Mid­west­ern Mas­ter­piece

Log Home Living - - 2018 ANNUAL BUYER'S GUIDE - story by Jan­ice Brew­ster pho­tog­ra­phy by Joseph Hilliard

A lake­front plot in Amer­ica’s heart­land pro­vides the ideal back­drop for a re­mark­able log home re­treat.

A lake­front plot in Amer­ica’s heart­land pro­vides the ideal back­drop for a re­mark­able log home re­treat.

Don Michael­head na start had when anda it came to build­ing their legacy home. With a gen­er­ous tract of wooded land that had been in Donna’s fam­ily, the cou­ple had the per­fect spot to make their dream of a lake­side log home come true.

“We al­ways had a vi­sion of a log home there,” Donna says. With a fam­ily that in­cludes two grown sons and crowds of rel­a­tives, friends and busi­ness as­so­ci­ates to en­ter­tain, the cou­ple knew that the small fish­ing cabin that was on the site would have to be re­placed. “We needed a big­ger place,” Donna says.

Donna and Michael be­gan search­ing for a log home com­pany to pro­duce a rus­tic-yetel­e­gant home they could en­joy with their fam­ily now and even­tu­ally pass on to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. Af­ter dis­cov­er­ing Wis­con­sin Log Homes, the cou­ple made the trip to Green Bay to see the com­pany’s work in per­son and meet the staff. “We had great rap­port, and we fell in love with the prod­uct,” Donna says.

That prod­uct is an in­su­lated log wall sys­tem that Wis­con­sin Log Homes pi­o­neered. Ev­ery ex­te­rior wall is framed with a 6-inchthick in­su­lated core that can be faced with half logs in­side and out. This sys­tem cre­ates the com­pany’s air-tight and draft-free homes. The cou­ple chose a 12-inch-round half-log pro­file for the home’s ex­te­rior and a mix of logs and

dry­wall for the in­te­rior walls. Con­ven­tion­ally framed walls make it easy to wire the home for sound and a se­cu­rity sys­tem, hang art and in­stall wall-mounted tele­vi­sions.

Plus, the in­su­lated log build­ing sys­tem al­lows for large ex­panses of glass, like the soar­ing two-story wall of win­dows that over­looks the lake.

To turn their ideas into solid, build­able plans, Donna and Michael worked with Nate Janczak. Af­ter lis­ten­ing to the cou­ple’s per­sonal needs and wants for this home, Nate and his de­sign team at Wis­con­sin Log Homes cre- ated a one-of-a-kind home that would cater to Donna and Michael’s life­style and suit their unique prop­erty.

Fol­low­ing a rec­om­men­da­tion from Wis­con­sin Log Homes, the cou­ple hired Dave Lipovsky of Lipovsky Build­ing Com­pany in Harrison, Michi­gan, to build the house. He and his crew made the daily hour-long trek to the site for the en­tire con­struc­tion process.

With their team in place, Donna and Michael’s plans cen­tered on match­ing the home’s el­e­ments — from the fire­place to the front door — to its large scale. “The home was pur­posely de­signed to be tall,” Nate says. “It takes ad­van­tage of the views.” In fact, you can see the lake from al­most ev­ery room in the home. Most im­por­tant for Donna, the kitchen, with its over­sized is­land that seats 12, has a view of both the great room and the lake.

Donna’s over­ar­ch­ing vi­sion was to cre­ate a home with rus­tic el­e­gance; a look epit­o­mized by the dis­tressed-leather sec­tional so­fas around the fire­place and the aged wood-and-iron chan­de­lier that hangs above the din­ing room ta­ble. “It’s not coun­try. It’s up­scale with­out be­ing pre­ten­tious,” she says. “It has a lit­tle bit

of Western style, but I didn’t want it to be kitschy or clichŽ.”

To be­gin out­fit­ting the five-bed­room home, Donna and Michael part­nered with Wis­con­sin Log Homes’ in­te­rior de­signer Cassie Chris­tian­son to choose the re­treat’s fin­ishes. Knotty alder cab­i­netry is used through­out the 4 1/2 baths, two laun­dry rooms and kitchen. A con­sis­tent color scheme and uni­form floor­ing choices give the 6,000-square­foot home an even flow.

The cladding for the fire­place, a man­u­fac­tured stone that fea­tures over­sized rocks, set the tone for the color scheme. From there, Donna worked with a lo­cal in­te­rior de­signer to help her choose fur­nish­ings, decor and light­ing.

The two trav­eled to the Dal­las fur­ni­ture mar­ket to spend sev­eral days choos­ing just the right pieces for each room. There they were able to see and touch the items, and make sure each piece would fit the scale of the home. In such a large in­te­rior, big­ger was al­ways bet­ter. The fur­ni­ture pieces are over­sized to suit the scale of the struc­ture. The din­ing ta­ble, for ex­am­ple, stretches to seat 18.

To match Donna’s aes­thetic, they looked for pieces that com­bined aged pati­nas with pol­ished el­e­ments. Worn-look­ing leather and dis­tressed wood mixes with re­fined pieces, while some of the more tai­lored items have a slightly rus­tic edge.

As beau­ti­ful as the home is in­side, the fam­ily spends most of their time en­joy­ing the out­doors. They’ve cut miles of trails through the woods for run­ning or walk­ing the fam­ily dogs. Michael and the boys hunt for deer or turkey on the prop­erty. In warm weather, they swim in the lake or mo­tor around on their elec­tric pon­toon boats. Fish­ing is an­other

fa­vorite pas­time on the lake, which is stocked with bass and bluegill.

A huge deck spans the front of the house and al­lows the fam­ily the out­door liv­ing they crave. They share the home with guests fre­quently — whether it’s 35 of their sons’ young-adult friends for a July 4th bar­be­cue, or 12 friends of Donna’s for a girls’ get­away, the doors are al­ways open. Be­cause the lake house is just a short dis­tance from the cou­ple’s pri­mary res­i­dence, they spend time there of­ten and in ev­ery sea­son.

To help ease the tran­si­tion from out­door ac­tiv­i­ties to the in­doors, the cou­ple took ad­van­tage of the sloped site to cre­ate a walk­out lower level liv­ing area. One side of the space is ded­i­cated to a mud­room that al­lows them to come in from the lake or af­ter walk­ing the dogs but leave dirt be­hind.

A large rec room on the walk­out level, the wide open great room area and the huge deck ac­com­mo­date vis­i­tors. With overnight guests in mind, the cou­ple planned for four bed­rooms up­stairs that share a pair of Jack-and-Jill bath­rooms. Two of the bed­rooms have bal­conies over­look­ing the wa­ter. Donna and Michael’s do­main is on the first floor, with a mas­ter bed­room suite that opens onto the deck.

For Donna, the home is just de­light­ful. “When I wake up, I’m look­ing at these mag­nif­i­cent logs, and through the glass doors I see the log rail­ings. Ev­ery­where you look you see gor­geous logs. Taken all to­gether, the warmth of the home is mag­i­cal and en­velop­ing,” she says. “You just fall in and you don’t ever want to leave.”

In Donna and Michael’s ma­jes­tic log home, the at­tached garage sits at an an­gle to fol­low the con­tours of the site, form­ing a point out into the pri­vate lake be­yond.

TOP: The cozy read­ing loft not only pro­vides a lit­tle soli­tude for en­joy­ing a good novel, it pro­vides a place to truly ap­pre­ci­ate the warmth of the wood­en­closed en­vi­ron­ment.

The half-log home fea­tures a steeply pitched dou­ble roofline over the front en­trance. This de­sign de­ci­sion helps shed snow and gives the house sto­ry­book charm.

Donna searched for a long light fix­ture that would be a fo­cal point in the spa­cious, open-con­cept din­ing room. The ta­ble ex­tends to seat 18. A wrap-around deck with plenty of space for out­door liv­ing over­looks the pri­vate lake. Man­u­fac­tured stone clads the home’s foun­da­tion and ac­cents the round log walls.


3: A dou­ble van­ity is sur­rounded by knotty alder cab­i­netry in the mas­ter bath, pro­vid­ing plenty of stor­age.


2: In the mas­ter bed­room, log walls and warm neu­tral col­ors make for a sooth­ing mix. Pa­tio doors open onto the deck over­look­ing the lake.

1 1: A low­ered, beamed ceil­ing makes the open kitchen feel cozy. Gran­ite tops the over­sized is­land and the coun­ters. Com­fort­able cush­ioned stools al­low guests to linger over good food and lively con­ver­sa­tion.

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