WRITER | JEANINE MATLOW
PHOTOS | CALEB R. NORRIS
It seemed that the couple had found the perfect hideaway – a classic log cabin on Burt Lake in Cheboygan that already had a great location as a selling point. And it was perfect, until the couple had kids and the cabin needed updating and more living and storage space to accommodate their family. Fortunately, they didn’t have to look far for the enhancements they envisioned. Having worked with Moeller Builders, Inc. on previous projects, these clients returned for a major remodel and seamless addition filled with custom upgrades for the ultimate Northern Michigan getaway.
Now the rustic 3,000-square-foot retreat boasts four bedrooms – counting a new bunkroom that’s been a big hit with the kids – and two-and-a-half renovated baths. The updates include a 2,100-square-foot remodel and a 900-square-foot addition that enhances and expands the original two-story structure to better fit their lifestyle.
Creating a seamless transition inside and out for the remodel and the addition was no easy feat. In fact, the complex process required the removal of an entire load-bearing side of the house to create more space for the homeowners and their frequent guests. “On any remodel, trying to make it look like it wasn’t an addition is a challenge, but it’s especially difficult duplicating logs and other existing products,” says Nathan Moeller, owner of Moeller Builders. “The hardest part is making it all flow.”
But the flow looks flawless with renovations that emulate the original features. This visual continuity was among the homeowners’ goals. Their builder delivered with deluxe touches like a wall of expansive windows and glass doors facing the lake that cast a warm glow against the hickory interiors. In addition to expanding the living room, kitchen, and dining area, a sizable locker room was installed with custom wood cabinets to house cumbersome equipment like helmets and skis. Barn doors add character to the well-appointed space that boasts built-in seating and storage drawers galore.
Other distinctive details include the expanded kitchen, retrofitted with thick granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. Additional updates include low-maintenance tile floors and a 16-foot-wide accordion door in the living room that opens to the remodeled composite deck and the lake beyond. A motorized screen keeps the bugs outside where they belong. Among the exterior upgrades are a new roof and windows on the detached garage – with an apartment above – and a standing-seam metal roof for the main house.
A stone fireplace in the living room contributes to the quintessential cabin-on-the-lake ambiance. Wood pieces that continue the theme include the live-edge benches at the dining table, where an antler chandelier makes a striking statement.
When asked to share some of his favorite features, the homeowner says, “The whole kitchen layout worked out phenomenally, as did the master bath, which was an odd shape before the remodel. They did a fantastic job utilizing the space and making it functional. The bunk room is great for the kids. On rainy days, they have a space to hang out and play.”
Collaboration with clients often leads to innovative ideas like these that can be enjoyed for years to come. As Moeller explains, they build more than structures, as their projects often lead to long-term relationships. “It takes a lot of time and effort to build that trust, but clients know we put their interests first,” he says. “We cater to what people really want, which is often in the tiny little details.”
The client visited the site only twice between the project’s Labor Day start and its end-of-year completion, when the family enjoys one of their favorite seasons at the lake. Although the cabin gets year-round use, they spend a considerable amount of time there in the summer and winter months.
At Moeller Builders, their commitment keeps clients like these coming back for more. “We get to know people. We treat them right, and we treat them fairly. We never take our customers for granted,” says Moeller. “There are so many details we handle behind the scenes. It’s the long-term quality that matters for generations.”
The homeowner agrees. “They’re very detail-oriented and down to earth, and they don’t cut corners,” he says. The fact that they’re mindful of the budget means there are no unpleasant surprises at the end of the project.
“Whenever you can bring extra happiness and joy to a customer who’s envisioning snowmobiling and jet skiing, it’s going to be great,” says Moeller. “It’s a different feel when you build a lake house because they are thinking about nothing but good times. It’s fun for them, and we have a fun time doing it.”
Though it was originally the lakefront location and the sandy beach that sold them, now the cozy cabin has all the couple and their kids could ever want, and more. “We’re ecstatic with it, and we’re happy with the builders,” says the homeowner. “You couldn’t ask for a nicer, more honest family to work with, and I’m sure we’ll do some more projects with them again soon.”
Moeller Builders, Inc.
12125 W. Tittabawassee Road, Freeland MI 48623
(989) 692-1034 l MoellerBuildersInc.com