The Piney Woods School – President’s Home

Buchanan, Michigan


Dr. Laurence C. Jones founded the Piney Woods School to provide education and life guidance to his students. He was an educator, mentor, and father figure. His home formerly served as the schoolhouse and later continued to welcome students, benefactors, and the community, even as other buildings were constructed. The Eckenhoff Saunders-designed residence, while more formal than the original log under a shady tree and more substantial than the subsequent cabin, will continue to serve in this manner. It is designed to be a “working house” and a peaceful retreat with institutional stature.

The home features a gracious entry and a great room suitable for school functions. It has movable walls offering flexibility, the ability to close off the family’s private areas from the public, and guest rooms with private bathrooms for visitors. The residence overlooks Clear Lake and directly views the school’s 200-acre farm. This location affords a sense of retreat from the daily activity of the campus necessary for a home. Still, it does so without losing sight of the institutional purpose the house also serves.

The long building shape allows for maximum connection to the outdoors. Ample outdoor space expands the interior spaces for fundraisers, contemplation, and family activities. The covered porches, screened gathering space, terraces, balconies, and landscaped grounds provide the opportunity to connect the family and visitors with Piney Woods.