A lovely riverside property in Northern Michigan gets a fitting home. This Crystal River house by CMB Construction was created with timeless beauty and accessibility in mind. Learn about the inspiration behind the Glen Arbor project, and purchase your tickets to take a look inside eight of the North’s most stunning homes, including this one, on the Northern Home & Cottage 2021 Virtual Home Tours.
This sweet, wooded site on the Crystal River, just outside downtown Glen Arbor, called out for a modern farmhouse. Owners David and Mary Bird and builder Colin Bushong of CMB Construction delivered. From the get-go, this home’s design and building process was a collaborative effort between Colin and the Birds.
On the exterior, the crisp white home with its covered porch, classic black-clad sash windows and equally classic dormer inset with black-clad paned windows emits a subtle aura of stepping back in time. Indeed, it echoes Glen Arbor’s beloved late 19th-century mill, located just up the river from this home.
The interior has a similarly timeless feel—albeit outfitted with state-of-the-art amenities. The great room’s high ceiling that rises 20 feet at its peak, white walls—including a generous use of shiplap—and a warm hickory floor are the backdrop for the view of the woods and the serene river out the windows. Come evening, however, the focus shifts to a fabulous two-sided gas fireplace (clad in black soapstone) that shares its other side with the master bedroom.
As open as the floor plan is, there is enough definition to the space to make it feel intimate. A four-season sunroom off the great room is a quiet spot for reading or just contemplating the river. Mary and Dave each have offices off the foyer. Mary’s office doubles as the laundry room, but thanks both to a window with a view of the woods and to Colin’s clever woodwork designs that cover the mechanicals, it is a lovely room to work in.
The open kitchen is defined by a generous 6-by-6-foot island topped in marble-like macaubas quartzite. The perimeter counters are honed ocean-black granite and the backsplash is tumbled marble subway tiles. A series of three small black-metal pendants over the sink and two similar larger pendants over the island add an industrial feel that is repeated in the magnificent black steel stair railing, fabricated by Wheelock & Sons Welding in Traverse City.
Due to a stroke suffered by a family member, Mary is sensitive to the need for Universal Design (once known as Aging in Place) features in her home, including a drawer microwave that is set into the kitchen island—a design that is safer and easier than reaching up for hot items. Other Universal Design elements in the home include lever faucet handles, lever doorknobs and a low-sided bathtub in the guest bath (which is also American Disabilities Act compliant).
Bushong’s attention to detail and craftsmanship are everywhere in this home, from the many built-ins in the great room to the bathroom vanities, the cladding on the Jacuzzi tub and the handsome mantel in the master bedroom. All are made from sandblasted cedar for a sophisticated look at an economical price.
The exceptional working relationship between Bushong and the Birds shows in this well-thought-out home. It was so exceptional, in fact, that by the end of the project, Colin hired Mary to help with interior design on his future building projects.
Building Resources for The Crystal River Home
Builder/Designer | Colin Bushong, CMB Construction
Kitchen | Creative Kitchens
Staircase | Wheelock Welding
Countertops | Cadillac Cut Stone
Waste | American Waste
Excavating | Gray’s Excavating
Walls | Superior Walls
Building Supplies | Menards, Home Depot
Windows | Andersen Windows
Concrete | The Concrete Artisans
HVAC | AAM plumbing and heating
Fireplace | Fireside Service & Installation
Electrical | Boardman Valley Electrical
Insulation | TC Insulating Co.
Drywall | Cunningham Drywall
Painting | Kantz Larsen Painting
Lumber | Lumber Liquidators
Shower Doors, Mirrors | TC Mirror & Shower Door
Well | B&Z Well Drilling
Tree Removal | Deering’s Tree Service
Garage Doors | Northern Garage Door
Photo by Greg MacMaster, Eagle Eye Video Productions