Colvins Create Cabin Fever

November 16, 2007
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SAUGATUCK — Pete and Deborah Colvin call their latest development a “civilized return to nature.”

They also call Kingfisher Cove an unmitigated success. And it’s their second one.

Kingfisher Cove is located on GoshornLake, a few miles northeast of Saugatuck near I-196 and the

Blue Star Highway
. The development has plans for 29 cedar cabins that offer three bedrooms, two baths, loft rooms, laundry rooms, cathedral ceilings, stone fireplaces, screened porches, energy-efficient appliances and full city services. Each cabin is 1,850 square feet, each has a 466-square-foot porch, and each is being sold as a vacation home.

But as the Colvins pointed out in a recent interview with the Business Journal, Kingfisher Cove isn’t only about living in a log vacation home.

When they designed and built the houses, a process that took them 18 months, they didn’t drain the wetlands or clear cut the trees on the 25 acres that surround the spring-fed lake because they wanted to give homeowners a series of winding nature trails to roam. They also added a boardwalk along the lake’s waterfront and a swimming pool for residents to use.

Pete Colvin said the buyers have mostly come from the Detroit and Chicago suburbs, while a few have come from as far away as San Diego and Fort Lauderdale.

“They all use them as their vacation homes. These are year-round, really nice vacation homes,” said Colvin, who helps Dick Waskin in the Saugatuck RE/MAX office sell the homes, while his wife, Deborah, designed the cabins, oversaw the construction, and now manages the properties.

The development came about because the Colvins enjoy lakefront living and the area around Saugatuck. They searched for property and found most of the price tags too high until they came across the acreage on GoshornLake.

“We wanted a cabin, and we thought that there were a lot of people that would also like a second home they could come to, but with everything taken care of so they wouldn’t have to mow the lawn, shovel the driveway and so on,” said Deborah Colvin.

“We started out trying to create something that reminded us of the Adirondacks, where people would bring their children and their children’s children.”

They first bought eight acres on GoshornLake and built 18 cabins in their first development called Hidden Dunes, and they sold each one. So they then acquired 17 more acres for Kingfisher Cove and received clearance to add another 29 log homes. They’ve built 17 of those cabins and have sold 11 so far. They hope to pre-sell and build the remaining dozen this winter.

“These are $450,000 homes that can be bought for $319,900,” said Pete Colvin. The Colvins said they can offer potential buyers a 29 percent discount on the purchase price because they’re putting up all the homes at once and getting volume savings on the cost of cedar and other building materials. They also get lower bids from contractors because these firms will be building more than a single home.

“It’s real efficient. Then by spreading the costs out among 29 homeowners, it gets to be really inexpensive to maintain a home,” he said, adding that they maintain the grounds and residences for the owners.

“We’re building rustic luxury and no one else is doing that. It’s a managed community.”

The Colvins said financing the purchases hasn’t been a problem during the mortgage fiasco as none of the homeowners has been turned down. They’re offering new buyers interest-free seller’s financing through May on the six cabins that are built and ready to be occupied.

“There seems to be a real need for people from the city. They really love to just get away, and we provide something unique,” said Deborah Colvin.

Once the Colvins complete Kingfisher Cove, they said they’ll start a third development in South Haven. They’ve already named it Cabins on the Pond.

“It’s been so much fun to watch these families come here. They love it. They go inside and it’s all wood — all so natural, just beautiful natural materials,” said Deborah. “They’ve told us that they’re spending much more time together than they ever would have at home.”

In addition to selling the homes outright, the Colvins are also selling quarter shares in the cabins. Their asking price is $99,900, and buyers get a cabin for a week every month, which works out to be 13 weeks a year. More information on the quarter-share program and Kingfisher Cove is available at loghomevillages.com.

“People are buying a cabin for their family, putting it into a trust and giving their children and grandchildren weeks. We put the calendar together and we manage the cabin — clean it and maintain it,” said Pete Colvin. “So none of the kids argue about it like normally happens when they share a family cabin. So it’s like the perfect family estate plan.”   

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