Relighting the legacy
Flurry of fresh details update enduring Kircher family estate
There are some perks when your dad is the founder of Boyne Resorts, but not only the obvious.
Everett Kircher was not only a successful entrepreneur but an avid outdoorsman, and his four kids reaped the rewards with a childhood spent fly fishing, duck hunting and horseback riding along scenic trails around their Boyne Falls homestead.
“Dad would cook me breakfast riverside on a fire with the dew still on the grass,” said daughter Kathryn, who remains intimately intertwined with such cherished family and youthful memories.
Kathryn lives in the rambling Boyne Falls home in which she, her two brothers and sister were raised, in the shadow of Boyne Mountain and among hundreds of acres of unspoiled terrain. Originally built in the 1950s, she has added her own touches to the Early American estate, with renovations, upgrades and her eclectic sense of style and décor. From the outside driving up, it’s an idyllic scene, with all-white stables and fencing, stark black horses — a lifetime love — and the storied family home at the end of the long drive. In the distance, and especially at night with lights aglow, Boyne Mountain is visible from inside.
“He was home every night for dinner,” Kathryn said of her dad. “All six of us sat at the table at a specific time, season pending. Every dinner was like a board meeting.”
In 2004, two years after Everett passed away, Kathryn purchased the 4,800-square-foot, family home from her mom, Lois, and set about infusing her own style and accommodating her two young children, Rett, 4, and Piper, 2. “She was thrilled with the idea of it coming back to life,” Kathryn said, of her mom.
Among the first things noticed (after being greeted by a giant Great Dane puppy as tall as your average magazine editor) are the black wood floors — reclaimed barn wood from old French chateaus that look like they’ve been there all along — and the original weathered ceiling timbers.
Keeping the traditional look while updating the interior remained at the fore of the many renovations. To that end, Kathryn added a bay window expanse in the kitchen overlooking her dad’s beloved Boyne River, a sprawling deck and had some additional clearing done to open up the view up river as it cascades toward and past the home.
Founder of Boyne Design Group in 1991, Kathryn’s interior designer approach embellishes the core home with a look that can be defined as rustic elegance at its best. She is brave in her pairings, like fluffy, brightly-colored pillows and a pink chandelier in a contemporary kitchen, which is next to a cozy, traditional dining room, which is next to a contemporary living room.
Original wood timbers frame the two entryways to the living room, and on each side are height measurements of the four Kircher children as they grew. Now the grandchildren’s feet-and-inches are notched alongside; it’s one of Kathryn’s favorite pieces of nostalgia in the home.
There are plenty of other furnishings and spaces that evoke memories, too, like the little upholstered step-stool used by her kids in the bathroom, the original carpet from the Snowflake Lounge at the Mountain and her dad’s record-setting Atlantic salmon mount on the dining room mantel.
While Everett was building the Boyne name into the empire it is today, his kids were also learning lessons like plucking goose feathers after a successful hunt and gathering sap from the trees to boil down into homemade maple syrup in the back room, which is now Kathryn’s walk-in closet. That closet is off her master suite, a vast, classic space done in black-and-white, with a sleigh bed, corner bar, piano and bathroom with an entirely pebbled shower floor to ceiling.
A guest house and stables also have meaningful family history, where three stalls are home to three horses, two Tennessee Walkers and a Pasifino (Spanish breed). “My first pony’s photo still sits prominent on a desk in the tack room,” Kathryn said. “I have showed both English and Western and bred a former mare several times. A wedding present to my sister was a quarter-horse paint that I helped deliver.”
It probably goes without saying that the Kircher children are also avid skiers. As Boyne Mountain celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, the festivities surrounding the milestone will be carried out with parties and events. Everett, whose body is buried in a mausoleum on the family property, often told his children that he was developing the Boyne reputation and holdings for them.
“My father always spoke of building all of this for us, the kids,” said Kathryn. “And some how, some way, we intend to pass that along to our future generations.”
Carrying on the family legacy:
Daughter Kathryn, and her children, Rett, 4, and Piper, 2, Boyne Falls; founder, Boyne Design Group
Son Stephen (Molly), and their children Everett, Loren and Stein Kircher, Walloon Lake; president of Boyne Eastern Operations
Son John (Kim), and children Evelynn and Andrew, Seattle, Wash.; president of Boyne Western Operations
Daughter Amy (Greg) Kircher Wright and son Tyler, Naples, Fla., Boyne board chair
The late Everett Kircher’s wife, Lois, is a Walloon Lake resident.
Boyne at 60
Boyne Mountain was founded 60 years ago by the late Everett Kircher. Boyne Resorts is the third largest owner and operator of ski and golf resorts in the United States. The company employs more than 7,000 fulltime and seasonal staff and operates 13 resort properties — 10 ski resorts and 11 golf courses.