When it came time to design the house replacing the 3,000-square-foot summer home they’d enjoyed for 15 years, Mary and Kevin Beyer knew they wanted to take full advantage of their waterfront property on scenic Gull Lake in Hickory Corners, Michigan. But Mary Beyer wanted a home with a street presence while her husband opted for a home with a definitive lake presence.
“They talked to different designers before working with us,” says Angela Mulder, director of sales and marketing for Visbeen Associates Inc., a Grand Rapids and Chicago based architectural firm which won 12 American Residential Design Awards (ARDA) last year. “They weren’t happy with their ideas.”
Wayne Visbeen, the AIA and IIDA certified president and founder of Visbeen Associates, was able to combine both visions to design Highfield, a $1 million 5,297-square-foot summer home built by Falcon Custom Homes and featured in the2012 Home Builders Association of Greater Kalamazoo’s 22nd Annual Parade of Homes.
“The home was created for entertaining and to maximize the view of the lakes,” says Mulder about the five bedroom and four and a half bath house. “The couple have adult children so to give them privacy there’s a two bedroom apartment over the garage. Outdoor living is enhanced with screened in porches and Wayne designed a boat bar that literally looks like the rear of a boat complete with a fog machine where smoke comes out of a pipe. There’s also another boat bar outside.”
The boat bar, with its rich mahogany features, is a homage to the vintage watercraft of yesteryear before the advent of fiberglass. Other special touches include five stall and three stall garages as well as one with space enough to accommodate the necessary toys of lake living such as boats, fishing gear and watercrafts such as jet-skis. Two of three bedrooms have walk-outs and the master bedroom features a private deck overlooking the landscaped garden fronting the water. A screened in porch connects the dining room to the lakefront without impeding the view. The kitchen, with its two level island, is great for entertaining and a walk-in pantry with its sliding door can hold all the viands necessary for feeding large crowds.
The yard fronting the water has a stone pathway leading to the docks and almost every room in the home’s upstairs has a view of the lake. High ceilings, large windows, granite counters, white trim and warm toned colors accented with nautical themes which tie into the owners’ love of water make the home inviting rather than baronial. Heated hickory wood floors are a stylish way to keep feet from getting cold.
Though the original property was a heritage home, it also was definitely just for warm weather having no central heating and, awkwardly because of the way the ground slopes down to the water, access to the front meant walking down steps. The new home instead is multi-leveled with an indoor bridge providing easy access from the guest quarters and main street entrance to the lakeside living and entertainment areas.
“It’s a unique design even for us in the custom home business,” says Mulder. “It certainly is perfect for what the couple wanted.”