Lakeside Classic

The vintage appeal of a former summer house prompted one couple to swap their contemporary digs for family memories of fishing, boating, and sledding down to the lake’s edge



Early in the last century, the land around Oakland County lakes was cottage country for Detroiters who had the means to buy a weekend getaway accessible by early cars.

Pre shopping mall, auto executives hunted and golfed with industrialists in areas that today are bustling suburban enclaves. 

A few residential throwbacks to that more rural time are still tucked away here and there in the local landscape. One such home in north Oakland County has the look and feel of an old Adirondack lodge — one that envelops generations of family and friends in a world of tennis doubles, mahjong contests, quail hunting, at-home weddings, wiener roasts, and ski sweaters.

Just as nicknames are an expression of affection, well-loved homes tend to have rooms designated by names with more character than just “living” or “great.”

Such is the case with this home, which dates to 1915, when it served as a fishing camp and weekend cottage for a Detroit automobile executive. The current occupants refer to the big log room, the little log room, and the big stone room. All are well-used, with no pristine company-only space. The big log room is the oldest; it was originally a barn on the four-and-a-half acre property. An addition in 1924 turned the rustic camp into a gracious family home.

Its current occupants discovered the home’s charms more than two decades ago and were so smitten that they chucked a house with Knoll International-style furnishings and moved their family into the cozy past.

“We both had a desire to live in an architecturally authentic home,” they say. “We needed more authenticity.”

Before making the transition, just to be sure, the parents took their young children to stay in the Adirondacks in the winter. They quickly discovered: “We just loved it.”

Hour Media Publications

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