Just Right

An updated small cottage in northeast Michigan is big on appeal // Photography by Jeff Garland
12
With a new entryway, the cottage instantly welcomes.

Tucked away on northeast Michigan’s Little Island Lake sits an enchanting updated cottage where fresh, watery blues (on both the exterior and indoors) mingle with peaceful neutral hues, all absorbing Mother Nature’s gorgeous surroundings through several windows.

“It was a plain brown cottage, both inside and out,” recalls interior designer Denise Seifferlein, of d’avignon interiors in Clarkston. She was called on by the homeowners, who live in Lake Orion, to transform their cottage, about 15 minutes west of Tawas City in National City, into an inviting getaway at which family and friends would be extremely comfortable.

“My husband wanted a small, nice house that’s turnkey,” the wife says. She explains that she her husband purchased the cottage in the mid-1990s and started the transformation about five years ago. “Denise (Seifferlein) is awesome. She figures out her clients’ personalities, and that’s hard to do,” the homeowner shares.

The charming living room features pretty blues that echo the outdoors.

Indeed, the designer whipped the nondescript brown bungalow into the beauty it is today, while retaining all of its endearing qualities. High-end came in the way of fabrics and upholstery, because the homeowner is a top-notch seamstress and quilter. “We had an upholstered headboard made for the master bedroom, and all window treatments and throw pillows were custom-made,” Seifferlein says. “After all, the wife is very motivated by beautiful fabric, so that was a given.” In fact, the design’s jumping-off point came from specific fabric patterns, from the blues in the main living space to the eclectic oranges and blues in the guest bedroom. The rest of the home was furnished modestly.

“The family had owned the place for years, enjoying it for snowmobiling and boating, but now with their son grown, they wanted to use it for entertaining their own friends. (They) wanted a nice getaway that made them feel good, like a happy place,” Seifferlein says. She worked with a local contractor to increase the height and square footage in the living space, and added more windows to “bring the outdoors in.” She also added a front entryway. “Before, there was just a door that opened to the driveway; now there’s more of an entryway. It gives it presence.”

Small-space smarts include using kitchen seating that can be easily moved to other areas for double duty.

Small-cottage owners and designers are often some of the first to discover that luxurious appointments don’t equate with the perfect getaway. “The goal for the (Little Island Lake) cottage wasn’t to bring in high-end things, but to create a space that maintains that cozy feel the homeowners wanted,” Seifferlein says.

She stresses that to maintain the carefree nature of a small cottage, aim for function first and then beauty.

For example, Seifferlein says, “We only put rugs in the bedrooms, so there’s a cozy spot for feet when getting out of bed, but the rest of the flooring is a light, maintenance-free, engineered wood that doesn’t show dust and is easy to clean.” In addition, the blue denim-look fabric chosen for the sofa evokes a casual feel and is easy to maintain.

Harbor Gray wall paint complements the Battleship Gray cabinetry in the powder room.

“The biggest issue in small spaces is storage, but we built that in, in the way of a pantry and a utility room.”

The design team brought in as much natural light as possible with the installation of several windows and a doorwall that leads to a deck with a beautiful lake view beyond.

“Furniture that’s easily movable can do double duty in smaller homes, like ottomans or kitchen seating that has a couple of wicker chairs. Things can be moved to wherever you need to use them,” she says.  “Also, a small desk between twin beds can be a desk, but it also can replace nightstands, which take up space.” She’s also one to skip heavy drapery. “Consider just window shades for privacy, and keep those colors light,” Seifferlein suggests.

A desk in the guest room does double duty as a nightstand.

“I like the idea of small, more intimate getaways,” Seifferlein says. “It’s a cozy, cocoon kind of thing.” She’s worked on all different sizes of projects, and says if she were designing a second home for herself and her husband, it wouldn’t be immense.


BUYER’S GUIDE

INTERIOR DESIGNER
Denise Seifferlein, d’avignon interiors, Clarkston

BATHROOM, POWDER ROOM
Artwork – HomeGoods
Cabinet – Dynasty, Puritan, Battleship Gray and Maple, Future Building & Construction Sales, Washington
Countertop – Quartz Frosted Rhino, MGC Granite & Design, Warren
Flooring – 12 x 24 Porcelain, Soul-Flow Gray, Beaver Tile & Stone, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Lighting, Sink – Minka-Lavery, Great Lakes Electric, Auburn Hills
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Harbor Gray

BEDROOM, GUEST
Accent Pillow – Upstream Aegean, Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Artwork – art.com
Bedding, Bed Skirt – Custom, RoomDress; Farber Persimmon, Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Bedding, Quilt – Pottery Barn
Flooring – Smoked Whitewash with Oil Finish, Duchateau, Northern Wholesale Flooring, Lake Orion
Lamp – White and Navy, Coastal Collection, Lamps Plus
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Soft Pumpkin
Window Shade – White Lotus, Fiji Dimout, Hunter Douglas; Peter Maurer, Interior Services by Peter Maurer, Sterling Heights

A charming vignette exudes serenity. Simple furnishings in the master bedroom create a peaceful feeling.

BEDROOM, MASTER
Bed Frame – Custom, Sandie’s Stitchery, Ortonville; Richardson Spa, Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Bedding – Pottery Barn
Bedside Tables – Lexington Furniture, RJ Thomas Ltd., Michigan Design Center, Troy
Bedskirt – Custom, Roomdress; Richardson Spa, Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Drapery – Roomdress; Natural,  Giata, Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Flooring – Duchateau, Northern Wholesale Flooring, Lake Orion
Lamp – Turned Urn, Wildwood
Rug – Wool Charcoal, Pottery Barn
Vase – Nordlie, Flint
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Stratton Blue
Window Shade – White Lotus, Fiji Dimout, Hunter Douglas; Peter Maurer, Interior Services by Peter Maurer, Sterling Heights

DISPLAY CHEST
Bird Figure – eBay
Chest, Display – Pottery Barn
Lamp – Antique Nickel Finish, 360 Lighting, Lamps Plus
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Stratton Blue

DOOR, FRONT
Building Materials – Evening Blue siding, James Hardie
Light Fixture – Hinkley, Great Lakes Electric, Auburn Hills
Manufacturer – JELD-WEN
Masonry – Genesee Cut Stone & Marble Co., Grand Blanc
Paint – Benjamin Moore, San Jose Blue
Windows – JELD-WEN

KITCHEN
Appliances – General Electric
Backsplash – Matte Gray, Ceramic, Olympia, Beaver Tile & Stone, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Cabinetry – Dynasty, Puritan, Oyster, Maple, Future Building & Construction Sales, Washington
Chair Cushions – Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Countertop – Granite Azul Platino, MGC Granite & Design, Warren
Flooring – Smoked Whitewash with Oil Finish, Duchateau, Northern Wholesale Flooring, Lake Orion
Lighting, Sink Pendant – Hinkley, Great Lakes Electric, Auburn Hills
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Harbor Gray
Window Shade – Hunter Douglas; Peter Maurer, Interior Services by Peter Maurer, Sterling Heights

LIVING ROOM
Armchair, White – Julia Tub Chair, TCS Designs; Parchment, Hillman, Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Artwork, Starfish – art.com
Basket, Decorative – Serena & Lily
Flooring – Smoked Whitewash with Oil Finish, Duchateau, Northern Wholesale Flooring, Lake Orion
Lighting – Distressed Iron and Wood, Cordoba, Hinkley, Great Lakes Electric, Auburn Hills
Lighting, Floor Lamp – Bronze/Cream Shade, Shelburne, Quoizel
Lighting, Lamp – Painted metal, Dana Gibson, One Kings Lane
Lighting, Lantern – Polished Nickel with Rope Handle, Pottery Barn
Pillow, Monogrammed – Number 411
Pillows, Accent – Aqua Blue, Waterloo, Kravet; Blue, Nautical, Duralee, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Sofa – English Saddle Arm, TCS Designs; Cachet Denim, Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Stools, Patterned – Hourglass Stools, TCS Designs; Bayeux in Indigo, Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Table, Dining – Harrison’s Coastal Living Collection, Universal Furniture
Table, Occasional – Vanilla Bean, Mendocino, Somerset Bay Home
Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Ozark Shadows
Window Shades – Fence Post, Empire Screen Shades, Hunter Douglas; Peter Maurer, Interior Services by Peter Maurer, Sterling Heights

ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTOR
General Contractor – Randy White, RLW Design Build, Lake Orion

Facebook Comments