A house on Lake Michigan is getting an update to the Gemma Parker design

Two empty nests make their dream of lake life come true thanks to a striking refreshment from Harbor Springs by Gemma Parker Design.

“Our goal was to make it bright, serene, and relaxing,” notes the project’s interior designer Gemma Parker, whose hobby room (pictured) includes end tables by Primitive, a Mattaliano sofa, dining chairs by David Iatesta via John Rosselli, and artwork by Roger Boulay.


After a successful career in manufacturing, a retiree and his wife have set themselves a new goal: to make their long-standing dream of a day at Lake Michigan come true. They found the ideal home on the water within walking distance of Harbor Springs, Michigan. They took the plunge and commissioned Gemma Parker Design to completely refresh the nearly 13,000 square meter property.

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Dover Bell pendant lights from The Urban Electric Co. add visual interest to the already inviting kitchen.


“Customers talk a lot,” notes Parker, who led the project with assistance from Samantha Vanags. “It was important for them to work with a team that is focused on how they live and use their home and that is designed for that.” With two grown sons visiting often and a fairly constant flow of summer visitors, customers needed lots of rooms for their family. “They also wanted a home that was customized to reflect who they are while being comfortable and low-key.”

201.jpgThe thoughtful details of a guest room include a Serena & Lily mirror and a lamp from Circa Lighting with a shade adjusted with rows of Samuel & Son’s tape.


“In order to capture the spirit of the living lake in a subtle way, we focused on a refined use of materials, as well as a sophisticated color palette and overlaying textures. We always look at the view outside the windows when designing houses, and it was important to us to create a close connection between the interiors and the surrounding landscape. Their views are absolutely breathtaking and it was important not to distract from them but to highlight them. ”

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241.jpgMac pendant lights by The Urban Electric Co., photographs by Lincoln Schatz, and a table by Brunswick Billiards make this playroom a lovely retreat.


Talk about challenges: Not only was Parker at work with her second child setting up the home survey, the first outside survey was taken in -5 degrees and knee-deep snow – and the entire project had to be completed in a matter of months due to clients who are selling their other home in the area and planning a large family gathering on the property this summer. “Despite all of these obstacles, we delivered most of the project in five months,” explains Parker. “They were incredibly determined and trusted in the process that allowed us to create a beautiful home for them in a small space.”

31.jpg“We believe that blue and white are always a timeless, beautiful color palette,” says Parker, explaining her design strategy, which is reflected here in the living room. “It has calming water quality and is calm and inviting.”


For Parker and his team, the success of the project lies in its relaxed atmosphere and the seamless flow. “When we start a project, we look at it holistically, from the architecture to the exterior,” notes Parker. “The connection between the interiors and the surrounding landscape is really peaceful and calm, and so much attention has been paid to every detail in the house to keep it cohesive throughout.”

11-0001.jpgMaureen Parker of Common Ground Landscapes has created a manicured site that matches the refined atmosphere of the interior.


Summing up the customer’s response, Parker said, “They were incredibly pleased with the attention to detail and our ability to keep the project on track with such an intense schedule. They loved how individual and detailed the interiors were. ”


Art Freshen up family home

place Harbor Springs, Mich.

Architecture Nick White, White & Liebler Architects

builder Jeff Ford, Evenstar Carpentry

Interior design and custom furniture Gemma Parker Design

Landscape architect Maureen Parker, Common Ground Landscapes


Circa lighting Lamps everywhere

Holland & Sherry Different textiles

Holly Hunt Pieces of fabric throughout

Katonah Architectural Hardware Different hardware throughout

Perennials Various fabrics and carpets

primitive Various accessories throughout

John Rosselli Dining room chairs and various lamps

Samuel & Sons Cut throughout

Lincoln sweetheart Photography in the billiard room

Tai Ping Custom carpets throughout the property

The Urban Electric Co. Lighting throughout

Zirlin Interiors Custom window treatment

Photography by: Werner Straube

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