Building a Northern Michigan home that looks as though it has stood for a hundred years takes more than last-century ingenuity. From coffered ceilings and board-and-batten paneling to decorative gable brackets and a stone foundation, you’re not going to want to miss looking inside this Walloon Lake lodge.

This article first appeared in Traverse Northern Michigan. Find this story and more when you explore our magazine library. Want Traverse delivered to your door or inbox monthly? View our print subscription and digital subscription options.

White home in Northern Michigan

Photo by Justin Maconochie

Architect Joseph Mosey had his work cut out for him. His clients had purchased a beautiful lot on Walloon Lake, but due to both the steepness of the grade and zoning setbacks, finding a building site was going to take some serious problem solving. Add to that the fact that the homeowners, understandably, didn’t want to lose any of the ancient hemlock trees that grace the property. After careful consideration, it appeared that the best place for the home site was a long, thin plateau overlooking the lake—a spot that backs into a hill and drops off steeply on the lake side. Fitting a home on it was going to be a puzzle.

Fortunately, the style of home that the homeowners requested, a vintage lake lodge, was solidly in Mosey’s wheel-house. The architect’s résumé is packed with stunning period homes including several on Walloon Lake—homes that meld beautifully with the lake’s rich history of early 20th-century summer cottages, including Windemere, where Ernest Hemingway spent his childhood summers.

Pretty living room in Northern Michigan home

Photo by Justin Maconochie

Coffered ceilings and board-and-batten paneling continue the lodge look on the home’s interior. The homeowner’s collection of vintage sporting and landscape paintings is spot-on with the vibe.

Screened in patio in Northern Michigan home

Photo by Justin Maconochie

White kitchen in Northern Michigan home

Photo by Justin Maconochie

Shaker-style inset cabinet doors in the kitchen preserve the home’s honest, timeless feel.

Welcoming the design challenges that the site presented, Mosey rolled up his sleeves and started drafting. The result is a long, gracious dwelling that embraces the slope and slips through a stand of old-growth hemlocks. Builder Eric Render anchored it on deep helical piles instead of a traditional foundation, meaning his team didn’t disturb so much as a hemlock root during construction. “Great care was taken throughout the build to protect and maintain the health of these trees,” Render says.

Covered patio in Northern Michigan house

Photo by Justin Maconochie

The classic lodge-style porch doubles as the home’s entry—the main entrance/door is at the far end of the hall. Touches like the painted beadboard ceiling, exposed beams and stonework and wood-burning fireplace anchor the vintage lodge look.

Mosey went on to turn a major site limitation—limited room for a main entrance—into a design advantage by tucking the entrance into one end of the back/driveway side of the home. The entrance leads into a screened-in porch that doubles as an entry while offering a shotgun view of the lake before opening into a seating area on the home’s lake side. With its stone fireplace, exposed rafters and beadboard ceiling, the porch immediately announces the home’s quintessential lake lodge vibe. “Entering through the screened porch, you decompress into lake life and lodge living right away,” Mosey says.

With vintage lodge details repeated on the interior, the new home embodies the Walloon Lake lifestyle—one that is still rooted as solidly in the woods and water as it was in Hemingway’s time.

Northern Michigan home with sunset

Photo by Justin Maconochie

What Gives This Home Its Vintage Lake Lodge Character?

Multiple gables/sections that make the home appear to have been added on to over the years. Working from left to right, a guest suite is connected by a screened-in porch to the primary bedroom. The two large gables house the great room and upstairs bedrooms. The kitchen is tucked into the smaller gable on the home’s right side.

  • Classic forest green cedar shake in the gables and white clapboard siding.
  • Stone foundation.
  • Screened-in porch on the lake side.
  • Decorative gable brackets.
  • Tongue-and-groove cladding under the eaves.
  • Green-clad windows that match the cedar shake.

Walloon Lake Home Building Resources

Architect | Joseph Mosey Architecture
Builder | Render Construction
Landscaping | Vidosh North LLC
Excavation & Site Work | Flynn’s Excavating, 231.347.4771
Stone Masonry | ACR Masonry, 989.217.1866
Building Materials | Preston Feather Building Centers
Windows & Doors | Old Mission Windows
Millwork | Thomas & Milliken Millwork
Audio, Visual & Home Automation | American Home Technology
Cabinetry | Wolverine Cabinet Co.

Beautiful stairs in a Northern Michigan home

Photo by Justin Maconochie

Old-fashioned five-panel interior doors and the stained-wood railing system ring true to the last-century lodge era.

Photo(s) by Justin Maconochie