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Days of Wine and Rhododendrons

Amid the rolling hills of southwestern Michigan, a classic Cape Cod provides a refuge for two city dwellers

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Tucked upstairs are two bedroom suites, each with a full bath. Unbelievably, neither of the bedrooms had a single window overlooking the view of Tabor Hill. Building dormers on both rooms not only added interest architecturally but also dramatically increased the amount of natural light streaming in.

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A favorite destination of Pfleger’s young nephews is the antique trunk to the right of the bed in the guest room, where he stores a collection of board games saved from his childhood.

Window seats built into the dormers provide cozy nooks for reading and enjoying the scenery-which now includes gardens designed by Ruth Semones of the Root Seller in nearby Baroda, Michigan. “I always had a green thumb, but she really taught me how important it is to stick with stuff that belongs in the area,” Pfleger says. “I love hibiscus, but it’s not going to survive here.”

The grounds of Beech Run have become a series of outdoor rooms, with antique statuary and artist-made birdhouses nestled among the greenery. In front, limestone retaining walls spill over with hostas, ferns, coral bells, and pachysandra, while native grasses, rhododendrons, and oak-leaf hydrangeas cover the lower part of the hill. The tall plants across the bottom of the slope effectively hide the road, so that from the bluestone terrace in front of the house-a favorite spot for morning coffee and meals-Beech Run appears to flow seamlessly into the hills across the way.

Meandering from the terrace back through the gardens, a sandstone path leads to a lovely pool house. On one side is an outdoor shower, screened from view by a thicket of sweet autumn clematis. “In September, when I take showers here, the smell is heavenly,” says Pfleger of his preferred warm-weather bathing spot.

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“The energy is just very special. . . . This place is sacred.”

Down the path toward the back of the property is the most recent addition, a fire pit that evokes Pfleger’s scouting days. “This is my half–Cub Scout, half-Zen fire pit,” he says. “I have fond memories of camping in northern Michigan, sitting with friends around the campfire and toasting marshmallows. My idea was to have a place where friends and family could gather and talk and tell ghost stories. You can also meditate down here; I love to just sit and look at this clearing.”

Though Pfleger and Kershner are feeling the itch to renovate another place, Pfleger says that it’s entirely possible they may never leave Beech Run. “We could retire here,” he says. “The energy is just very special, up on the hill with this tree sort of protecting it. This place is sacred.”

For information on resources, see Buyer’s Guide.

 

Photography by Nathan Kirkman, Styling by Arden Nelson

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