Midwest Living - - Contents - WRITER Kelly Ryan Ke­gans PHO­TOG­RA­PHER Greg Schei­de­mann

Suited up in vi­o­let snow gear, 4-year-old Margo Hall tucks into her dad’s lap on the fam­ily sled. Their ride, a Po­laris Dragon Switch­back snow­mo­bile, has con­sid­er­ably more horse­power than Santa’s rein­deer. To­day it’s parked out­side the cabin while Margo and Mike snap a hol­i­day photo. Mike’s wife, Court­ney, and his son, Har­ri­son, 14, are the other half of this ad­ven­ture-driven four­some who can’t wait to spend win­ter break at this es­cape three hours north of Grand Rapids, Michi­gan. First stop: The slopes. Or the ice. Or the snow­shoe trails. When 30 inches of fresh pow­der sparkle, any­thing’s pos­si­ble. “We are at the base of Nub’s Nob ski hill, so we can ski in and out of our back door,” Court­ney says.

Mike and Court­ney met just seven years ago, but they both grew up near here in Pe­toskey, a small town on Lake Michi­gan’s Lit­tle Tra­verse Bay. “We didn’t know each other then—we have a 15-year age dif­fer­ence—but we had a ton of mu­tual friends,” Court­ney says. Ex­pe­ri­ences over­lap, too. On win­ter nights, the Halls eat at the same Boyne High­lands Re­sort they each vis­ited as kids. They take Margo and Har­ri­son to skate at the same win­ter sports park.

One ad­ven­ture is wholly new, though. Four years ago, the Halls pur­chased a 1962 cedar­planked A-frame chalet as a va­ca­tion home. Its 1,500 square feet in­clude a soar­ing cen­tral liv­ing space with kitchen and loft, plus bed­rooms on ei­ther side. The Halls passed on ma­jor im­prove­ments, but they did paint the fire­place sur­round white and the ex­te­rior a hand­some dark for­est green that re­cedes into the trees. Their decor is a com­fort­able mix of con­tem­po­rary prints and fur­ni­ture, snug­gly tex­tiles, and lots of sen­ti­men­tal trea­sures (espe­cially at Christ­mas­time).

Each year af­ter Thanks­giv­ing, the Halls start mak­ing week­end cabin trips to get ready for the hol­i­day sea­son. Court­ney’s fam­ily al­ways cut its Christ­mas tree at Bill’s Farm Mar­ket. Now, she, Mike and their kids visit that same 100-year-old farm to get what she calls their Clark Gris­wold-style tree. Come Christ­mas morn­ing, it’s hard to tell what ex­cites the kids more—open­ing gifts or head­ing to the ski hill when it opens at 9 a.m. But no ques­tion, the hard­est part is head­ing back south in Jan­uary.

This year, they won’t have to. Mike and Court­ney re­cently sold their Grand Rapids house. They’re mak­ing their funky A-frame chalet home, not just for the hol­i­days, but for every day. They plan to ren­o­vate and ex­pand a lit­tle, but the things they love most won’t change: “The kids will be in na­ture and sur­rounded by our fam­ily and clos­est friends,” Court­ney says. “We can’t imag­ine rais­ing them any­place else now.”

ABOVE Cut cir­cles from in­ex­pen­sive vin­tage post­cards for or­na­ments. Search by theme (such as win­ter sports or hol­i­day cook­ing) on Etsy or Ebay. LEFT When not filled with gifts, the liv­ing room’s swing­ing porch chair is a fa­vorite read­ing nook for the kids. BELOW This print of Boyne High­lands Re­sort comes from Roo Kee Roo, a pair of brothers whose art of­ten re­flects life on Michi­gan’s lakes. OP­PO­SITE “I love styling the fire­place through­out the year,” Court­ney says. “White paint just gives it a neu­tral pal­ette.”

OP­PO­SITE The Halls (and their Boykin spaniel, Jackie) love be­ing out­side in win­ter—but a hot toddy is never far away. RIGHT Ac­ces­si­ble via a spi­ral stair­case, the play­room loft fea­tures a vin­tage lounger the Halls nabbed at the Al­le­gan An­tiques Mar­ket. A sheep­skin rug co­zies up the rat­tan piece for win­ter. BELOW Even though it doesn’t quite jibe with the Halls’ mod­ern style, a white ce­ramic tree passed down from Court­ney’s great-grand­mother comes out faith­fully each year.

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