A couple unleashes their inner design sense in this perfectly executed new build on a tucked-away lake near Gaylord.

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Photo by Jacqueline Southby

The shallow waters of gem-sized Opal Lake near Gaylord run deep in Michael Collins’ life. During high school and college, he was a lifeguard for a private club on the lake. Later, when he brought his then-partner (now husband) David Zawicki there, David told him: “Someday I want to live on this lake.” A decade or so later, the couple purchased a small log cabin, using it as a place to unwind from their busy lives for the next 13 years.

By 2020 the couple knew they wanted the lake to be their forever home. But the little cabin was too snug for year-round occupancy and, at the very least, they’d need an addition to make it livable. After meeting with builder Bill Raymond of B & B Construction—a company widely respected in the Gaylord area—Collins and Zawicki decided if they were really going to get the home they wanted, they’d need to tear down the cabin and start again. And what they had always dreamed of was a midcentury modern, minimalist home—one that would blend into Opal Lake’s lovely wooded shores.

Photo by Jacqueline Southby

The living room is set above ground level to give the impression of floating on the lake beyond the windows; The kitchen bar stools are custommade— with walnut backs, moss-green steel frames and purple tweed seats—from Grand Rapids Chair Co. Collins and Zawicki found the working 1958 Grundig tube record player at Wilson’s Antiques in Traverse City. The hooks on the wall to the right of the record player were designed by Charles Eames. The pegs on the wall in the forefront are vintage balloon molds.

Photo by Jacqueline Southby

Photo by Jacqueline Southby

The couple sketched out a simple plan consisting of two wings and took it to Gaylord-based architect Todd Seidell, who refined their ideas. The finished floor plan includes the primary bedroom suite and office in one wing and the living area and guest quarters in the other. The wings are connected by a breezeway that the couple refers to as an atrium because of its two glass doorwalls.

A bounty of other perfectly thought-out details all work together to make this home sing. “We called the home Camp Intention from the get-go because everything in this house is intentional, from the furnishings to the floor to the cabinets,” Collins says.

Photo by Jacqueline Southby

Photo by Jacqueline Southby

That intention begins on the exterior, with black vertical steel cladding on the two-shed roof–topped wings and horizontal steel cladding on the breezeway. Not only is the steel siding the aesthetic the couple was looking for but, as Zawicki points out, it’s very low maintenance. “It will never need painting, just a quick rinse down here and there,” he says. The handsome steel exterior is echoed by a custom black steel-and-glass door to the primary residence. The effect of all of the glass, steel, light and big views of the natural world is indeed very atrium-like. The couple loves the space so much that they decided to turn it into their dining room—a spot to enjoy long wonderful evenings of food and conversation with the wind off Opal Lake blowing softly through the open doors.

Photo by Jacqueline Southby

Photo by Jacqueline Southby

The couple’s thoughtful curation of elements continues in the kitchen, where Amish-built custom walnut cabinetry (with carved pulls in lieu of hardware) sets the stage for a waterfall-edge island countertop fabricated from a carefully selected slab of quartzite called Everest. Eclectic furnishings and art round out the home. “We opted to be our own interior designers,” Collins says. “David and I have always been collectors, and we’ve always loved midcentury. We rarely buy anything just to have it; we knew where we were going to put things right from the blueprints.”

The effect of all that purposeful design is not lost on the couple’s guests. As Collins describes those lucky enough to snag a stay at Camp Intention: “They are just in awe.”

Photo by Jacqueline Southby

Photo by Jacqueline Southby

The wallpaper in the primary bedroom is by Wallphoto. The bed is MCM Currey & Company and the bedding in both bedrooms is by Under the Borough; The midcentury chair was a score from the Petoskey Antiques Show and the lamp is by Adrian Pearsall; The midcentury couch in the office (photo below) was made by the now defunct Detroit Sofa Company. Both the couch and chair above were re-upholstered by TC Upholstery Alternative. The vintage office wall unit is from Denmark.

Camp Intention Home Building Resources

Architect | Seidell Architects
Builder | B & B Construction
Interior Design | Michael Collins & David Zawicki
Landscape | Johnston’s Landscaping
Windows | Andersen Window, Preston Feather
Appliances | Thermador, Advance Electric
Flooring | Southwind Authentic Plank Flooring, Builders FirstSource
Countertops | Ciot
Light Fixtures | Herald Wholesale
Dining Room Glass Metal Doors | Weldwork
Walnut Kitchen Cabinets | Meadow View Kitchens
Steel Exterior Siding | Vesta Steel Siding

Photo by Jacqueline Southby

Photo(s) by Jacqueline Southby