This Northern Michigan home shows its diminutive side from the road. Just the way Brittany Poll envisioned it. From the lake side, however, where it drops down to a walk-out ground floor, you understand that it is large enough to accommodate the many friends and family of Brittany and her husband, Philip. That’s just the way he wanted it. Call it a perfect compromise. The interior, however, is all about collaboration between this husband and wife, both of whom have keen, spot-on vision for architecture and interior style. Brittany, in fact, recently launched her own interior design business, Will + Blu.
This home was featured on the 2019 Traverse Area Home Tour by Northern Home & Cottage.
The Polls are both from Ohio, but Philip summered in Northern Michigan while he was growing up. The first time he brought Brittany here, she fell in love with the area as well. The couple was married in Omena and their search for the perfect summer home started soon after the wedding. When they found this perch over Good Harbor Bay, just south of Leland, they knew they’d found their piece of the North. For several summers before they built, the couple camped on the property to get a feel for it—observing, among other things, the way the sunsets moved west across Good Harbor Bay as the summer progressed, and noting how that would affect the design of their home.
When the couple did build, it was with a first-class team featuring contractor Joel Peterson of J. Peterson Homes. The Polls can’t say enough about Peterson’s professionalism and knowledge of building in Northern Michigan. They also enjoyed working with principal architect Mark Ours and his associate CJ Andrews of the Ohio-based firm MODE Architects—a team that captured their vision for a new take on a modern cottage. Finally, they credit Paige Maurer of Paige Lee Designs with helping them fulfill their vision for the fresh, rustic interior.
The facade is a crisp mix of buff-colored natural Michigan stone with white board-and-batten siding, black-framed windows and a raw galvalume roof. Walk inside and the monochromatic palette allows the azure waters of Good Harbor—with the Manitou Islands on the horizon—to steal the show. Look closer, however, and you’ll notice a purposeful and refined sense of design right up to the white nickel-board clad vaulted ceiling and down to the honey-colored white oak floors. The same buff rock that is used on the exterior faces the fireplace and chimney.
Keenly aware that the great room was meant for relaxed entertaining, Paige worked with Brittany to keep the open kitchen streamlined, efficient and durable. A generous island topped in Aurea Stone (a quartz that resembles marble) is outfitted with a farm sink and room for six bar stools. Inset kitchen cabinetry is painted with Benjamin Moore’s Silver Strand; glossy white subway tiles, brass hardware and pendant lights round out the space.
The rest of the home plays out the relaxed style with surprise touches like a refurbished (by Philip) antique clawfoot tub, fun tile in the bathroom and cool reclaimed pieces that Philip and Brittany have picked up on their travels. The walkout level, outfitted with guest rooms, has a zero-maintenance polished cement floor and (want-want!) a fabulous indoor/outdoor bar that makes ordering up a cold one from the beach as organically easy as this inspirational home.