Beachy Keen

Outside Harbor Springs, this heavenly house on a bluff with nonstop views and creature comforts galore is one sweet home away from home
Beachy Keen - Great Room
Room with a View – The long, tall footprint of this Harbor Springs-area house makes Lake Michigan the focal point of every room, including this vantage point at one end of the great room.

IANTHA CARLEY Maryland-based Iantha Carley has been energizing homes with her passion for color and patterns since 2005. Her philosophy is to transform and elevate her clients’ cherished possessions within an environment that’s invigorating, yet personal. Having worked at Century Furniture, Kravet, and Lee Jofa — companies run by American families — Carley puts a premium on craftsmanship that’s produced at home. “It’s important to support American manufacturers and craftspeople,” she says. ianthainteriors.comKAYLA COOPER From clothes to cars to spaces, Kayla Cooper has designed it all. Although her styles and practices have evolved over the years, her love for design and the creative process hasn’t waned. She began her career in Washington, D.C., but now travels to create modern, minimalist spaces with sustainable influences. Based out of Pennsylvania, Cooper loves clean lines and strong architecture. kaylacooperdesign.comKINLEY C. PUZEY Utah-based Kinley C. Puzey, AIA, has a portfolio that ranges from humanitarian efforts on a Navajo reservation to multimillion-dollar custom homes. He holds a master’s degree in architecture from the University of Utah, where he was awarded the College of Architecture’s highest award, the AIA School Medal and Certificate for Merit and Excellence. In 2015, he founded Onyx Design Collective. onyxdesigncollective.comJAMIE HERZLINGER Florida-based interior designer Jamie Herzlinger is a sought-after and well-respected member of the industry. She was born in New York City and grew up in the world of fashion; her mother was one of the top talents, along with Anne Klein, in the 1960s and ’70s. Although Herzlinger is known for her polished yet exuberant style, and embraces color and bold statements, the fact that her aesthetic is rooted in the classics renders her designs timeless. jamieherzlinger.comREGINALD L. THOMAS Reginald L. Thomas, AIA, has worked with architectural/design firms in New York City for almost 30 years, and is the principal of his own studio. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture, and also studied at the Institute of Classical Architecture. In addition to AIA, Thomas is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, and serves on the Historic Preservation Commission of Plainfield in Plainfield, N.J.RENÉE GADDIS Renée Gaddis has been recognized as one of Naples, Fla.’s top interior designers for more than a decade. Her designs attract and inspire the area’s top architects and home builders, and her work can be found in leading residential properties. Gaddis is known for her diverse styles, ranging from coastal to contemporary to transitional. Her work has been featured in numerous national publications, including The Wall Street Journal and Architectural Digest. BRINSLEY MATTHEWS Brinsley Matthews is the executive vice president and director of design and operations at Dorothy Draper & Co. He’s constantly creating new designs for hotels, resorts, and private residences, as well as prints and textiles, carpets, furnishings, and lighting. He’s also responsible for the firm’s global operations across four locations, and leads the Dorothy Draper Fabrics & Wallcoverings and Carleton Varney wholesale and retail businesses. dorothydraper.comANTHONY MICHAEL Since 1983, Chicago-area designer Anthony Michael has specialized in classical, contemporary, and eclectic interior design. An extensive knowledge of architecture, art, and design history, as well as an education at the acclaimed L’Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Paris, adds dimension to his work. Michael has been the recipient of accolades such as the Designer of the Year and Retail Designer of the Year from the Chicago Tribune. anthonymichaelinteriordesign.comKAREN DAVIS Connecticut-based designer Karen Davis has more than 26 years of experience, including 19 years as the founder/owner of Davis Raines Design. Her work has been featured on the pages of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, New England Home, and Architectural Digest. Her work was also featured in episodes of Treehouse Masters. Davis has served as Connecticut’s president of the board of directors for the American Society of Interior Designers. davisrainesdesign.comDetroit Design Awards 2021 Judges Details Exteriors Interiors Homes Commercial Design Rising Star Readers' Choice

Way up north near the Tunnel of Trees, the air is fresh, the landscape is pristine, and Lake Michigan is the color of the Caribbean.

For California transplants Rob and Vee Mossburg, who had a dream of starting a home-building business, it’s exactly the type of location they were looking for.

For Tina and Michael Sappington, the area was their idea of an earthly Eden.

The dreams of the two couples merged on a spot located a few hundred feet above the Lake Michigan shoreline, where the Mossburgs fell in love with what they saw and envisioned an enclave of four homes on a quarter-mile stretch. With no easement for access, however, the magical spot required astute engineering by someone who knew how to build into the sandy, stony topography. Having lived where houses routinely are constructed on hillsides, the couple knew what needed to be done. It was the first land purchase for their firm, The Cottage Company in Harbor Springs, and it turned out to be an engineering marvel.

Beachy Keen - Chandelier
Tree branches and a custom chandelier made with antique parts from Europe top off the loggia

Rob, a third-generation builder, says the first challenge they faced involved creating huge iron pilings and cables that could be drilled into the hill, and an access road had to be artfully constructed. Next, an intricate retaining wall had to be built. Rob says he used individual boulders mined and trucked in from Canada, and then placed them by hand to secure the bluff.

“Even what is traditionally a more mundane part of the job, like locating wells and septic fields, took on added complexity because they had to be buried on the inland side of the hill,” Rob says. A huge underground water tank, in case of fires, was another necessity.

The infrastructure took several years and more than $1 million to build, and then it took the Mossburgs another five or six years to complete the development’s four individual homes.

Once the land was ready for structures, Rob and Vee built a 1,200-square-foot home they called the Treehouse. Upon its completion, the couple lived in the Treehouse and began constructing the second home in the development. They named the second home the Beach House, and it’s where they eventually intended to live. As things turned out, however, after all of the magnificent finishes were completed — from the coffered ceiling of the great room to the wide-plank walnut floors — Rob sold the house to the Sappingtons, who had fallen under the spell of the dwelling. And who wouldn’t? Masterfully built on the side of a bluff, every room in the Beach House has a view of the azure water. It’s a one-of-a-kind, five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath, six-fireplace, 6,000-square-foot home on three acres, and it has a 312-foot expanse of sandy beach.

Although Vee admits she was initially disappointed, she rolled with Rob’s news, acknowledging that’s the way things go in the world of home-building. And as a designer, she still had an opportunity to help the Sappingtons furnish the main level of the Beach House.

“(The Beach House) gives you the feeling that you’re on the East Coast, but with fresh water,” says Tina Sappington, a resident of Bloomfield Hills. “And it’s just 15 minutes from (Harbor Springs), the most charming downtown in the world.”

Tina, who loves to cook, really appreciates the layout of the kitchen, dining room, and family room Rob designed. “It’s a great open living space, not separated by walls — it’s one giant room,” she says.

Beachy Keen - Collage
Just Say Ahhh – Another cozy nook welcomes family and guests in the living room. A tranquil seating area that separates the master bedroom from the rest of the house.
Beachy Keen - Collage 2
Wide-open Living – The kitchen, dining room, and living room flow together below the staircase’s ornate balcony and another of several custom chandeliers. The winding staircase is a work of art that wends its way to the widow’s-peak office on the top level.

The stunning home is where the Sappington family gathers during winter holidays and lives throughout the warm months. When thunder echoes across the lake, they stoke a fire in the boulder fireplace on the covered porch, which spans the entire length of the main floor, and watch the storms roll in. On sun-dappled days, they take the curvy stone staircase down the bluff and swim, hike the beach, or paddle in a kayak. Bonfires on the beach and pig roasts with friends and family are part of the enjoyment.

Beachy Keen - Fireplace
Chill Chaser – For nippy evenings and mornings, this handsome fireplace at one end of the house-length porch is a splendid spot to relax and gaze out at the endless blue.

“It has the charm of seclusion — as much as you like — but it’s near to everything,” Tina says. “We can get to
the U.P. in half an hour. Every summer, we’ve toured the U.P.; (we’ve been to) Tahquamenon Falls and the Pictured Rocks.”

In winter, when the landscape is covered with piles of white, they snowmobile on the 100 open acres across the road. A heated driveway and remote-controlled wooden gate are some of the practical luxuries they appreciate.

Among the other notable extravagances: The only drywall in the house is in the upper bedrooms; the rest is tongue-and-groove beadboard and panels. The master bedroom has a two-story ceiling, and a staircase inside a huge closet leads to a dormer that houses another enormous closet for extra storage. There’s a suite over the two-and-a-half-car garage, and a room called the loggia separates the master suite from the rest of the house.

The full-walkout lower level features a full-length covered porch, a theater, a kitchenette, and another bedroom — perfect for all of the family’s guests. There are three laundry rooms, one per level. And for Michael Sappington, there’s a floating staircase that leads to the many-windowed widow’s peak, which serves as his third-level office and a perch where he can see for miles with a telescope, or gaze at the heavens on starry nights.

Call it Eden, or paradise found; one thing’s for certain: Sweet dreams are made of this.