Born Again

This 1930s cottage renovation on northern Michigan’s Walloon Lake involved some very heavy lifting — with a crane — and a smart blend of vintage and modern // Photography by Beth Singer
The lodge-style great room’s original brick-and-mortar fireplace is still intact and has been updated with fieldstone.

Walloon Lake has loads of history — it’s where Ernest Hemingway spent his boyhood summers at his family’s cottage, and where countless vacationers have been making memories since the 1800s, when steamships brought them to these turquoise, glacier-carved waters.

Many of the cottages along the lake were built in the 1930s, with fireplaces as their only heat source, low ceilings, and, despite the stunning view, tiny windows to try to keep the spaces warm.

Ninety years later, thanks to smart HVAC systems, state-of-the-art insulation, and low-e windows, these historic cottages and their footprints are being optimized for heating and cooling, in addition to taking in the view.

The kitchen is perfect for entertaining with its 12-foot-long island.

When the new owners of one of those vintage cottages asked interior designer Jennifer Tysse, of NorthernView Homes + Interiors in Boyne City and Birmingham, to modernize their abode, yet make it blend in with the spirit of the other historic cabins on the lake, she knew she was in for a challenge.

“It was a one-owner cabin, a really neat old cottage,” Tysse says, adding that one of the new owners grew up on Walloon Lake and knew the family they bought the place from.

The puzzle Tysse faced included an odd layout, since the cottage had been added onto a couple of times, with an unusual bedroom configuration and hallway space that wasn’t used to its optimum. To top it off, the master bedroom didn’t have a lake view.

The whole main floor had to be taken down to the studs, the walls had to be reinsulated, and a 12- by 16-foot annex had to be built for the master suite, so Tysse could create a new space with an outdoor patio and private view of the water.

In addition, the roof in the main living area had to be torn off and raised from 8 feet to 18 feet — a feat that was achieved by using a crane to add a ridge beam.

The original brick-and-mortar fireplace is still intact, and has been updated with fieldstone for a cozier feel in the heightened lodge-style great room, whose ceiling was created from the salvaged pine paneling that covered the walls. The rest of the interior is vastly different from its previous condition, however: It’s nice and warm, streamlined, and its 3,200 square feet feature kid-proof finishes, northern Michigan maple floors, custom cabinetry, and seamless floor-to-ceiling built-ins.

The bunk room’s Thibaut wallpaper (Shore Thing) makes a splash. The children’s bathroom exudes a cheerful feel with its zippy red tile. A multi-drawer dressing area attached to the master bath makes getting ready for the day fun.

The kitchen is perfect for entertaining, with a 12-foot-long quartz island, two refrigerators that flank a large pantry, a Wolf cooktop, and everything the family needs for accommodating guests.

A crisp blue-and-white bunk room offers sleeping for four, with a fun set of steps between the custom bunks, all with extra-long twin mattresses so both adults and kids can use them. The adjacent guest bath features a huge walk-in shower with a clean, energizing blue-and-white tile theme.

The master suite combines navy, white, and Kelly green, and there’s a multidrawer dressing area attached to the master bath. The bath is adorned with butterfly wallpaper and two 1930s-style sinks.

The colors in the master bedroom echo those of the lake and beach beyond.

Outside, all-new black-framed windows, charcoal-painted cedar siding with cream trim, and new custom roof brackets for all of the roof overhangs restore the facade to its Craftsman look. In a stroke of luck, the cottage’s original porch was able to be saved.

The project was a year in the making. It’s full of light, color, texture, and character, and is so seamlessly executed, it’s hard to believe it’s a renovation, not brand-new.

“We’re lucky that my company operates under one roof — design, building, cabinetry, carpentry — and that design drives the process,” Tysse says, adding that her biggest challenge was creating a lodge feel with the low-ceilinged great room. After deciding that the only thing to do was raise the roof and rip out the insides, a plan deemed sound by Petoskey architect Greg Presley, everyone involved with the project was glad they took the more complicated road.

“That experience taught us that it’s worth doing it right,” the designer says.

Now the 18-foot great room, with its cool library ladder and back-to-back seating, allows for many guests and brings the outdoors in — and the entire layout makes sense.

Needless to say, the cottage’s owners are happy with their new-old haven, and are making their own history with friends, family, and grandkids on the south shore of Walloon Lake.


Layer Vintage With New for a Fresh Look

As demonstrated in these pages, interior designer Jennifer Tysse, of NorthernView Homes + Interiors, knows how to pull off a vintage look without looking too dated. “Using vintage pieces successfully is all about the right amount of contrast in a space,” she says.

Look for a couple of standout pieces to highlight in a room. If everything’s vintage, your interior won’t look current, and the specialness of those pieces gets lost.

Contrast found items with newer pieces, Tysse explains, and play with different colors, textures, and/or shapes. “For example, pair a caned Thonet rocker with those beautiful curly bentwood sides with a modern mohair sofa and a simple lacquered table; the texture of the mohair contrasts with the wood and caning, while the simple, modern form of a clean-lined sofa and lacquered table highlights the intricate detail of the chair.”

— PLS


The master bath is adorned with bird-and-butterfly wallpaper and two 1930s-style sinks.

BUYER’S GUIDE

INTERIOR DESIGNER
NorthernView Homes + Interiors (Jennifer Tysse, Interior Designer), Birmingham and Boyne City, northernview.com

BATHROOM/CHILD
Basket, Decorative – Crate and Barrel
Cabinets, Storage – Custom, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City
Faucet – Logis Single Hole Faucet, Hansgrohe
Flooring – Hexagon Porcelain Mosaic Tile, Daltile
Lighting, Pendant – Luna Pendant, Schoolhouse
Tile, Shower – Retro Rounds, Daltile
Wall Paint – Benjamin-Moore, Chantilly Lace

BATHROOM, MASTER
Cabinet – Green-Lacquered, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City
Flooring – Original Flooring, with Marine-Grade Paint
Shower Walls – 4” x 12” Polished Carrera marble, Tile Bar
Sinks – American Standard Townsend Pedestal
Tile, Shower – Susan Jablon Green Glass,  Penny Round
Wall Treatment– Schumacher, Birds and Butterflies, Michigan Design
Center, Troy

BUNKROOM
Bean Bags – Fatboy
Blankets – Herringbone Blanket, DownTown Co.
Bunk Beds – Custom, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City
Hat – LOVE Baseball Cap, Tory Burch
Lighting, Reading – Folke Wall Sconce, Retro Light Store, Etsy
Mirrors – West Elm
Pillows, Accent – Custom, Schumacher Fabric, Queen of Spain, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Wall Treatment – Thibaut Wallpaper, Shore Thing, Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Raising the roof on the old Walloon Lake cottage was a smart decision.

BEDROOM, MASTER
Artwork – Don Hoenig, Detroit
Bedframe and Headboard – Custom, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City; Wool, Knoll and FilzFelt
Bench – Exhibition Bench, Modern Classics
Chests, Bedside – Vintage
Fan – Wave, Minka-Aire
Flooring – Linenweave Classic, Shaw
Lighting, Wall Sconce – Jane 2 Light, Lumens
Wall Treatment – Schumacher Wallpaper, Haruki Sisal, Michigan Design Center, Troy

CLOSET, MASTER
Cabinetry – Custom, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City
Flooring – Original Cottage Flooring, Marine-Grade Paint
Lighting, Overhead – Hendrix 3-Light 18.25-inch Semi-Flush Mount, AllModern
Runners, Woven – Seagrass Woven Runners, Natural
Wall Treatment – Schumacher Wallpaper, Leaf Stripe, Michigan Design Center, Troy

ENTERTAINMENT AREA
Chairs, Patterned – Anthropologie
Flooring – Solid Maple with Matte Clear Coat, Northern Michigan Hardwoods Inc., Petoskey
Shelving, Built-In – Custom, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City
Table, Dining – CB2
Wall Paint – Benjamin-Moore, Chantilly Lace

GREAT ROOM
Basket, Decorative – Crate and Barrel
Chairs, Barrel – Reupholstered Vintage, Thibaut, Bristol, Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Chairs, Blue Armchairs – Vintage
Chandeliers – Custom, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City
Fireplace – Original Fireplace, Reclad in Michigan Fieldstone; Custom, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City
Flooring – Solid Maple with Matte Clear Coat, Northern Michigan Hardwoods, Petoskey
Pillows, Throw – Custom, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City; Schumacher Fabric, Studio Bon, Cosmos Josef Frank, and Exotic Butterfly, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Sofas and Ottoman – Custom, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City; Lee Jofa, Otto Trellis, Kravet/Lee Jofa/Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Table, Coffee – Bent Glass Coffee Table
Table, Console – Vintage, Restored by NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City
Wall Paint – Benjamin-Moore, Chantilly Lace

KITCHEN
Backsplash – Penny Round, Daltile
Bench – Custom, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City; Thibaut Cushion, Bristol, Rozmallin, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Cabinetry – Custom, NorthernView Homes + Interiors, Boyne City
Countertops – White Quartz
Lighting, Bar – Masquerade Teardrop, Veraluz, Lumens
Mounted Bull Hooks – CB2
Wall Paint – Benjamin-Moore, Chantilly Lace

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