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Adirondack Lodge: Logs Inspire Finishing Touches

Artisans contribute their talents to an Adirondack lodge-inspired Wisconsin log home.
by Teresa L. Wolff | Photos by Lori Woldt
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Ferdy Birch Bark

Ferdy Goode's birch bark artwork on the second-story gable is framed by Walt Jones in rustic northern white cedar

When Mike and Melanie Rummel built their lakefront log home in Wisconsin, they aspired to re-create the look and mood of a 1900s Adirondack lodge. To assure an authentic rustic finish, the couple sought out craftspeople with North Woods skills and sensibilities to apply their individual talents to create a collective masterpiece that accurately reflects reflect Adirondack lodge aspirations.

Pete Swita, cabinetmarker. When builder Steve Stehr realized that the cabinetry would be integral to the interior look, he directed the Rummels to cabinetmaker Pete Swita. “If we are to create what a homeowner wants, we need to know their likes and dislikes,” Swita notes. “Melanie was skilled in this arena and provided us photographs and description to help paint the visual of what she was hoping to accomplish.”

Pete Swita created this wet bar.

Log cabin wet bar by Pete Swita

Swita’s distinctive touches include using genuine elk antlers for door handles on the wormy maple paneled refrigerator and perimeter cabinets with inset doors and old-fashioned latch hinges. He also added the row of small birch branches to coordinate with the pot rack and bar.

He built a late-19th century-style butler’s pantry that features a copper ceiling, paint-grade maple cabinets with LED under- and in-cabinet lighting, inset doors, and old-style chrome latch hardware and bin pulls. He also designed and fashioned a wet bar using a wormy maple log frame and accents. The lower cabinets are cope-and-stick frames with laminated birch bark panels, which conceals the bar fridge in the middle section. The bar fits the Adirondacks theme by complementing the birch bark and rustic cedar half-log trim around the doors and windows.

Using a photo that Melanie supplied, Swita built the cabinetry for the master bathroom. It features paint-grade maple vanities feature ogee edges and black accents to match the mirrors. Last but not least, he custom-built rustic cherry bookcases with lower-level file cabinets and matching step ladder. (switacabinetry.com)

Ferdy Goode, birchbark crafter. To enliven the interior drywall, Melanie hired Goode to create his signature birch bark wall treatments. He also used a birch bark appliqué trimmed with bark-on northern white cedar in the peak above the expanse of windows on the lakeside of the home. Ferdy Goode’s birch bark art work is framed by Walt Jones in rustic northern white cedar and showcased on this second story gable with patio doors leading to the balcony. Goode is widely known as a handcrafter of birch bark canoes and baskets who patterns his work after the Native American tribal techniques. One of his birch bark canoes is displayed above the dining room table. Melanie appreciated his philosophy, especially since his work would honor the Lac du Flambeau tribe of Ojibwa Indians on whose reservation the home is located. (beaverbarkcanoes,wordpress.com/home/)

Norling Railing

Norling Railing

Gary Norling, twig artist. He fashioned the railings from twigs and branches salvaged from the woods on the Rummel property. Footed tree stumps make for unique newel posts. Gary Norling inserted birch log accents between the windows and decorative twig work at the frame corners to create a sense of continuity between the outdoors and the three-seasoned screened porch. Norling wove a “W” into the twig railings as a tribute to the Wildcats, the mascot for Northwestern University, Melanie and Mike’s alma mater. (phone 715-892-6335)

Mroz Mantel

Adam Mroz fashioned this half-log mantel.

Alan Oppenheim, stone supplier. When shopping for stone, the Rummels looked up Oppenheim, a friend from college, who’d recently opened Deer Run Stone, a stone supply business in the North Woods.

“Not only did ‘Oppy’ search different quarries to find the stone I was looking for,” Melanie notes, “but he also spent hours with us designing the fireplaces.” (deerrunstone.com)

Adam Mroz, wood designer. Using one of the trees felled to clear the site for construction, he fashioned the half-log mantel and pine countertops on the two end sections of the cream-colored kitchen island. (loginart.net)

Walt Jones, birch artist. He collaborated with Ferdy Goode on the birch bark wall treatments and crafted the reversed birch bark for the sconce shades to harmonize with the Old Hickory chandelier in the dining room. He also hand-forged a custom wrought iron pot-rack, which Pete Swita trimmed with birch logs. (email: craftsofthecrookedknife@gmail.com)

Jones Pot Rack

Pot rack by Walt Jones

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