Frank Goldstin (seated), Steve Bruss, and their dogs, Charlie and Lucy, unwind on the enclosed porch of their Saugatuck home.

Of the many attractions of a summer cottage, a perfect spot for a deejay might not be the first that springs to mind. Nor was this amenity on the wish list for Steve Bruss and Frank Goldstin (partners in life and in their upscale design/build firm Hudson Home) when they decided to pop in on a property at a new development in Saugatuck, Michigan, two years ago. But they fell in love with the charming, red-shuttered cedar house and the tall trees that surrounded it. The fact that a Juliet balcony off the guest bedroom could be an asset at a pool party just sweetened the deal.

"You have to think of my background," points out Goldstin, a longtime promoter, who orchestrated blowout events for Disney, United Airlines, McDonald’s, and other clients while working at GM Productions in the late ’90s. In 2002, he founded another event marketing company, the Experiential Agency, which he took public, and then retired "for about five minutes." Bruss-who worked in the printing industry before starting, in 2001, the small contracting company that became Hudson Home when Goldstin joined it four years later-is no slouch in the party department, either. He threw his partner a birthday bash only four weeks after they moved into the Saugatuck house.

Bruss, the design visionary of this duo (Goldstin does mainly the marketing for the business but also weighs in heavily on accessories shopping for this home, as well as for their Lake Shore Drive and Palm Springs abodes), did have some rather extensive work cut out for him before the guests arrived, including the small matter of building a pool.

"When we saw this place, we knew we could create the most wonderful compound," says Bruss. "We just needed to refine some of the contractor’s work-like the millwork and lighting-and add the things we wanted, like a pool, a big outdoor shower, and landscaping."


living room
In the living room, 18-foot vaulted ceilings create a wide-open feeling. The sofa and love seats, arranged around a custom leather ottoman with baseball stitching, are from Retrospect.

Indeed, much of what De Young Builders had already done was in perfect alignment with the couple’s taste: they loved the hickory floors and the lemonade yellow Viking appliances; all they had to do was spray-paint the kitchen cabinets army green and throw a few coats of a deep chocolate brown over the trim and door frames, and they were halfway there.

It was the yard that required work. In addition to the pool and outdoor shower, De Young built the couple a screened-in porch and a pool house. Cami Geschwendt, a landscaper based in Zeeland, Michigan, was recruited to create a lush yard filled with black-eyed Susans and hydrangeas. Bruss also adores his herb garden at the back of the house. "This is an insane business," he says. "This garden is my therapy."

The final step was filling the place with comfy, no-fuss furnishings. "We don’t bring out the coasters up here like we do in our city home," says Bruss. The cottage is casually appointed with vintage pieces, like the Bertoia chairs and the gorgeous Asian wall panels from the ’60s in the dining area, as well as cleaned-up junk-shop finds like the huge, bright- yellow slide rule hanging over the entrance to the kitchen. One of their favorite sources for decor is the local antique shop Amsterdam Art & Science.

 "I’d describe this as a cabin in the woods with mid-century and Asian flair," says Goldstin, turning to his partner and adding, "Don’t you think?" To which Bruss teasingly responds, "Very slight Asian."

One thing is for sure: "This is the ultimate hangout place," says Goldstin. "Every weekend in the summer, we have about 15 people, six dogs, and a lot of margaritas here."

For information on resources, see Buyer’s Guide.


Photography by Nathan Kirkman
Styling by Arden Nelson