A journey of solace and art inspires local entrepreneur’s new business, Lake House

For Blue Water Area resident and artist Rachael Johnsick, one of her most cherished pastimes has been her daily walks along the shores of Lake Huron. She reflects fondly on the moments spent combing the shoreline for beach glass and driftwood, a passion Johnsick says was ignited by her late mother.

Earlier this year, this hobby blossomed into a new venture for Johnsick with the opening of her new storefront, Lake House, showcasing unique artwork and home décor.

A display at Lake House in Fort Gratiot features a variety of beach-themed creations.
Located on Pine Grove Avenue in Fort Gratiot, Lake House is home to a variety of local artists’ creations including one-of-a-kind artworks made from Johnsick’s personal collection of sea glass, driftwood, and barn wood.

“Everything in the place just jives together,” she says.

Previously, Johnsick worked as a corrections deputy and service protection officer before transitioning to self-employed work that offered more flexibility at the time to take care of her two sons, Jake and Sam, who are now adults.

In her spare time, Johnsick says she found solace in putting her creative talents to work and began using her beach-found treasures to make personalized gifts for friends and family.

“I’ve been collecting jugs and jugs of this beach glass of every color for over 20 years, long before people knew anything about it or it ever became popular,” she says. “The boys were now out of the house and I had accumulated so much that I had to start making things.”

She says her friends encouraged her to make a go of it and open up a shop filled with her own unique artwork. On April 1, 2023, she did just that. However, only a few days following the grand opening of Lake House, Johnsick’s mother had a stroke.

Johnsick says she suddenly found herself having to navigate care, and eventually end-of-life decisions for her mother, so Lake House was closed in July and reopened in September after her mother’s passing.

Johnsick says she is thankful to have also gotten to know more people in the Fort Gratiot community through Lake House, fostering new friendships, and providing her with the space to begin healing from the loss of her mother.

Looking toward the future, she says she hopes to expand upon her business in the coming year and incorporate an ice cream shop into Lake House’s offerings.

“It has been the most difficult year of my life, but the community response has been incredible,” Johnsick says.

For more information or to stay up-to-date about new products, visit Lake House at facebook.com/profile.php?id=100082967223194.
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Read more articles by Rita MacDonald.

Rita MacDonald is a U.S. Army veteran and a full-time registered nurse who claims that her Irish and Scottish heritage is the reason for her love of storytelling. She is the mother of two adult sons, “Gummy” to her three grandchildren, loves talking with anyone who will engage in a conversation, and “eats life with a shovel!” In addition to her work with The Keel, Rita is a contributor for the Thumbprint News, an author of three books, and writes a blog at kitchentabledevotions.com.