Beautiful, Light Carbon Footprint Makeover in Glen Arbor

Snug certainly, but this main level—reconfigured for two bedrooms instead of three—feels generous, thanks to a great room that combines the living room, kitchen and dining area into one large, high-ceilinged space. Stripped of its original oak details and re-trimmed in cherry, the great room combines a comfortable lodge feel with a sophisticated urban edge. The rebuilt cherry and tile fireplace is a focal point, but the long quartz two-tiered counter—“like a sushi bar,” Bill explains—is where guests tend to congregate. Pam chose the drop-down design because it’s more comfortable for the granddaughters, who can sit on chairs (not barstools) at the lower tier while she and Bill prepare food on the upper one.

Pam and Glen Arbor–designer Pamela Houtteman brainstormed on colors, favoring dark coral shades, and on strategies for optimally displaying the collection of Up North art that the Rosenbergs have purchased during many years spent vacationing in the area. (A favorite landscape by Suzanne Wilson, a beloved Glen Arbor artist, now deceased, stays at their permanent residence in North Carolina to remind them of Lake Michigan.)

Bill’s office was used by the former owners as an artist’s studio. A busy executive and Harvard fellow, Bill comes to the cottage for family time and recreation, not to get away from it all. He stays connected to the world from his Glen Arbor cottage via high-speed Internet. After getting the cottage online, Bill’s next order of business was to install a backup generator so he can keep working even when northern storms cut off power. The office, outfitted with a Murphy bed, a gas stove and an old stereo system that “can still play cassette tapes,” is something of a suite, where Bill can camp out and work even when the cottage is full of family and friends.

Yet with its walls of windows and skylights that open onto the woodsy back lot, the office has its share of pleasant distractions. When fox, deer, or porcupines meander past, watching wildlife becomes Bill’s most pressing order of business.

Janet Lively writes and teaches in Traverse City.

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