* I was at my mom’s condo the other day and my younger daughter asked what was in a chest my mom has at the end of her couch. Well, we hit the mother lode, so to speak, of old photos, and that led to an hour or two of “Oh, my gosh! Check out this one!” and “Look at Little Mommy!” My favorite ones were the couple she had of Loon Lake, a lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York where my family used to vacation for one week each summer. We stayed in an old, small cabin on a tiny beach where there were three other cabins as well. Every cabin had access to its own row boat, and all four cabin-renter families would gather at night around a communal bonfire in Adirondack chairs (of course). There was a dock for fishing, a swamp for frog-catching, some rocks for climbing, and a raft out in the water for flipping off. That was it for entertainment. We went for eight summers, and I loved every minute of it. So mention “lake house” to me and I get a glossy sort of lost-look in my eyes and a smile on my face.
* Of course, it’s only a short skip and a jump from thinking about “lake house” to imagining “luxury lake house” and then we’re into boat slips and pools and those houses on stilts again, like this one by a home builder named Kerridge Architecture that specializes in lakefront property in northern Michigan. Kerridge’s prime focus is in sustainable design, which it describes on its website as “the wise utilization of available resources through careful design to minimize the impact our buildings have on the environment.” It considers renovation to be, at its heart, a sustainable building practice because it is the reuse of something already existing, so even if you can’t build that dream lake home from scratch, you may be able to consider renovating one using sound environmental practices. The latest I’ve read on costs for “green building,” by the way, indicate that you can do it for only about 2-3% more in upfront costs, but the energy savings over time more than make up for that. As for style, if you’re not looking for traditional, get in line behind me. I’d take you to the mat for this contemporary beauty in Austin, with the wrap-around pools! Apparently, that long lap pool goes down to the boat house. Yeah, okay, that works.
* Enough dreaming here. There must be a down-side (or at least some specific challenges) to owning a lake home. Potential issues include flooding, drought, erosion, compromised water quality and water source in general, and just too many darn house guests! But one you might not think of right away when you are getting seduced by the view is ease of access, and how that may become an issue as you age. Case in point, ahem, would be this lake home. I mean, c’mon, need I say more? Even if you think you have lots of snappy on-your-toes years ahead, think of your aging parents or your as-yet-to-be-born kids. That dreamy getaway may not be so dreamy when you can’t use all its features or you’re on high-alert emergency patrol all weekend. Also, are the bathrooms big enough to add aging-in-place improvements such as safety bars and toilet toppers? (I’m sure this is not their real name, but that’s what I call them.) I know, you don’t want to think about these things, but . . . (see this post about aging at home–the photo at the end gets me teary every time I see it).
* Okay, I have a different solution for you, especially considering the economy and the probability that you’re not exactly looking to buy right now. How about we bring some favorite lake home features home to where we live now, no matter how high and dry the land? A fire pit (I like the front-yard fire pit pictured here). A pond for frogs and fish (such as this one, featured in Elle Decor). An Adirondack chair. Some plaid wool blankets and, of course, a screen door that bangs (my obsession). There. Done. I’m back on Loon Lake, and happy as a clam.
Let service companies you find on Kudzu help you come home to the lake home of your dreams. With or without the lake.