Making Magic

In her two decades of designing homes, Dawn Jacobs has taken on a range of interesting and memorable projects. // Photography by Texture Photography
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In her two decades of designing homes, Dawn Jacobs has taken on a range of interesting and memorable projects. As principal designer and owner of Artichoke Interiors, Jacobs runs a full-service interior design firm as well as a retail storefront studio and showroom in charming downtown Holly.

When she was offered a unique project involving a summer lakefront escape on an island with multiple buildings and a complex elevation, she readily accepted. Fortunately, this particular project had a fun twist because the clients were her decades-long best friend, Patricia (Patsy) Prose, and her husband.

“Patsy was very involved in the project,” Jacobs says. “She’s gone through many construction projects at many homes before, so she wasn’t overwhelmed. We shopped together for everything from fabrics to knobs. It was easy, due to our friendship, and enjoyable for both of us.”

The boathouse — with a second-floor guest house — and main-home gathering spaces all boast wonderful adornments and furnishings that make lakeside living comfortable for the homeowners.

According to Prose, her husband previously lived across the lake and had long had his eye on this one-of-a-kind waterfront property with a soaring 80-foot hill. When it became available, he bought it.  “There was a big house on the property that was tired and a tear-down. We wanted to replace it with something authentic and beautiful, with a natural look.”

The secluded property, nearly 2 acres in size, is the only residential property on Treasure Island, an 80-acre island surrounded by Halfmoon Lake and Blind Lake in Gregory, in Livingston County. The biggest challenges in what became a five-year project had to do with the architecture and the elevation.

The homeowners hired DesRosiers Architects, based in Bloomfield Hills. Prose notes, “What Lou DesRosiers and his team created here is magical.”  The couple lived on-site in an Airstream trailer during the summer months of construction, so they were able to observe much of the process.

Cheers to a great view of Halfmoon Lake!

Prose’s husband marveled at the “extraordinary work” of the excavating crew during all stages of building into the hill, which involved sheet pilings and an engineered retaining wall created with two-ton blocks. Limited space to work on such an extensive undertaking was also a formidable factor. The project was completed in 2019.

The home’s mix of Nantucket-style cedar shingles, natural stones, and splashes of blue create a quintessential waterfront retreat. The compound includes the main lake home, a boathouse with a second-floor guest house, an on-lake stone storage shed, and a six-car garage with an unfinished space above it. For water recreation, there’s a lagoon with a boat lift, a boathouse with a lift and two docks, and a sandy beach. The property has many stunning lake vistas as well as an elevated fire caldron area, which is a popular spot when the couple entertains family and friends.

Cheers to a great view of Halfmoon Lake!

A loop road provides a convenient alternative to taking the 88 stairs to the main lakehouse, which Prose says is especially helpful when bringing in groceries.

The three-story main home is perched along the water on the grandfathered site of the previous guest house, which allows for spectacular panoramic water views. Prose’s husband says,  “I spend a lot of time in the great room, which is on the edge of the lake, and it’s like sitting in a boat. It’s a great place to have a glass of wine or cold beer and watch the lake.”  His wife agrees:  “Sitting on the couch, you don’t see land and you feel like you’re floating.”

“This house is very connected to the water,”  Jacobs says.  “The owners wanted a nautical but elegant lakehouse — a real Michigan lake- house with an old-school Up North feeling that’s different than their waterfront home in Florida. They wanted it to be comfortable and not too precious.”

The designer adds that the couple wanted to blend the old with the new, both inside and out, by repurposing furniture such as wicker and iron pieces from a previous lakehouse as well as interior furniture, some of which was reupholstered in performance fabrics.

The tiles behind the wood stove feature a creative tree design

There are numerous playful nods to the nautical theme throughout the house, including fish cabinet knobs, sail-inspired ceiling fans, brass porthole mirrors, and a swan bathroom faucet. Creative tile choices play a role in the home, adding a nontraditional spin to the otherwise traditional décor. The main floor has bluish-gray tile flooring that looks like wood, while decorative large-format tiles in an abstract tree design give off a wallpaper vibe behind the wood stove.

With all the work done, the best friends agree on their favorite place on the property: the boathouse, which is where Jacobs happily stays when she visits.  “The boathouse is the most fun and charming spot. The guest house (on the second floor) is a small space with very thoughtful design. I especially love the kitchenette, yacht flooring, and view from the balcony,”  Jacobs says.

The main home’s first-floor bathroom.

“I love the special touches and fine finishes,”  Prose adds.  “Dawn is gifted. It was such fun creating beautiful magic with my best friend.”


BUYER’S GUIDE

INTERIOR DESIGNER
Dawn Jacobs, Artichoke Interiors, Holly, artichokeinteriors.net

BATHROOM
Cabinetry – Inset Cabinets, Medallion Cabinetry, Artichoke Interiors, Holly
Countertops – Onyx, Ciot, Detroit (Showroom), Troy
Faucet – Phylrich, Herald Wholesale, Troy
Flooring – Beaver Tile & Stone, Troy
Lighting – Reiss, Lighting Resource Studio, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Shower – Herald Wholesale, Troy
Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Accessible Beige

The boathouse’s second floor awaits with plenty of room for overnight visitors.

BEDROOM AND KITCHENETTE
Cabinetry – Medallion Cabinetry, Artichoke Interiors, Holly
Chair (Fabric) – Pindler, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Countertop – Na, Blue Quartzite, Ciot, Detroit (Showroom), Troy
Flooring – Harbor Floors and Interiors, Keego Harbor
Furniture, Wicker – Refurbished Vintage
Sconces, Bedside – Lighting Resource Studio, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Sporty Blue

BREAKFAST NOOK
Chairs, Dining – Refurbished by Homeowners
Chandelier – Herald Wholesale, Troy
Flooring – Beaver Tile & Stone, Troy
Lights, Pendant – Lighting Resource Studio, Michigan Design Center, Troy
Table, Dining – Refurbished by Homeowners
Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Accessible Beige
Window Seat – Clarke & Clarke, Kravet, Michigan Design Center, Troy

The boathouse’s guest quarters is a small space with very thoughtful design, designer Dawn Jacobs says. “I especially love the kitchenette, yacht flooring, and view from the balcony.”

FIREPLACE, WOOD-BURNING   
Fireplace – Vermont Castings
Tile, Surrounding – Cercan Tile, Michigan Design Center, Troy

LIVING ROOM
Chairs – Fairfield, Artichoke Interiors, Holly
Mirror, Gold – Vintage
Sculptures, Duck – Vintage
Sofa – CR Laine Furniture, Artichoke Interiors, Holly
Tables, Side – Refurbished by Homeowners
Wall Paint – Sherwin-Williams, Accessible Beige

STAIRCASE
Treads and Railing – Chelsea Lumber Co., Chelsea

EXTERIOR
Windows – Pella Windows & Doors

ADDITIONAL PROJECT CONTRIBUTORS
Architect – Louis DesRosiers, DesRosiers Architects, Bloomfield Hills
General Contractor – Homeowners

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