ANYONE LOOKING TO FRESHEN UP a guest room might follow the lead of Mike and Martha Welch, who welcome a steady stream of family and friends to their Saugatuck retreat, especially during the peak season. Their daughter and son-in-law come frequently from Chicago for extended stays, with the couple’s grandsons in tow.
A major renovation in 2011 and 2012 put their personal stamp on the vacation home they had just purchased. “We wanted to make it a lake house, not a beach house,” Martha said. To her, that translated to the blues and greens inspired by the water and sky and giving it a relaxed, homey feel.
Their well-appointed guest rooms offer comfortable seating, reading materials, blankets and throws, music, lighting on dimmers, ceiling fans and pieces from their art collection. Each has its own bathroom and one of the three guest rooms features brown-and-white striped window treatments that frame the breathtaking views beyond. Another, with green and yellow hues, has a bit of a Jimmy Buffet feel.
“The hope is that a guest will arrive after the mile-long drive in through the quiet woods and immediately relax and feel comfortable,” Martha said. “I wanted it to be peaceful but have some color. I wanted it to be welcoming to guests.”
Their interior designer, Gail Urso, of Urso Designs in Grosse Pointe Park (ursodesignsinc.com), suggests remodeling homeowners sleep in their own guest room to ensure it has all the amenities their visitors may need. That includes pillows and bedding, a chair to sit on and a surface for writing or their computer.
“It can be as simple as a tissue dispenser or adding fresh flowers when company is coming,” Urso said.
Other considerations include window treatments that allow privacy, quality bedside lighting and a little space in a closet, an empty drawer or two, and a place for a suitcase like a trunk, luggage rack or bench. Color can be comforting too, like the rich brown that appears throughout her clients’ house.
“Chocolate brown is just a luscious color on walls,” Urso said. “It’s warm and dramatic, and it’s a great background for other colors, like blue.”
Martha said bunkbeds were added to the boys’ bedroom to accommodate their friends. The house is well-used in the summer. Since everyone tends to make themselves at home, hosting duties are laid-back, even with as many as 15 spending the night.
“We can pack them in all through the house. It ends up being so much fun,” said Martha, who hopes their getaway will stay in the family for generations to come. “It’s a well-used house that’s very broken in, and I’m very relaxed about it. Sometimes, I feel like we’re the guests.”