So how has MyNorth’s Petoskey Area Home Tour shaped up? One word: Amazing. Here’s a look inside Home #5. See more on September 14. 

Folks who are passionate about Torch Lake divide its personalities into the sunrise side and the sunset side. This year we are delighted to have a home on each side. Home #6 is on the sunrise side. And home #5, owned by Ann and Dan Isola, is on the sunset side.

Ann’s family has a tradition of vacationing on Torch Lake that dates back to a cabin that her grandfather built. So retiring to the lake has always been in the couple’s plans. The Isolas found and purchased their dream lot (just up the shore from her family’s homestead) five years ago. From the get-go she and Dan were sure of the style house they wanted: Traditional with a hint of Craftsman including a statement eyebrow window above the entry. And above all, they wanted plenty of windows. “I kept telling the architect, less wall, more windows,” Ann says.

On the interior, the couple knew they wanted a main level master suite and a second floor with two bedroom suites for their grown sons when they are home, as well as other guests, that could be closed off when just the two of them were there.

Before the plan was complete, however, the Isolas toured several area homes to get an up-close and personal sense of what makes lake living easier. The main takeaway they took from those trips was to locate the traffic pattern from the beach to the upstairs guest rooms all on one side of the house—in this case, the north side, across the great room from the master suite. That means that instead of a central staircase, their staircase is on the side, just off the door from the beach, a laundry room and bathroom where wet swimsuits can be shed before guests head upstairs.

Another idea the Isolas implemented is to add a door off the driveway and close to the staircase so that late arrivals won’t disturb their host and hostess asleep in the master suite on the other side of the house.

The generous kitchen is a testament to this couple’s love of cooking and entertaining. Tourgoers will see how Ann laid it out in two halves, one for the work area and the other for people to gather. She credits Tricia Keller from Preston Feather with helping them pull the plan together. “She’d draw up what I was talking about on the computer to see if it would all work together, or walk me around the showroom and say, this is what it will look like,” says Ann.

The couple has more kudos for builder Jamie Wilkins of Trillium Shores LLC, noting they particularly love his careful work on the eyebrow window and the cabinets and mantel that surround their fireplace. “He worked diligently with us to get the details that we liked and wanted—he has been very in tune with our tastes,” Ann says.

You’ll see six incredible homes on the Petoskey Area Home Tour. Get your tickets at

Photo(s) by Jacqueline Southby