Great Lake Story 2012: The McCullough Residence, Gun Lake
Part Two: Design
With one daughter off to college and the other close behind, Mike and Karen McCullough planned to downsize from their vacation house in Manistee to a cottage on Gun Lake. While much closer to both the family’s primary home and campus, the coves, beaches and state forest here had been the girls’ childhood haven – a place they would always love to come.
As Mike and Karen prepared for their new project, they recalled conversations with other friends who had scaled square footage back before considering the needs of future grandchildren. Lured also by the uniqueness of their lot, the McCulloughs’ vision for Gun Lake began to expand.
Together with waterfront design specialist Jeff Visser and interior designer Melissa Pratt from Benchmark Design Studio, our shared goal was this:
To craft a new year-round haven that adapted to the McCulloughs’ changing needs for space, a home suited for them now and as their grown daughters begin to bring their own families, a home with personal places for everyone and inviting areas inside and out to enjoy together.
Focused On Function
The McCulloughs’ rare site with its 320-foot rounded point was an inspiring canvas: We could all see a home that curved along this crescent shoreline and opened to its panoramic views. But while zeal spurred the couple’s readiness to step up the level of design for their third custom home, practicality kept them grounded.
“We want to keep it real,” Karen said, “not over-the-top.”
House flow suited to the couple’s daily routines was important; a shoe closet and formal dining room weren’t on the list. While Jeff rendered a kitchenette and family room with balcony on the second floor between two bedroom suites plus a bunkroom for the McCulloughs’ daughters and guests, a spacious kitchen/hearth room with two-sided fireplace became the main level’s hub: “Nobody ever leaves the kitchen, so we want to make it our family room, too,” the couple requested.
To expand the versatility and size of this core room and that of a rounded 15-by-58-foot covered porch coming off it, Phantom retractable screens were added: When panels enclose the porch, opening the kitchen/hearth area to it really expands the home’s gathering space. With screens rolled up, the big porch merges with open-sided spaces on both sides and it all becomes one wrap-around outdoor room with unhindered lake views.
“Everything about this home focused around family and the view,” said Melissa. “Part of the design process is making sure rooms have a nice flow for entertaining and daily use.”
Mike and Karen — purposeful and unpretentious — maintained the reins throughout our collaborative team’s progression of renderings and decisions, difference of opinions, process of elimination and phases of fine-tuning a home plan with multi-dimension practicality.
“We approached this project from a different angle than we have our past homes,” Karen reflected, “and weren’t sure how far out of our box we wanted to step. But nothing is overdone. This home is us.”
Great Lake Story is a continuing series chronicling enriching stories of waterfront homes and those that design, build and own them.
Builder Mike Schaap continues to share Mike and Karen McCulloughs’ homebuilding journey on Gun Lake in the Fall Issue of Michigan BLUE. To learn more visit www.mibluemag.com.
ARCHITECTURAL RENDERINGS COURTESY OF J.VISSER DESIGN.
ILLUSTRATION BY GARY W. ODMARK