Just over the Indiana state line in Southwest Michigan is an area known as Harbor Country. Located along the shoreline are a collection of small towns that include Michiana, Grand Beach, New Buffalo, Union Pier, Lakeside, Three Oaks, Harbert, and Sawyer. Between the sunset beaches and a countryside full of farms, orchards, and wineries, there is a lot to do here besides rest and relaxation. Its proximity to Chicago has made this region a popular destination not just for tourists but people looking to own a weekend getaway. While Chicagoans were ready to pay a small fee to set up tents along this side of the lake at the end of the 19th century, are people willing to spend millions in today’s market? This isn’t the best time to buy a second home as this part of Michigan has seen inventory drop 20% from a year ago while prices continue to climb (as well as interest rates). But it doesn’t hurt to take a look around at current real estate listings and maybe dream about being able to afford something.
This lakefront beach house was designed by the Chicago-based architectural firm of Wheeler Kearns, which specializes in rural and lakeside residential designs. Built less than a decade ago in 2014, the original clients wanted “a year-round, minimal, low maintenance, and intimate retreat.” The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home is a modern masterpiece that takes advantage of its site and lake views with walls of glass and an open feel. The pattern of vertical louvers are repeated in the stainless steel cables that hold up the interior staircase while a sunken sun-court provides light as well as privacy. And if that’s not enough for you, there is a rooftop deck with a hot tub.
The late architect Stanley Tigerman and wife Margaret McCurry created a weekend home together in Lakeside nearly 40 years ago. It’s no surprise to find another one of their unique designs located nearby: a postmodern take on a country farmhouse. The four-bedroom, five-bathroom single-family residence is situated on two landscaped acres overlooking a wooded ravine and the Galien River. There are great architectural elements like the large silo at the center and the exterior corrugated metal. And that attention to detail continues on the inside — the architects placed a window instead of a mirror in one of the upstairs bathrooms as a way for the homeowner to connect with nature.
Right outside the town of New Buffalo is this cute and charming 1920s bungalow that hit the market just last month. The year-round three-bedroom, two-bathroom residence comes with a separate guest house, perfect for hosting family and friends. There have been plenty of updates, including new windows, roof, air conditioning, and furnace. But what I love most about this property are the details, like the stone chimney in the living room and the flagstone walkway that leads to a back patio. This home comes with deeded access to Sturgeon Beach, just a few minutes away by foot.
Located on the main drag of the Red Arrow Highway, where you’ll find a number of antique shops and restaurants, is a modern ground-level unit in Vineyard Lofts, a former commercial winery. Old fermentation tanks were converted into living spaces while underground tanks are now used for storage. This bright and airy two-bedroom, three-bathroom condo in Sawyer comes with a cute patio, open floor plan, and floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s just a short distance from Warren Dunes State Park, Cherry Beach, and other natural preserves.
Looking for a private oasis? Well, this last property for sale might be the perfect place for you. Despite the fact this three-bedroom, two-bathroom residence is not located directly on the lakefront, it comes with ten acres of land with various walking trails as well as a heated in-ground pool. The pool house comes with a bar, bathroom, and storage space. There is also a sunroom that takes full advantage of the tree-covered site. Close to both the Robinson Woods Preserve and Cherry Beach. The single-family home had a $200,000 price cut since the listing first hit the market back in April.