‘Dreaming Tree Lodge’
A home for all seasons wows on Lake Charlevoix
The first time we were here, it was Christmas Eve and Felicia Lindsay was the perfect hostess, offering an eggnog (with some added “cheer”), Christmas cookies and candies plated around the kitchen, and candles softly emanating glow and aroma in each room.
Even Megyn, a 5-year-old King Charles Spaniel who has endured several brain surgeries and gets regular blueberry facials, rested picture-perfectly under one of the home’s Christmas trees.
This snowy morning marked the start of a year-long photo series at the Lindsays’ “Dreaming Tree Lodge” just outside of Boyne City, along that stretch of lake frontage where majestic houses are found at the end of long, intriguing and private drives.
The evergreens bent under their white mantels, flakes were gently falling outside the windows and inside, if ever there was the perfect setting for Christmas Eve, it was here. It was like being inside a snowglobe, and I couldn’t help believing once again that Santa might actually land on the roof later tonight.
Or maybe that was just the eggnog talking.
It turns out that spring, summer and fall at the Lindsay lodge are pretty nice, too. The full-log home with its distinctive chinking and rich, warm woods and furnishings is the stuff of dreams during each of Northern Michigan’s seasons.
“We always wanted a log home, and we always thought of building our own,” said Felicia.
Even the name of the home has a comforting, romantic connotation; John had purchased a piece of artwork for Felicia many years ago that reads, “I saw you from my dreaming tree.” It became the ideal moniker for this sprawling but cozy home that has become their full-time residence.
The Lindsays found the property in 2003, when it was under construction by Homer Williams, whose own family tree includes his dad, Anthony Williams of Log Art Inc. Homer’s own talents with wood were coming together at the house when the original owner passed away before it was completed.
Intending to build on Lake Charlevoix, the Lindsays, downstate Michigan natives, were driving around looking at property when they came across the construction site and talked to Homer. That was October 2003, and the home was about 80 percent completed, leaving time and opportunity for the Lindsays to add their own custom touches.
Today, it’s the favorite getaway for the couple’s six children and five grandkids, ages 18 to 8. “This is the perfect home for our children and grandchildren,” said Felicia. “All the kids come up here for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, and on New Year’s Eve. They wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Among the benefits of the full-log look is its appeal in any season. In the summer months the wood stays cool and in the winter the in-floor heat radiates a warmth that is likewise held in the mammoth logs.
John said the chinking material available today has also improved efficiency. “It’s great stuff. If you push your finger into it, it doesn’t dry and check like it used to,” he noted.
There is the issue of settling that occurs in a house made of full logs, which weigh thousands of pounds stacked atop each other in a home this size. The Lindsays said during the first years in the home, they’d often be startled by loud popping noises akin to a rifle shot. “It took five years for the house to settle completely,” John said.
When a full-log home is designed, the engineering has to account for that settling, which can be offset by adjusting jacks placed in beams throughout the main level. “A real log home takes three times the amount of time to build than a stick-built house,” added John.
John himself is an able craftsman, creating picture frames and some furniture pieces inspired out in this rustic, remote setting. “One of the nice things is, we use it all. I’ll be out in the woodshop and Felicia will be cooking and out in her herb garden,” said John. “We use and enjoy the whole property.” HL
About Dreaming Tree ...
The owners: John and Felicia Lindsay
Where: Eveline Township, just outside Boyne City, on 200 feet of Lake Charlevoix frontage
Year completed: 2005
Square footage: 6,700; about 10,000 square feet including the guest house, garage and woodshop
Bathrooms: five full, two half-baths; three laundry rooms
Builder: Homer Williams Log Works, Boyne City (www.logartinc.com)
Interior wood and log work, including some furnishings and railings: Anthony Williams and Robin Lee Berry, Log Art Inc., Boyne City
Custom iron pieces, exterior gates and decor: Ed Fralick
Photo-ready: The lodge is featured in Ralph Kylloe’s “Adirondack Home” coffee-table book featuring some of the most beautiful log homes in the U.S.