The eighth stop on the 2014 Northern Home and Cottage Home Tour is located in Leland at 5415 E. Sugarbush Lane. Deemed “South Beach Style,” tour goers will see firsthand how the owner blended a Florida South Beach look with a Northern Michigan Leland one.

Visit the other homes on the 2014 Northern Home and Cottage Home Tour:

  1. European Accent
  2. One for the Ages
  3. A Plus (This home has been removed from the tour)
  4. Farmhouse Reno
  5. Barn Reno
  6. Enlightened Craftsman
  7. Cottage For All Seasons

The 2014 Northern Home & Cottage Home Tour takes place on Saturday, September 13th from 10 am to 5 pm. Proceeds raised during the home tour will benefit Northern Michigan non-profit, Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan. Save by purchasing tickets to the 2014 Northern Home & Cottage Home Tour at


By the time Tom Donall found and purchased his dream vacation property on Lake Michigan north of Leland, his career as an artist and designer had taken him from his Michigan home to South Beach, Florida. Inspired by the sophisticated modern architecture of South Beach with its minimalist interiors that frame ocean panoramas, Donall wanted to build his own Lake Michigan interpretation. “That community is filled with artists and has so much to offer in terms of design,” Tom says.

But there was one design caveat for his Leland property: Permit restrictions meant that Tom’s home would need to stick to the original footprint of the square, flat-roofed house that had graced the site since the 1970s. For help with the project, Tom teamed up with architect David Hanawalt, renown for his modern designs in Northern Michigan, and Rodney Riley of Invision Construction.

NHC 2014

The finished home builds up and out from the original structure in cantilevered boxes.  Says David of the cantilevers: They provide an element of magic, a sense of floating.”  The magic continues inside the home, where the staircase, too, appears to float and the windows that rise three stories wash the rooms in watery views.

The interior is also a lesson in black and white minimalism: dyed-black oak floors and kitchen cupboards and black ceramic floor tiles are contrasted with white quartz kitchen counters and walls painted with Benjamin Moore’s nuanced color, Paper White. Nearly every other element is either glass or stainless steel. “Minimalism is used to make the elements as clear as possible and also to make them appear effortless,” David explains. “It is, in fact, not easy to accomplish minimal construction; all structure is hidden, there are no trims and as a result, no room to hide imperfections or flaws, materials and finishes have to be designed and installed for uniformity and consistency,” he continues.

Rod is the first to agree that it was a complicated building job from start to finish. “It wasn’t just a demolition or just a reno or just a build. It was all types of building in one—additionally, it involved adding 20 steel beams.” In the end, the home took three years to complete. A complicated project, certainly. And one that pushed the style envelope of building on the northeast Lake Michigan shore in a decidedly sophisticated direction.

2014 Northern Home and Cottage Home Tour