Bringing Honor & Folly to Northern Michigan — a place that has become a hugely important, soul-enriching part of our lives since moving to Detroit (see here, here, and here) — has been a torturously long and drawn-out process spanning several years and involving an unhealthy relationship with Realtor.com. We were entangled with an old farmhouse near Lake Michigan for more than a year, but in the end, it didn’t work out for various reasons, none of which I still fully understand (people are crazy when it comes to real estate). A few weeks ago I drove by, and the massive stone barn, where I envisioned a roster of dyeing, weaving, knitting and cooking workshops, is starting to fall down. We’ve walked through countless botched rehabs, re-imagined crumbling old Victorians with no wiring and moldy walls, and found disappointment in airless, overpriced lakeside cottages that smell like cat pee. On more than several occasions we didn’t even get out of the car after pulling up to a house (overlooking a subdivision/situated next to a junkyard/fill in the blank) that looked positively charming on the internet.
But — cliche alert — it was worth the wait to get it just right. Honor & Folly’s new Leelanau Peninsula outpost is a 1900s farmhouse situated on 20 acres with two barns and a trim little guest house, clad in metal and lined with cedar. I am still bowled over by how lucky we are. I drove 10 hours in one day last summer — there and back with the baby in the backseat — the day after it came on the market, and as soon as I pulled up the long driveway, flanked by a cherry orchard, my heart was beating out of my chest. Aside from one cycle of short-term renters, the farmhouse hasn’t been lived in for 20 years, which means: No tacky 90s rehab! It still needs quite a bit of work, but the bones are rock solid and the important details are refreshingly simple and Shaker-like. And you already know how I feel about the Shakers.
Outside, there are apple and cherry trees, wild carrots and asparagus, and a tangle of untamed landscaping that’s been shaped by two decades of natural elements. Inside, any progress so far, including pulling up carpeting to reveal painted wooden floorboards, feels like an unnoticeable swell in a vast ocean of to-do list line items. I’ll dedicate the fall and winter to getting the place ready for reservations for the spring and summer. In the meantime, I promise to keep you updated on all the workshops we’re dreaming up, artist/handicraft residency programs in the making, collaboration opportunities and general farmhouse progress. Currently accepting all ideas.