Northern Michigan Resorts: Living Rustic at Boyne Highlands

Northern Michigan Resorts: A Dallas-area couple returns to their Michigan roots with a log home at Boyne’s Mountain Club.

For years, Roy and Suzanne Hubner were loyal subscribers to Log Home Living magazine. They even kept a photograph of a log cabin on the refrigerator of their suburban Dallas home. “Suzanne always knew that was what she wanted when we retired,” Roy recalls. While their choice of style and building material was clear, the home’s location was less so. Both Michigan natives (Roy is from Flint and Suzanne from Saginaw), Suzanne nonetheless campaigned for Colorado, a favorite vacation spot. Roy, however, felt a pull back to the Great Lakes, where he had spent many happy years fishing, swimming and hanging out on Lake Charlevoix. “I have a history here,” he explains. “I couldn’t wait to come back.”

In 2003, the couple purchased a two-acre lot, sight unseen, in the area of Boyne Mountain known as the Mountain Club. But it was almost seven years before the couple retired from J.C. Penney and moved northeast to make their dream a reality. “Every time we could get up here we did,” Roy says. “I never knew how big two acres was until we walked the property.”

Builder Josh Howard of Howard Smith Corp., who worked with Northwoods Designs in Harbor Springs on the architectural plan, says the lots are the largest you can get at Boyne. “These are estate-size parcels,” he says. “It allowed us some elbow room, which gave us the ability to do some fun stuff.”

Using the photograph of the log cabin from the fridge and the couple’s “wish list” as inspiration, the team crafted a 3,800-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bath design that makes the most of the roomy lot and its breathtaking views of Deer Lake and the resort’s nearby golf courses. Vaulted ceilings throughout create the sense of a second floor, although the house is actually one-story, with a lower level. Roy’s favorite room is the three-season porch, which looks out over a large deck and the Jordan Valley beyond. “It has removable glass, so we can use the porch eight months out of the year,” Roy says. “When I’m not looking out at the view I sit and watch Tigers games on the big-screen TV. I’m even thinking about getting a little bar for the corner.”

The lower level was designed for family­—the Hubners hope the recreation room and cozy bedrooms will attract their four grandkids. “We put three bedrooms downstairs in case our three sons all come at the same time—and we hope they do,” explained Roy.                                         

They’re planning to welcome more than family. “We hope we get a lot of company, although our friends in Texas seem to think we live at the North Pole,” says Roy. Other amenities include a first-floor laundry, a mud room area with built-in space for winter wear and ski gear, and a welcoming kitchen that features knotty alder cabinets with a custom black stain and a backsplash featuring plates from favorite California vineyards.

The Hubners did import one feature from their Texas home. Many of the interior walls feature what Roy calls a “parge” coat, a stucco-like treatment that adds a bit of texture. “We liked that little bit of pizzazz,” Roy says. “Every house you go to in Texas has it.”

Few Texas houses, however, can boast of the surrounding woods and water and Boyne Mountain’s nearby ski runs and trails. The Hubners take full advantage of the resort amenities, including biking, hiking, and fishing. They love returning to the house at night, when it “just glows,” says Roy.

The log cabin on the refrigerator is long gone. The Hubners no longer feel the need for inspiration.

“To be honest, this house came out pretty close,” Roy says. When the weather is warm enough, they spend evenings on the deck with a glass of wine watching the sunset. Suzanne has been completely won over.

“It’s been pure heaven,” she says of her new home. “I didn’t realize how much I missed trees until we got here.”

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