When Mike and Melanie Rummel bought 10 acres of wooded lakefront land in northern Wisconsin, they knew immediately that they wanted to build a lodge-style log home. “We wanted a very classic, traditional Adirondack-style reminiscent of the lodges built in the early 1900s,” Melanie says. “The home had to have character and the appearance that it had been added onto over time.”
Understanding the key to success is hiring talented people, they turned first to Sobek Architects. “Melanie and Mike had a vision and were very focused,” draftsman Marc Leveque explains. “This was important since the Adirondack-style can be a bit elusive, as it has a minimal formal orientation, and its continuity is in its non-continuity.”
Taking advantage of the site’s 400 feet of lakefront, Gary Sobek designed a three-level, 4,800-square-foot home with a long, narrow footprint so that all rooms viewed the lake. One that had to be on the forest side, so the Rummels designated it as the master bedroom. “I spend more waking hours working in our home office than I do in the bedroom,” Melanie reasons. “It only made sense the office would have the better view.”
The Rummels overcame a 39-foot height restriction they feared would limit them to one level by building the garage on a ridge of their sloping site and used that as their standard. Raising the home allowed a full walkout basement, adding three bedrooms, a screened-in porch with a hot tub and a kitchen. The change also caused the front porch to be higher than initially intended, requiring additional stonework. The Rummels asked the stonemason to build a jagged rock retaining wall to complement the rustic home.
Besides the stone, the exterior features board-and-batten siding and hand-hewn cedar shake shingles. The focus is on the chinked logs, which are applied to a conventionally framed structure to establish its rustic look.
When the logs were delivered, Melanie decided they were too uniform. Ron Stezenski, co-owner of Log Home Supply, says she told him she wanted “something more authentic looking.” She pointed to a stand of white pine trees that were the right size and shape and said she wanted those. Stezenski cut the bark-on logs to her specifications.
Arriving at the site, the 10-inch logs were split in two. One half was used as exterior siding; the other half was installed inside the walkout basement to continue the home’s rustic character.
The basement also benefited when a dilapidated old house that came with the property had to be torn down. It contained almost-new appliances and beautiful knotty pine paneling, however. “We salvaged these and installed them in a second kitchen in the lower level,” Mike says.
Finding the right builder proved challenging since “most of them didn’t grasp what we were trying to accomplish,” Melanie says. “They seemed to be determined to use a uniform, milled log.”
Then they met Steve Stehr of Foresight Custom Homes. “I explained to him the essence of the project, and he began offering suggestions,” Melanie recalls. “That is when we realized Steve got it and could help us bring this vision to reality.”
The Rummels couldn’t be happier with how their home turned out. “I feel a great sense of pride in being able to pull this project together and create a true period home,” Melanie says. “It really pays homage to my experiences growing up spending the summers in northern Wisconsin and then being able to provide my children with the same privilege.”