TRAVERSE CITY — History, imagination and the rural lifestyle come together in northern Michigan’s barn-inspired homes and cottages.

Artist, musician and antique lover Lynn Sutton found her barn bliss in the little Leelanau County village of Omena 43 summers ago. Her find stood behind the historic community’s original general store dating to 1899. By 1977 the first store merchant’s niece, Janet Barth, owned the building.

“She charged us $100 for the barn,” Sutton said. “It included a dead possum and barrels of leftovers from the general store.”

The barn featured doors on both ends so the horses could get out. Cows and chickens also made their home there, she said.

Sutton’s husband pastored a church in Northport at the time, but not wanting to live in the parsonage, Sutton set her sights on creating the family nest. And it had to be on less than a shoestring.

She hired local carpenter Tom Mastick to help deconstruct and rebuild the structure on Omena Point, dangerous and fascinating work, she recalled.

“Tom and I took the barn down and hauled it board by board and beam by beam with each piece numbered.

“When the building inspector came out, he was amazed. I don’t think they would let us get away with it today,” she said.

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