Posted by: bschutzgruber | November 10, 2013

Riverbend – rustic beginnings

Working out of my house is a good news/bad news sort of thing.  The good news… I don’t have to pay extra rent for studio space.  The bad news… it’s not always easy to shut out the distractions of everyday life.

5 years ago this month, I was able to purchase 5 acres of beautiful undeveloped central Michigan woodland on the Tittabawassee River.  This was my chance to have a place away from distractions – where I could go to be inspired, to rejuvenate and recharge the ‘creative batteries’.

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Library - 5882 Library - 5883

Now when I say undeveloped…. I mean undeveloped.  Nothing there but the trees, river, wetlands, and all the critters (large & small) that go with it.  My dream of having a ‘retreat from the world studio space’ was not going to happen over night!

Year 1 (2009)
Putting in a 700 ft lane to get from the main road back to the ridge that over looks the river meant crossing the protected wetlands in the middle of the acreage and involved working with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.  It took nearly 700 cubic yards of sand and gravel to build up the road and 3 culverts (1 of which is 2ft in diameter!) to keep the natural drainage of the wetlands.
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Year 2 (2010)
I purchased a 1970 Airstream trailer to have a living space that is a step up from rustic tent camping.

Years 3 & 4 (2011-2012)
Improved the path down the steep ridge to the river, built a small deck for sitting and dock.

river deck and boardwalk  dock

Year 5 (2013)
Every time I go up to Riverbend I am filled with a sense of peace and tranquility.

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Library - 5885  Library - 5889

Deer, raccoons, porcupines, garter snakes, geese, grouse, and turkeys are just a few of the critters that stop by on a regular basis.  Staying in the Airstream works OK for kitchen and common space but it’s a pain to keep pulling out the couch for sleeping, there’s no space for a travel loom, and more importantly… the plumbing is shot.  Building a ‘real’ house with electricity, a well, and a septic field is not in my future financially but luckily, I am married to an engineer who is fascinated with the challenge of building a small studio space ‘off the grid and environmentally sound & sustainable’.

And so the next phase of this adventure begins…..


  1. Lovely, thanks

    Sent from my iPad


  2. It is all so beautiful!

  3. so enjoying watching the project take shape!

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