Petoskey Area: creating rounds of memories 

If you only take one golfing vacation this year, make it this one: Petoskey Area in the northwest, Lower Peninsula of Michigan. This is where golfing traditions are started, golfing stories are shared, and golfing memories are created to last a lifetime.

While northern Michigan is blessed with more than its fair share of exceptional golf courses, nowhere else are there so many located in such close proximity to one another. In fact, Golf Magazine has rated Petoskey Area as one of the top two regions in the country for concentrated golf quality. There are 18 courses here, all within a half-hour drive of one another.

Even by northern Michigan standards, these courses are above par. The spectacular landscape is defined by rolling wooded hills up to 600 feet in elevation. Most courses take full advantage of the stunning terrain changes, while other courses feature breathtaking vistas of Lake Michigan, with one having even more shoreline than Pebble Beach.

No matter which course is played, you’ll love the fact that the layouts are not the typical bowling alley back and forth. Virtually all the holes are separated from each other, making each a unique, fun, and memorable experience.

Whether the course winds its way through the forests or sits perched on bluffs overlooking the lake, your round will be unforgettable. You can tee it up on courses designed or inspired by the likes of Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Arthur Hills and Donald Ross. These are courses you’ve heard about, read about, and always wanted to play. It’s no wonder the Petoskey Area is home to many prestigious tournaments.

Since the Petoskey Area is on the outer edge of the Eastern Time zone, you can play from sun up around 6:00 a.m. until the sun sets around 9:30 p.m. with 18 courses to choose from and 15 hours of daylight: Sounds good to us.

Although you could golf a different course every day for more than two weeks, you may not want to. That’s due to all the other things there are to do in the Petoskey Area. The charming lakeside resort communities of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Bay Harbor, and Boyne City offer a vacation full of things to do and see. This is a family destination where non-golfers won’t feel stranded.

There are dozens upon dozens of inviting shops, boutiques, and galleries; you can hike or bike along the lake or through wooded parks and preserves; splash into Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark; or experience the excitement of the Odawa Casino.

Odawa Casino

All that golf and shopping can create quite a hunger and thirst: the Petoskey Area is full of craft breweries and wineries pouring a fresh taste of northern Michigan. There are also more than 100 restaurants dotting the landscape with fare ranging from casual to gourmet. You’ll go home relaxed, but you should never go home hungry.

Once you’re here, you won’t want to leave. So we make it easy to stay: choose from quaint country inns, luxurious condominiums, or modern full-service hotels; stay on a golf course, on a lakefront, or right in the heart of town; or select a place that has an indoor pool or one that allows pets.

Whatever your preference, with more than 2,800 rooms, you can rest assured in finding accommodations that are the exact right fit.

The combination of unforgettable golf, beautiful lakeside resort communities, and a friendly, unhurried pace are why this area is rightly called a Michigan treasure.

For more information, including lodging assistance, call the Visitors Bureau at 800.845.2828 or visit

Finished luxury

Text: R.Collins

The Minnesota-based company known for pushing the solid surface envelope continues its legacy by offering innovative finish options and expanded designs—and its Michigan-based partner is bringing it to the table.

Since entering the quartz market in 2000, Cambria has been changing the functionality and style of kitchens worldwide. Founded by the Davis family and known for producing and engineering natural quartz in the United States, the company has recently introduced two additions to the kitchen design market: a new breakthrough surface finish option known as Cambria Matte and an expanded Marble Collection with five new designs.

For years a glossy marble countertop—such as Cambria’s standard Cambria High Gloss—could be associated with high-end kitchens. Now, Cambria’s new matte finish is swaying luxury seekers toward a refined look that is soft around the edges. Complementing trends in minimalism and high-quality simplicity that speaks for itself, the finish provides an elemental look and a surface that has been described as “velvety” to the touch.

This is without compromising the qualities that Cambria’s original gloss finishes are associated with as Cambria quartz is NSF51 certified. The new matte finish is also certified, making it stain and scratch proof, non-porous, and completely maintenance free.

Surfaces such as vanities, backsplashes, countertops, and flooring take on a honed marble look protected from wear due to Cambria’s innovative creation process that mixes the matte finish into the desired minerals at different stages of the process, according to Lisa Koger, manager of the design gallery at the Michigan-based surface fabricator known as Lakeside Surfaces. The result is a un-layered surface Cambria has guaranteed will last for a lifetime.

“The market has really been asking for this honed granite look or for a matte look and so Cambria wanted to make it right before they released it,” Koger said.

Koger indicated the Cambria quartz styles complement their practicality since soapy water is the only thing needed to clean them and they’re stronger than granite. She also noted that unlike granite, which is brushed to make surfaces slightly more rugged and textured, the new matte finish favors a softer aesthetic.

“It doesn’t compromise the quartz, the maintenance factors, or anything which gives it that smooth look,” Koger said.

Lakeside Surfaces has been working with Cambria for years and creates custom measurements, fabricates Cambria stones, and cuts them to buyers’ specifications. Using state-of-the-art machinery allows Lakeside to fabricate for 200 kitchens per week by accelerating the overall fabrication process. In February 2016, it opened a fabrication plant filled with brand new machinery barely introduced to market to further compliment project efficiency and market introductions like Cambria’s new matte finish that are gaining popularity.

“A lot of people—in West Michigan at least—feel that [gloss] provides a luxurious viewpoint…but we’ve also heard that a lot of people really love the matte finish, because it is soft to the touch,” Koger said.

Cambria quartz is pure, natural quartz and is composed of pure white particles that are mined entirely in North America. After the quartz is mined, Cambria adds binders and pigments to the mix to create each individual design, producing new designs each year to add to a catalogue of over 140 options. In March 2016, the matte finish changed the dynamics of each design, offering buyers twice the options.

Cambria has also released new designs in its Marble Collection: Brittanicca Gold, Brittanicca Warm, Ironsbridge, Delgatie, and Highgate. The introduction has enhanced the pre-existing marble palette to include warm neutrals and large-scale veining, creating a luxurious yet comfortable set of options for consumers.

For more information visit


An estate, property on par with locale

Text: R.J. Weick

To the perceptive eye, the nuances in a sense of place can be found in the architectural detailing in a neighborhood, the natural environment, or in the musical and lighting ambiance created in a small corner café. From the sweeping fairways of a golf course molded and formed harmoniously into the land, and the lolling sand dunes blanketing the western shore of the state of Michigan, to the grandeur etched into estate columns, the response each setting evokes in the onlooker—while it can vary from person-to-person—can create an emotional connection.

In the southwestern corner of Michigan, one neighborhood has sought to define itself as a premier residential community surrounded by the natural wilderness and ever-changing sand dunes, an 18-hole championship golf course, and close proximity to the downtown core of Saugatuck. The community, located at the Ravines Golf Club, is built along the nearly 7,100-yard course designed by Arnold Palmer Design Company. A representation of strategic and sustainable design, the Ravines Golf Course was created to be beautiful, fun, and inspiring through the company’s signature hands-on approach and philosophy.

Among the mature trees, wetlands, and bunkers inherent to the back nine, a stately residence comes into view nestled along the approximately 409-yard, par-4 fairway at the 11th hole. Designed and built by John Sexton, the four-bedroom, four-bathroom home is a picture of refined grandeur; front columns reminiscent of neoclassicism complemented by an exterior façade bringing to mind European chateaus and villas. Despite its 14-foot ceilings, the first floor is inviting with its mixture of woods, creamy hues, and vibrant red and gold accents found in the kitchen backsplash, area rugs, walls, and furnishings. Ornate detailing can be seen on the wood furnishings and unexpected elements such as pineapples adorning chandeliers delight the eye.

Ravines3_3468-Palmer-(2-of-42)The residence, along with the nearby 1.34-acre vacant lot on the 11th fairway, is among the two listed properties within the Ravines’ exclusive sponsor: Beacon Sotheby’s International Realty.

“The community is really unique for both properties, because the Ravines community, you are surrounded by the golf course,” said Kelsey Vredeveld, marketing director for Beacon Sotheby’s International Realty. “It is really private and kept really natural in the back. There are a lot of trees and it is exclusive and quiet.”

Beacon Sotheby’s International Realty is a Holland-based boutique firm specializing in luxury real estate services and focused on a relationship-based approach to brokerage. The firm represents luxury homes, vacation homes, waterfront properties, and investment opportunities throughout the West Michigan region from the state border through Grand Haven. Vredeveld noted the team has a great partnership with the neighboring city’s golf club and values the opportunity to represent a home and land with its location.

“You really can’t understand how magnificent this home is—and especially this property with the views of the land—until you are physically there in person,” Vredeveld said. “You can have a true understanding of how remarkable and incredible these homes are, and that is how you are going to see the features and be able to picture yourself in it.”

The grand estate at 3468 Palmer Drive and the property at 6122 Masters Lane are considered within the Ravines community and are also less than five miles from the dining, arts, and shopping scene in downtown Saugatuck. The vintage, small-town atmosphere of Saugatuck and Douglas meets freshwater coastline and a vibrant artisanal community along the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan.

“Not many recognize how amazing Saugatuck really is,” Vredeveld said. “[They can] experience that quality of life Saugatuck is known for and with both of these properties, it is location, location, location.”

To learn more about Beacon Sotheby’s International Realty and its property listings, click here.

To learn more about the Ravines Golf Club, click here.


Nicholas J. White, AIA, LEED AP

Arch_NJWhiteOwner, Principal | N.J. White Associates Architecture & Planning

Petoskey, Michigan

It was nearly four decades ago when Nicholas J. White, AIA, LEED AP, owner and principal at N.J. White Associates Architecture & Planning, decided to establish his own firm in Petoskey, Michigan and create the art he had initially studied when an undergraduate in Ohio.

“I was a Fine Arts Major at Ohio Wesleyan University and my mother said for me to learn a trade,” White said. “I always liked building things and had a pretty good eye for design, which is what took me into fine arts and ultimately decided I wanted to build fine art and become an architect.”

With a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from Ohio Wesleyan University, and previous experience working construction and landscaping, White went on to receive a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Cincinnati before launching his career—and ultimately his own firm. Throughout the years, White worked with Glaser and Myers Architects in Cincinnati, Ohio; John M. Wooden Engineering in Petoskey, Michigan; John R. Johansen Architect in Cheboygan, Michigan; and Daverman Associates in Grand Rapids, Michigan before starting N.J. White Associates Architecture & Planning.

Full text available in our print edition, Great Lakes By Design, Volume 1, Issue 6: Seasonal Ambience available to purchase now or with your subscription.

To learn more about Nicholas visit his site at


Snow kidding: planning next year’s golf outing

Text: Greg Johnson

The snow may have begun to fall, but avid golfers look to the summer months to schedule 2018 great golf outings.

The golf has season just ended, snow is falling, and the clubs have been put away.

However, if you are planning a golf outing for a group of any size—to celebrate a milestone or even impress your boss with entertaining the entire company—it’s time to start working on it, even in December.

For trips, the summer months and prime dates fill up fast at the golf clubs with great reputations for running outings. In fact many outings set their return dates upon completion of successful events, so some days are accounted for already.

Once the dates have been figured out, the golf courses are more than willing to help plan the outing whether it is by online or phone means.

Consider the courses with great reputations, such as: Apple Mountain Golf Club in Freeland, Scott Lake Golf Course in Comstock Park, Buck’s Run Golf Club in Mount Pleasant, The Golf Club at Thornapple Pointe in Grand Rapids, and The Lynx Golf Course in Otsego.

Jim Szilagyi, owner-operator of The Lynx said they will do all they can to help the outing planner get the most comfortable dates. They do around 35 outings a year, but there is room for more.

“Earlier planning makes a world of difference in how the event comes off,” Szilagyi said. “You get the facility you want and the time you want. We are first-come, first-serve, but we know the earlier we have your dates the better we will be in execution of the outing or event. We feel the hallmark of a good outing starts with how soon they contact you. We have the same goals as the customer—to have a great outing.”

Golf outings ebb and flow some with the business economy. Szilagyi believes they remain a great way to have comradery among company employees, vendors and customers.

“It is still a great way to meet somebody, get to know them, spend time with them, enjoy their company, and hopefully want to do it again,” Szilagyi said.

On the golf course facility side of things, Szilagyi said The Lynx will run your outing like it is a major tournament no matter the size.

“Whether it is a group of 12 or 120 [people], we are going to do the best we can to give everybody an equal and great experience. We put names on carts, make scorecards, do a scoreboard, give them a rules sheet, and really try to provide first-class treatment all the way,” Szilagyi said.

“Outings are a timing thing. We make sure people get around the golf course, then we feed people well, and we try to make every event at The Lynx the most important event of the year. We assume it is to that group, and we want them to feel that way when it is over,” Szilagyi added.

Apple Mountain, located to the northeast of Otsego-based The Lynx, provides a list of complimentary services online to help with early organization. These are the things one would not have to plan, such as: cart set-up, bag staff to greet the outing participants, the set-up of the room or pavilion for an event, tee assignments, personalized cart signs, scorecards, rangers to help with golf traffic, computer-generated scoring summaries and result sheets, tee signs, on-course signs, and more.

It might be December, but one can always start planning next year’s outing and have great help with it.

Check out Scott Lake to receive their free outing guide; note that Thornapple Pointe even lists some prices to help you think budget; and Buck’s Run offers testimonials and pictures from past outings on its step-by-step outings tab so one can see what the fun will look like on that special day.

For the best golf outing possible next year, it’s never too early to start planning.





Wayne Visbeen, AIA, IIDA

Arch_WVisbeenOwner, Principal | Visbeen Architects Inc.

Grand Rapids, Michigan | Chicago, Illinois

Wayne Visbeen, AIA, IIDA, owner and founding principal at Visbeen Architects Inc., is passionate about his craft, which shines through in his artful, real-time sketches as he combines his creative vision and technical skill to bring his clients’ dreams to reality.

His dedication to delivering innovative solutions—both visually appealing and functionally efficient—drives him, and he finds inspiration in everything around him, from bridges and buildings to the natural environment.

“I think what has happened in my life is that my vocation has become my vacation: design and development, design and travel, national and international travel. I take it all in to make me better at what I do. I really live and breathe architecture,” Visbeen said.

Full text available in our print edition, Great Lakes By Design, Volume 1, Issue 6: Seasonal Ambience available to purchase now or with your subscription.

To learn more about Wayne visit his site at

Freshwater beacons

Lighthouses constructed on the shoreline of the Great Lakes are built to last.

From a limestone outcropping in middle of Lake Huron to the northern tip of the Leelanau Peninsula along Lake Michigan, iconic structures throughout the Great Lakes have withstood the test of time to continue serving as guiding beacons to mariners and recreational boaters alike.

There are nearly 388 lighthouses constructed along the shorelines of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario; and more than 75 percent of them are still considered active aids to navigation today. While Ontario, Canada takes the prize for having the most lighthouses built along its shore with 133, the state of Michigan has nearly as many with 129, according to the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association.

More than 80 of the historical structures are open to the public to tour, including Two Harbors, Au Sable Point, Copper Harbor, and Whitefish Point in Lake Superior; Thirty Mile Point, Tibbetts Point, and Charlotte-Genessee in Lake Ontario; Ludington Breakwater, Point Betsie, Grand Traverse, and Mission Point in Lake Michigan; Old Mackinac Point, Sturgeon Point, and Charity Island in Lake Huron; and South Bass Island, Marblehead, and Mariners Memorial along Lake Erie and the St. Clair River.

GLBD_LighthouseVLighthouses of the Great Lakes were in large part constructed during the late 19th and early 20th century, and designed with round, pyramidal, skeletal, conical or square/integral light towers, according to the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy.

Big Sable Point, which is located in Ludington, was established in 1867 on a foundation of wood pilings and its existing historic tower was made of brick encased in iron plating for added protection. The conical tower is 112 feet tall and has an attached two-story, keepers quarters building comprised of brick.

The Manistique Breakwater Lighthouse, another inhabitant of the Lake Michigan coastline, was built on a concrete pier in the Upper Peninsula in 1917. The 35-foot historic tower was constructed out of steel in the shape of a square pyramidal.

Both Whitefish Point and South Fox Island were designed with a steel skeletal framework to support their lights; while Holland’s “Big Red” lighthouse is considered square or integral shaped, since the 32 foot-tower was built into a twin-gable, two-story brick keepers quarters building.

A few of the surviving resident lighthouses now operate as bed and breakfast inns, such as the 1896-established Big Bay Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast in Marquette, Michigan along Lake Superior. The two-story, red brick, duplex-style building, along with the 65-foot square tower light was converted into a bed and breakfast in the 1980s. The facility now features seven guest rooms and private baths, a living room, library, and a sauna for guests.

Other lighthouses, such as Charity Island provide a dinner cruise experience for the public. Although the brick, conical light tower and its two-story duplex style house fell into disrepair in the mid-20th century, the 1857 Charity Island Lighthouse now welcomes visitors by boat ride to its new structure from both Browns Landing at 1187 Dyer Road in Tawas and Caseville Municipal Harbor at 6632 Main St. in Caseville, Michigan.

The 1857 Island Lighthouse Dining Adventure Cruise begins May 28 and runs every weekend through the second Saturday in October. Visitors are treated to an hour boat ride out into Lake Huron to Charity Island, and a dinner of yellow perch or fire-seared medium rare tenderloin steak tips while sipping locally crafted Michigan wine at the new five-bedroom, two-story home.

In recent years the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, a non-profit organization established in 1983, successfully restored the 1873 St. Helena Island light station and then began working to restore the 1880 Cheboygan River Front Range Lighthouse.

Restoration for the project ranges from rebuilding the lantern and gallery, stabilization initiatives to the foundation, and renovation to the interior and grounds. The restoration of the lighthouse and grounds is estimated to cost nearly $300,000.     GLBD

The grand destination in northern Michigan

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa pampers guests with the whole vacation package. 

The 17-story glass Tower at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa has become an iconic image set against a backdrop of 900 acres of sprawling greens, wooded trails, and the shimmer of sunlight dancing upon the East Grand Traverse Bay on the northwestern horizon.

Much like the nature of glass used to adorn the façade of the Tower, Grand Traverse Resort & Spa’s interior is designed to reflect its natural surroundings in northern Michigan. Upon first entering the expansive resort lobby, guests are greeted by warm, soft hues of sandalwood and stone accents that create a luxurious, yet soothing milieu closely tied with its environment.

Steve Timmer, director of marketing at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, said the design takes elements of the natural environment surrounding the resort, especially in the Tower, which was renovated last year.

“It is not stiff, it is not cold, it is not too upscale: it is relaxed luxury,” said Timmer. “The end tables in the Tower rooms reflect the look of a Petoskey stone; there are a lot of blues signifying the water; a lot of sand and silver colors; it is very much trying to tie in and connect with the natural environment of this area.”

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa offers nearly 600 guest rooms among its Tower, Hotel, and Resort Condominium accommodations. Rooms in the six-story attached Hotel are rich with burnished and beige colors; while options in the Tower have added accents of deep freshwater blue couches and pillows. Condominiums along the fairways and at The Shores near the East Grand Traverse Bay have varying interior decoration since they are privately owned.

SVKmp_Sunset-FamilyWhile Grand Traverse Resort & Spa’s accommodations cater to guests traveling both on business or n vacation, what completes the full-scale resort’s package is the ability to offer additional amenities such as: 86,500 square-feet of meeting space; a 7,000-square-foot Spa Grand Traverse; five restaurants and lounges; a complete gallery of shops onsite; three championship golf courses; a private beach club on Lake Michigan; four indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs; a 100,000-square-foot Health Club; and a 24-hour service for pets located on the resort grounds.

“What sets us apart in the end is having everything that we have both here on property and in the region in one complete package; meaning you have a full-scale, one of the largest resorts in the Midwest with three golf courses, a spa, shopping, and restaurants, yet you have downtown Traverse City seven miles away,” said Timmer.

“You have freshwater beaches literally across the street as part of our property; you have wooded hiking trails and mountain biking trails; and then the last big component is travel. Traverse City airport is 10 minutes away. You put all of that together and it is really a complete package. It is hard to find other resorts can offer all of that,” added Timmer.

Dining options located onsite at the resort range in both cuisine and setting from its Sweetwater American Bistro, and Jack’s Sport Bar, to The Grille overlooking The Bear golf course, and the Aerie Restaurant & Lounge located on the 16th floor of the Tower.

Aerie Restaurant & Lounge combines a romantic atmosphere with eclectic cuisine boasting of flavor sourced from locally-grown produce. Its dinner menu offers appetizers such as tuna au poivre and artisanal cheeses, and entrees ranging from seared sea bass, and soy glazed tempura fried tofu, to a rack of lamb with parmesan risotto, fried garbanzo beans, and garlic chips. Aerie also offers local and international wines, micro-brews, signature martinis and cocktails, and fresh desserts.

“Our signature restaurant is Aerie Restaurant located on the top of the Tower and it is going to ‘wow’ you between the food, the service, and the view,” said Timmer. “You are going to get panoramic views of East Grand Traverse Bay, the countryside, orchards, and our golf courses. It is pretty special and has very well-handcrafted cuisine.”

Although golf has always been a large part of Grand Traverse Resort & Spa’s operations, with The Bear, The Wolverine, and Spruce Run; Timmer said the game of golf has changed during the last two decades and now the Spa Grand Traverse has become one of the resort’s most popular amenities. Spa Grand Traverse offers a number of services and treatments from facials, nail care, waxing, massage and body care, to makeup, Novalash Eyelash extensions, and hair artistry.

“It has been growing every year,” said Timmer in reference to the spa. “In the 80s and early 90s golf was a pretty normal part of a business retreat and popular pastime. It is still popular and we do a lot of golf, but the climate has changed a little. A majority of people are going to want to pursue and explore other things.”

Timmer indicated regional charms such as wineries, the vibrant downtown Traverse City, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are some of the top popular off-property attractions for guests. Between Old Mission Peninsula and Leelanau Peninsula alone, there are more than 30 local vineyard and wineries beckoning travelers to their tasting room counter to savor their artisan wares.

“Wineries are our number one attraction. People come here, they stay here, but then we take them on a wine tour or they go around on their own and taste wine around the region,” said Timmer.

The Grand Traverse Resort & Spa has its own longstanding history in the northern Michigan region, with its roots tracing back to the early 1980s as a Hilton Hotel and a single golf course. When the resort opened its doors for the first time to the 17-story Tower in 1986 after the addition of The Bear golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, it took one step closer to becoming the vacation destination it is known as today.     GLBD

Visit Grand Traverse Resort & Spa

Inspirational and powerful interior spaces

A Grand Rapids- based firm infuses workspaces with innovation and energy through interior design.

“At the core of our brand and our story is the idea that great environments are good for organizations,” said Natalia Connelly, director of branding at Custer Inc., as she sat on a lemon-lime and speckled gray couch in the full-service firm’s showroom in downtown Grand Rapids.

“We really believe that a great environment can empower you to do your best work and so it is our hope to do just that: to create great environments and to understand our customers’ needs so that we can meet them,” continued Connelly.

Custer Inc. specializes in designing and developing inspiring interior work spaces that not only improve employee engagement and organizational performance, but also enhance workplace wellbeing. To emphasize the firm’s capabilities for its clients, Custer renovated its entire first floor showroom last year to create an environment that invokes a sense of tranquility, yet still fosters productivity.

Known as Custer’s “living room,” one of the spaces on the first-floor incorporates a trellis and planter, light and gray chevron-like patterned carpet floor, a set of Emu Re-trouvé poufs with a spiraled design reminiscent of the 1950s, and large windows set in brick walls flooding the area with natural lighting.

Connelly said while the first words that come to mind to describe the space are “beautiful and inspiring,” she noted it doesn’t quite capture the essence of it.

“I’d say this specific  environment is craftsman comfort. We call it our living room, because we really want to invoke a feeling of home,” said Connelly. “When you come in here, we want it to feel like we are hosting you and as guests of ours, you feel at home.”

The interior design and layout of Custer’s first floor showroom also embraces a recent trend for work spaces: the melding of the third place into the workplace. With the growth of mobile technology and amount of employees working remotely in places such as at coffee shops and at home, Connelly said the balance of energy and relaxation from community spaces is being incorporated back into the work environment.

SVPmp_Custer300px“At Custer we have our living room. It is like a home environment meets a coffee shop, but the advantage of this third place being incorporated into this workspace is that you are not in a rickety chair, and you are not in an uncomfortable setting,” said Connelly. “You have the advantage of the energy and that buzz of a third place, but with all of the supportive products to keep you productive.”

Custer specializes in providing interior design and renovation solutions to customers in four vertical markets, including large-scale corporate clients, small business entrepreneurs, healthcare, and the educational sectors. The firm not only has experience working with clients to select interior furnishings and finishes, artwork, workplace accessories, and plans spaces to optimize workflow; but also creating custom architectural pieces, flooring, interior build-outs, and integrating communications technology with workplace architecture.

“Depending on our customers’ needs, we really can provide them everything in interior renovation. We are proud to say really no one else in West Michigan can provide everything from concept to close-out, from design all the way to the unveiling,” said Connelly. “Beyond that, we can also provide support services as well. We can provide facility management to make sure that once completed, your space remains beautiful and exceptional.”

Custer originally began as Custer Office Environments when David Custer a fellow Steelcase employee purchased a failing Steelcase dealership in 1981. During the next three decades the firm has expanded its capabilities with additional services, products, and staff from a foundation of selling office furniture with about 17 employees.

“We still offer furniture, but really at the core of what we do and at the core of what we provide is a full-service solution to our customers,” said Connelly.

When working with clients to create an interior design that meets the type of work they do and the specific needs associated with it, Connelly said in many cases asking the right questions goes hand-in-hand with showing what options are available to them.

“Often times our customers don’t know what needs they may have until they see the kinds of products or services that could meet them,” said Connelly. “On the one hand we like to ask what our customers feel they need and on the other hand we like to tour them in our space and the spaces of our partners in the area to show how their needs could be met and to widen that realm of possibilities.”

Connelly said clients may not realize how technology integrated into collaborative spaces could impact employee engagement, or how standing height or adjustable height desks can boost productivity until they experience it.

One of the innovative products Custer offers through Steelcase is the NeoCon award-winning Brody WorkLounge, which not only incorporates patented LiveLumbar technology, but also an adjustable work surface and a privacy shield. The integration of furniture, technology, and architecture is another recent trend in work space design, and one that will only continue, according to Connelly.

“Brody comes from it being good for your body and your brain, because you are in an engaged lounge setting,” said Connelly. “It is the best of all of these worlds where you have the technology you need, you have the support in the furniture, and then you have this pseudo-private mini room too.”

Serving clients and creating innovative and supportive interior design is part of Custer’s mission, and it is a notion guests can resonate with from the first moment they walk into the firm’s living room.     GLBD

Visit Custer Inc.

Handcrafted: from grain to glass

The team at a Holland, Michigan distillery has a passion for building fine quality spirits from local ingredients.

At Coppercraft Distillery creating premium small-batch spirits and signature cocktails is truly a work of art, from grains to glass.

Long before a classically-inspired cocktail is poured into a chilled glass over a repurposed wood counter, the team at Coppercraft Distillery has put careful time and consideration into every step of the process.

From the selection of locally-sourced ingredients of wheat, corn, and rye from Zeeland-based Boersen Farms; to allowing the mash to distill and mature over time in a copper still; Coppercraft Distillery’s team has a passion to create spirits with robust flavor and character.

Kim Catton, co-founder and sales director at Coppercraft, said distilling is truly a craft and the cocktails use simple ingredients that don’t hide the true essence of the spirit.

“Some of it is taking the classic recipes and putting a little bit of a twist on it based on what is going on in the agriculture and food scene,” said Catton in reference to the inspiration behind the signature drinks.

GLBD_CoppercraftV_0715Coppercraft Distillery was founded by the husband-and-wife team of Walter and Kim Catton back in 2012 in the former Belden Brick and Supply Company facility at 184 120th Ave. in Holland, Michigan. While the distillery began production in 2013 with a focus on aged products such as corn, high wheat, and rye malt whiskey; Coppercraft now produces traditional spirits as well including the small-batch Genever, rum, gin, vodka, citrus vodka, and an applejack brandy that drinks like a whiskey.

Coppercraft’s gin was created with approximately 13 different herbs such as juniper, orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pine; and its citrus flavored vodka brings hints of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit to the palate; while the award-winning rye malt whiskey has notes of dried cocoa and peppercorn.

Once it is ready to be tasted and savored, Coppercraft focuses on adding its own twist to beverages and bring out different flavors that are complementary to the base spirit. Not only does the distillery make its own ginger beer, bitters, and vermouth in-house, but also uses fresh fruit and locally-grown herbs to make the drink unique.

“I would have to say my personal favorite is the Manhattan mainly because the rye malt is excellent, the home-made vermouth, and the Michigan cherries are pitted on-site, cooked down in an applejack-rum concoction, and aged ourselves,” said Catton. “It truly brings in the full flavors and the essence of what we do there.”

One of Coppercraft’s more popular cocktails with guests is known as Dunegrass, which adds Lemongrass simple syrup, half a slice of an orange peel, and lemon juice to citrus-flavored vodka. The cocktail is then garnished with a lemon peel, culminating in a refreshing and sweet citrus-inspired drink.

Another unique recipe combines bourbon, port, and coffee liqueur with simple syrup, a whole egg, and a coffee bean garnish to create the smooth Whiskey In The Morning cocktail.

“We will highlight a lot of our applejack as we come into the fall season, and the fruits and flavors throughout the year that inspire the cocktails we showcase,” said Catton.

For the third consecutive year, Coppercraft showcased one of its products during the Tulip Time Festival in Holland as the official spirit. This year the distillery had selected its rum, which incorporates nearly 30 percent of evaporated cane juice, according to Catton.

“We invited 13 different establishments to come up with the Copper Blossom themselves that fits with their atmosphere, their food, and their bars that use Coppercraft Rum,” said Catton.

The Copper Blossom, the official 2016 Tulip Time Cocktail, was crafted by Coppercraft’s resident mixologist Forrest Dodson, who was inspired by the thought of warmer weather on a wintry Michigan day. The recipe blends rum, orange juice, falernum, and house bitters before being topped with in-house ginger beer and garnished with an orange peel.

While sipping on handcrafted cocktails in a tasting room accented with re-purposed wood and caramel-colored metal chairs, visitors have a perfect view of the distillery’s 350 gallon-Vendome copper finishing still and the larger 800 gallon stripping still in an industrial, yet intimate copper-hued ambiance.

As with every decision made during the distillation and mixology process, the aesthetic design, copper roof entrance, and layout of the building was done with careful consideration to form a handcrafted Coppercraft experience for patrons.     GLBD

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