If you’ve followed House Crazy Sarah for a while, you know she is an enthusiastic fan of the Mushroom Houses of Charlevoix, Michigan.
The Mushroom Houses are a cluster of oddly shaped stone homes with wavy roofs that look like both stubby fungi and whimsical fairytale cottages.
The man responsible was Earl Young – an eccentric builder who made the charming town of Charlevoix in Northern Michigan his home, and, the testing ground for his unorthodox creations.
Earl’s building materials of choice were huge boulders that he found along the shores of nearby Lake Michigan, and thatching or cedar shake for roofs so that he could make them undulate like the water.
House Crazy Sarah recently posted about Earl’s famous Thatch House which is currently for sale and she decided to revisit the place on a weekend road trip to Charlevoix.
House Crazy Sarah has been Mushroom House hunting in Charlevoix before but it had been almost a decade since she was last there, so it was time to reacquaint herself with Earl Young’s handiwork.
It should be noted that the Thatch House (pictured above and below) looks much different than when Earl Young originally built it.
The Thatch House has been dramatically “reimagined” by the current owners.
They took Earl Young’s signature building materials (large stones, heavy timbers, and thatched roofing) and made a palatial, polished, fairytale mansion out of the skeleton of Earl’s first crude attempt at construction.
When House Crazy Sarah was in front of the Thatch House, a pizza delivery guy went to the front door. Lucky guy got a peek inside!
But there are lots of interior photos of this house and every other Mushroom house on the interwebs.
The other major downside of living in an Earl Young house is that you constantly have house-peeping tourists crawling all over your property.
Of course, House Crazy Sarah was posing with the best of them!
But she tried to be respectful because after all, she hopes to someday live in an Earl Young house!
No two of Earl Young’s house designs are the same.
They each have their own distinct personality and structure.
Boulder Manor is a little further south in Charlevoix in an area that Young wanted to develop called Boulder Park.
Although Young started work on Boulder Manor in 1928, he actually lost the home to foreclosure when the Great Depression hit before the structure was even finished. It sat as a shell for two decades until Earl made enough money building other smaller houses to buy it back and finish it in the 1940’s. You can read more about Boulder Manor here.
Another great thing about Earl’s houses is that he chose beautiful lots on which to build them, like this waterfront home below:
Earl Young not only designed and built houses, he also did some commercial work as well. His lovely and unusual Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant in Charlevoix is right beside the famed drawbridge.
House Crazy Sarah posted on this fabulous restaurant back when she first started this little blog. You can read more about the Weathervane Restaurant here.
The focal point of the Weathervane is the GINORMOUS boulder fireplace…
The bulky stones were like Earl Young’s signature on his masterpieces.
Anything that Earl Young ever touched is now worth beaucoup bucks.
So maybe House Crazy Sarah won’t ever be able to afford one of the amazing Mushroom Houses of Charlevoix, but perhaps someday she can be a Mushroom House tour guide!
That would be her dream job!