Living on water can bring a hugely positive element to one’s quality of life. “Being on or near water, in fact, is essential to me,” designer Hilary Farr, the co-star of HGTV’s Love It or List It, told me during her recent visit. “Just looking at water makes my blood pressure go down to zero,” she said. “Some day, I know I’ll live on water full-time, and walk the beach whenever I like.”
Farr, who lives in a transitional-style home in Toronto, and I were sitting among the new Scott Shuptrine Interiors at Art Van Furniture in Royal Oak as we chatted about waterside living. She was in town to help launch Art Van’s HGTV Home Furniture Collection.
Just before meeting Farr, the staff at Detroit Home had been wading through images and discovering the stories behind some of the state’s most remarkable waterside homes, from lakeside beauties to riverside treasures. I shared with Farr our decision to showcase the two modern “Northern Nests” that eventually made it into this magazine (page 42).
“I hope they’re filled with lots of warm woods and windows galore,” she declared. And, indeed, they are, blending well with Mother Nature and making the most of her splendid water views. We also chatted about the 1946 Wallace Frost gem (page 51). Farr made a point to warn me that even though good design is timeless, it often needs to be updated. Homeowner Cindy Brinkley certainly did that, and then some (no update required for the river that runs along the back of her property).
Talking about living on water took me back to when my teenage sons were 4 and 5, and we were looking to purchase a lakeside getaway in northern Michigan. While the real estate agent showed us around, I was more focused on my wandering boys’ desire to jump off docks that weren’t ours and explore cattail country than looking at what any potential second home featured.
We did buy an old, small cottage (it still needs updating!) on an inland lake. Through years of wildlife-viewing, wildflower-picking, and sometimes wild adventures, my sons have continued to bask in lakeside fun one way or another (a canoe ride with girls this year?), as sure as our resident blue heron stalks the shoreline at sun-up for minnows.
— Megan Swoyer
P.S. There are a thousand stories in our decorated city, one of which we discovered on last year’s Birmingham Home Tour (tchserves.org). We fell in love with Lauren Stein’s wallpaper (page 17) while touring her home. This year’s Community House Home Tour is Sept. 19. Get your tickets soon — last year’s sold out. You’re sure to uncover some great home-design ideas.
Artist David Larkins of Monroe captures water’s allure in this painting: his works will be on display July 17-20 at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs.