Stay: Harry Weese Cottage

Glen Arbor, Michigan
07.15.2013 | by: Meghan

I’ve wanted to stay in this Michigan cottage designed by the notable Chicago architect Harry Weese for a few years. Tucked into the wooded shores of Glen Arbor just a few minutes from Sleeping Bear Dunes–arguably Michigan’s most popular summer tourist destination–sits another, far more secretive jewel: a trifecta of summer lake houses Harry Weese designed in 1938-39. He had a fondness for Michigan, perhaps due to the natural beauty of the Northern Michigan, where he vacationed with his family in 1936, or the fact that he went to architecture school at Cranbrook Academy, where he befriended like-minded designers like Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen.

These days, the original two Weese family lake houses are rented out, giving lucky guests the chance to experience Weese’s genius first-hand. In the woods. On a turquoise lake. They remain Weese’s only projects in Michigan, residential or otherwise. The first is Shack Tamarack (a traditional log cabin named after the trees felled in a nearby Cedar bog). We stayed in the smaller modernist cottage–a humble testament to Weese’s preferred architectural style, though no less rustic for its simple, clean lines. Walls are covered in tongue and groove black cherry, the tiny kitchen has more hidden drawers than a cabinet of curiosities, and in such tight quarters–no more than 1,000 square feet–Weese’s clever design unfolds like a lesson in flexible space. Room-dividing sliding doors glide back and forth into the wall to double the size of the living room and bring the outdoors in.

But forget the interiors–it’s summer in Michigan, and the outdoors beckons. A hammock suspends between two trees over a bed of mossy and wildflower ground cover, and the long sun-bleached dock was our all-afternoon home base our all-American roster of lazy-days vacation pursuits: swimming, skipping stones, catching minnows, reading, relaxing, and yes, maybe even cannonballing. I love how Harry Weese pulled his color palette directly from the water. The only color used in the home–a soothing teal–perfectly matches the shimmering tones of the lake. Rent it at; prices start at $2,100/week.

NOTE: I wrote about our trip for the Shinola blog. There will be another post about all our outdoor pursuits, so check back. And if you’ve never heard of Shinola, make it a point: the Detroit-based company is turning out beautiful, well-designed and American-made bikes, watches and leather goods. Harry Weese would have approved.



31 Comments on “Stay: Harry Weese Cottage”

  1. Relax like this in Mountains Sri Lanka.


  2. Absolutely gorgeous there! I want to visit soon.


  3. Glen Lake is just so gorgeous, isn’t it? I think of it often, even when settled down on a wonderful Nantucket beach. I loved reading about this cottage with so much history–I had no idea!


  4. Meghan, this cottage looks wonderful! I found your blog through your guest post on Huffington and love it. As a metro Detroiter, I love finding fellow Michigan bloggers. Can’t wait to explore more of your gorgeous website!


  5. […] on Designtripper, the Harry Weese Cottage in Glen Arbor, MI sounds like a wonderful excuse to plan a summer excursion to an area of the country I’ve […]


  6. Wonderful post! Love this cottage.


  7. Very nice post Meghan, thanks.


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  9. […] Harry Weese Cabin, Glen Arbor, Michigan […]


  10. […] summer, we stayed in this modernist number by the renowned late Chicago architect Harry Weese. This summer, we moved next door to the more […]


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