BUILDING LEGACY

Minnesota Features

August 17, 2018

Taylor Anderson|Lake Time Magazine

Nestled between the main body and the North Arm of Burntside Lake, the hand-scribed, Swedish cope, log home stands 120 feet above the water in a forest of enormous white pine trees. Some of the trees (according to a state forester) date back to the Civil War era. The property is surrounded on three sides by thousands of acres of unspoiled federal and state land. The only neighbor cannot be seen from the home. It is an amazing one-of-a-kind location with blue water vistas of undeveloped wilderness from nearly every window.

The property was deemed "unbuildable" due to the elevation from the water to the building site and the fact that there is no road to the property, access is by water only. The owners, Virg and Pat, were determined to build a family retreat. At the time, both of their professions were heavily social and people intense and they needed a retreat and respite. "Laughingly we said that this was cheaper than a psychiatrist, which has been very true."

"We had been going up to visit friends at their cabin on Burntside annually since 1980. We loved the lake so much that by 1986 we were convinced that this is where we wanted to establish a family retreat to build family memories." When this 17 acre property, with its privacy, seclusion, and views, was put on the market in 1989, they bought it immediately. "What was attractive was that we could not see any cabins from the location and we loved the view of both the main lake and the North Arm. Views and seclusion were our priorities."

THE CHALLENGE OF THE PROPERTY

"We were determined not to listen to the nay
sayers but to go for our dream!" 

As children, both homeowners were awestruck by visits to the Old Faithful Lodge at Yellowstone National Park and both dreamed of someday building their own log structure.

"Big logs, high vaulted ceilings, all freestanding cabinetry (don't cover even one log!!!), huge custom windows - so the incredible views become the artwork, a large hammerbeam, a huge fireplace in the center of the cabin with a hearth big enough for many to sit on" were the key design elements.

When they found the perfect land in 1989, there were big challenges, "but it was, we believed, the most beautiful site of all with 200 year old pines and spectacular views of the lake." There was no road to it (boat access only) and sold as an unbuildable lot ideal for a Yurt or tent platform. The parcel was too steep; 120 feet high, there were setback challenges: no construction vehicles could be brought to the construction site and there was no electricity. "In our minds this 'unbuildable site' was begging for a beautiful home, a getaway, the perfect spot for that log
cabin we had both been dreaming about all our lives. We just needed to figure out how to do it!"

Everything had to come by boat, from the custom Marvin windows and doors to the gourmet kitchen appliances and custom furniture commissioned for the home by a cabinetmaker. The first summer they built a dock and construction deck to have a place to receive the construction materials they hauled by boat. The next summer they began construction of a heavy duty tram with 40 foot "I" beams suspended on piers of hand mixed concrete to transport materials and people. Step by step during the winter they would dream up how to meet the challenge to be undertaken the next summer. The third summer they built a 25x25 foot guest cabin to comfortably live in while construction began on the log home. William Anderson of Crown Construction led the construction effort.

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