Past Present

Sensitive renovations to an 1870s Mackinac Island cottage make it better than ever
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An exterior perspective shows both the main home and the stables/loft apartment. Their teal color reflects hues found in the nearby Straits of Mackinac.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

A historic marker near the 1870s-era house on Mackinac Island known as “The Lilacs” tells the story: “Inspired by the City Beautiful Movement and the 1880s trend to create summer homes for wealthy urbanites eager to escape industrial cities, the Annex was among the first planned summer communities in Michigan,” it explains.

Developed by Chicago businessman and fur trader Gurdon Hubbard and still known as Hubbard’s Annex, “the neighborhood is an important part of Mackinac Island history,” explains the homeowner, who, with her husband, now owns the 19th-century cottage that Hubbard had built for himself on the west bluff of the iconic island.

A historic marker near the home tells the story of the charming summer-cottage community.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

The island had become the country’s second national park in 1875 and Hubbard, who had lost his fortune in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, decided to develop a resort hotel and 132-lot cottage community on his 80 acres of Mackinac land. The hotel was never built, but Hubbard’s cottage community still thrives today. His Queen Anne-style house was bought by the homeowner’s great-grandparents in 1928, and both she and her 85-year-old mother have fond memories of growing up spending summers on the island and in the house.

These bedroom vignettes showcase the homeowners’ love of antiques and their designers’ astute ability to procure a mix of wonderful elements. With a big nod to the past, the spaces are filled with antiques, both rich and muted colors, delightful shiplap treatment, and other decades-old accents.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

Not surprisingly, a number of changes have been made throughout the home’s long history. The homeowner’s father renovated the house in 1993, shoring up the foundation, adding space, and reconfiguring some rooms for better livability and flow. Among the first-floor changes: turning the onetime kitchen into a first-floor guest room, carving a new kitchen out of small former bedrooms and a first-floor bath, converting a screened-in porch into a four-season space, and adding a laundry room. Upstairs, he removed a bathroom to create a new primary bedroom and turned another bedroom into two baths.

A historic marker near the home tells the story of the charming summer-cottage community.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

By the time the current owners took over in 2014, the interior needed another face-lift as well as “more space to accommodate three generations,” the wife says. It also desperately needed a dining room — a fact that prompted another renovation in 2019. “We would have 20 people over and there was no place to eat,” she adds.

At the time it was built, the home didn’t have a kitchen. Families would gather at the community eating house, the homeowner explains. A kitchen had been added along the way, but there was never a dining area — a fact that became increasingly problematic as the family grew. The recent renovation added a dining area/breakfast room as an extension of the kitchen. Once the current owners decided to add an eating area, plans snowballed. “We figured since we were doing the downstairs, we might as well go upstairs, too,” the wife explains.

A horse stable with an upstairs loft apartment was built on the property in 2017. It has plenty of room for guests.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

The family enlisted the help of designers Kevin Serba and John Rattray, of Serba Interiors, with whom they had worked on their home in Birmingham and an earlier horse stable and upstairs loft apartment built on the Mackinac property in 2017. The designers, who often work on historic structures, were “thrilled” to be asked, Rattray says.

The designers’ goal was to update the house while being “true to the architecture and age of the structure,” Rattray explains. That meant “gutting everything except for the staircase, the living room, and one original bedroom,” the homeowner adds.

A horse stable with an upstairs loft apartment was built on the property in 2017. It has plenty of room for guests.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

The three-year renovation included an addition off the back of the cottage that allowed for a larger kitchen, along with a new dining area, a mudroom entry, and a first-floor owner’s suite that opens to a screened porch. Upstairs, the extra space allowed bedrooms and bathrooms to be reworked and renovated. “We added a full bath, a half-bath, and two bedrooms. Those two side-by-side bathrooms that my dad added in 1993 were gutted during our renovation and made into one bathroom,” the homeowner says.

“In the end, quite a bit of space was added to the overall structure, but each new space maintains the scale and proportion typical of the time period of the original structure,” Rattray says.

A horse stable with an upstairs loft apartment was built on the property in 2017. It has plenty of room for guests.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

“The priority was to be true to the architecture and age of the structure when selecting materials and furnishings,” Rattray continues. “It was crucial that our selections reflected the age and history of the home. It was also important that we capture the charm and energy that’s unique to Mackinac Island. Colorful fabrics, artwork, and accessories help bring that energy to the cottage. Many of the furnishings are antiques, helping to add an additional layer of history and patina to each space.”

The renovation started in 2019, but the pandemic shutdown, weather, and other logistics added unforeseen delays and complications. In the end it was all worth it, the homeowner says, noting that the result is a historic home that’s better than ever, with “a lot of good spaces to gather and hang out.” She says they can now sleep 14 in the renovated house and stable, and the family — which includes her three children and her mother — continue to gather on the island, as they’ve done for almost a century. She and her husband have their eyes on the future, she says, and plan to uphold the tradition her great-grandparents started.

The home desperately needed a dining room — a fact that promped the 2019 renovation. “We would have 20 people over and there was no place to eat,” the homeowner recalls.Now, an inviting layout with plenty of natural light in the kitchen and the dining room is more welcoming.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

“There’s a lot of history here,” she says. “We’re trying to be good stewards for the property and for the generations to come.”


BUYER’S GUIDE

INTERIOR DESIGN

Serba Interiors, Birmingham, serbainteriors.com

BARN APARTMENT

Armchair (Green Checkered) – Redford House Furniture

Bed Frame – Redford House Furniture

Chairs, Dining – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Flooring – Oak

Lamp, Bedside – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Light Fixture – Visual Comfort

Oven/Microwave – KitchenAid

Rugs (Green) – Capel Rugs

Table, Bedside – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Table, Dining – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Cloud White

These bedroom vignettes showcase the homeowners’ love of antiques and their designers’ astute ability to procure a mix of wonderful elements. With a big nod to the past, the spaces are filled with antiques, both rich and muted colors, delightful shiplap treatment, and other decades-old accents.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

BEDROOM, GERANIUM

Bed Frame – Redford House Furniture

Chair – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Curtains – Brunschwig & Fils, Kravet | Lee Jofa | Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Flooring – Maple

Lamp, Bedside – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Rug – STARK Carpet, Troy

Table, Bedside – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Cloud White

These bedroom vignettes showcase the homeowners’ love of antiques and their designers’ astute ability to procure a mix of wonderful elements. With a big nod to the past, the spaces are filled with antiques, both rich and muted colors, delightful shiplap treatment, and other decades-old accents.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

BEDROOM, GUEST

Armchair – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Artwork (Field) – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Bed Frame – Redford House Furniture

Chest – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Flooring – Maple

Rug – STARK Carpet, Troy

Table, Bedside – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Cloud White

These bedroom vignettes showcase the homeowners’ love of antiques and their designers’ astute ability to procure a mix of wonderful elements. With a big nod to the past, the spaces are filled with antiques, both rich and muted colors, delightful shiplap treatment, and other decades-old accents.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

BEDROOM, MASTER

Bed Frame – Redford House Furniture

Cabinetry – Custom, Eric Vogler Construction, West Bloomfield

Chair, Accent – Highland House Furniture

Drapery – Colefax and Fowler, Tenant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Flooring – Maple

Lamp, Bedside – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Lamp, Floor – Visual Comfort

Pillow (Flowers) – Colefax and Fowler, Tenant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Rug – STARK Carpet, Troy

Seat, Accent – Highland House Furniture

Table, Accent – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Table, Bedside – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Cloud White

The home desperately needed a dining room — a fact that promped the 2019 renovation. “We would have 20 people over and there was no place to eat,” the homeowner recalls.Now, an inviting layout with plenty of natural light in the kitchen and the dining room is more welcoming.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

DINING ROOM

Artwork – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Bench – Custom, Eric Vogler Construction, West Bloomfield

Cabinetry – Custom, Eric Vogler Construction, West Bloomfield

Chairs, Dining – Englishman’s Fine Furnishings

Chandelier – Ironware International

Curtains – Colefax and Fowler, Tenant & Associates, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Flooring – Virginia Tile

Light, Hanging – Ironware International

Table, Dining – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Table, Display – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Rug – Bellbridge Carpets

Sconce – Ironware International

Sink – Shaws

Wall Paint – Benjamin
Moore, Cloud White

KITCHEN

Backsplash (Green) – ANN SACKS, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Cabinetry – Custom, Eric Vogler Construction, West Bloomfield

Ceiling Treatment – Beadboard

Chandelier (Black) – Currey & Co.

Countertops – Carrara Marble, Wolverine Stone Co., Warren

Flooring – Virginia Tile

Lighting, Hanging Fixtures – Visual Comfort

Oven – Wolf

Rug – STARK Carpet, Troy

Wall Paint – Benjamin
Moore, Cloud White

The most recent renovation to this Mackinac Island home included gutting everything except for the staircase, the living room, shown here, and one original bedroom.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

LIVING ROOM

Artwork (Berries) – Serba Interiors, Birmingham

Artwork (Left) – Serba Interiors, Birmingham

Artwork (Middle) – Serba Interiors, Birmingham

Artwork (Right) – Serba Interiors, Birmingham

Chair, Accent – Highland House Furniture

Lamp, Floor (Left) – Visual Comfort

Lamp, Floor (Right) – Visual Comfort

Pillow, Accent (Checkered) – Brunschwig & Fils, Kravet| Lee Jofa | Brunschwig & Fils, Michigan Design Center, Troy

Pillow, Accent (Green) – Brunschwig & Fils, Kravet|Lee Jofa| Brunschwig & Fils,
Michigan Design Center, Troy

Pillows, Throw (Flowers) – Brunschwig & Fils, Kravet|Lee Jofa |Brunschwig & Fils,
Michigan Design Center, Troy

Rug – STARK Carpet, Troy

Sofa – Hickory Chair Furniture

Table, Coffee – Custom, Lamia Metalcraft & Design

Table, End (Left) – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Table, End (Right) – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Cloud White

The sitting area features comfy armchairs and, apropos for the island, antique horse cut-outs.
Photography by Justin Maconochie

SITTING AREA

Armchairs – TCS Designs

Artwork (Frame) – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Artwork (Horse Cut-outs) – Antique, The Parson’s Nose Antiques, Oak Park

Bar Stools – TCS Designs

Flooring – Virginia Tiles

Lamp, Floor – Visual Comfort

Wall Paint – Benjamin Moore, Cloud White

EXTERIOR

Building Materials – Wood Siding

Landscaping – Barnwell Landscape and Garden, Mackinac Island

ADDITIONAL PROJECT CONTRIBUTORS

Architect – Richard Clements Architect, PLLC, Ocqueoc

Landscaping – Barnwell Landscape and Garden, Mackinac Island; Jack Barnwell, PLA-Landscape Architect, Traverse City

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