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Rustic, Meet Modern: Cozy Wisconsin Lakeside Cabin

One Wisconsin couple creates a vacation retreat that is the perfect marriage of contemporary and rustic design.
by Sarah Asp Olson | Photos by Joseph Hilliard
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The Davis family and their guests spend most of the summer months out on the 40-foot wrap-around deck that overlooks the property sloping down to the lake. Constructed of Ipe with stainless steel guard rails, the deck sits 10 feet off the ground. "You feel like you're floating out in the trees," says Scott. The 8-foot roof overhang means they can enjoy being outside even during a rain shower.

Scott and Pam Davis didn’t necessarily set out to build a cozy log cabin in the woods when they purchased three and a half acres on St. John’s Lake in Crandon, Wisconsin, back in 2005.

“At first we didn’t know for sure that we wanted a log home,” says Scott, who, along with his wife, Pam, and 6-year-old daughter Quinn, lives in Milwaukee. “Both Pam and my design sensibility leans a little more toward the modern aesthetic.”

But, when the couple came across Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia, which has a sales office in Wisconsin, they were awed by the sheer size of the Western red cedar logs, and the company’s organic approach to building.

“We were really impressed with them as a company and the logs they provide,” says Scott. “We both definitely have this more natural bent to us as well, so we decided it would be interesting to try to do a modern take on this vernacular form of a log cabin.”

Scott, an architect, and Pam, an interior designer, worked closely with Pioneer Log Homes and general contractor Brian Luedtke to insure the perfect marriage of old and new. The result is a comfortable-yet-contemporary, log cabin that fits the family to a T.

Form and Function

To celebrate the sloped property with gorgeous views of St. John’s Lake, Scott designed a walkout basement and an upper level that appears to be floating amid the many hemlock and birch trees that dot the property.

“As you approach the side that faces away from the lake, it seems pretty low and understated. Then as you step in the front door, the whole thing opens up,” says Scott.

By mixing materials — logs, stone, stainless steel and glass — on the exterior of the home, the Davises achieved a contemporary look with varied textures. An added bonus, the house naturally appears to lighten as the eye is drawn upward.

“We have a stone base to this house, then these big heavy logs, and as you go up we have the metal panels. Then we have this floating roof with the glass between the top log and the roof,” says Scott. “It just worked out really nice.”

The inside of the home is equally reflective of a modern-meets-rustic aesthetic.

An antler chandelier hangs over the upper-level seating area, drawing the eye toward the great room's sloping ceiling. "We loved the idea of an elk antler chandelier, but with a modern twist," says Scott. Artisans created the custom chandelier and replaced typical open bulbs with glass cylinders, creating clean lines and a more modern effect.

“Scott was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie style,” says John Leszcynski, president of Pioneer Log Homes Midwest. “It’s a very organic style of architecture and it allows a connection between the interior space and nature.”

True to the prairie style, the Davises designed an open plan with very little interruption between the kitchen, dining, and living spaces on the upper level. For more modern appeal, they added pops of red amid the natural wood tones, clean-lined furniture and steel art pieces that serve as fireplace mantel supports and stair rails.

Quinn's room is a true kid's space. With cheery pastels and butterflies hanging from the ceiling, the Davises wanted the room to be playful with a touch of whimsy.

The couple even got a little cheeky in their decor, adding an antler chandelier with modern glass cylinders instead of candlesticks, and antler lamps that grace the bedside tables. “You build a log home and there are some definite cliches out there you could run with. One of our goals was to have some restraint when it came to that,” says Pam, who found the antler lamps at West Elm. “Those lamps are resin antlers, giving it that modern twist.”

Classic Sustainably

The couple also wanted to make their vacation home eco-friendly.

Butcher block and soapstone make up the kitchen island and breakfast bar. The cabinets, made of hickory, are stained a deep red to add some modern color. The cabinet panels, faced in mossy yellow birch bark add a textural element to the otherwise sleek surface.

The hand-peeled and sustainably harvested logs were a start. From there, the Davises installed cork flooring on the upper level and recycled metal on the exterior. The wrap-around deck is Ipe, a sustainably harvested tropical hardwood, and much of the furniture throughout is made from bamboo or other earth-friendly materials.

In addition, large windows allow for an abundance of natural light. “During the day we don’t have any lights on at all, which is great from a sustainability standpoint, and we haven’t changed any light bulbs at all since we’ve been here,” says Scott.

The couple also reached out to many Wisconsin vendors to create custom art pieces and design elements, like the custom concrete hearth by Wausau artist H3 Concrete Design, and recycled-metal pendant lights in the kitchen by Woggon, LLC in Shorewood.

In all, the homeowners, who make it up to the cabin two to three times a month, love everything about their rustic-meets-contemporary retreat. Especially the fact that this design is all their own. “This whole house has been percolating in our minds for some time, whether we knew it or not,” says Pam. “This house is a marriage of items we’d [have] loved to use in our previous projects, but either clients’ needs or budget wouldn’t allow. It was really fun to be able to bring together a lot of cool things we always wanted to use.”

The Davises worked hard to design a log cabin with a distinctly modern aesthetic. They accomplished this on the exterior by mixing rustic materials, like Western Red Cedar logs and mossy mountain stone, with the more modern stainless steel of the roof and siding, and glass panes between the sloped roof and log structure. "At night, when the lights are on inside the cabin, it's almost like this roof is this floating plain," says Scott.

Home Plan Details:
Square Footage: 3,200
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3
Log species: western red cedar
Bathroom faucets: Kohler, Kohler, WI (800-456-4537; kohler.com)
Cabinetry; interior doors: Exclusive Millwork, Brookfield, WI (414-975-9661; wisconsinmillwork.com)
Dealer: Pioneer Log Homes Midwest, Grafton, WI (866-255-6148; pioneerloghomesmidwest.com)
Deck; handrails: Midwest Lumber, Stillwater, MN (651-439-5051; midwestlumberinc.com)
Dishwasher; microwave; refrigerator: GE (800-848-7620; geappliances.com)
Exterior doors; windows: MasterCraft Windows & Doors, Kamloops, BC (250-374-4683; mastercraftwindowsdoors.com)
Farm sink: Rohl, Irvine, CA (800-777-9762; rohlhome.com)
Flooring (bathroom, kitchen): PetraSlate, Broomfield, CO (800-373-9595; petraslate.com)
Flooring (great room): Duro Design, Laval, QC (450-978-3403; duro-design.com)
General contractor: Brian Luedtke (715-241-9042)
Hardware; pulls: Rocky Mountain Hardware, Hailey, ID (888-788-2013; rockymountainhardware.com)
Log supplier: Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia, Williams Lake, BC (877-822-5647; pioneerloghomesofbc.com)
Mantel:Log Style Mantels (logstylemantels.com)
Masonry: Halquist Stone, Sussex, WI (262-246-9000; halquiststone.com)
Oven; range: Dacor, San Francisco, CA (800-793-0093; dacor.com)
Roofing: Kulp’s of Stratford, LLC, Stratford, WI (715-687-3368; kulproof.com)
Stain: Timber Pro, Portland, OR (888-888-6095; timberprocoatings.com)
Bathroom faucets: Kohler, Kohler, WI (800-456-4537; kohler.com)
Cabinetry; interior doors: Exclusive Millwork, Brookfield, WI (414-975-9661; wisconsinmillwork.com)
Dealer: Pioneer Log Homes Midwest, Grafton, WI (866-255-6148; pioneerloghomesmidwest.com)
Deck; handrails: Midwest Lumber, Stillwater, MN (651-439-5051; midwestlumberinc.com)
Dishwasher; microwave; refrigerator: GE (800-848-7620; geappliances.com)
Exterior doors; windows: MasterCraft Windows & Doors, Kamloops, BC (250-374-4683; mastercraftwindowsdoors.com)
Farm sink: Rohl, Irvine, CA (800-777-9762; rohlhome.com)
Flooring (bathroom, kitchen): PetraSlate, Broomfield, CO (800-373-9595; petraslate.com)
Flooring (great room): Duro Design, Laval, QC (450-978-3403; duro-design.com)
General contractor: Brian Luedtke (715-241-9042)
Hardware; pulls: Rocky Mountain Hardware, Hailey, ID (888-788-2013; rockymountainhardware.com)
Log supplier: Pioneer Log Homes of British Columbia, Williams Lake, BC (877-822-5647; pioneerloghomesofbc.com)
Mantel:Log Style Mantels (logstylemantels.com)
Masonry: Halquist Stone, Sussex, WI (262-246-9000; halquiststone.com)
Oven; range: Dacor, San Francisco, CA (800-793-0093; dacor.com)
Roofing: Kulp’s of Stratford, LLC, Stratford, WI (715-687-3368; kulproof.com)
Stain: Timber Pro, Portland, OR (888-888-6095; timberprocoatings.com)

 

Published in Country's Best Cabins
Comment Feed

6 Responses

  1. AnonymousJuly 16, 2011 @ 1:27 pmReply
  2. What a beautiful lake home. Every room is so unqiue. I bet it’s just as beautiful in the winter, too.

    Angie WeberJune 26, 2012 @ 9:18 pmReply
  3. The cabin is a dream home.

    james weberJuly 9, 2012 @ 4:13 amReply
  4. Your cabin is beautiful!!!!!

    My grandparents Dan and Jinny Amann used to live on St. John’s lake. I’ve caught many fish out of that lake! I remember my Grandfather building the bass cribs! Such wonderful memories I have of that lake!

    We keep in touch with some of the folks that still reside on the there!!!

    Thanks for taking me mentally back to a happy place!!!

  5. My dad used to own much of the lakefront property on this lake. It is an idyllic place.. We have three pieces left on the lake which are for sale. You too can build a dream home on a dream lake. This home is fantastic. We’ve taken a peek. We knew Wormy Amann, too.

    Marianne WoodJanuary 2, 2014 @ 7:31 pmReply
  6. To Whom This May Concern:
    In looking at the photographs of Rustic, Meet Modern: Cozy Wisconsin Lakeside Cabin It looks interesting. One problem, the floor plans shown are so small it is almost impossible to tell what is what. Is it possible to see a larger drawing?



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