A talented architect gifts his wife and family with a Northern Michigan home that draws on his years of experience—and his love for them.

Over the course of several years, Tom and Liz Borger checked out roughly a thousand different lakefront properties from Ludington to Mackinac Island. Ten years ago, the Elkhart, Indiana, couple headed down quiet Skegemog Lake Point—a road that runs between Elk and Skegemog lakes—and fell in love with a deep, forested lot. The bonus was a ridge from which they could enjoy sunsets across Elk Lake.

The Borgers cleaned up the old fishing cottage on the property and used it as a summer home until it was clear the old building was beyond repair. Luckily, Thomas is an architect who has built a reputation for designing iconic lakefront homes from Chicago to Northern Michigan. During his long career, he’s found joy in using his design abilities to interpret his clients’ visions. So, when he was his own client, he had no trouble defining what he wanted out of a new home on Elk Lake—a vision he shared with Liz. The couple wanted their home to be an expression of their own tastes and sensibilities—that meant, among other details, it would blend into its wooded setting and have a strong connection to the outdoors. Also on their list was a great room large enough for their friends and family to gather.

In contractor Eric Render and his team at Render Construction, the Borgers found the skill and talent to put Thomas’s design into timber and stone. Cascading down the wooded slope in five separate levels, this home is truly a masterpiece in serenity and detail. Tom’s exquisite use of detail and symmetry is apparent on the exterior with its handsome stone foundation, interesting rooflines and siding that is a textural mural of shingles, board and batten and shiplap—all stained a trans- parent charcoal that blends perfectly into the trees around the home.

On the inside, hickory floors, alder trim and a natural fireplace are backdrops to the dramatic Elk Lake view. And just as Tom planned, the home transitions to the outdoors with a large open-air room that centers around a fieldstone fireplace. Several other patios offer more connection to the outdoors, as do two terraces set along the slope to the beach.

This is a magnificent home that abounds with design inspiration courtesy of a brilliant architect and a talented builder.

Home Resources

Contractor // Render Construction

Metal Work // Ace Welding

Automatic System // 
American Home Technology

Flooring // Carpet Galleria

HVAC // D&W Mechanical

Fixtures // Ferguson Enterprises

Appliances //  Max’s Service

Windows // Old Mission Windows

Building Supplies // Preston Feathe & The Lumber Shed

Trim & Molding // Thomas & Milliken Millwork, Inc

Cabinetry // Wolverine Cabinet Company

Photo(s) by Jacqueline Southby