Earl Young’s Charlevoix Michigan “mushroom” houses
“I always build the roof first, and then shove the house under it.” (Earl Young as quoted in the Ludington Daily News, October 13, 1971 issue)
Earl Young was an architect who lived most of his life in Charlevoix, Michigan - a small town on the shores of three lakes, including the mighty Lake Michigan. It’s not too far from where I grew up in northern Ontario. Earl’s way of giving back to his beloved community was to leave a lasting legacy of strange and adorable houses. He built unique homes in Charlevoix between the years of 1918 and his death in 1975.
Following the manner of Frank Lloyd Wright, who argued that houses should blend organically into their surroundings, Young designed each home to fit its site. His signature style included liberal use of stone, including stone fireplaces, curved cedar shake roofs, and unusual chimneys that look like they come from fairy tales.
These are my kind of houses – cute, cuddly, organic, overflowing with charm and character!
Earl Young was a visionary. His work as a builder/designer combined sculpture, nature, fun and whimsy…
He would take a common building style (such as the ranch-style home below) and Earl-ify it:
Stone never looked so dynamic!
The dripping chimneys (above) look like cakes decorated by my six-year old and my two-year old. Fun!
When I think of an “architect designed” house, I automatically envision angular, clean, sterile lines and modern designs. Then there’s Earl…
The same house (as above) photographed from a different angle:
I just can’t get enough of these things!
Unfortunately, I was only able to find TWO pictures of the interiors of these Earl Young designed homes:
Both highlighting the incredible stone work inside…
The “mushroom” homes in Charlevoix are truly amazing. I can’t think of a better legacy to leave for your town than these special… creations.
You can learn more about Earl Young and his imaginative houses at the following websites: