With its large Arts and Crafts style windows opening up the indoors to the large vistas of grounds, gardens and beyond the pool area, Chikaming Open Lands Grand Beach Marsh, the vacation home of Mike and Mary Hoppe has the aerie ambience of life lived al fresco.
“You definitely feel when you’re in the house, that you’re part of the outside,” says Mark about the house which is located in Grand Beach, just across the Indiana state line and was featured in last year’s Heartland Alliance Home & Garden Tour.
The couple were drawn to this area after spending time with friends who had a place in Southwest Michigan.
“We had wanted a second home and considered Wisconsin,” says Mary, “but there’s something about the Michigan lakeshore which is just so wonderful.”
After deciding upon the area, the two spent a year trying to find a home to buy. Unable to find exactly what they wanted, they instead decided to buy land.
They hired Jeff Helman, AIA of Helman-Sechrist Architecture based in Elkhart, to design what Mary describes as an Arts and Crafts home with contemporary features pairing cedar shingles and a wraparound porch running across the length of the home’s front.
Designed with the couple’s active input, the Hoppe home is all about nature and livable space.
“It has a lot that feels natural,” says Mary. “It was important when we designed the house to do a minimum amount of destruction to the trees around us.”
Once their plans were completed, the Hoppes and Helman met with the owner who was developing the large swath of land with the goal of preserving its integrity.
“He loved it,” says Mark. “And so our next step was to find a builder. Mary and I interviewed five builders but it was obvious when Mary met Barry London, a local builder that we were going to use him. They just clicked.”
Living among the elements meant a home that paid homage to the essences of nature.
Tigerwood, with its rich color ranges of oranges, reddish browns and deep red browns and stripe-like markings of brown and black, is an exotic South American wood known also for its strength and durability as well as its natural luster. This lush wood was used on the first floor along with stone for the entranceway. Intensely dark colored granite countertops with sprinkles of multi-colored stones compliment the color of the wood. Other elemental accents include the braided copper wall sconces found throughout the house and the sweeping staircases leading to the main floor and to the spacious entertainment area downstairs that fan out as they descend.
The Hoppe home provides not only a refuge from big city living but also a place to gather friends and family for country living enjoyment. The main house has five bedrooms and a large outdoor passageway connects to another building with a three bay garage and three bedroom apartment above. Believing the heart of a home is the kitchen, Mary prepares meals with views of the back pool area and terraced gardens.
“Mary wanted the kitchen to face the southeast so she’d have light year around,” says her husband.
Professional grade kitchen appliances, seemingly endless counter space and two granite topped islands allow Mary to cook while friends linger about. Mark takes up the grill in the outdoor kitchen area which overlooks the hot tub, pool and fire pit and prairie grasses and trees of the nature preserve.
When the weather turns warm, spaces for enjoying the outdoors abound for quiet contemplation and low key chats. Small arrangements of furniture can be found on the wraparound front porch and a large porch with high ceilings and palm fans is perfect for summer evenings and lazy afternoons. Other quiet areas are the window seats in the bedrooms, the garden pathways and steps on either side of the pool area leading towards the preserve.
Native plants and natural landscaping also continue the theme of being one with nature. Small garden areas are filled with fens, hydrangeas, rhododendrons and the sweet tones of signing birds and the high chirps of the frogs living in the preserve’s marsh add vibrancy to the garden.
There are many details to exclaim over—the very high ceilings in the upstairs hall leading to the guest bedrooms, but for Lisa Nagy who with her business partner Gary Lauffer who care take the home when the Hoppes are out of town, the best accent may be the tiny squares of dark red translucent tile forming a wall between the large bathtub in the master bath and the walk-in shower.
“Whenever my niece helps out, she tells me she wants to see the root beer wall,” says Nagy, turning on a light created a luminescent glow through the rich dark reds that is indeed like the colors of root beer bottles.