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Island living

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Something for Everyone Beach Charmer

Located on the prestigious North Shore of Lake Charlevoix, this adorable cottage was completely remodeled and updated in ‘08 with classic cottage color schemes and fresh decor. Great kitchen features an island cook space overlooking the living room, for a wonderful heart-of-the-home arrangement. Nicely situated in proximity to Young State Park, Wildwood Zipline Adventures, Horton Bay, Boyne City and Boyne Mountain, this lovely waterfront home is the consummate vacation destination. Sunset-viewing unlimited! 45' of frontage. 436954 $369,900

Pleasing & Practical

Immaculate home - close to Charlevoix with 100' of beautiful sand beach and a nice lawn to the lake. Three acres ensure privacy and sound protection. Large deck for maximum views and summer living area. Gorgeous U-shaped kitchen with Corian countertops. Living room has a split stone woodEXUQLQJ ÂżUHSODFH ZLWK DWWUDFWLYH DQG SUDFWLFDO EXLOWLQ ERRNVKHOYHV on each side. Huge windows bring in sunlight. There is a separate RIÂżFH RU OLEUDU\ DV ZHOO DV D VWXGLR RQ WKH XSSHU OHYHO  $749,000

Alluring Lakefront

Very open, very warm, very classy. 1LFH ÂżQLVKHV D ORW of upgrades. Very good quality and workmanship throughout. 103' of Lake Charlevoix frontage and lots of windows bring the light and sparkle indoors, accessorizing the bright colors and fresh places throughout the home. Four bedrooms, 3.5 baths - good use of space means you'll have room for everyone - even in the 10-person sauna! Price includes furnishings, so make sure your summer plans include the lake! 436936 $1,299,000

Contact Pat O’Brien, Broker/Owner 128 Water Street Boyne City, MI 49712 231-582-1700


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HOMElife a n u p - n o r t h M A G A Z I NE

Jun e / Jul y 2013

“I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.” -Henry David Thoreau


Publisher Doug Caldwell

Celebrating years

Editor Sheri McWhirter-O’Donnell Photography G. Randall Goss Layout & Design Renée Tanner

Advertising: Robin Petruska (231) 439-9332 Christy Lyons (231) 439-9329 © HomeLife, all rights reserved, 2013. Reproduction in any form, in whole or in part, without express written permission, is prohibited. The views expressed herein, whether expressed as fact, fiction, opinion, advice or otherwise, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of this magazine. The publication of any advertisement does not reflect any endorsement for any products or services by the ownership or management of this magazine unless it is specifically stated in such advertisement that there is approval for such endorsement.

June issue features staff member

To subscribe, call Northern Michigan Review, Inc. (231) 347-2544

Jerry Garland

Jerry is passionate about perennials, loves his work and is our Greenhouse Director since 2004. His gardening skills and understanding of what works and what doesn’t is born of 32 years’ hard work and experience in both residential and commercial applications.A real team player and a terrific person, Jerry continues to impress. Jerry’s extensive know-how, his talent for garden design and flower care is sure to “WOW” you!


Volume 7 Issue 1 June/July 2013 (USPS #) is published bi-monthly $19.95 per year by Northern Michigan Review, Inc. 319 State St., Petoskey, Mich. 49770. Periodicals postage pending at Petoskey, Mich.

Site Planning Development, Inc.

Po st ma st er : s end address changes to: HomeLife, 319 State St., Petoskey, Mich. 49770 PN-00363823

12608 Taylor Road • P.O. Box 528 Charlevoix, Michigan 49720 Ph: 231.547.4429

HOMElife 3

a note from the



his edition of HomeLife magazine became a lesson in Northern Michigan transportation to some of the most remote spots now transformed into stunning home sites. Photographer G. Randall Goss and I traveled by car, plane, boat and horse carriage. I’m not kidding. This June-July issue of HomeLife magazine is dedicated to highlighting two of Northern Michigan’s loveliest homes found in two of the most isolated locations — Beaver and Mackinac islands. And it’s not just the homes that are so fantastic, because the people who live there are what make them so intriguing. Fred and Patty on Beaver Island blended their collections of antiques, treasures and oddities when they built their retirement home in the sand dunes on the Lake Michigan island. Their hidden-away spot is considered remote, even for the far-flung island found more than 30 miles off Lower Michigan’s mainland coast.

Then there’s Steve and Julie Rilenge and their perfectly placed Mackinac Island cottage, nestled in the woods in the center of the long-famous Lake Huron isle where they can only be reached by bicycle or horse carriage. The clip-clop of the horses’ shoes are the only sound to break the peace as you round the bend to their one-time summer get-away turned year-round residence. Then came a kitchen of dreams at designer Liz Firebaugh’s home along Charlevoix County’s Lake Michigan shoreline. It’s a space so bright and clean that every home cook’s heart would melt at the opportunity to prepare a family feast in that space. It’s an awardwinning design and that’s no wonder.

Or for a new idea for hand-crafted home design details, a longtime Petoskey pottery studio launched a new tileworks venture now growing in popularity. Northern Michigan imagery can be made into backsplashes or decorative tiles, or even hand-drawn lake maps can be made for homeowners with a taste for everything local. And if outdoors is where you prefer to spend your summers, Beth and Bob Christians and their employees at their Harbor Springs greenhouse and garden center can help you choose the best and brightest annual flowers, perennial plants and tropical bloomers to best suit your home. Now that summer is here, I hope you enjoy learning how those featured in this edition of HomeLife will be spending theirs. I know I did.

Sheri McWhir ter-O’Donnell HOMElife Editor

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Beaver Island home


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Expert real estate advice

HOMElife 5


Tile terrific L Handmade tiles decorative and functional By Sheri McWhirter-O’Donnell • Photography by G. Randall Goss

“People come to us with the craziest ideas and we put it on tiles.” Cora Smith, tilemaker 6

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ittle Traverse Tileworks is a new venture in handmade tiles ideal for kitchen backsplashes, bathroom details or anywhere local craftsmanship can be appreciated. “People come to us with the craziest ideas and we put it on tiles,” said Cora Smith, tilemaker at the new company, an offshoot of long-established Sturgeon River Pottery along U.S. 31 near Petoskey. These lovely, handmade tiles are growing so popular that it’s keeping Smith and other tilemakers in the studio busy on multiple projects. They can be used as both decorative and functional tiles. “We press all the clay by hand. Then pound the clay into molds with our hands, mallets and other tools,” Smith said. Once the clay is pressed into molds and dried out — which can take up to two weeks depending on weather conditions — the tiles are fired in a kiln. “Then they are ready to glaze and we fire them again. There’s a lot of steps in which mistakes can be made,” Smith said, laughing. Tiles installed in a nearby house feature classic Northern Michigan imagery with fish, ideal for an outdoorsy family. “I went through and made a fish, carving the fish for a master tile. Then when it’s ap-

proved and looks good, we cast it,” Smith said. Another popular set among area residents is the lake tile series, featuring local lake maps carved into the clay, with the names raised up in the design. Little Traverse Tileworks also is working on its second annual Mackinac Island commemorative tile after it proved so popular in an island art shop last summer. They even made a special “Married on Mackinac” tile, Smith said. Tileworks owner Dana Andrews, who also owns the pottery, said he felt this venture would make a fantastic extension to the well-established business. “Part of it was customers coming in and asking for decorative tiles, or if we knew anyone who could do custom tile,” he said. They sure did know folks who could do that type of thing, Andrews joked. Little Traverse Tileworks operates out of the Sturgeon River Pottery studio west of Petoskey. HL

Cora Smith/Courtesy photo A lake series is offered to feature local water bodies.

Little Traverse Tileworks at Sturgeon River Pottery 3031 Charlevoix Ave. Petoskey (231) 347-0590

Cora Smith is a tilemaker with Little Traverse Tileworks.


he magic of Sturgeon River Pottery begins when you pull in the parking lot. Before you even enter the store, check out all the new poly-resin patio/outdoor furniture, decorative planters, garden decor and all the things you need to enjoy your fine-feathered friends. Entering the store, you’ll notice all the beautiful handcrafted pottery – from dishes to serving pieces to home decor items, our pottery is perfect for you or that special gift. Besides three floors of pottery and a working studio, you’ll find beautiful handcrafted works from over 150 local and national artists. Dont forget to visit our famous frog pond – great for kids of all ages!


A Northern Michigan Destination For Over 30 Years!! 3031 Charlevoix Ave. I Petoskey I 231.347.0590 Open All Year I HOMelife 7


Mix it up S with flowers Sun, soil and color choices play, too

By Sheri McWhirter-O’Donnell • Photography by G. Randall Goss

ummertime in Northern Michigan brings flowers — glorious, colorful flowers to brighten up your outdoor spaces. Beth Christians, co-owner of Christians’ Renolda Greenhouse and Garden Center with husband Bob, suggests homeowners decide with which flowers to decorate after considering the conditions. Not every flower will grow well in every space, she warns. It’s important to make sure the actual plants are primed and ready to go, Beth said. “You want to make sure they are grown to conditioned plants so they aren’t so tender that they are susceptible to wind damage,” she said. Those quickly grown in hot houses at 90 degrees and full humidity likely won’t fare well after the transition to the Northern Michigan weather conditions, Beth said. Next she suggests homeowners who wish to tend their own flower gardens also be aware of the soil conditions. Ideally, loose, welldrained soils are best and it’s recommended to test the soil’s pH level to ensure it’s within the proper range. Also important to consider is whether the space to be landscaped is predominantly in the sun or shade. Certain decorative plants do better in either sunny spots or shady places. That certainly should be part of the decisions-making process, Beth said. “Anything that gets the 1-4 p.m. afternoon sun will need sun plants,” she said. “Whatever light condition is predominant for the day.” For example, geraniums do better in predominantly sunlight, while hostas grow fuller in shady conditions. After all that, green-thumbed homeowners can begin to make choices based on preferences of colors and sizes, meaning the shades of the floral blooms and the height of the plants. It’s becoming more common to mix up colors and heights in flowers beds, potted plants and more theses days, Beth said. “Don’t be afraid to be creative. If you like lots of colors, use lots of colors,” she said. “You can mix perennials with annuals — all kinds of

“Don’t be afraid to be creative. If you like lots of colors, use lots of colors.” Beth Christians


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Beth and Bob Christians, business owners

options. Flowers are so natural you can do anything with them.� Foliage plants and tropicals can be mixed in flower boxes with annual flowers. Maidenhair and Kimberly ferns also are popular choices in this area, Beth said. “And there’s no reason you can’t mix herbs in with your flower boxes,� she said. The short growing season in Northern Michigan is a good reason to make informed choices about which flowers or plants to use in which spots around

homes. And those without this type of flower knowledge can always ask a floral or landscape designer for suggestions and ideas, Beth said. “We have five or six and they are all very good,� she said, laughing. HL Christians’ Renolda Greenhouse and Garden Center 692 E. Lake St., Harbor Springs (231) 526-2851, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

We have worked with David as our Realtor for several years. His experience in the ďŹ nancial industry and knowledge of the market meant the he came up with creative solutions when helping us buy the home of our dreams! If you are considering buying or selling your home, we would highly recommend that you give David Shuman a call!


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HOMElife 9

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Edge of heaven Beaver Island home secluded amid sand dunes


By Sheri McWhirter-O’Donnell • Photography by G. Randall Goss

atty and Fred just spent their first winter on Beaver Island after building their dream house, a striking log home surrounded by sand dunes and stunning views of Lake Michigan. But this house is more than a home. It’s a sacred place for which Patty and Fred

said they feel privileged to care take. It makes each trip home for them a pilgrimage, of sorts. The couple married two years ago and now retreated to Beaver Island as full-time residents, settling in at their unique and visually stimulating home. It’s almost a museum and its name is Four Corners. “Half of this stuff is hers and half of this stuff is mine. We got together and learned

we like the same things,” Fred said. The house remains a work in progress and they moved in to the home in October last year. The landscaping isn’t finished yet, and the second phase will include a greenhouse and other projects. But even so, the place is breathtakingly beautiful in one of Northern Michigan’s most remote places. It’s like being on the edge of heaven. “We like the spirit here. Every day  HOMElife 11

Beaver Island Continued from page 11

we have an eagle fly over,” Fred said. “It’s the center of the earth for us,” Patty also said.

ISOLATION AND SANCTITY Contractor Monte Bartley, of Bartley Builders Inc. in Hudsonville, built the luxury home in the most remote location he ever before worked. “It’s just beautiful there. There’s a million-dollar view off their deck,” Bartley said. Because the building site is within critical dune areas, much of the work had to be done by hand without heavy machinery. The complexity continued because of the challenges in getting materials to the island. “We had to wait a year to do the interior because of shipping materials,” Bartley said. “From a builder’s perspective, the organization and planning skills to have everything you need requires you bring your A game. You can’t just run to the lumber store  12

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“We like the spirit here. Every day we have an eagle fly over.”

HOMElife 13


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ern Michigan because we love it here. er reasons, better We’reextremely extremelyproud proudofofthe therelationrelation- better choicesthey thatmay theyhave weremuch unaware of. We’re choices that they were unaware of. We ships we’ve built over these 24 years, We make you aware of all your options to ships we’ve built over these 26 years, make you you to aware all your to andour ourcustomers, customers,and andour ouremployees employees allow makeofthe very options best choice and allow you to make bestand choice arelike likefamily. family. forthe yourvery home are for yourWehome and u’repart partofof As long as you’re family. will educate Oursoul soulpurpose Our sole purpose Our sole As long as you’re part of family. We will educate As long as you and provide the proper et family, the Kiss Carpet family, provideyou you isistotoprovide and provide the proper theKiss Kiss Carpet family, the Carpet ways to maintain your otake take care we’re going to care withthe theproduct productthat with ways to maintain we’re goingtotoe...take care we’re going product to prolongyour the ... of you because best bestsuited suitedforforyour your product to prolong life and maintain thethe ofof you because you because ... family does! That’s what family does! needs, needs,while whilefitting fitting life andofmaintain the your flooring, That’swhat whatf family does! beauty your yourbudget, budget,wewewill will That’s allowing you to receive mostflooring, for beauty the of your gogothe theextra extramile miletotododo your money, allowing youregardless to receive of theyour mostinitial for allallwewecan to fulfill can to fulfillyour yourdreams dreamswith with investment. your money, regardless of your initial that thatbudget. budget.We’ll We’llbebeupupfront frontwith with investment. We will move, or facilitate the moving you youininexplaining explainingboth boththe theupside upsideasas of any all furniture, pianos, pool well as the downside of any product We willand move, or facilitate the moving well as the downside of any product tables, even Grandpa in his recliner you choose, for you deserve to know of any and all furniture, pianos, pool you choose, for you deserve to know so you’lleven not Grandpa be burdened exactly what you’re getting, and it’s tables, in hiswith recliner exactly what you’re getting, and it’s the task, and replace each piece up to us to provide you with exactly so you’ll not be burdened with up to us to provide you with exactly exactly where you want it. We can what you’re paying for. Nothing less is the task, and replace each piece what you’re paying for. Nothing less is complete your project while you’re acceptable. exactly where you want it. We can acceptable. away ... leave the old and return to complete your project while you’re We’ll explain why we feel the the new. Why do we do all these We’ll explain why important we feel thethan away ...Because leave thewe’re old and return to installation is more things? family owned, installation is more the new. Why doand we do all these the product itself, for important the highestthan family operated, family means the product for and the highest things? Because owned, quality productitself, will fail will not Custom and Backsplashes everything toShower us!we’re family product will fail and will not bequality warranted if improperly installed. family operated, and family means Hardwood Flooring Thanks, to us! be warranted if improperly installed. everything

Beaver Island Continued from page 12

EVERy LITTLE DETAIL To be fair, there is something intriguing at every turn in Fred and Patty’s home. But then there’s the house itself and the top floor is primary showpiece. The floors are made with Italian, handcarved maple, while the wooden details, doors and molding is made with knotty alder wood. The cupboards are crafted from maple and aspen and painted a gentle, 

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to pick up what you forgot.” The two-storey home features several guest bedrooms on the first level, but most of the living is done upstairs. And what an upstairs it is. At every turn is something eye-catching, something curious or something altogether unexpected. “Most of it is sentimental,” Patty said. There are antique toys and games, handcarved totem poles by island resident Skip Duhamel, a collection of brass candelabras and pewter containers, containers filled with old matchboxes, miniature cannons and antique pistols, detailed model ships, a case filled with old 78s, a 12th century German wagon wheel on the mantle, and a French-made 17th century hand-carved wooden lectern in the shape of a phoenix. That last piece is kept behind protective glass. And that’s not the only special piece stored behind glass. There’s a rather precious big drum gifted to Fred by famed friend Dennis Banks, an Ojibwe leader and cofounder of the American Indian Movement. It’s so very special and sacred, the glass doors may not even be opened without offering tobacco. Fred became Banks’ spiritual little brother by accepting the gifted drum. And when Fred and Patty are gone from the world, the drum will then belong to Beaver Island. They originally intended to place a television in the drum cabinet, so instead they installed a drop down projection screen and mounted a television projector to the ceiling. And Fred loves it, Patty said, laughing.

HOMElife 15

Beaver Island Continued from page 15

distressed green with caramel details, shades plucked from the Cambria Aberdeen quartz placed as countertops. The green color is far different than the other wooden details throughout the home. “It used to be you wanted everything to look the same and that’s not at all the trend anymore,” Bartley said. And as beautiful as those cupboards may be, they aren’t the kitchen’s showpiece. You have to look up for that. A large ship’s wheel is mounted to the kitchen’s ceiling, a purchase from North Seas Gallery they fashioned themselves into a pot rack. They even had pot hangers made from hammered copper in varying lengths, so all their pots and pans hang at the same level. “We’ve done a couple of them like that. Really cool, right?” Bartley said. In the nearby master suite, a large king-sized bed anchors the impressive room with its classic, antique armoire, glass-front bookshelf and elevated windows that open up to long views of sand dunes and Lake Michigan beaches. Woven grass creates lovely textured walls and volcano granite is used in the master bathroom flooring. But the predominant feature almost comes inside through the windows: Lake Michigan, which seems part of the bedroom’s space. 


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Largest Native American drum ever made, Fred said.

“If we hadn’t lived such full lives, it would be hard for us to be alone out here. But we did, so it’s not.” Patty, Beaver Island homeowner

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HOMElife 17


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Beaver Island Continued from page 16

“I swim out there all the time,” Patty said. And there’s even an outdoor shower on the cedar deck on the back of the house, a place no other soul around could ever see. But for indoor sunning, Patty loves her sun room the most. It has windows on three sides, each with views of the big water and the dunes between. “I spend a lot of time in here,” Patty said, a broad grin spreading across her face. Across the way is her sewing room, complete with antique thread display cases and such, indicators of Patty’s career as a commercial stylist for films in New Orleans and Los Angeles before she retired. She also worked as a health food store manager, an antique collector and a master seamstress. Meanwhile, Fred is a retired furniture hand-decorator and investor. “We have all of the things people like on the mainland, and none of the bad stuff,” Fred said. Patty agreed and said they love island living at their new home. “If we hadn’t lived such full lives, it would be hard for us to be alone out here. But we did, so it’s not,” she said. HL

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HOMelife 19



Nestled in the woods on Mackinac Island

‘Just summers’ turned into ‘year-round’ for this family By Sheri McWhirter-O’Donnell • Photography by G. Randall Goss


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Comfortable at Home 400 Bay St. Petoskey 231.439.9844

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n the woods on Mackinac Island is a charming cottage transformed from a summer get-away to a year-round residence. It’s a Northern Michigan paradise isolated on the famed Lake Huron island. Steve and Julie Rilenge in 2000 built their 2,000-square-foot summer cottage on Mackinac Island, while their home base is in Indianapolis. But today Julie lives on the island year-round after raising their two children there, about the last 10 years. Steve commutes back and forth between his Northern Michigan retreat and the house in Indiana. To reach the cottage, it takes either a ferry or airplane ride, then either some bicycle pedaling or a horse carriage taxi.

A FAMILy STo Ry It wasn’t an easy thing to build the cottage on the island in the first place, the Rilenges agreed. “Every nail, every board came up on a horsedrawn dray,” Julie said. Special transportation restrictions on the is24

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“This is Mackinac. Our kids were raised here, by the entire island, and it’s wonderful.” Julie Rilenge

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land — limiting motorized vehicle use to special permit-only circumstances — prevents most modes of travel, save for bicycles and horse-drawn carriages, carts and such. That generally triples the cost to build. Then there’s freight costs, landing fees, permit applications and more. So, it begs the question: Why build on Mackinac Island in the first place? “I knew it would be tough when I decided to build here, but when we did it, we learned it became a whole lot tougher and more expensive than we thought it would be,” Steve said, only half-chuckling. But this special project is a life’s dream come true, they said. And it all started back when Steve and Julie first dated in 1985. “He brought me up here and I fell in love with it. Then we came back every year,” she said. “We were always peeking in the real estate window and thinking ‘maybe one day’ and then one day came. It is a dream come true.” Steve works as a commercial contractor, which can be a high-stress job. Julie said every time they crossed the Straits of Mackinac on the ferry, she could “see the tension melt away” from his shoulders. “It is magical. Why else would I do this? My family lives on Mackinac Island, I live in Indianapolis and I drive up to visit almost every weekend,” he said. For him, though, it started 36 years ago. “In 1977, I was driving up to 


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“It is magical. Why else would I do this?” Steve Rilenge


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HOMElife 27

Mackinac Island Continued from page 25

Thunder Bay, Ontario, and picked up a AAA book. They had an article on Mackinac Island, so I went over there for a day,” Steve said. “I just loved it, the horses and everything.” That love is enduring. “Since 1977, I’ve only missed one summer of vacationing or having my own home there,” Steve said. One year while spending the summer season there, Julie spoke with a fellow resorter who decided to enroll her child in school on the island. The Rilenges’ son was in middle school and the couple decided to give it a shot — at least a one-year experiment. Now a decade later, their son is an engineering student at an university in Indiana after graduating on the island, while their daughter will be a senior next academic year. They are in extremely small classes sizes and have thrived in the island school. “It’s giving our kids a gift they don’t even know they have yet,” Steve said. “And with the kids going to school here, it takes on a whole new dynamic. You get to know everyone on the island — everyone. You know the teachers, the plumbers, everyone,” Julie said. “Our home in Indianapolis doesn’t feel like home anymore.”

RILENGE Co TTAGE The two-story home’s exterior is a pale yellow and white, with light pink details highlighting the spacious wrap-around, covered porch. It’s everything a summer cottage should resemble. “Oh, I love my front porch. We always have cocktails out here. I set out a plate of hors d’oeuvres and we play cards or Scrabble out here,” Julie said. And, of course, there’s a bike rack out front. “I wanted a Queen Anne style Victorian. It’s mixing the old and the new,” she said. Steve’s company, V.P. Construction, of Indianapolis, did the framing on the cottage, while Jeff Bunker, of Bunker Construction in St. Ignace, completed the interior, porches and exterior siding. “He did a great job for us,” Steve said, adding Bunker has done multiple projects on Mackinac Island. As inside many homes, Julie said, the kitchen is the center of the Rilenge  28

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231-348-3962 | Find us on Facebook | Visit our new website | 417 Howard St, Petoskey

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Mackinac Island Continued from page 28

family’s activities, where bright, white cupboards and bold, red walls create a striking contrast that is both inviting and visually stimulating. “This is the heart of our home. It’s always been the place where the kids hang,” she said. The kitchen also features something unique — two refrigerators kept side-by-side. “You shop differently. You don’t want to run out of anything, especially in the winter,” Julie said. A nearby kitchen nook features a distressed black table surrounded by classic, white beadboard that’s customary in summer cottages across the region. “Everyone wants the Internet and satellite TV, but we wanted it to look old and cottagey,” Julie said. There’s a bright and cheery guest room done in cottage yellow and blue, while the living room takes a bolder approach with dark red and bright blue colors. Part of the latter choices were largely inspired by her teenage son and his friends and the general condition they would leave the formerly pastel-colored room, Julie said. “It was too easily dirtied, so I changed it to an almost cardinal red,” she said. A half-bath also features the same bright red color, adorned with artwork and island mementos. The family bedrooms are found upstairs. The master bedroom features a large, spacious area with pale blue walls and vaulted ceilings done in white beadboard. The space gives way to a lovely vanity area, with tall ceilings and elevated windows that encircle the round room, allowing light to flood inside. Both mother and daughter have their own make-up areas. Meanwhile, the younger Rilenge woman also has her own bedroom decorated in trendy, teenage fashion, complete with Audrey Hepburn knickknacks. The Rilenges’ son is Thomas, 21, and their daughter is Adrienne, 17. Once she is graduated from high school and off to college, Julie said she intends to return to Indianapolis for nine months of the year to be nearer Steve, but will always return to Mackinac Island for June, July and August. “I will miss this,” Julie said. “This is Mackinac. Our kids were raised here, by the entire island, and it’s wonderful.” HL

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Top drawer

Local designer Liz Firebaugh wins kitchen design award

By Sheri McWhirter-O’Donnell • Photos by James Yochum,


here’s a lovely, stylish kitchen in a home along Charlevoix County’s Lake Michigan shoreline that’s a twotime winner. Petoskey-based designer Liz Firebaugh recently won first place recognition in the competitive Detroit Home Design Awards for small kitchens less than 200 square feet. And not just that — it’s her own kitchen. “The kitchen was 24 years old and when you’re a kitchen designer, you want the newest and the bluest,” she said. The old kitchen worked well for an active family with school, business and entertaining needs, while the remodeled space reflects the family’s lifestyle changes and need for an

“This is not just a showpiece. We use these things.” Liz Firebaugh

update. What’s amazing is when Firebaugh designed the first kitchen more than two decades ago, she won the first place award for small kitchens in the National Kitchen & Bath Association competition. Clearly, she has winning taste. “I was one of my hardest clients,” Firebaugh said, laughing. The eye-catching centerpiece is the stra-

tus granite countertops, especially on the kitchen’s island where the lovely material rounds the counter’s edge and stretches toward the dark, wooden floor. That area also features soft, cream-colored leather bar stools moved to another side of the island from its initial design, complete with a stainless steel foot rail. Also built in are Dutch Made Custom Cabinetry cupboards in a striking, brush-stroke antique-white — also featured throughout the kitchen. And it’s not only for looks. “This is not just a showpiece. We use these things,” Firebaugh said. “I’m huge for functional.” Firebaugh said her goals included increased storage, expanded countertop space and room for lighted display. 

Rooms to Use. Rooms to Live In. Big or small, new or remodel, make the kitchen the most distinctive room of your home.

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HOMelife 33

Liz Firebaugh published in 2006 a book called “Design with Taste,” which she said is great as a remodel starter book. It also contains recipes contributed by her clients through the years and is available on her website or at her showroom in Petoskey. Firebaugh has more than 30 years experience as a kitchen designer.

825 Charlevoix Ave, Petoskey • (877) 238-0816 PN-00362105


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Signature Kitchens 3890 Charlevoix Ave., Petoskey (231) 439-0100,

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A tidy and very functional space is the sink. It’s a deep, stainless steel piece by Julien, crafted with custom, U-shaped drawers beneath for convenient storage — claiming every space for use. A wooden cutting board slides across the top of the sink for easy use and easy cleaning. Then a trio of tall, rectangular windows allows light to flood into the area, even when the natural linen coverings are in place. “Usually the sink can get ugly,” Firebaugh said, but not her sink. “You have to find containers that will fit inside the drawers, and it works so well when you do.” She likes her OXO Good Grips, she said. Nearby is a lift-up door that reveals a hideaway cubby for a toaster oven and above is a pullout spice rack and baking pantry, both elevated and out of the way. Beneath is a Lazy Susan for additional storage of appliances and sundries. Beneath the other side of the sink is where the dishwasher is disguised as drawers. Firebaugh stores her glasses and daily use dishes in adjacent cupboards and drawers, while the nearby island features sink-facing drawers with a built-in knife block and silverware storage. “In this kitchen, I didn’t really want to see it,” she said. A French-made Cornu Fe gas range and electric oven replaced the old cook top and wall oven, and every day spices are kept handy in an adjacent drawer. The backsplash is stylish Ann Sacks tile — 18-by-36-inch porcelain — that both has a texture and is easy to wipe clean. Even the distinctive hood is striking. “That’s a custom hood I had made in Chicago,” Firebaugh said. A lighted display case for glass and china storage is made from dark walnut, with glass doors with lovely stainless details. The refrigerator and freezer also are hidden away inside that floor-to-ceiling walnut display wall. It even features a message area with a phone stand and clock openly displayed, with stamps and stationery stored behind another lift-up door. Beneath is the inevitable junk drawer. “Everybody needs a junk drawer,” Firebaugh said, laughing again. Finally, hidden away in the nearby laundry room is the coffee maker next to a filtered water sink. It’s a room also used as a staging area while entertaining, when the kitchen shines as a showpiece. HL

231-753-2110 HOMelife 35


What it takes to sell a home


inally, summer is here. There will be a lot of homes that come onto the market this time of year because families are relocating after school is out, or a homeowner is looking to upgrade or downsize. There also may be summer residents who may not be able to come up as much as they would like and are thinking of selling their cottages. Regardless of your reason to sell, I have some helpful hints for you to consider. The first thing that comes to mind is having fantastic curb appeal. This can be as minor as having the lawn mowed and looking green, flowers in pots at the entrance to your home, to something major like a landscaping overhaul. I believe this is important because the first impression is everything! If the outside doesn’t look amazing, then a buyer might assume the same goes for the inside, causing them to be uninterested in your property. De-cluttering your home would be the next step. I don’t mean take all of your personal photos down. Photos show the buyer how enjoyable this home has been for your family. The goal is to make the space look larger and have people focus on the structure, rather than your contents. Another important place to keep clean, which often is overlooked, is your mechanical room. Wipe it down thoroughly and make sure it is immaculate. This will show a buyer that the property is well maintained.

“You won’t know how big the fish is if you cut him off the line too quickly.” After you have the cosmetics taken care of, you are ready to list your property. You should contact a professional realtor who can take care of your real estate needs. That agent should provide a list of comparable active and sold properties in your area to assure the best possible list price. Their professional advice will help you get the most return for your property. Agents also will appreciate your home being staged and ready to put on the market when they arrive for their photos. These photos are key because the Internet is crucial. Most buyers are going to tour your house virtually well before they even step one foot onto the property. Once you are officially on the market, you are a big part of what it takes to get your property sold. You should tell all of your neighbors, coworkers, friends and family that you are selling. Your word of mouth is just as important as your agent’s marketing. Keep in

Pat Leavy BRoKER/oWNER

mind that when you receive an offer, it is important to never take it personally. Any offer is a good offer. Even though it is difficult to keep emotion out of it, you need to. It is essential to get back to any potential buyer with a counteroffer. I always say you won’t know how big the fish is if you cut him off the line too quickly. Sometimes it’s a slow process working through an offer before actually determining if you are going to get an acceptable deal. Overall, the market is drastically improving in Northern Michigan. The inventory is down, sales are up and now is the time to act.

Pat Leavy is an owner with Kidd & Leavy Real Estate with 14 years of experience in the local Northern Michigan market. He is a proponent of properties being more than houses, but homes in which families enjoy the beauty the region offers from Harbor Springs to Boyne City and Charlevoix to Burt Lake.


5050 US S 131 Petoskey, MI 49770 Phone: 231.487.0846

Jethany Lee, CKD Certified Kitchen Designer Preston Feather Kitchen & Bath Š 2012 James Yochum Photography

Examine & approve your slabs locally and find out why your neighbors are buying their counter tops from us: We have been more than satisfied by the work we have had performed by Granite & Quartz. Competitive price, timely delivery, and most of all a high quality result. -Steve Whittaker, Walloon Lake We are so pleased with the new granite counter tops and all the work everyone from sales to the install, we couldn’t be happier. Mike & Jennifer Brown, Boyne Falls Installed By:

HOMelife 37

RESOURCES FOR y OUR HOMELIFE We believe our customers are entitled to the highest quality and worksmanship that we can provide. We strive to apply the knowledge we have accumulated through years of experience coupled with ongoing training to provide our customers with the highest quality available. Our time-honored traditions and reputation for getting the job done correctly and on time create an efficient workflow for all other trades that may follow. Specializing in foundations, flatwork, retaining walls, decorative concrete and landscape applications. Contact us at (231) 582-6114 or Visit our website,, to learn more about us.

Our store is a pleasant place of discovery. Fun, bright home accessories and gifts adorn the shelves — exquisite, fragrant candles; kitchen gadgets; towels and linens for the cottage; puzzles and more! Every time you visit you will experience a new store! Interior design that makes yOUR dreams and visions come true. BuildLegacy for your construction needs. Fabrics from Robert Allen, Duralee, Avant Garde, Pindler & Pindler, Greenhouse. Wallcoverings from Printer’s Guild, Ashford House, Ronald Redding, york and more. Hunter Douglas Window Fashions, custom workrooms, bedding, drapery, professional installations. People’s choice for Funkiest Gift Store in Northern Michigan. Find us on RESOURCES FOR YOUR HOMELIFE Facebook. (231) 582-0526. 309 S. Lake St., Boyne City.

CindiFranco’s cool stuff

Reid Furniture Co. has been serving the entire Northern Michigan region since 1927. As we begin our fourth generation of a family owned business we understand better than anyone, how important dependable furnishings at reasonable prices are

to our customers. The service that our well trained associates provide is yet another reason why we are the area’s largest, most

dependable and most experienced home furnishings provider. With names like Flexsteel, Coastal Living, Lloyd/Flanders, All Weather Wicker, Sealy and Stearns & Foster Mattresses just to name a few. We are confident our products have the look and feel of what you would want your home furnishings to be.

At Reid Furniture you will get the help you need with our free, in-home design service. There is no cost or obligation. One of our non-commissioned sales associates will be happy to assist you, in your home, to determine what works and what doesn’t. We want your experience with Reid Furniture to be easy and fun!

Stop in and browse our different vignettes and speak with one of our associates to create a new look for your home, cabin or condo.

Buy mill direct cedar and pine building products. Town & Country specializes in kiln-dried, northern white cedar and pine building products. They meet your production needs from their Boyne Falls, Mich. sawmill. • End Match Tongue & Groove Paneling • Interior and Exterior Trim • Half-Log Siding • Railing Packages • Custom Log Mill Work • Cedar Shake Shingles • Cedar Doors Let one of their professionals estimate your project and experience their drive toward 100% customer satisfaction. No job is too big or too small. Town & Country has been providing quality products nationwide since 1947. Toll Free (888) 829-5909. (231) 348-5605

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Reidcustomers Furniture Co. been to We believe our arehas entitled servingand the Northern Michigan the highest quality worksmanship region since begin that we can provide. We1927. striveAstowe apply ourwe fourth generation as a the knowledge have accumulated family-owned business, wethrough understand dependable yearsthe ofimportance experienceofcoupled furnishings at reasonable prices. offer products Flexsteel, Coastal with We ongoing training tolikeprovide our Living, Lloyd/Flanders, All Weather Wicker, Sealy and & Foster customers with the highest quality available. OurStearns time-honored mattresses, and reputation are confident havethe the job lookdone and feel you want. traditions and forthey getting correctly andOne of non-commissioned sales associates happy to provide onour time create an efficient workfl ow forwill all be other trades that amay free,follow. in-home design service. We want yourflatwork, experience with Reid Specializing in foundations, retaining walls, Furniture to be easy andand fun!landscape Stop in to browse our different vignettes decorative concrete applications. and we can help you582-6114 create a new look for your home, cabin or condo. Contact us at (231) or (231)our 347-2942., E. Mitchell St., Petoskey. Visit website, to learn more about us.


Dependable Merchandise and Distinguished Service | Celebrating 84 Years of Quality | 347-2942 | 307 E. Mitchell Street, Petoskey

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Our store is a pleasant place of decade discovery. Over the past Fun, bright home accessories and giftsearned Landscape Logic has adorn the shelves — exquisite, fragrant the reputation of the most candles; kitchen gadgets; towels and linens for the cottage; forward thinking landscape puzzles and more! Every time you visitdesign, you willinstallation experienceand a new store! Interior design that makes YOUR dreams and visions maintenance firm in come true.Michigan. BuildLegacy your construction Fabrics Northern Ourforprogress is directlyneeds. attributed to from our Robert Allen, Duralee, Avant Garde, Pindler & Pindler, Greenhouse. professional team and their dedication to creating and caring for Wallcoverings fromthe Printer’s Guild, Ashford Redding, landscapes with utmost passion andHouse, detail. Ronald At Landscape York and more. Hunter Douglas Window Fashions, custom Logic, our principles never waver; we strive every day to create workrooms,perfection bedding, drapery, professional installations. People’s landscape for our clients, helping us to build lasting choice for Funkiest Gift Store in Northern Michigan. Find us relationships. Contact us at (231) 547-3472 or visit our on website Facebook. (231) 582-0526. 309 S. Lake St., Boyne City. at www.

Kiss Carpet Design Center opened in March of 1986. Ken Roberts never forgot the words of motivational speaker Earl Nightingale: “Keep It Simple Salesmen.” In fact, the advice made such an impression on Ken that he and wife Kathy decided to use it when they named their business. At all Kiss Carpet Design Center locations customers can view a large selection of colors, products, and the latest fashion statements in the flooring industry. “We continually stay focused on our service department, working on providing the best service to our customers, the type of service they cannot get anywhere else,” Ken says. Showroom locations: Harbor Springs, Traverse City and Mancelona. Like us on Facebook. 1-800-352-5936

CindiFranco’s cool stuff

JPR Builders is a leading contractor in Northern Michigan, constantly striving to bring effective and efficient building practices to your project. We provide unsurpassed attention-to-detail, creative problem solving and workable solutions to all your building needs. We work closely with area designers and architects to maintain the highest standard in designs and function. Jim Russell brings with him 22 years of industry experience, building and remodeling homes in Northern Michigan, Park City, Utah, and Livingston, Mont., since 1989. Our motto is “envision, create, enjoy.” Visit our website,, to learn more about us. (231) 838-0494.

Ginivito Flooring is your flooring and tile specialist located right near the entrance to Bay Harbor. Ginivito Flooring specializes in wood, carpet, stone and tile flooring. We also handle all aspects of tile work, from kitchens and baths to outdoor tile applications. Founded in 1997, the company has been involved in countless projects throughout the Midwest. We would love to be a part of your next project whether it be a remodel or new build ... with our experience we can help your vision come to fruition! Call Dan or Laurie today. (231) 348-8229. 3890 Charlevoix Ave., Petoskey.


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Think Fresh

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(231) 547-2824

9600 Clubhouse Drive Charlevoix, MI HOMelife 39

(231) 838-6700 Mobile WWW.PATLEAVY.COM

Bay Ba Harbor Ha Waterfront 1180 Vista Drive, Bay Harbor Enjoy panoramic water views from this home located on beautiful Bay Harbor Lake. This gorgeous home has seven bedrooms, five full baths and two half baths, with over 6,000 square feet of quality construction, this home includes granite counter tops, custom kitchen, lower level family room with wet bar, multiple balconies, and a 50 foot private dock right out your door step. Located just a short walk to the Bay Harbor Yacht Club and the Village of Bay Harbor. Offered fully furnished. $3,299,000

Lake Charlevoix Waterfront 03184 Springwater beach, Boyne City Enjoy 250' of exceptional frontage on Lake Charlevoix from this classic cozy cottage perfectly located only minutes from Boyne City featuring three bedrooms, three full baths, one-half bath, two fireplaces, large porch overlooking the lake, and a dock with shore station. $799,000

Walloon Lake Waterfront 05435 Country Club Shores, Petoskey This beautiful 5,200 square foot Town & Country white cedar log home located on Walloon Lake features five bedrooms, four full bathrooms, and one half bath. Enjoy entertaining guests in your custom kitchen with highend appliances, granite countertops and a large island, including a 1,000 square foot guest apartment over the attached two car garage. Enjoy swimming at your own sandy beach with 160' of waterfront. $2,450,000

Bay Harbor - Burt Lake - Lake Charlevoix - Petoskey - Walloon Lake PN-00359974

Homelife June and July 2013  
Homelife June and July 2013