Their wooded, waterfront site on Michigan’s Dodge Lake — where Lisa had vacationed as a child — was the perfect spot.
Why a log home: “I always wanted to build a log or timber home,” Lisa says. The couple attended log home shows in the Chicago area to gather ideas and meet providers. Most important features: Views of the lake were at the top of the Spencers’ must-have list for their home. The design needed to work with the sloping site and provide guest rooms for their adult children when they visited.
The Spencers worked with the staff at nearby Hiawatha Log Homes in Munising, to create a ranch-style house with a walkout lower level. They modified one of Hiawatha’s existing plans to more closely fit their needs.
A prow-front provides expansive views of the lake, and one-level living makes perfect sense for a retirement retreat. A garage set at an angle gives the home curb appeal from the winding driveway.
The Inside Scoop
Building on the water is a dream for many would-be log home owners, but it can present challenges. If you plan to buy or build a home on a waterfront site, here are just a few factors to keep in mind:
- Setbacks. Local regulations may dictate how close you can build to the shore. Even if older homes in the area sit right at the water’s edge, remember they may have been built before newer regulations were put into effect. Talk to the local building office for more information.
- Utilities. If the site you’re considering doesn’t have access to public water or sewer service, you may need to drill a well and install a septic system. Talk to a local real estate agent or a contractor about how to bring these services to your site and how much installation will cost.
- Access. The lake, river, pond or bay lapping at the site may look perfect, but be sure to ask the right questions: Will you be able to access it easily? Can you swim in it? Can you put in a dock or boathouse? Will you need to build retaining walls to prevent erosion or steps to reach the water? Is the kind of boat you want to own allowed in the area? Check with the county or local municipality for any restrictions to the property.
Square Footage: 5,000