Friends of Glen Lake Library hold Home Tour

From staff reports

On July 28, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the Friends of the Glen Lake Community Library hold their biennial Home Tour featuring six beautiful area homes. The cost is $25 per person. Proceeds will support the purchase of general and special collections, fund programs for children, teens, and adults, fund special purchases at the request of the Library Director and Library Board, and sponsor the sale of used books inside the Library and outdoors at “pop-up” sales.

The library is a valued community resource, as demonstrated by the amazingly generous community support of the renovation/expansion project that was completed in 2020. The cover of this year’s Home Tour booklet features a drawing of the expanded library building.

Many volunteers have worked to make this home tour happen. The Friends of the Glen Lake Community Library want to thank everyone who has given time and support, particularly the homeowners who have so kindly opened their properties for this year’s tour.

Here are descriptions of those six homes featured on this year’s Home Tour.

The Langdon Home

12016 Lake Street, Empire

When Ginger Langdon saw the For Sale sign in front of this Arts and Crafts-style bungalow, she knew in an instant she had to own it. Ginger purchased the cottage in 2018, delighted with this 1912 home built for the keeper of the nearby apple and cherry orchards and next-door apple barn, also on today’s tour. Fortunately, when the house was extensively remodeled in 1996, many of the original features such as the cabinetry, hardware, molding, and “rolled glass” windows were retained.

Each room exhibits Ginger’s love of antiques and her collecting interests. The first-floor bathroom features Pewabic Pottery tiles, an outstanding example of the International Arts and Crafts movement. The dining room highlights
her collection of ship paintings, sea captain and sailor portraits. A retro-themed kitchen is a delight with Heartland appliances and an adjoining “service porch” once stored wood for the cookstove and ice for the ice chest. Upstairs, the dormer-style bedroom provides a cozy retreat for young guests. Ginger recently remodeled the lower-level.

The adjacent workroom, a “handywoman’s” dream, was left mostly intact. Perfect for her carpentry projects and to display the farm implements found on the property.

Twelve 100-year-old Black Locust trees stand in front and perennial gardens surround the house. Look for the three working lightning rods with glass balls and the weathervane on the roof.

The Porter Gargus Home

12008 Lake Street, Empire

In the early 20th century, Empire transitioned from a lumbering town to fruit processing with the planting of apple, peach and later cherry orchards. In 1910, as production flourished, the T. Wilce Company built a barn for the storage and shipping of many varieties of apples grown in their orchards. Two years later, a house was built next door for the orchard keeper. This house, the Langdon Home is also on today’s tour.

In 2015 Jason Porter and Shelly Gargus purchased the apple barn, enticed by its history as well as its potential as a family home. Working with Detroit-based architect Elise DeChard, they developed a design which preserved the original structure, while updating it to a three-bedroom home. The result pays homage to the barn’s history with the original windows, hemlock support beams and flooring. The center section of the upper floor was removed, leaving two loft areas at either end. An open kitchen faces the dining and living areas, the centerpiece a long dining table made from the original wood flooring. Many interior features were sourced through architectural salvage companies. On display are items discovered during construction such as an apple sizer and a framed Notice to Employees that attest to the barn’s place in the community’s history.

The Meditch Murphey Home

10200 Niagara Street, Empire

Award-winning architects Marcie Meditch and John Murphey searched the area for four years looking for a site for which they would design a home. Their search ended with the discovery of a large peninsula-shaped lot two blocks from Empire beach. The result of their effort is a fascinating site-specific home that echoes, while updating, the neighborhood’s architectural and small-town ambience. The house has two street-facing fronts- the covered porch with a pass-through to the kitchen on Niagara Street and the painting studio on Lambkin Lane.

Every detail of the ADA accessible, net-zero energy construction has been carefully thought out: a breezeway and strategically placed windows that capture lake breezes, a south facing solar array and in-floor radiant heat under polished concrete floors embedded with local beach stones. Compact bathrooms reflect consideration of space and energy; solar tubes capture natural light. The loft-style Great Room accommodates living, dining and kitchen activities, leaving space for two art studios, one for painting and one for music.

The exterior is vertical tongue-and-groove cedar, intended to gray naturally, and cedar is used throughout the interior. Outside, a large garden features native cultivars, gathering spaces and a patio with an outdoor pizza oven. Throughout, take note of the many items specifically designed to complement the house, including an unusual two-way outdoor porch swing.

The Isleib Home

9979 W Michigan Street, Empire

Sandy Isleib was instantly charmed with the ambience and design intent of the New Neighborhood during a chance visit to Empire. The PUD concept, now 20 years old, features individual cottages, welcoming front porches, sidewalks and quiet streets reminiscent of Empire life in earlier years.

The Isleibs worked with Eric Olsen, Blue Sky Building & Design, when they built their cottage 12 years ago. Sandy’s background in interior design is evident with a purposeful decorating approach including a love of antiques and adding texture and warmth throughout. The palette of the light and airy interior complements their collection of works by local artists. Best described as “Scandi-modern meets cozy farm house”, special touches include beamed and raftered ceilings, a cozy two-sided fireplace, detailed woodwork and a whimsical Rapunzel-style balcony overlooking the living room. Look for the antique pantry screen door in the farmhouse-themed kitchen. A cleverly created lower-level provides a cozy yet open space for movies and family game nights.

A recent addition to the house is a screened porch perfect for summer living and catching westerly breezes. The rustic farmhouse design is carried through with the unusual touch of goat wire wainscoting, a marriage of function and style that protects the screened walls and complements the outdoor fencing of their backyard, patio and fire pit.

The Dunn Home – Tonawatha

6497 Sunset Drive, Glen Arbor

Katie Dunn’s log cabin home was built in 1927 by D.H. Day’s nephew, Dr. Lawrence E. Day and his wife Edna. With few owners over its nearly 100-year history, this iconic log cabin has retained its quintessential charm. Today, the home features original polished wood floors, original furniture and fixtures including the open-ceiling living room, cut-stone fireplace, upstairs loft and two bedrooms on the first floor. The dining room faces the lake with a large round table under timbered rafters and skylights.

There are several outbuildings on the property including a beach house on the lake and a small out-building that was Dr. Day’s “summer” office for occasional emergencies, now Katie’s office featuring paintings by local artists. A flagstone path meanders through the property and leads to a large deck overlooking Glen Lake, a perfect location for summer gatherings.

Katie, who grew up coming to Glen Lake, purchased the property in 2013. She aptly renamed it Tonawatha (beautiful water) in homage to the early lakeside resorts, a part of this area’s history. In those days, Glen Lake’s beauty, peacefulness and northern Michigan fresh air was touted to attract summer visitors seeking a healthy retreat. Dunn’s log cabin and tree-lined grounds overlooking the lake harken to those earlier times.

The Stoutland Home
6374 S Dunns Farm Road, Maple City

In 2016 Wendin and Page Stoutland purchased what was locally known as the Crosby Cottage as the first step
in moving back to the area. Page and their daughter had come to love this area where Wendin had spent her childhood. They brainstormed many ways to maintain the cottage’s quaint 1930s heritage, but the original cottage was not built for year-round living.

Working with local architect Michael Fitzhugh, they designed a home that would blend into the Miller Hill topography, complement the environment and take advantage of the west-facing view. Tucked into the hill, only the top floor of the cedar-sided home is visible from the road. To the north is the garage with a space left open to give some of the lake view back to passers-by and to provide a location for summer barbeques. A boat house is accessible down a narrow trail that leads to the beach. Street-side landscaping features indigenous plants.

The modern design takes advantage of the lake view with large west-facing windows. Additional clerestory glass brings light into interior rooms. Complementing the walnut floors and Douglas fir ceilings, the kitchen tables and bar are made of spalted maple. The kitchen cabinets are a deep blue intended to echo the color of the lake below.

A Brief History of the Glen Lake Community Library (GLCL) and the Friends of the GLCL

The Glen Lake Community Library was established in 1977 to serve Empire and Glen Arbor Townships. Its first home was a small rented building at the corner of Front and Union streets in Empire. In 1979, Kasson Township joined the library’s service district. In 1982, the library moved to the old Empire Fire Hall. Over the years, the building was expanded and improved and usage steadily increased. It became evident that the existing structure was insufficient to support the changing needs of the local community as well as that of a modern library. The library was able to purchase an adjoining residence through an endowment fund and plans were developed for the wonderful library that reopened in September 2020 after a temporary move during construction. Please visit the library at 10115 Front Street (see map page) and you will be amazed.

The Friends of the Glen Lake Library was established in 1977 to provide volunteer and financial support for the library. The first home tour was held in 1981 and every two to four years since then. In addition to ongoing collection and program support, the Friends were a primary donor to the capitol campaign for the 2020 library expansion. The Friends recently funded the purchase of a back-up generator (installation in progress) so the library building can remain open and available to the community during power outages.