This is a very special house and part of Northern Michigan’s unique architectural history. This whimsical home was designed by Earl Young’s daughter Virginia Young Olsen in 1958.
If you’ve never heard of Earl Young, you are missing out on some seriously fun and famous mushroom cottages along Lake Michigan. I’ve personally gone scouting out Earl Young’s signature stone cottages and have featured his most famous house – Boulder Manor – on my website. It was for sale a couple of year ago.
Like her father, Virginia famously stuck a wavy cedar-shake roof on the structure first, and then shoved some walls and boulders underneath to finish the look of an organic mound.
These haphazard cottages are incredibly charming and people come from all over the world to gawk at them.
When I found out one of Earl Young’s daughter’s designs was recently listed on the market, I had to have a closer look.
1 Thistle Downs is located on Round Lake in the resort town of Charlevoix – a house lover’s paradise!
This splendid home is situated on over half an acre of land with 153 feet of prime waterfront property and several boat slips on the private dock.
It also has a tuck-under 2 bay garage.
The home was just listed in July of 2015 with an asking price of $4,795,000.
Virginia Young Olsen used to accompany her father to his building sites around Charlevoix. She followed in her father’s unorthodox design footsteps and went on to create several of her own organic mushroom-like homes.
If you think the outside is enchanting, wait until you see the inside…
The current owners have clearly indulged in all the vintage whimsy that you might imagine in such a storybook house.
Every room in the cottage is charming and a discovery.
The Latin words “Parva Sed Apta” over the arched door translate in English to: “small but enough”.
Although 1 Thistle Downs can hardly be considered small – with 6 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms in over 4,000 square feet – it certainly has that quaint cottage-y feel about it.
The current owners purchased the home in 1998 and then hired Virginia to renovate several rooms and design an addition.
Features of the home include:
natural oak pegged flooring, reclaimed beamed and wood ceilings, imported unique doors, and the majority of the windows are antique fully restored leaded glass from England allowing for panoramic water views.
One more look at the fabulous gardens:
Fun fact: there are approximately 200 tons of boulders that adorn this property!
Every inch of the lot is filled with little surprises.
Thank you Virginia Young Olsen (1926-2006) for leaving us with such a delightful treasure.
(And thanks to Charlevoix Realtor Chris Edwards for bringing this sweet house to my attention!)