’Round the Hearth

A delightful cottage family room makes for wintry coziness // Photograph by Beth Singer
The Jones-Keena & Co. custom ottoman opens to store blankets.

When Nicole Withers’ Grosse Pointe Farms clients purchased a cottage on Walloon Lake in northern Michigan, they knew it would eventually undergo a renovation. “There were no architectural details and it didn’t have a lot of personality,” says interior designer Withers, principal at Jones-Keena & Co. in Birmingham. With three sons aged 17 to 22, the homeowners wanted the getaway to be comfortable and durable, but also to have “that great design that Nicole does so well,” says the woman of the house. “Her attention to detail is amazing.”

The family room originally had a plug-in portable fireplace. “My husband really wanted a wood-burning fireplace; he felt it would give (the cottage) a more Up North feel,” the wife says. With gorgeous stone from Emmet Brick and Block and a mantel made of fallen trees from Surfaces, both in Petoskey, the new fireplace is a favorite draw for the family. “We used the same stone on the outside base of the house.”

Beyond the cozy fireplace in this space, Withers added a ceiling beam  and used nickel-gap wood on the walls. The rug inspired the room’s palette of raspberry reds and steel blues. “We chose simple window treatments that have a cute band on the edges (made by Designs Designs of Commerce Charter Township),” Withers says. “I love that there are so many great trim options today that don’t feel old-fashioned.” Performance fabrics were used on the furnishings to be “practical, but also stylish,” she adds.

But it’s that fireplace that “had to happen,” Withers says. “A summer cottage becomes a winter cottage when you have a fireplace,” she reasons. Adds her client, who now enjoys the cottage year-round: “We love the color changes of the fall, as well as cozy winters with the fire crackling.”