All in the Family

Log Homes  Illustrated - September 2007

When David Duke's father was in his seventies, he purchased land near a mountain lake in Utah and built a cabin for his children and grandchildren.  David and his wife, Hanne, were living in New York then, but they took every opportunity to vacation at the lake.  "My father loved being at the cabin, and he loved the outdoors," David remembers. Sawyer2228 "On the wall of the living room, he had two shadow boxes with large writing:  'It's the beauty that thrills me with wonder; it's the stillness that fills me with peace.' That is the way he felt about being there with his family."

After David's parents died, the cabin reverted to a family trust for their six children.  Eventually, the grandchildren grew up and were so scattered around the country that the Duke family decided to sell the cabin.

David and Hanne's daughter, Debbie Duke, remembers those years at grandpa's cabin.  When she married Chicago native Gregg Winn, she yearned to share that experience with their children.  She and Gregg lived in St. Louis but spent vacations renting cabins near Hayward, Wisconsin.  "We began looking for land in the area where we could eventually build our own family cabin," Gregg says.  "On one trip, we were talking with one of the locals who knew someone who was selling a lot on Ole Lake.  I was so excited at the possibility of owning there because I had vacationed at the lake as a child."

Many years earlier, David and Hanne formed a partnership with their four children for investments.  Since they were interested in having a place where the children and grandchildren could enjoy nature, they encouraged Gregg & Debbie to buy land for the Duke family partnership.  The Winns acquired a 3-acre parcel.

Ole Lake is private, has fewer than a dozen homes and is renowned for its fishing.  Spiderlake Township, where the lake is located, has strict zoning guidelines that require a minimum of 200 feet lake frontage per lot, there by preventing overbuilding and resort development.  The lake has no public access, and jet skis and noisy motorboats are prohibited.Sawyer2232

The Winns considered several log-home companies before choosing Expedition Log Homes after they met co-owner Greg Grimes at a log-home show.  "We offer 5-, 8- and 10-inch red and white pine logs as part of our package," Greg says.  "They asked if we could use a mix of all three sizes to give the home a look of a true, old-fashioned log home.  We had never done this in our half-log system before, but we agreed to give it a try."

As the family began designing the cabin, they went back and forth on the size before settling on a layout with 3,458 square feet of livable space on three levels, confident that would accommodate the family and fishing equipment.  Construction began early in 2004 and was completed by May 2005.

The main level starts with the entry, which leads directly to the great room.  On one side of the great room are the dining room and kitchen.  On the other is the master bedroom suite with a shower and two vanities.  The powder room adjacent to the great room features a distinctive vanity crafted from the lower trunk of a tree with a hollowed-out space where a sink is dropped in.  There's also a screened porch, which is accessible from the dining area and deck and has a terrific view of the lake.

A catwalk spans the loft, which has a large guestroom on one side, a bunkroom for the grandchildren on the other and a bathroom in the middle.  All four dormers on this level have built-in window seats to enjoy viewing the lake and surrounding forest.

The walkout basement is finished with pine tongue-and-groove paneling on the walls and has a full bath.  "There are couches, chairs, a big-screen television and a basketball hoop," David says.  "We are having too much fun using it as a playroom to section it off into separate rooms."

Even though they remained in St. Louis during construction, Gregg and Debbie eagerly searched for items to decorate the cabin.  They looked through log-home magazines for ideas, purchased some pieces on eBay and located the perfect wrought-iron railing in Colorado.

Sawyer2238Hanne describes the cabin's decorating style as "hodgepodge," while David adds it is kid-friendly.  Overall, the family incorporated a North Country theme, with wildlife upholstery on many of the chairs.  Hanne and Debbie bought the upholstered furnishings and coffee tables from Slumberland in Hayward and the three-tiered antler chandelier, dining-room set and leather-covered barstools from Antler Creations.  "Regardless of what label might be put on our cabin, it is definitely not decorated for people to look at," Hanne points out.  "This cabin is for people to use."

Heating sources include in-floor radiant heat in the basement and master bathroom.  Propane-fueled forced air and a wood-burning fireplace provide warmth to the remainder of the home.  Central air conditioning moderates Wisconsin summers.

Because of the strict landscaping and building codes for the lake property, the Dukes left the majority of their acreage in a natural state, adding only a few pine trees and some annuals.  They did, however, make a path from the cabin to the lake, where a dock is handy for fishing and boating.

As a rule, David and Hanne Duke travel to Hayward three to four times a year to join whichever of their children might meet them there.  They traditionally spend Thanksgiving with the Winns at the lake.  "This is our favorite place.  It is so quiet at night, we can hear the loons calling on the lake," Debbie says.  "Our children catch largemouth bass right off the dock or even an occasional frog, and we sometimes see bald eagles."

Best of all, David ads, "Our children remember my parents and their grandparent's cabin.  We are so happy that our grandchildren also have the opportunity to experience the beauty and stillness of the woods.

Interested in seeing the Sawyer floor plan?  Click here!

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