Penny and Bernie Klotz could give lessons on how to build a log home. That’s because their extraordinary 4,100-square-foot summer home in the wilds of northern Wisconsin is a masterpiece of planning. Every detail was carefully considered and meticulously executed. And it all happened from more than 1,500 miles away.

Long-Distance Relationship

The Klotzes were living in Florida when they hired Wisconsin-based C.A.T. Construction. They also worked with architect Joseph Augitta of Archibello in South Minocqua, Wisconsin. Jerry Waite of Frontier Builders in Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin provided the white pine logs used to enclose the house.

“We took digital photos and faxed and e-mailed updates to Bernie and Penny,” says John Noble, project manager for C.A.T. “I post weekly, if not daily, progress photos on our web site. People who live far away can watch their houses being built on the Internet.”

Detail Driven

The site’s original 1930s log cabin, in Penny’s family since 1964, sat on 7 acres with 1,200 feet of water frontage along Winchester, Wisconsin’s Rock Lake. Bernie and Penny’s intimate knowledge of their property was the key to getting exactly what they wanted. For example, they already knew where the wildflowers bloomed and the wildlife grazed, so they knew where they wanted windows.

The entrance to the house was another masterstroke of planning. The house overlooks Rock Lake. “If you stand at the front door, it looks as if you could walk into the lake,” says Bernie. “It’s awesome. You see the house, the walkway and the water; you don’t see the landscaping going down the hillside.”

More on Details

  • Penny and Bernie chose a conventionally framed structure sided with 12- to 18-inch diameter half logs
  • Huge half logs trim the interior walls as well.
  • Penny wanted light, whitewashed look inside and out. It took a bit of experimentation (and a lot of postage) to get just the right shade.
  • The 18-foot kitchen island is perfect for buffets and large gatherings – hallmarks of the Klotzes’ entertaining lifestyle.

Take it from Penny and Bernie: To get exactly the home you’re dreaming of, the proof is in the planning. For more useful information on building your log home, don’t miss “Tips For Building Smart” and “Waterfront Checklist” in the 2004 July issue of Log Home Living.