what was: what it all became.

North was completed late spring. We spent our first week enjoying what it all became in early July.

As fall turned into winter: winter into spring…and spring into summer… it became apparent that this space was a “tree house” in disguise.  Removing the dark wood and replacing it with a warm “cottage white” (walls & trim), there no longer was harshness surrounding the windows.  Your eyes became free to move outdoors and feel the strength of the mammoth surroundings of the National Park that enveloped you.

…with new cabinetry hardware and creating an island that seats six…the kitchen began to take on a new life of its own.  It began to invite you “in” rather than feel you would prefer to keep “out”.

The “Man Cave” …as described by the prior owner became our Library…It now acts as a third bedroom housing a sleeper-sofa.  I opened up the wall of a walk-in closet directly across the hall allowing easy access into the bathroom without going through the west bedroom. A fireplace will be added during phase II.
10-18 NOTH 09011292017 Leelanau 0686-19-18 001

The Utility Room was a 14’x12′ area of wasted space.  The furnace and hot water heater were lined up against one wall, the washer and dryer against another, with a huge central area serving no purpose in the middle.  I made this “larger” space into three smaller spaces.  A Utility Room that now houses only the furnace and hot water heater with storage space…a designated washer and dryer area…and a mudroom that leads directly to the garage.  This small change of space along with the changes spoken above have a huge impact on how the “total” space of this 2000 SF home can live.

….so having said all of that…my work is done…my story told.  Time to embrace all that has “become”. 

The End.

Lake Michigan










Redefining/repurposing “space”

 …Looking at what is…seeing what could be.

This is  a 2000+sf project and much of its’ space outside of the 30’X19′ Great room required repurposing to maximize the efficiency of the home. There were four areas that screamed “help”.
This is what I saw… could be.
The kitchen dining area screamed: WASTED SPACE.64_1831909_13_1494596561[1]

Using the cabinetry that sits in the center of the Kitchen and the piece that stands against the rear wall, I designed a 57″X57″ multipurpose kitchen island.  Six urban bar stools fit around this island.  A flat screen TV will hang on the wall behind. This room has been renamed “The Lab”.








The master bedroom walk-in closet screamed: CHAOS.

It has been repurposed into a hallway with closet space on both sides that leads into the bathroom: no longer requiring entry through a bedroom.










The storage room screamed: UTTER CONFUSION. 







It is transforming into 3  redefined spaces. …utility room/mudroom/enclosed laundry station.








The “Man Cave” as the owner  implied:
…screamed:  WHAT?
 This area is repurposing into a Library/bedroom with a pull-out couch that now has direct access to the bathroom and closet space.





These simple changes have a huge impact on how this home will live.   The Kitchen/Lab has now become a place for entertaining.   Now…as Kip invents new concoctions for our guests to test, this area lends itself to hanging out…chatting with the chef as he creates. The new hallway gives necessary direct access to the bathroom that now allows the Library to also serve as a 3rd bedroom.
Defining actual space in the storage room separating utilities from laundry and adding a mudroom to access from the garage solves a huge problem.



64_1831909_3_1494596558[1]In most cases the color of paint is the foundation of creating emotion in a space. It can make cold space warm…dark space light and undefined space “defined”.  Paint took North from a drab, dowdy, wood-paneled  and stained environment into a warm, crisp, clean-lit, space.  Using soft matt, cottage-white paint, I painted both trim and walls the same color in the Great Room, allowing the eyes to view freely  through the glass filled walls overlooking a western view of Sleeping Bear National Park, Pyramid Point and  Lake Michigan,11292017 Leelanau 017

This is my first experience of taking a “wood based” environment and painting everything…walls, ceilings trim, doors, beams cabinets, faceplates and registers.   Everything was going white: so why not just spray paint the place? “One good coat of Kilz and a couple coats of paint and off I go…no big deal.” I said to myself.
….enter Val

Her name is Valarie Lynn. She specializes in large exterior painting projects.  Large like the Red Roof Inn.  During the winter she moves inside to interior jobs.   We met in September and I hired her to help in my transformation of North.   I hired her as a solo interior house painter.  In the past month her title evolved into Artistic Director of Paint. It all started with the 9  “expresso” stained ceiling beams…first coat of kilz…second coat of kilz…fill imperfections…sand out imperfections. The light color of the primer exposed unfinished issues that were hidden by the dark stain.…nail holes that were not filled…shadowed spaces that required caulk fill.  Over and over she patiently dealt with each new imperfection as coat after coat of  Kilz/paint was applied.  As each additional coat went through its drying cycle, Val began to tackle the stained trim, doors, and cabinets.  Methodically she prepared for paint.  Kilz…fill…sand…kilz again…fill again…sand again…over and over.  We began to discuss how little time was spent “painting” on a job like this.  Preparation for the paint was 90% of this job.  I never knew.

The paneling proved no different of a challenge. Once the Kilz was applied, gaps appeared where finish nails and caulk were needed which of course had to be filled and sanded repeatedly. The white paint revealed every imperfection that the dark stained wood concealed.  It was Valarie’s mission to not miss anything.


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We are coming to closure with the paint. Valarie will begin to pack her bags of magical tools next week. I learned so much from her on so many levels. I feel deeply indebted.  The depth of her commitment to make North the best that it could be and her positive perseverance for doing things right has been imprinted in my soul forever. She is a true artist in her trade and a pillar of what we all strive to be…



Windows …



Colors and more colors…
                 lists and more lists…
in the chaos of looking at what is

…seeing what could be.

The Anderson windows arrived on time: the third week of October, after a 3 week lead time. During the past two weeks: installed.  They were the perfect fit for this replacement project.  Basically…a new double pane window was inserted inside the frame of the old single pane window. 

BEFORE: Old window: wood, single pane…installed 1970’s




AFTER:  New window: black vinyl, double pane: upper and lower grilles not yet installed.

The windows were installed from the inside, not disturbing the stucco and integrity of the exterior trim. No wood rot was found in the original frames during set up for the replacements. These windows for 50 years were protected in two ways.  The building is concrete block so the windows were inset into a concrete frame opening.  In addition there was a protective 4′ overhang.  Minimal trim had to be removed for the install and one small piece of trim added, to hide the caulked gap between old and new on the inside.  I chose double hung, black vinyl with upper and lower snap-in grilles.  I had never used “snap-in’s” because of the lack of authenticity.  Over the past 10 years this concept has improved significantly so I chose to go this direction for two reasons:  the ability to snap out the grilles for easy cleaning and the double hung window has an exterior screen. The screen shadows the way light filters into the window: creating an acceptable visual of true divided-light. windows 011  The grilles are painted  black on one side (outside) and white on the other.
So this weekend, I decided to install the grilles and screens to validate the decision to go this direction.     WHOOP’s……things did not go as planned.windows 012

I think I need a lesson…maybe they don’t “just” snap in.  

…to be continued from Leelanau
“North”  11.05.2017