Winter 2009: Holiday Touches
The Beattie family’s Carrington cottage sparkles beautifully for the holidays.
When Mark and Lynn Beattie of Monroe decided to build their “last” home at Carrington in the Woods four years ago there simply was no discussion over style.
“We were in perfect agreement. We wanted to recreate the comfort we find each summer in our Mackinac vacations here in our own community,” said Lynn. They wanted a cottage style that would evoke a cozy and comfortable feeling and allow them to incorporate pieces they treasure.
The result is a stone and shuttered two-story home nestled into mature trees on a quiet edge of Carrington Golf Course. It features a welcoming front porch and is surrounded by patio areas that invite guests to move from indoors to out and back again with ease.
Mark, a Monroe dentist, and Lynn, a teacher in the Huron Schools district, have lived in Monroe since the 1980s in two homes they say fit their needs perfectly at the time.
“We had the suburban family home where our children were surrounded with friends when we first arrived in Monroe. Then we put our touches on an old Victorian on Macomb Street, giving that lots of love and effort,” said Lynn. Both homes were just right for them at those times, she says.
“But when we realized our children were moving on to college and all that life has to offer them, we found ourselves eager to build a home for this time in our lives,” said Lynn.
That dream home was ethereal for a while, according to Mark. They talked about features they would love to have and compared wish lists but nothing really took shape until Lynn discovered a plan offered by builder Dick Brighton of Temperance, who specializes in customizing plans to fit the needs of each owner.
“He understood our goal and he was always there to suggest ideas or solutions when we got stuck. He had a fresh eye and the ability to understand our vision and how it could work into actual construction needs,” said Lynn.
“We love the aged look of the stone exterior from the beginning, but we worked to balance it with a warm cottage feel by adding shutters and barn-like garage doors,” said Mark.
The foyer opens to a full view of the first floor of the home. The dining room, great room, master suite and kitchen-breakfast areas are easily accessible without long hallways.
“We have lots of nooks and crannies, little spaces to fill with our own personality and pieces, cozy and warm even though it’s large enough to accommodate quite a group when we entertain. It’s that ambiance we were searching for—we wanted our own Mackinac cottage all year around,” explained Lynn.
The Beatties chose traditional shabby chic colors, using muted pinks and greens in a variety of fabrics. Stripes, florals, checks and lace table toppers accent the space, allowing the eye to travel comfortably from room to room.
The starting point for the interior design, however, was the hand-painted and signed Habersham table and chairs with rush seats that graces the breakfast nook, adjacent to the sun room.
“We fell in love with that piece, had to have that piece and it inspired the rest of our choices. What to buy new, what to update and use, how to incorporate an elegant look with older, more worn accessories that are important to us as a family,” explained Lynn.
“This is a home that’s easy to live in. It fills all our needs and we believe it works well in this community,” said Lynn.
And community is important to both Mark and Lynn. They point out how well the small-town feeling they found in Monroe has worked for them and for their family over the years.
“This community was the perfect choice for me — for my practice as a dentist starting his career and for my family as a young father and husband. We built our lives in and around Monroe, the people here, taking advantage of the amenities Monroe has to offer and we believe we found our place here,” said Mark.
Lynn agrees emphatically. “Monroe is really our universe. We love the atmosphere, the sense of knowing the people who live in our town, even the fact that we have our own newspaper that focuses on us, not Detroit or Toledo,” said Lynn.
“We love Monroe and we love being part of a community that is truly invested in local people, ideas and culture,” she said.