Michigan Lake House Exterior Design

Meghan G. contacted brick&batten to help with a redesign of her Michigan lake house exterior. This charming home is on an inland lake. Meghan and her family use it as a vacation home and also as a short-term rental property. She knew that not only would an exterior update improve her family’s experiences at the lake — it would also ensure the place is booked out when they’re not using it themselves. But Meghan was intimidated by the project:

“I was overwhelmed and terrified to choose something… I feel like it falls into the category of don’t mess this up.”

That’s why she engaged the experts at brick&batten! Read on for Meghan’s brick&batten experience, including descriptions of a few design revisions. Working through these iterations helped Meghan land on a design she loves!

Whether you’re dreaming of an exterior update but are overwhelmed and terrified like Meghan, or you have some ideas of what you want but are struggling to pull them together, the experts at brick&batten are here to help. We’ll show you your property’s potential with a realistic virtual rendering. Plus, we give you the tools to bring the new design to life. Learn more about our virtual exterior design services.

A dated white lake house with black accents

The Before

Meghan planned to replace her lake home’s siding, roof, sliding doors, and gable windows (changing their slope to match the ceiling indoors vs. the slope of the roof outdoors). Plus, she wanted to extend the deck, making it two levels, with a lower level closer to the lake, on the yard’s downslope. She wrote,

We are drawn to grays and blues and natural wood tones. We particularly like wooden shake and blue siding but are not sure if that is the right choice.

As Meghan explained further on the phone, after she’d completed her update, because it costs so much to re-side a home…

… you want to make sure you like the color to start with. It’s really hard. Even if you put paint on the house, it doesn’t give you an idea… so I just wanted to make sure we weren’t going to botch this one.

Before and after of a cottage-style lake home

The Design

Our team’s first design took into account Meghan’s requested color palette, with a cozy-yet-sophisticated execution. DaVinci Slate Blue shake siding on the main level and Hardie® Panel Vertical Siding in Light Mist on the lower level look lovely in the lush green setting. Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace makes the trim pop. Finally, a gorgeous two-tier deck brings in the warm wood that Meghan had mentioned.

Michigan lake house deck and cladding revision

Meghan worked with our team to refine her design a few times. For the revision above, we changed the color palette a bit. The vertical siding covers the lower level and most of the main level and is rendered in Benjamin Moore’s Shoreline. The shingle siding is limited to the gable area and is in Sherwin Williams’ Software (one of our top Sherwin Williams paint colors of the year). We added a sconce to the home’s gable and some deck skirting beneath the deck’s upper level.

Michigan lake house exterior revision 2

Next, we showed Meghan her home in a slightly different color scheme (above): Benjamin Moore’s Kensington Blue and Sherwin Williams’ Alabaster. We also provided a different deck skirting visualization and used a natural wood trim piece to divide the vertical siding from the shake.

Michigan lake house exterior in Gentleman's Gray

Finally, we landed on a more monochrome color palette for Meghan’s Michigan lake house exterior update. We tried this look with two different paint colors: Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray (above) and Newburg Green (below).

Michigan lake house exterior in Newburg Green

Our team is happy to work with our clients through multiple iterations of their design. We want you to love your design and be excited about bringing it to life!

Michigan lake house exterior actual after from a distance

The Process

Meghan decided to move forward with the Newburg Green color palette, which we love! She mostly worked with a contractor to complete the work:

I showed the deliverable to the contractor. When it came to designing the deck, I showed it to my friend, who put it in CAD for us… my dad did some of the railings.

She ended up using a black railing with vertical wires and a Brazilian walnut decking material that she found in stock.

Overall, the renovations took around 3 months. Meghan was able to rent out their home starting 4th of July weekend — perfect timing for a short-term rental on a lake!

Michigan lake house exterior design completed with siding in Newburg Green

The Actual After

The paint color Meghan selected is distinctive but classy. And her new deck greatly extends the lake home’s livable square footage in the summer. Now there are tons of places to sit and enjoy breezes off the lake!

Meghan notes, “A lot of [our guests] comment on the deck and how we made it beautiful and a great place to spend time.”

Michigan lake house exterior design completed with siding in Newburg Green

A Gorgeous Michigan Lake House Exterior

Meghan told us,

People are like, ‘Oh my gosh, this house is beautiful!’


We agree. Kudos to her and her contractor (and dad and friends!) for bringing this vision to life.

Do you have a lake house in need of an exterior facelift? Or a short-term rental that could use a boost in bookings? Our designers can help you turn your property into something that you AND your guests (whether they pay or they don’t!) will love. All we need from you is a photo (or blueprint) and your answers to a few simple questions. It’s always a good time to begin planning! Get started on your new exterior design today.