The coastal town of Ludington and one beautiful summer home…

Last Summer, while on holiday in Michigan, my family and I spent a weekend in the coastal town of Ludington, which sits so pretty on Lake Michigan. To say this town is picturesque is an understatement. Its charm and beauty is off the chart.
Folks strolling along the pier out to the Lighthouse at sunset

We have a lot of family history here in Ludington. My sweet Father-in-law, Papa Maurice, was born and raised and his family ran a successful butcher shop business in nearby Scottville. We know quite a lot about our family history and genealogy, but I would love to learn more. I’m going to make it my mission to use things like this online resource to try and discover more of my family’s history. As for my Father-in-law, this was their family home. On the Fourth of July they would host large family gatherings on the front porch to watch the annual parade go by.

Papa Maurice’s childhood home

The home was built in 1903 for Warren Cartier, a local lumberman, who had hoped to give his acceptance speech as Michigan’s Governor from the second-floor balcony.

A wedding was taking place the weekend we visited and all rooms were booked. Darn. But what a lovely place to have one!

For many years, our Aunt Marlene operated a gorgeous bed and breakfast here. Eager to show me, my “boyfriend” drove us through a snow storm from East Lansing to stay there. I stayed in Papa Maurice’s room. It was so fun to think about Papa Mo growing up in the room, where I slept like a rock, because of the divine sheets and fluffy pillows on my bed. Aunt Marlene had exquisite taste and finished the bathrooms in each quarter to rival those of a fine hotel.

A later visit taken as a family (Soph was a big ball in my tummy and I was one big Mama. No way I’m getting in front of that camera).

We stayed up late with Aunt Marlene in the grand dining room, while she told us great story after great story. I’m grateful for that night. Aunt Marlene would later fall ill and leave this world long before her time.

The dining room in earlier days as photographed by Grand Homes of the Midwest. I had plans to use those gorgeous crystal candelabras on our wedding table at Torch Lake but simply ran out of energy to transport that detail. Too bad as they would have been stunning. Maybe for Sophia someday…
A coffee table book staple in our home.

Aunt Marlene would later put her touch on the dining room, finishing the walls in an elaborate faux finish. It was spectacular and way before its time.

A few other shots I snapped during our stay with my point and shoot in the mid 90s.

The Library

The fireplace with an inglenook chair to the left and a built in ledge to set your book and drink.

Mike and I were very fortunate to inherit this beautiful French sofa from the music room. It’s been with us everywhere. Made the trek to San Francisco and then our first apartment in Atlanta. It now sits in our loft awaiting appropriate pillows. 😉

Our Aunt and Uncle have a lovely Summer home here and they graciously let us stay there while off traveling to another exciting place. It was a real treat. Among all the other things, it had a centralized AC system that always kept the room cool and comfortable. I am sure it must have been installed by a good air conditioner repair and install company that it still works so efficiently. I mean yes, I have seen these systems earlier but this one really impressed me!

Somehow, I felt that it is a hassle to maintain a huge cooling system. However, when I asked my aunt regarding that, I was told that it is easy to maintain this system with the assistance of professionals like TSS Home Comfort ( Other things that really caught my attention was the windows and doors that had a vinatge appeal to them.

Later, Papa Maurice told us an amazing story of the watch factory that stood earlier in the place of this house. He remembers almost everything about it. What they sold, how successful they were, and even what the facility looked like. He said that it was always secure; nobody ever stole anything from there. He thinks that they used somewhere similar to Industrial Door Company, the provider of roll up doors, and various guards to help with its security. It clearly worked, and they did good business for quite a long time. Like a lot of manufacturing in this country though, it closed to overseas competition and the warehouse and property were sold for the going rate. HOWEVER, the folks purchasing the factory knew better and pulled up all the floor boards to recover MILLIONS of dollars in gold shavings from years and years of watch-making. Crazy.

The view from the balcony. Huge ferry barges would cruise through in the distance between Michigan and Wisconsin.

This gorgeous lamp came from Grandma Genevieve and Grandpa Abbie’s home. Papa Maurice remembers the family trip to Chicago when it was purchased, “I remember it being a big deal for my Mom.” Good for her!

It’s absolutely stunning in person. My photographic skills do not do it justice. The silk shade alone was to die. Love the size and shape.

Pictured in the background, Grandpa Abbie and Grandma Genevieve. She was simply elegant and a marvelous dancer. She taught dance classes for years to Ludington’s youth in the upstairs of the carriage house.

The home would later be sold to new owners but still operates as a bed and breakfast today. Visit their website here to see more pictures of this grand home or book a stay.

Naturally I set out to photograph some dumpling homes that caught my eye. I thought this home a great shade of yellow and the beige shutters were a nice surprise. Yellow can be tough but this homeowner got it right.

A unique roofline you just don’t see anymore. The matching lines in front, so charming!

I took this one to showcase the monochromatic look, ala Martha’s Bedford Farm. I like it!

The town is block after block of charming homes, red geraniums and American flags.

Notice the x transoms on the side screen porch. I like.

The window pane detail here caught me. Again, something you don’t come across much. 🙁

A gorgeous renovation well underway. Someone is going to be very happy here. I would pick a galvanized gooseneck light for over the front door.

All roads lead to beautiful Lake Michigan…
Imagine the gorgeous Fall color these trees bring.
and its miles of gorgeous beaches.

bright eyes

If you wish for something more remote, head up the street to run the dunes of Ludington State Park. It was one of Grandma Gennie’s favorite places and she requested her ashes be spread here. A closer look and you’ll see some chickens running down the hill, through the tall grass and out to the beach.

Another Aunt of ours also resided here for many years and later returned in her retirement to purchase this charming Summer home. Grandma Jan (who is half the reason I’m in this profession) picked the exterior color. It’s a perfect red.
When our Aunt and Uncle aren’t sailing in Oriental, North Carolina, you can find them here living an active social life with all the neighbors.
Our Aunt is a wonderful artistic lady. She wasn’t about to let Katie and I leave without a quick tour of her neighbor Molly’s house. WOW. I only wished I’d taken more pictures. It was incredible and such a great story as this was Molly’s childhood home that she had shared with five brother and sisters, or maybe it was six? Her family resides in Salt Lake City now but comes to Ludington every Summer to spend time here in her old home that she so tastefully remodeled. How sweet is that?
Loved the antler styled inside the crock. Fireplace surround and screen also a treat.

They were very sweet and flattered to give us the tour on a moment’s notice, as they were heading back to Utah that day, but that’s how they roll here in Ludington Summers. One big block party.
Notice how she played up the window seat here. Precious!
The dining room, open from the front room, full of awesome light and windows. I particularly liked the bank of recessed windows with the deep ledge for decor. Another architectural detail lost with the majority of today’s throw em up building. The French doors were added during renovation.

Built in bookcases, half way up the wall, create a subtle separation between the living and dining room and the perfect place to store your china, very common in this age of home building. I especially liked the simple linen window treatment she used here to keep visual clutter at bay.

The entire home’s hardwood floors were limed for that light airy Belgium look.

An adorable sitting area in a cozy corner on the upstairs landing. I’m going to use this idea! A lot of the chairs were family pieces that she recovered and jazzed up to look very today. Keep that in mind when you come across that old $4 chair in the Goodwill with good lines. It could look like this!
A quaint bunk room to the left of the stairs for overflow guests and where and when I decided that the bunks in the beach house would definitely have striped bedding fo sure.

I told Miss Molly that her home was without question, magazine-worthy, especially with such a great story to tell being it was her childhood home. She just kinda looked at me and giggled as if that was crazy talk and it wasn’t anything special. It was SO special!

Corner sitting nook in the master bedroom.

Another awesome bank of windows with a killer roman shade. Killer.

She didn’t miss a beat, like this cute corner seat by the kitchen’s back door. The cushion was made from a fabric sample she decided not to use. Genius.

I could of taken so many more shots but perhaps we’ll see it published someday. My Sister-in-law and I walked out, looked at each other and without hesitation…”somebody give me a match. I want to set fire to everything I have and start over.” It was truly amazing.
A great vignette of color along the main drag of shops and artist markets

I hope someday you will get a chance to visit this charming coastal town. There’s so much more to tell. I’m happy for Papa Maurice and his Sisters. What a great place to grow up and perhaps part of the reason they are so special!



  1. l thoroughly enjoyed your post on Ludington, Mi. lt is good for so many people to get a peek into places in Mi. since many people haven’t ever set foot in the state. lt truly is a beautiful state and l’m glad that you are able to bring this to your readers. l agree Molly’s summer home is worthy of being in a magazine. l can only imagine what her main residence must look like!!

  2. Molly’s got some mad design skills! No detail was forgotten. Loved the post and can’t believe how beautiful the lake is!

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