your company. You may be better served economically and logistically by building closer to your place of employment.


3. Does your current neighborhood, village, city or state offer the climate of social, cultural and weather conditions that satisfy you?

Are you happy with the lifestyle that your current community allows you to lead in your current place of residence? Do you escape from urban settings every weekend to find the woods, or do you come in to town twice each weekend just for night life? If so, remodeling may not create the sanctuary you desire, if you always have to leave it to enrich your life with those activities that you are passionate about. That said, if you love living away from it all, and currently reside in a remote area…remodeling offers you a chance to create the “nest” you’ve always craved.

4. Physical practicalities…are you able to navigate your current floor plan, have any health issues, are their structural items that need major attention before you can invest in the design and decorating? How tolerant are you of disorder should you decide to remodel OR do you have somewhere you could move temporarily until remodeling is complete?

Does your current floor plan, and condition of your house, lend itself readily to remodeling or are their infrastructure or accommodations that need to be made that might cause expense to exceed return even before you get to the fun stuff of new paint, furniture and decorations? If you need a new roof, cracks in the foundation repaired or rewiring before you can begin to redesign space for pleasure, perhaps leaving the heavy lifting to a new owner who loves the current layout would be your best option to achieve the next dream home you have in mind. Assessing your own tolerance for disorder, contractors in and out, as well as noise and some disruption in your family routine will also be a pivotal factor in determining if you are a candidate to live in/with remodeling or if building new would be best for you.

No matter where you are in the process of considering refreshing your living space, Lakeshore Custom Homes is here to provide advice, support, resources and the professional standard of building you’ve always heard is our reputation. Give a call, review our portfolio and let us help you realize that new beginning you’re dreaming of this Spring.

The idea of custom construction can be overwhelming. From inception to creation, many steps are taken to ensure vision becomes reality. Your residential project is no different.

You are unique; your needs and desires stem from every aspect of your personality. Your family is unique. Your identity together sets the tone for your family’s legacy. Your home is unique. From location and layout, to brick and wood, your home is the extension of who you are and who your family is.

You are going to build a home where who you are meets where you are. Lakeshore Custom Homes brings the reality of you and your family’s identity through the process of making vision become reality. One crucial step in that process is structure and design.

The design of your home touches personally on every level. Your project may require the help of experienced engineers and architects. Here is a list of a few local firms that could help. All are reputable and could be an asset in planning your dream home.

Cornwell Architects, “Cornwell Architects is a second generation, practice-led business of architects focused on the goals of our clients and the growth of our community.  Over the past sixty-five years, the firm has earned a reputation as a comprehensive, multi-disciplined firm with successful projects located throughout Northern Michigan.

We provide every service your project needs – from planning, architecture, engineering, and program management, to construction assistance and environmental design.”
http://www.cornwell-architects.com/

AAI, Inc., “AAI, Inc., has assembled a design team of expert consultants from various disciplines to provide the services that best meet the needs of each project.”
http://aaiarchitects.com/

Cornerstone Architects, “Cornerstone Architects was established in 1989 by Tom Nemitz to provide creative design and full service architecture. With offices in Grand Rapids, Detroit and Traverse City, Michigan, Cornerstone has established a reputation of exceptional client service, design excellence, and results that work.”
http://www.cornerstone-arch.com

N. J. White Associates, Architects – Our Mission

N.J. White & Associates, “Nicholas White has been providing high quality residential and resort architectural services since 1979. Our project scope ranges from small residential additions to large estate residences, commercial buildings and institutional projects.”
http://www.nickwhite.com/

John Dziurman Architect Ltd., “John Dziurman Architects Ltd. Is comprised of skilled professionals trained and experienced in the art and science of architecture. Our knowledge, experience and vision will guide you through the entire planning, design and construction process—from helping you define what you need to do, exceeding your expectations with the products we provide, and ensuring that you receive value for your planning, design and construction costs.”
http://www.dziurmanarchitects.com/

These teams solidify the vision of your project on paper, extending your personality and needs into the project itself.

Lakeshore Custom Homes will build your vision and bring it to life!