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.

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!

Do you have “the list”? You know, the “honey do” list. This is the list of things that need to be done around your house, but you never seem to get to any of them. You may be able to handle some of the smaller projects – paint touch up, or changing a door knob – but what about the bigger projects that you know will create a mess? Or the projects that you fear…you know….the ones that involve moving plumbing, or wiring, taking down walls, or putting up walls.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start any home improvement project… How much time will it take? Do I have the right equipment? How much will it cost? Do I have to turn off the main water supply? Is this a load baring wall.

What appears to be a job that you can handle can soon turn into a job that is out of control. Hiring a professional licensed contractor to handle your project can be the difference between “honey do” and “honey don’t touch me!” Professional licensed contractors know the building codes. They have experienced craftsmen to make sure all aspects of the job are completed properly. At Lakeshore Custom Homes, we pride ourselves on finishing a job on time and on budget.

If you’re looking for a reliable and well tested contractor in the Grand Traverse, Benzie or Leelanau county area, then give us a try. There is no job too big or too small. We leave you to spend time with your family, and keep “Honey” smiling.

Call me at (231) 642-0724

Sincerely, Chris Mason

Our New Website has arrived! Welcome and please let us know what you think. You can leave us a comment at the bottom of this post, we would greatly appreciate it.

Change can be good. It is our hope to use this website as a tool, not just a splashy brochure. Each of our clients are important to us. We would like to continue to educate and share with you information that can help with your home projects and maintenance. Look for a weekly update from us, which will cover all area’s of home construction and upkeep. We will also include a look at current projects that Lakeshore Custom Homes Inc is currently working on. We thank you for your coming to our website and hope that it can be used by you as a rescource in the coming months.

Sincerely, Chris Mason