Otto is obsessed with the “little house” in Pentwater and begs to go back every time I pick him up from daycare. When Joe and I bought this place back in 2012 it was nothing to brag about. It had been a home to mice and who knows what else, electrical cords taped together and resting on drop ceiling tile. Basically an accident waiting to happen and something nobody really paid attention to.
Over the years we gutted and demo’d it ourselves basically learning as we went. Once we were close to the “finish line” we hired an amazing builder who helped us with the finish work last winter. We have enjoyed heading up here over the weekends as it’s just a relaxing, slower pace of life. We go to the beach, we get ice cream and we even sleep in (sorta).
Every time we are up at Pentwater I typically get a bunch of questions so I thought it would be fun to share them in a big Q & A post. Here are the answers to (most) of the questions I received on Instagram.
When was the house built? Does it have any original features? Pentwater was established in 1867 and a lot of the homes around the area were built around that time. We did some research aka asking around town and our home was actually two small buildings pushed together. It is thought that it used to be part of the barn to one of the neighboring homes and was pushed together against another smaller home to make this small cottage. We found evidence of this when we gutted the house and the wood siding of the one barn was able to be seen through the wall. That being said the only original features we were able to really salvage from the home were the wood floors in the loft as well as the farm sink (probably added in the 50’s).
When did you purchase this house? We purchased this house in the fall of 2012.
How were you able to afford a second home so young? This was a bit of an “as luck would have it” situation. We bought our first home in the recession of 2008/2009 and were looking to potentially move in 2012. However, since we bought our home as a foreclosure anything within our price range was about what we already had. It would have been a lateral move for more money. We were not planning on buying a cottage but as I was scrolling trulia I found this house and it was within our budget on what we were going to spend on a new house. We took a drive and fell in love with it. We knew we wouldn’t be able to afford to do much to it for a while but we were young and carefree and had no kids so using it as a beach shack crash pad for the first couple of years was just fine.
How did you decide on Pentwater? It was a little bit of “trulia said so” and a bit of Joe’s childhood. Joe grew up coming to the campground and had good memories of the town. Plus it was the only place with access to a public beach within our price range. The village where our cottage is has the town and the beach within walking distance which is a huge plus.
Are you on lake michigan? Our cottage is in the village which is about .5 miles from the beach. It’s about a 10 minute walk or a 5 minute bike ride to the public beach. This cottage was listed incorrectly on trulia and showed it on the EAST side of the village which would have put it right on the beach, once people found out it was on the WEST side they didn’t follow through with checking it out (just us haha).
What is the exterior color of the house? When we bought this house it was painted red and it was sooooo adorable but we couldn’t find cherry red siding anywhere! We finally decided if we couldn’t find the red we wanted we are going to go in a complete opposite direction. We went with Gunmetal Gray siding by Shaw.
Do you keep the same “theme” between your farm and Pentwater? Yes and no. While both are styled with vintage finds my farm is decorated mostly with french country style and big bold colors. The Pentwater cottage is so small I used White Dove by Benjamin Moore for everything and chose campy nautical vintage as the theme.
Do you visit in the winter? Does it have heat/ac? We haven’t in a while. We heat the place with the log fire and the wall unit. It does keep up nicely but sometimes it’s hard to get to after a big snow. The wall unit also provides AC (thank goodness). When we purchased the home it had zero insulation so we put that all in. We do winterize it though every fall.
What projects are next? The interior is pretty much finished with the exception of some light work (hiding the hot water heater, fixing the old doors etc) Major projects for 2021: Landscaping, Possible Screen porch in the back and a privacy fence.
Where is there to shop in Pentwater? Pentwater hosts many tourists throughout the season and you’ll find your typical t shirt souvenir shops. However, we also have some amazing stores like Birch Michigan, Craze and the BEST toy store ever (seriously worth the drive just to Christmas shop at) Storybook Village. Side note: We just got a craft beer and wine store in the village that also sells cheese, wine, charcuterie supplies, it’s lovely. And the owner is also working on a vintage Bronco.
Favorite Places to eat in Pentwater? I am going to give my favorite Pentwater places and then my favorite Ludington places (about a 20 min drive north).
Pentwater: Green Isaacs Coffee, The antler (wing zing Sundays), Brown Bear, Bri’s Pies and Bortellos (technically bass lake but 6 miles from our house. THE BEST FISH).
Ludington: The Mitten Bar (Brisket Burritos), Over the Moon (roof top deck and lobster nachoes), Blue Moon (carrot cake) and Jamesport Brewery.
What hydrangeas did you plant out front? They are called Phantom Hydrangeas. Stay tuned for how they do over their first winter.
How big is the house? The house in total is 800sq ft. We have one bedroom down stairs with a king size bed, living room with an open small kitchen, bathroom with sink, toilet and shower as well as the A Frame loft that has two twin beds.
Are you going to list it on Air BnB or VBRO? Someday! We talk about it but want to get the yard, fence and everything else finished before we would consider that. I’ve never rented it out before and it makes me nervous because I have so many of my favorite vintage pieces in it. Has anyone else had good luck renting their places out?
What is house hunting like in Pentwater? It ebbs and flows. Right now there is very little for sale in the village where two years ago it felt like everything was for sale. Anything under $200,000 goes very fast, anything around $100,000 typically sells before it’s ever listed.
I think that pretty much covers it! Anything I missed? If you have the opportunity to come and visit Pentwater don’t sleep on it, it’s magical. There are several great camp grounds and the state park is right on the beach. Thank you all for loving our little place as much as we do.