Log Homes Illustrated - May 2007
Anyone who relocates from the Chicago suburbs to a small, rural
community in southwestern Michigan has to be a nature lover and a
fan of four seasons. And that is just how Frank and Dottie
Petriko describe themselves, having sold their travel agency and
taken the plunge to move to Dewey Lake after spending summer
vacations there for more than 30 years.
Several years ago, we purchased a lot with a small
cottage and 75 feet of frontage on Dewey Lake," Dottie says.
"As we began discussing our retirement plans, I proposed the idea
to Frank that perhaps we ought to move the cottage and build a log
home. I didn't have to ask him twice."
The couple spent the next year researching log-home
companies. After weighing the pros and cons of full-log and
half-log homes, they decided on the latter, thus narrowing the
field. "One day we were out driving, and I saw a sign that
read, 'If you love log homes, call 1-800-LUVLOGS.' The phone
number turned out to be Expedition Log Homes - one of the companies
we had been considering," Dottie recalls.
Acting on this coincidence, Frank went online to find the
manufacturer's representatives in southwest Michigan and came up
with the name Sal Campagna. Suspecting another coincidence,
Frank phoned Sal and discovered that he was the same person Frank
once worked for in Chicago. The Petrikos made an appointment
with Sal and his wife Denise, who explained about the company and
took them on a tour of homes.
Once Frank and Dottie made the decision, time was of the
essence. They so cherish their summers at Dewey Lake that
they didn't want to miss one day of the season because of
construction. When they insisted that the entire project had
to be completed between Labor Dan and Memorial Day, Sal recommended
Tom Pursley from Pursley construction Company in Paw-Paw,
Michigan. Tom assured the Petrikos that he could meet their
We have to admit that we were fairly clueless about log-home
construction and would only be at the site once a week," Dottie
says. "That is why it was so important for us to have someone
who was knowledgeable and who would solicit our input. Tom
was just the perfect fit."
Dottie relates that many of the subcontractors went above and
beyond to assure the project would be completed on schedule.
For example, Mike Boyer of Lakeside Painting in Paw-Paw took the
knotty pine tongue-and-groove paneling and stained it in his
workshop so there wouldn't be any delays when it was ready to be
Frank and Dottie selected one of Expedition's standard floor
plans but made several modifications to the 2,456 square foot
home. For instance, because they planned to live there well
into their golden years, they situated all of the living space they
would need for themselves on the first floor: the great room,
dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and bath and laundry.
One of the changes was to expand the master bath and divide it so
each would have individual space. Frank's portion also is
available to guests to use as a powder room.
The upper level contains two bedrooms, each with an attached
bath, for the couple's two children, Jennifer and Mark, and their
families, including spouses and grandchildren. They also
added an office space and a place for an entertainment center on
either side of the loft sitting area. "We would have loved to
have a basement," Frank says, "However, because of the close
proximity to the lake and the high water table, this wouldn't have
been possible without raising the house considerably, and we didn't
want high foundation walls. Therefore, we built on a slab
with a 4-foot crawl space."
Although the couple had the existing cottage moved, they
retained the old barn that had been on the property when they
purchased it. Someday they intend to clad the barn with log
siding, but for now they repainted it to match the house and
converted it to an oversized two=car garage with sufficient space
for their snowmobiles.
Tom promised, the Petrikos' log home was completed by Memorial
Day. The new owners kicked off their summer by moving in the
furniture and memorabilia they had acquired over their years
traveling the world together. To achieve the fishing-lodge
look the desired, they added waterfowl artwork, including four
papier-mâché geese they purchased at a going-out-of-business
sale. "Dottie is a former home economics teacher and has
taken several interior design classes," Frank says. "She did
a wonderful job in decorating our new home."
Over the years, Frank and Dottie have made many friends at Dewey
Lake, several of whom followed their example and made their
retirement homes there. The couple enjoys entertaining,
especially hosting theme parties.
When Frank isn't fishing for bigmouth bass, he and Dottie might
spend the day making their own wine or volunteering at a nearby
therapeutic horseback riding school. Here, they lead the
horses or are side walkers for physically and mentally challenged
children and young adults.
Now that Frank and Dottie are able to devote their time to what
they enjoy, they are finding life at Dewey Lake quite
relaxing. In fact, their lot on the quiet cove bears the
legal description of "Sleepy Hollow" - a name that describes how
they feel living there. Perhaps not coincidentally,
Expedition Log Homes replaced the plan that Frank and Dottie
selected with their revised version, naming it the Sleepy
The couple was delighted to learn that Log Homes
Illustrated planned to feature their home but somewhat
surprised. "We thought only the most expensive homes made it
into the magazines," she says. "But our experience proves you
don't have to be a millionaire to have a log home. We found
this has been no more costly then building a traditional brick
She adds: "We love the earthiness of a log home.
This truly is our dream home."