1 Thistle Downs – A spectacular storybook cottage

House designed by Earl Young's daughter

image from: www.sothebysrealty.com

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.

House designed by Earl Young's daughter

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

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.

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

These haphazard cottages are incredibly charming and people come from all over the world to gawk at them.

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

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!

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

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.

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

The home was just listed in July of 2015 with an asking price of $4,795,000.

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

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.

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

If you think the outside is enchanting, wait until you see the inside…

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

The current owners have clearly indulged in all the vintage whimsy that you might imagine in such a storybook house.

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

Every room in the cottage is charming and a discovery.

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

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.

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

The current owners purchased the home in 1998 and then hired Virginia to renovate several rooms and design an addition.

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

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.

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

One more look at the fabulous gardens:

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

Fun fact: there are approximately 200 tons of boulders that adorn this property!

Every inch of the lot is filled with little surprises.

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

image from: http://www.sothebysrealty.com/

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!)

 

Sources:

http://www.sothebysrealty.com/eng/sales/detail/180-l-1031-gnlhqy/1-thistle-downs-charlevoix-mi-49720

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1-Thistle-Downs-Dr-Charlevoix-MI-49720/115969848_zpid/

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