Our friends Patti and Chet let us stay at their summer place in Leland, Michigan every summer, and the one-bedroom cottage on a wooded bluff overlooking Lake Michigan has spoiled our half-serious search for our own summer home (“Um, does this shanty come with a soaring bluff?”). They bought the cinder block house 15 years ago and ripped out almost everything except the rustic wood interiors. Every year, they make some kind of improvement: huge flower and vegetable gardens; a grill patio with a trickling fountain; 100-plus wooden stairs leading down the cliff to the white sand beach; the airstream at the edge of the 10-acre property with an outdoor shower surrounded by tall grasses for privacy; and an extra-long table handcrafted the old fashioned way—with crude 4×4 beams, hammer and nails.
Leelanau Peninsula is truly one of the most beautiful areas in the Midwest. And the long blue views from the cottage, with sailboats by day and freighter lights by night, are so good that fancy furniture and too much fuss might feel like competition. They did a great job with the interior, though, playing up the strengths and respecting the surrounding landscape. Big picture windows steal the show in almost every direction, and local artwork (cherries!) and leisure sport décor (taxidermy fish, deer fabric and leaning towers of stacked beach rocks on the mantle) give the rustic space just the right dash of up-north character without feeling the least bit hokey or contrived.
Designtripper exclusive: It’s only available for a few precious weeks every season (end of spring through fall), and until now, only by word of mouth. Price varies by season. To rent: email firstname.lastname@example.org.