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. "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
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
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.
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.
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.