Yankee Spirit in Boyne City

This feature was originally published in the December 2014 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine as part of Northern Home & Cottage. A barn-inspired home is an exercise in simplicity and synergy between a Harbor Springs contractor and her long-distance clients.

On a blustery day in 2011, a semi-trailer loaded with the raw materials to frame an entire house wound its way through Boyne City. The driver was lost, looking for the site where Adelaine Construction was to begin raising a timber-frame home. Meanwhile, snow was piling up to two feet in classic lake-effect fashion. Melissa Adelaine-Supernault, co-owner of the Harbor Springs construction company, called the local road commission to ask their plow drivers to watch for the truck. Ten minutes later the semi driver was following a personal escort and a freshly plowed path to the home site.

“That’s just the way it works in a small town,” Melissa says.

That small-town spirit is one reason first-time home builders Chris and Judi Marlin decided to relocate to Boyne City.

The couple was at home in Washington, D.C., that frosty day when the Adelaine crew began construction on a plan that the Marlins had carefully customized with the help of architects at Yankee Barn Home. Chris and Judi were impressed with the company after visiting its post-and-beam model home in New Hampshire. Yankee’s prefab construction system is ideal for winter builds in Michigan, and Adelaine’s background in log construction made the process even more efficient. Beams and wall panels had been assembled in the factory out East, and the structure was enclosed within two weeks.

Trusting a contractor to handle a complex project from a distance is never easy, but the Marlins credit the smooth process to Adelaine’s good communication. Melissa was in constant contact with the Marlins, sending photos and solving construction dilemmas long-distance. She had already led the couple through the overwhelming process of choosing materials and fixtures.

“I vet out what [the clients] want and set up a realistic budget,” says Melissa. “Then I go with them and help them make choices.”



Melissa made sure that selections fit the look that the Marlins wanted: a simple Shaker style that serves as an ideal backdrop for their collection of early American and primitive antiques, many of which they use regularly. Flooring of scraped oak and slate-look porcelain set a rustic tone that works with the exposed wooden beams. By contrast, plenty of natural light and expanses of drywall highlight the wood. Forged metal hardware, pine doors and trim, and simple lighting fixtures finish the understated design.

An open plan centers on a double-sided ledge stone fireplace that’s visible from all of the public spaces on the main floor. Rooms feel generous, connected and warmly inviting. Antique and new furnishings together carry a look of history and loving use. Chris points to the pine green transitional-style leather sofa, its cushions creased and worn from decades of contented lounging, and remarks how he can’t bring himself to replace it because a new one “wouldn’t look right.” It’s true—the antiques look at home in the space, and Judi has edited the collection so that it is both functional and beautiful. Anything too polished would upset the balance.

The exterior design appeals through simplicity, symmetry, and picturesque details like a lighted cupola and functional barn doors flanking the entrance. Natural landscaping, brick-red clapboard siding, and a detached garage with a hay door give the large wooded lot the look of a gentleman’s farm.

The Marlins are still settling into their new life Up North, but they love the way their home enhances it. Chris, now retired from an executive position with Bloomberg BNA, likes to zip down to the harbor on his retro scooter, where his Grady-White boat awaits on Lake Charlevoix. Judi, a culinary services professional, loves cooking in the generous kitchen with its deluxe appliances and airy layout. “We’re so happy with how it turned out,” Chris says. “[The design and building process] just went flawlessly.”

Melissa explains, though, that this kind of synergy between client and contractor can only happen with mutual trust. “The Marlins had never taken on a project of this complexity. Even after hearing friends’ stories of very difficult build experiences with other contractors, they still trusted our team, even from many miles away. There will always be bumps in the road, but trust, confidence and respect between builder and homeowner makes the experience better for everyone.”



Yankee Spirit Resources

Yankee Barn Homes, Grantham, New Hampshire, yankeebarnhomes.com

Adelaine Construction, Harbor Springs, 231.439.0027, adelaineconstruction.com

North Star Nursery & Landscaping, Wolverine, 231.525.8884

Tom Gallagher, Harbor Springs Excavation, Harbor Springs, 231.347.1191, harborspringsexcavating.net

Kurt Shirmer, State Wide Concrete, Harbor Springs, 231.620.1950

Adelaine Construction, Harbor Springs, 231.439.0027, adelaineconstruction.com

Plumbing and Mechanical
Tom Fairbairn, W.W. Fairbairn, Alanson, 231.548.2244, wwfairbairn.com

Jeff Milner, White Pines Electric, Alanson, 231.549.3873, whitepineselectric.com

Great Lakes Drywall & Painting, Petoskey, 231.347.1958

Windows and Siding
Yankee Barn Home, Grantham, N.H., 603.863.2400, yankeebarnhomes.com

Doors, Cabinetry and Countertops
Preston Feather Building Centers, Petoskey, 800.968.2501, prestonfeather.com

Tim Berry, Edgewater Roofing, Charlevoix, 231.439.9776

Donny Howell, Petoskey Flooring, Petoskey, 231.487.0096

Lighting Fixtures
All Phase Electric, Petoskey, 231.347.1050. The Iron Grate, Fenton, Mich., 810.629.3434

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