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After 20 years of living in the Michigan woods, Larry and Candi Edwards moved into the sunshine. Their new home on 25 acres of meadow near Gaylord is flooded with light and expansive views of the rolling fields around it - a picture that changes with the seasons. Yet, as open as the setting is, the two-story house with its tan stucco exterior feels confident and organic, a fitting presence on the landscape.
Get close and the home's rich details come into focus: sweeping rooflines, flying gables, shakes painted in a soft shade of teal, cedar trim and fascia, pine beadboard soffits, curved eave brackets and copper gutters. Together, they echo the early 20th-century Mission and bungalow styles that Gaylord architect Todd Seidell incorporated into the design to make the new home appear old - just as his clients wished.
The Edwardses' clear vision throughout the design process is perhaps no surprise, given that the couple has owned and operated the home decor store The Old Spud Warehouse in Gaylord for 10 years. Even so, the couple credit their inspiration to a particular book they carry in their store: Creating the Not So Big House (Taunton Press) by Sarah Susanka. Like Susanka's other books, Creating the Not So Big House stresses quality over quantity and size in a home.
Their vision started with the contruction materials chosen for strength and energy efficiency. The house is constructed with insulating concrete forms (ICF). These stay-in-place Styrofoam forms allowed the mason, Ron Lackey of Gaylord, to cast in-place reinforced concrete walls that are highly wind resistant, strong and virtually maintenance-free. The type of construction tends to add about 17 percent of the base price to the final cost of the home, but eventually the added expense is offset by savings in heating and cooling. Though ICF homes do not typically feature large windows, architect Todd Seidell added hidden steel beams and structural supports to the design to accommodate the many insulated Andersen windows that open onto pastoral views.