Black Bear Cottage: A Writer’s Retreat

ARCD-7393Nestled in the woods of Michigan’s southwest lakeshore is a cottage that appears to come straight from the pages of a storybook. The vision of a children’s author and her husband, Black Bear Cottage is the embodiment of what can happen when Town and Country Cedar Homes sets out to fulfill a client’s dreams.

When author Claire Ewert and her husband Tom Herr, an attorney, decided to purchase a home in the place that had given them so many fond childhood memories, they were thrilled to find a log cabin home they could modify and make their own. They interviewed several log home building companies but chose Town and Country for their expertise and understanding of what they wanted to accomplish. After inspecting the home, Town and Country Cedar Home’s designer Marty Poné discovered the level of decay present made restoration unfeasible. Instead, the new cottage would incorporate as much of the original cabin as possible and occupy the same footprint. The new cottage is named after one of Claire’s favorite characters in her book “One Cold Night.”



The cottage incorporates the turquoise color of the original centennial cabin on the exterior trim and throughout the interior. Claire has always loved the hue, saying it is a color that brings warmth and life to a room even in mid-winter. Setback further from the lake than most lakeside homes, the couple prefers the woodland setting and being directly amidst the trees.


Creating a make-believe charm, the tree trunk pilasters seem to be growing from the ground and branching around the windows and doors. As true lovers of wood, the cottage was a joy for Town and Country Cedar Homes to work on.



Inside the cottage, the cedar walls once again appear to branch out from trees. And see those beautiful branches reaching up to the ceiling? Claire went out into the Cedar swamps with our builders and hand picked them, envisioning where each and every branch would go in her home.


A tree trunk coffee table complements the living room and the stone fireplace and mantel designed by Claire echoes the natural forest look found throughout the cottage.


From the screened-in porch, the couple can sit back and admire the peaceful, woodland view any time of year.


The turquoise hue is repeated in the recycled glass backsplash and the leather stools in the kitchen. Claire preferred curved lines rather than straight as evidenced by the granite countertop of the kitchen island.


The floor-to-ceiling glass and wood windows in the dining room allow the homeowners to feel at one with nature.


The massive tub and open shower in the spacious master bathroom are luxurious and modern, while the small, dressed windows provide privacy and maintain the cozy, cottage feel of the home. The design was inspired by Moroccan baths.


In the master bedroom, the bed is framed by cedar that has been carved to mimic trees. The concrete floor (seen throughout the home) was finished using an acid bath, which creates a leather – like rust color – another effect to make the home appear to be made from only natural materials. The color also complements the warm ochre and turquoise hues.


From Claire’s studio, she can walk out the French doors directly onto the patio- the place where her husband Tom loves to barbecue.


With every client, we love working to fully understand the vision they have for their dream cedar-built home and bringing it to life, just as we did with Claire and Tom. Black Bear Cottage is a unique, original home and we are proud to play a part in its creation.

  • I have more questions and concerns about getting an oil-change than I do about this project.

    ~ Tom H.