The 2016 Northern Home & Cottage Home Tour in the Traverse City area takes place on Saturday, September 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Traverse area home tour treats tourgoers to 11 beautiful homes, thoughtfully designed and surrounded by stunning Northern Michigan landscapes in Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties.

Proceeds raised during the Traverse area home tour will benefit Northern Michigan non-profit, Child and Family Services of Northwestern Michigan. Save by purchasing tickets to the 2016 Northern Home & Cottage Home Tour at


The eighth home on the Northern Home & Cottage Tour is located at 6885 East Shore Drive in Traverse City. The home was designed by Endura Performance Homes of Traverse City (231.218.5810).

Photo by Dave Speckman_Northern Home & Cottage_Tour 2016

Carol and David Straight both grew up reading Popular Mechanics magazine when they were young. That was back in the 1960s and ’70s, and even then the magazine for do-it-yourselfers was touting the potential of solar power. Decades later, they are building their dream retirement home on Old Mission Peninsula.

Yes, it has a view of East Grand Traverse Bay. Yes, it has a swimming/workout pool in the backyard. And a gorgeous kitchen outfitted with top-of-the-line appliances. But guess what else it has? Thirty-two 270-watt solar panels on the garage roof. The black-framed panels blend in so well with this traditional-styled home that you have to look twice to see them.

As much as the couple was interested in pursuing renewable energy in their new home, the decision was still a big one—mostly because the upfront costs are higher, and the payback in the form of lowered energy bills can take years. But the Straights credit Ryan for educating them that solar power was a viable option. Not only did Ryan have the knowledge and expertise to provide the home with a very efficient energy system, but he also showed them how the system would end up paying for itself, and more, over the course of years.

Photo by Dave Speckman_Northern Home & Cottage_Tour 2016

Of course solar power isn’t the only energy efficiency feature Ryan installed in this home. The home has been built with high performance insulation and a precast insulated foundation system, resulting in much lower heat loss than a traditionally built home. What’s more, the home is heated and cooled with an air-source heat pump that works like a refrigerator, transferring heat to warm and cool the home, and a water heater that works the same way. A motion-activated pump in the bathroom starts heating water when you walk in. The features all add up to a significant reduction in the costs to live in the home.

No doubt, what tourgoers will be most aware of are the well- appointed details of this home from the walnut floors and box beam ceilings to the custom built-in shelving and handsome walnut and painted-maple cabinetry. If you want to learn how to build the most comfortable, healthy, energy efficient home you can imagine, don’t miss this stop on the tour.

Bonus: Endura Performance Homes will host two free sessions with experts on high performance construction and renewable energy at the home the day of the tour at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Phase II: Petoskey area 2016 Northern Home & Cottage Tour Saturday, October 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Find information in your October issue of Northern Home & Cottage.

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Photo(s) by Dave Speckman