Focusing on water views and relaxation takes a dated Charlevoix home to off-the-charts.

Featured in the April 2019 issue of Northern Home & Cottage. Get your copy.

The new homeowners of this Charlevoix gem found it in great shape but, built in the early 2000s, it was dated. Beyond that, this couple who love to entertain, wanted to add their own style and transform it into a haven for elegant relaxation that revolves around its spectacular water views.

The dream team of Birchwood Construction and Drost Landscape worked together to remake the lakeside of the house, playing up its connection to its spectacular setting. Birchwood partner, Ken Provost, headed up the structural revamp, starting with a new roofline and dormers to accentuate the lake views from the upstairs levels. A windowed cupola (designed by Gary Nance of Gary Nance Design) gives historic character to the exterior and floods the third-floor loft with light.

Copper detail on the roof adds a vintage theme; extending the copper to completely clad a new covered porch on the terrace is just plain elegant. A generous NanaWall Door that stretches across the back of the home frames the view from the great room; a view that moves across the covered porch, the terrace and the infinity pool to Lake Charlevoix. 

The terrace, infinity pool and retaining walls are all laid with handsome Blue Elite granite with Valders limestone steps and rug insert on the patio. Steps from the infinity pool (outfitted with in-water speakers for swimming enjoyment), Drost Landscape created a signature outdoor kitchen that can handle everything from pizza to gourmet meals.

On the inside, Interior Designer LuAnn Shepherd, working closely with the homeowner, took the sand-and-water cue and developed a palette of soft aquas, beiges and creamy whites that flows through the house. The wide-planked oak flooring washed with a creamy, semi-transparent stain feels like sand, the dining room table base is fabricated from driftwood and the (original) fireplace facade is made from barn wood with a new creamy wash.

Elegant, overstuffed furniture and touches including custom-designed built-in cabinetry add luxe to the beachy feel.

Downstairs, the slabs of striking watery blue Roma Stone (used on a new guest kitchenette and bar) were fabricated at TJ Marble & Granite in Petoskey. Gary Nance designed the super-cool shiplap mantel flanked with log cross-sections. Coupled with the whitewash billiards and shuffleboard tables, the downstairs spells vacation.

Generally speaking, no remodel is complete without rethinking the kitchen, but in this case, the homeowner fell in love with the original kitchen and opted to keep it as was. Throughout the house, Ken turned up the heat—installing all new in-floor heat, driveway heat, patio heat. Everywhere you turn, there’s a custom detail to make the home more accessible (like a new elevator) and gathering friendly (like around the nine-foot custom fireplace). Now the rest of the house is as timeless and gracious as that kitchen.

Dreaming of an infinity pool? Sky’s the limit …

The pièce de résistance of the landscaping in this home is an infinity lap pool, constructed by Drost Landscape, that is set into the side of the bluff so that the view from the pool makes it feel as though it flows into Lake Charlevoix—while in reality it cascades down the side of a stone wall and splashes across boulders before it is magically pumped back up to the pool. True, this pool was meant for serious lap swimming, but nevertheless, like all infinity pools (or as they are sometimes called, vanishing edge pools) it is the epitome of romantic relaxation.

The mechanics behind an infinity pool’s magic are powerful jets that pump the water back into the pool after it has cascaded across the top of one lip that is slightly lower than the pool’s other edges (called the weir) into a catch basin below. Beyond those must-have features, there is really no end to the variations on the infinity pool theme. Don’t have a hillside to set one into? How about a deck? Freestanding infinity pools are also gorgeous.

If your dreams are endless but your budget isn’t, you might consider a smaller pool size (or even simply an infinity hot tub) and saving money on the cost of the pool cladding—Pebble Tech versus materials like the Elite Blue granite used around this pool.

Whatever you choose, Travis Drost, the project manager for Drost Landscape, advises to make sure your pool melts into its setting. “People are struck by the pool,” he says speaking of this home, adding that they don’t realize until they look closer how much the pool is accentuated by the landscaping around it.

Elizabeth Edwards is managing editor of Northern Home and Cottage // Photos by Mike Gullon + Drost Landscape

Home Resources

Birchwood Construction

Gary Nance Design

Interior Designer
LuAnn Shepherd Interiors

Built-in Cabinets
The Joinery

Photo(s) by Mike Gullon + Drost Landscape