There’s always beauty beneath the surface; it was Michelangelo who famously said that every block of stone has a statue inside it, and that it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. In a house near downtown Petoskey, a sculpture—or rather home—was found by Craig and Edith Rose, who transformed a weathered, apartment-partitioned residence into a classically comfortable home. Northern Home & Cottage editor Lissa Edwards shares the story of the home that was almost lost behind a copse of wild trees.
The big, old white house at the top of the hill on Mitchell Street, a couple blocks from downtown Petoskey, was a looker in its younger years. Pocket doors, two staircases (one for the servants), divided light windows from the Arts & Crafts era and hardwood floors tell that story. But as the house aged, it withdrew from the neighborhood, becoming hidden behind a tangle of huge trees. Inside, the once-grand living spaces were divided into three rental units. Layers of linoleum covered much of the hardwood.
Craig Rose couldn’t say he’d ever noticed the house, even though he’d grown up just blocks away—probably rode his bike past it many times as a kid. The first time the house actually registered with him was when he and his wife, Edith, toured it while searching for a house that would put their young family within walking distance of Petoskey’s schools and amenity-filled downtown. After the Roses decided to purchase the home, there were those who said keep the lot; tear the house down. But Craig could see that besides location, location, location, the house had good bones. “He had the vision,” Edith credits him.
And so, working with Woods and Water Construction, he and Edith plunged in to a renovation that took them through layers of history—the home’s rental period (there were three kitchens in the home when they purchased it), the home’s handsome beginnings in the early 20th century. Along the way the Roses searched for historic records of the home but found little: “We’ve tried to find information from the historical society, but we still don’t know very much about who lived here,” Craig says. “All we’ve found is that we are only the fourth owners. ”
They may be anonymous, but those first homeowners would be delighted by the Roses’ careful renovation. They preserved what they could. And where they couldn’t, Craig says: “Everywhere we had an opportunity we tried to mimic what was in the house.” They matched the old trim stain to a T. They chose kitchen cabinets in a similar style, right down to the old latches. They replicated the original Arts & Crafts mullions in their new windows. They pulled up linoleum and redid the floors.
When they were finished preserving the home’s vintage character, the Roses retrofitted their home to suit their modern family. A new mudroom is outfitted with three personalized closets, one for each Rose child to stuff with coats, schoolbooks and sports equipment. Kitchen designer Dawn Whyte helped them turn the old servants kitchen into a kitchen fit for Edith, whom Craig describes as an “amazing cook.” A custom circular banquette in the corner creates a perfect niche for the kids to do homework and crafts. The living and dining room decor is contemporary and unexpected—pieces like matching zebra-patterned chairs and vibrant red couches in the living room—are fun foils to their stately backdrop.
The old dame wears the color and spirit of this young family with aplomb. “People tell me that our house is charming,” Edith says. “I tell them, this home has acquired its charm over the centuries. You can’t make charm.”