A Michigan couple builds a large-scale–yet cozy– half-log lodge-style retreat on Horsehead Lake in northern Michigan. 

When Kathy and Greg Adams started planning their log home on a peninsula overlooking Horsehead Lake in northern Michigan, they were concerned that it might be too big. “As an engineer, I had some misgivings about using full-log construction,” Greg recalls. “Although we know it can be done, I was concerned it would be structurally difficult, given the size and complexity of the home we envisioned.”

Michigan half-log lodge-style retreat landscaping

Michigan log home landscaping

So they decided to use half-logs with conventional construction and foam insulation. “This way,” Greg notes, “we could get the feel of log but still be able to incorporate textured and painted drywall and stone to add interesting architectural dimensions.”

The open layout encompasses 5,296 square feet on the main level, which, besides the dining room, includes the living room, kitchen, two powder rooms, Kathy’s home office-library and the master bedroom suite. An entertainment-sitting area, kitchen, bar and laundry room complete the lower level and permit them to use the space as a separate apartment when the need arises. The space above their two-car garage is plumbed and could be finished as a second apartment.

Because the Adamses’ frequent overnight and weekend guests invariably congregate in the Tuscany-style kitchen, the couple designed it to have three separate workspaces, each with its own sink. “Two dishwashers are a definite advantage when we have large parties,” Kathy says.

Kathy handled the furnishings. She wanted the main and upper levels of the home to have a lodge feel but didn’t want everything to be rustic, so she paired elegant upholstered and wood furnishings with overstuffed, comfortable leather chairs and sofas. The lower level has a different look, intended to create the impression the home is situated on the Atlantic coast. Its white trim, fireplace with bleached cedar mantel, white-slatted windows treatments, and colors and patterns blend with the hues of Horsehead Lake.

Michigan log home view

Living room with fireplace and windows looking out to Horsehead Lake

Greg and Kathy wanted the landscaping to appear natural with year-round color, so their lot offers three different levels of terraced lawns, including low-maintenance beach grass next to the lake. It includes roses, rhododendrons and hydrangeas, as well as three kinds of trees: boxwoods, weeping birch and weeping pine.  The delicate purple flowers of the wild thyme between the large boulders forming the retaining walls contribute to the natural palette. “It only takes me 20 minutes to mow the grass,” Greg points out. “Since I would rather be hunting or fishing, that is my idea of lawn care.”

Michigan log home dining room

Michigan log home dining room

Greg sometimes wishes their place were a bit smaller, but Kathy likes it just the way it is. “Everyone who visits our home has a first impression that it is so large just looking at it from the outside,” she says. “After they step through the front door, they find it is cozy, warm and peaceful.”