This Elk Rapids farmhouse, known as the Pilgrim House, recently underwent an extensive renovation. See the beautiful results on the Petoskey Area Home Tour September 15.

7641 Wandawood Lane, #1 Elk Rapids

Sandra Bargiel, Bay Cabinetry and Design Studio, 231.946.6882

Kamala Huron has the kind of family legacy most of us dream about: A thousand feet of shoreline on north Elk Lake and 35 acres of old orchard and woods. Oh, and there are also 500 feet on East Grand Traverse Bay. All of this stunning acreage is a part of Wandawood Resort, one of a dwindling number of family-operated cottage resorts in Northern Michigan.

The property has been in Kamala’s family since the mid-18th century when her great-great-grandparents farmed it. Over the century, subsequent generations turned the property into Wandawood, which today is made up of 15 Up North-style housekeeping units and a two-story, Northern Michigan-style farmhouse, called Pilgrim House, built in 1899.

Kamala and her husband, Steve, took the reins at Wandawood in 2011. Early this year they began a top-to-bottom renovation of Pilgrim House—where Kamala’s mother had lived until 2014—planning to use it as a rental home for large groups staying at the resort. The Hurons wanted the home to be structurally sound, have its plumbing and electrical updated and be snug and lovely. But they didn’t want to lose the historic farmhouse feel of the Pilgrim House.

Finding the right designer was paramount for Kamala. “I wanted someone creative and an out-of-the-box thinker,” Kamala says. “I also wanted to be involved in the design—not just hand it over to someone.”

When, at the suggestion of her contractors, Dan and Tabby Stilson of Pine-Aire Building Co., Kamala met with designer Sandra Bargiel of Bay Cabinetry and Design Studio in Traverse City, she knew she’d found just the person she wanted to work with. As tourgoers will see, the collaboration between the two women and the Stilsons was inspired.

In the new design of the once cramped, closed-off kitchen Sandra carefully considered space planning while respecting architecture and function. The team also paid close attention to the size and placement of new windows to accentuate the view of the lake. They went on to remove the fake brick hearth on the great room fireplace, exposing the original concrete hearth in all its natural flaws and beauty. Sandra chose blue-gray cabinets in the bar area to balance the complimentary colors of the brick.

The old farmhouse kitchen is now a seamless rendition of an efficient, modern workspace and classically lovely details including dark soapstone counters, creamy cabinetry (with antique-nickel pulls) and a white-enameled farmhouse sink. Vintage lighting, a custom nickel-plated range hood and a walnut floor pull it all together. Sandra used similar sensibilities in the redo of the first-floor bathroom, laundry/pantry room, and four-season porch with its farm-style dining table.

Other standouts in this lovely renovation include the home’s original, refurbished oak and butternut window-, door- and wall-molding, as well as refurbished maple floors in much of the downstairs (some salvaged from the kitchen and used in the four-season room). As you walk through, take particular note of the antique posts that flank the kitchen sink and hold up the kitchen breakfast peninsula, as well as two more half-posts incorporated into a downstairs bathroom. The posts were a part of a wrap-around porch that once graced Pilgrim House. Kamala found them in storage. Packed away long ago and waiting, one can imagine, for an opportunity to shine again.

Tickets to the Petoskey Area Home Tour are available on

Thank you to our sponsors.

Photo(s) by Phoenix Photography