After 20 years of living in the Michigan woods, Larry and Candi Edwards moved into the sunshine. Their new home on 25 acres of meadow near Gaylord is flooded with light and expansive views of the rolling fields around it—a picture that changes with the seasons. Yet, as open as the setting is, the two-story house with its tan stucco exterior feels confident and organic, a fitting presence on the landscape.

Get close and the home’s rich details come into focus: sweeping rooflines, flying gables, shakes painted in a soft shade of teal, cedar trim and fascia, pine beadboard soffits, curved eave brackets and copper gutters. Together, they echo the early 20th-century Mission and bungalow styles that Gaylord architect Todd Seidell incorporated into the design to make the new home appear old – just as his clients wished.

The Edwardses’ clear vision throughout the design process is perhaps no surprise, given that the couple has owned and operated the home decor store The Old Spud Warehouse in Gaylord for 10 years. Even so, the couple credit their inspiration to a particular book they carry in their store: Creating the Not So Big House (Taunton Press) by Sarah Susanka. Like Susanka’s other books, Creating the Not So Big House stresses quality over quantity and size in a home.

Their vision started with the contruction materials chosen for strength and energy efficiency. The house is constructed with insulating concrete forms (ICF). These stay-in-place Styrofoam forms allowed the mason, Ron Lackey of Gaylord, to cast in-place reinforced concrete walls that are highly wind resistant, strong and virtually maintenance-free. The type of construction tends to add about 17 percent of the base price to the final cost of the home, but eventually the added expense is offset by savings in heating and cooling. Though ICF homes do not typically feature large windows, architect Todd Seidell added hidden steel beams and structural supports to the design to accommodate the many insulated Andersen windows that open onto pastoral views.

Inside the Edwardses’ home, that philosophy is reflected in a cozy, efficient floor plan featuring a galley kitchen, breakfast nook, dining room and four-season porch that all open onto the living room. But most of all, the design philosophy is expressed through an exquisite use of craftsmanship and detail.

Step inside the home and you see how Larry himself set that tone with an Arts and Crafts-style stairway banister that he designed from cherry, walnut and maple. The craftsmanship continues throughout the home in elements like a custom walnut and cherry fireplace mantel, pine beadboard and beam ceilings, and a variety of interior doors made from oak, cherry or painted poplar. Some of the doors are antique and others are new but made narrower for a period look.

Cherry cabinets in the kitchen lend the small space sophistication, as does a custom-designed beverage hutch, where everything from coffee to wine is served. The hutch, inspired by Candi but designed by Patti Olson of Etc. Kitchens and Baths in Harbor Springs, is stained in shades of chartreuse and port.

To choose the warm, colorful interior wall paint palette, Candi looked to the organic colors of the Arts and Crafts period and to the shades of the meadow outside her windows. The couple has culled an eclectic mixture of corduroy and leather furniture from the Old Spud Warehouse. Some of the artwork is from their store, as well. But the very best landscapes came with the home they designed so carefully. “Our artwork is our view,” Candi says.

Home Resources

Todd Seidell, Gaylord, 989-731-0372

Interior design
Old Spud Warehouse, Gaylord, 989-731-0330,

Custom interior woodwork
Creative Millwork, Harbor Springs, 231-526-0201,

Carpet and tile
Design One, Gaylord, 989-732-6059
Burke Ceramic Tile and Marble, Gaylord, 989-731-0112
Pumco Interiors, Petoskey, 231-347-8124,

Advance Electric Inc., Gaylord, 989-732-2485,
Northern Appliance Outlet, Gaylord, 989-731-6884

Plumbing and fixtures
Preston Feather Building Center, Gaylord, 989-732-8862, prestonfeather.comEtc.
Kitchens and Baths, Harbor Springs, 231-526-7026,

Jeanne Lesinski writes from Bay

This article was first published in March 2007.