Bright Idea – Lighthouse-inspired design makes custom home on Lake Huron shine
By Jeanine Matlow
From an early age, the Great Lakes played a pivotal role in the life of Lou DesRosiers. The president of DesRosiers Architects in Bloomfield Hills fondly recalls annual camping and fishing trips with his prominent architect father in various waterfront locales, so it seems fitting his niche would become notable homes on the water — including his own Leelanau Peninsula dream house, among other premium properties.
For clients with an exceptional location in Caseville Township, the concept of a livable lighthouse was integral to the unique site. “They wanted a family home with a central focal point on the Thumb,” DesRosiers says. “Sand Point protrudes into Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. The beauty of the point is the pure sand surrounded by water, with 270-degree views.”
That beauty has been enhanced with four glorious stories that make up the shapely 7,900-square-foot dwelling with a lower-level walkout that leads to the beach, and a main floor with a kitchen, dining area, and great room. A curved staircase with floating treads heads to the guest rooms, including a bunk room that boasts nautical windows above the beds.
There are two curved staircases with floating Brazilian cherry treads and glass rails. One leads to the finished lower level walk-out and one to the second-level bedrooms. On the second level is an American natural cherry circular spiral staircase with floating treads leading to the lighthouse bunk room, and from the bunk room another natural cherry circular spiral staircase leads to an outdoor 360-degree patio. There are, in fact, four staircases serving five levels (four with livable square feet). The main level and lower level patios have 180-degree views of Sand Point/Saginaw Bay/Lake Huron.
From the main rooms to the helical staircase to the lighthouse tower and outdoor deck, circular shapes and spaces make the modern Cape Cod-style home feel connected to the landscape with generous windows that wrap around the rooms. The kitchen and dining areas feature natural cherry details and a triangular birdseye maple table that seats 12. A stone fireplace acts as a natural focal point and serves as a cozy gathering spot in the spacious great room.
Glass railings surround the 360-degree balcony, which allows views of the lake in all directions. “Everywhere you go, you have a view,” DesRosiers says. Soothing hues of blue seem to echo the water in accents like the light fixtures in the kitchen, the dramatic glass on the two-story entrance, and the marble floors.
“There’s always a new discovery wherever you go in the home,” DesRosiers says of unique features like the dwelling’s master suite with turrets, which house the master bathtub and a sitting area. “It was really suited for the family to relax and enjoy the lake,” he adds.
There are plenty of destinations inside and out. “The idea was to have multiple places to go and things to do,” DesRosiers says. “It’s the perfect place to have a negative edge pool, where the water blends with the lake.” The pool’s distinctive design looks like a work of art.
Surrounded by water on three sides, the family retreat is an easy hour and 45-minute drive from the couple’s home in Oakland Township. “I designed it on paper and Lou made the magic work,” says homeowner Mark Hammond, managing partner of Alidade Capital, which specializes in institutional commercial real estate investments. He served as general contractor and collaborated with his wife, Kirstin, on the interior design.
Lake Huron provides a spectacular backdrop. “It’s great being on the big water. It’s really low-key up there, and very laid-back,” says Hammond, who appreciates his unique lot on the peninsula known for its white sand beaches. “In the summer it looks very tropical and it’s relatively shallow. Unlike Lake Michigan, the water’s really warm.”
Hammond and his wife, who have a dock for their boats and WaveRunners, enjoy picturesque sunrises and sunsets, and the sounds of their surroundings. “We’re real close to the water. We can hear the waves breaking,” he says.
Privacy comes with the territory. “Every room looks over the lake, but we can’t see any of the neighbors,” Hammond says. Positioned at the end of the point, the striking structure that features Bay Port stone from a local quarry marks the channel. “We keep a 200-watt lightbulb in the lighthouse for the effect,” he adds.
A bonus bedroom above the garage accommodates additional guests. Although the couple only hosted family last year, they spent more time there during the pandemic than ever before. Hammond’s parents had a second home in Fife Lake, and he and Kirstin continue the family tradition. “We have a great time there. We enjoy it most with our kids and grandkids, and we like to entertain friends. Everybody seems to have a good time,” he says. “The people in the area are just great, and we really like all the neighbors and friends we’ve made up there.”
Lou DesRosiers, DesRosiers Architects, Bloomfield Hills, desarch.com
Flooring, Stone – Azul Macauba, Blue Quartzite
Flooring, Wood – Natural American Cherry
Paneling – Birdseye Maple
Windows, Stained Glass – A World of Glass, Waterford
Cabinetry – Downsview
Countertops – Silestone Stellar Blue
Flooring – Natural American Cherry
Refrigerator – SubZero
Stove – Wolf
Table, Dining – Custom, Paul Sirofchuck Contemporary Woodworking
Chairs Around Table – Custom, Paul Sirofchuck Contemporary Woodworking
Table – Custom, Paul Sirofchuck Contemporary Woodworking
Table, Coffee – Custom, Paul Sirofchuck Contemporary Woodworking
Tables, End – Custom, Paul Sirofchuck Contemporary Woodworking
HVAC – Center Line Heating & Cooling, Center Line
Lighting – Pine Tree Furniture & Lighting, Lake Orion
Paint – Cedar Shake, Sherwin-Williams, Bracing Blue
Patio – Idaho Flagstone
Pool – Blue Water Spas and Pools, Bad Axe
Roofing – Beyer Roofing, Saginaw
Windows – Custom, Pella Windows & Doors
Builder – Butcher & Butcher Construction, Rochester Hills
Electrician – Zimmerman & Sons Electric, LLC, Port Austin
Landscaping – Esch Landscaping, Pigeon