A Makeover on Lake Charlevoix

A tired sum­mer cot­tage is re­built in the Crafts­man tra­di­tion, with gen­er­ous liv­ing space yet a fo­cus on the out­doors.

Arts and Crafts Homes - - CONTENTS - BY PATRICIA POORE | PHOTOGRAPHS BY GRI­D­LEY + GRAVES

A tired sum­mer cot­tage is re­built in the Crafts­man tra­di­tion, with gen­er­ous liv­ing space and an out­door fo­cus. by Patricia Poore | pho­tos by Gri­d­ley + Graves

On a lake­side lot, the site is gor­geous, but the house that was there “had all the charm of the mid-1980s tract house that it was,” says builder Todd Wright. His clients are Joel and Karen Cohn, their three teenagers and three dogs, and the spot is near Boyne City on north­ern Michi­gan’s large, pris­tine Lake Charlevoix, which con­nects to Lake Michi­gan.

“This has been a va­ca­tion area for 120 years,” says Joel. “Build­ing was ac­tive here dur­ing the Crafts­man era. The town of Charlevoix had Earl Young, an Amer­i­can ar­chi­tec­tural de­signer with no for­mal train­ing who mas­tered the use of stone and curved lines, seen in his dis­tinc­tive ‘mush­room’ houses. He fo­cused on build­ing small houses that lived like cas­tles.”

“You could say Young was an early pro­po­nent of the ‘notso-big-house’ phi­los­o­phy,” Wright con­curs. “Earl Young’s de­signs are a source of in­spi­ra­tion for me, as are those of the Greene broth­ers, Bernard May­beck, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

“Some peo­ple build­ing their dream house have a hard time get­ting their heads around the not-so-big con­cept,” Todd Wright con­tin­ues, “but Joel was all-in right from the be­gin­ning. Our col­lab­o­ra­tion has been very en­joy­able.”

Client and builder agreed to add a mod­est amount of square footage to the down­stairs foot­print only, in­stead re­ar­rang­ing in­te­rior space for bet­ter func­tion. As built, for ex­am­ple, the sec­ond-floor master bed­room had been huge, run­ning the en­tire length of the cot­tage, yet there was only one bath up­stairs. Re­con­fig­ur­ing the ex­ist­ing space pro­duced three bed­rooms and two baths along with a laun­dry room. “We spend

lim­ited time in our bed­rooms,” says Joel, “but we wanted a big fam­ily kitchen, and lots of out­door spa­ces.”

The house now has two dis­tinct pa­tios, one on the lake­front with a fire pit, the other sur­round­ing the house. (The stone is nat­u­ral Chilton full-color ledge from Buechel Stone.) A pa­tio kitchen fur­ther ex­tends liv­ing space dur­ing the guest sea­son. “I like the deep over­hangs,” Joel says; “I can be out­side but limit my sun ex­po­sure—I’m a red­head.” Deep eaves are one fea­ture of the de­sign that com­bines Crafts­man and chalet el­e­ments. The ski-jump flare of the porch roof, bat­tered col­umns, and over­size knee brack­ets are “my in­ter­pre­ta­tions,” says Wright, “lend­ing Crafts­man ap­peal but pre­sent­ing unique ex­pres­sions. Be­sides,” he grins, “straight lines are bor­ing.”

Down­stairs, the new plan es­sen­tially com­bines liv­ing room, din­ing room, and kitchen in one live-large space. But a fin wall and a cof­fered ceil­ing over the kitchen or­ga­nize the space and mit­i­gate noise. “Defin­ing sep­a­rate ar­eas elim­i­nated

the barn-like feel com­mon in many ‘open-plan’ de­signs,” says Wright. Wright de­signed the kitchen, and his crafts­men built the large, fur­ni­ture-like is­land. The perime­ter cab­i­nets were built by Crown Point Cab­i­netry.

Cal­i­for­nia glass artist Theodore El­li­son took de­sign in­spi­ra­tion from pho­tos of Lake Charlevoix. He made pan­els for the fin wall, the new front en­try door, and win­dows flank­ing the fire­place. “Pen­dants from Old Cal­i­for­nia Lan­tern were sent directly to Ted for the glass in­serts, which was an af­ford­able way to get cus­tom light­ing,” Joel Cohn ex­plains.

The house feels like it dates to the Crafts­man era, partly due to its size and de­tails, but also be­cause of its fur­nish­ings. The liv­ing room’s Life­time arm­chairs were part of a large set pur­chased in 1912 for a lo­cal bar­ber­shop; “I bought two from an an­tiques store in Charlevoix—the chairs haven’t left north­ern Michi­gan in 105 years,” Joel says. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing the chairs are a Stickley Bros. foot­stool and a Gus­tav Stickley lamp ta­ble. Pot­tery is by Rook­wood, Ro­seville, Van Brig­gle, and Weller; can­dle­sticks are Robert Jarvie and a metal vase is Heintz. New work by tal­ented re­vival ar­ti­sans rounds out the in­te­rior. a

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LEFT Mul­ti­ple stone pa­tios take full ad­van­tage of the lake views. The ski-jump URRƮLQH ZDV LQVSLUHG by chalet ar­chi­tec­ture. Crafts­man-era de­tails, in­clud­ing bat­tered, boxed col­umns on ma­sonry piers and over­size knee braces, add struc­ture and pro­por­tion. The orig­i­nal chim­ney was clad in real stone.

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BE­FORE LEFT The hand­some re­mod­el­ing made the “front” of the house on the drive­way side more wel­com­ing; the cus­tom en­try door is in­set with more art glass by Ted El­li­son. IN­SET The orig­i­nal street façade had lit­tle char­ac­ter. OP­PO­SITE Motawi tiles were added to the ƬUHSODFH VXUURXQG vin­tage Life­time chairs ƮDQN D *XVWDY 6WLFNOH\ round ta­ble. The con­tem­po­rary lamp is from Ar­royo Crafts­man.

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