Scenic Serenity

Filed in Feature Homes by on December 18, 2014


by Wanda Perkins | Photography by Caulfield Studios


They never entertained a grand plan to move to the lake or desired to build a home on a lake lot. So when Cameron Wischer came home one day – shortly after looking at an undeveloped lot not even for sale – his wife, Deb, casually inquired, “How was the lake lot?” Cameron’s response surprised her. “I bought it!” he said.


The steep lot wasn’t platted yet for building when the Wischers first visited it. They remember a handshake on the lot, and the next day they purchased it. Six months later, the Wischers owned a piece of lake property to dream about and call their own.


Nestled back in a cul-de-sac at the end of a half-mile gravel road, the Wischers’ lake home combines rustic finishes with elegant detailing. It rests upon 1.25 acres on Franklin Lake near Pelican Rapids and is surrounded by lake on three sides, boasting extraordinary views from almost every room.



Red cedar siding and Chico Buff rock give the Wischers’ exterior a rustic look.

Even during winter months, after the trees shed their colorful fall leaves, the views are spectacular, say the Wischers, who find it a peaceful and private setting to come home to.


They chose Dana Tomlinson of Tomlinson & Sons of Detroit Lakes as their builder. His attention to every detail and extreme quality of work for high-end homes was always on task.


“Our builder, Dana, was actually a neighbor of a friend who taught Cameron to fly. Dana referred us to our architect, Anthony Stoll (AIA principal architect at bhh Partners of Perham and Colorado), and he also suggested that we consider a designer. In hindsight, that was great advice,” Deb says. “Working with our designer, Lynn Shears (ASID Allied, senior designer of Minnetonka), was like Christmas time! She prepared tables of samples and eagerly incorporated ideas we had clipped out of magazines. She’d ask, ‘Where are we going to put this?’ She made the entire process fun.”


Stoll recalls that the building process began with meeting with the Wischers and Tomlinson to review the site and discuss how they planned to live in their lake home.


“During the initial design process, there was a substantial amount of time spent questioning the Wischers regarding their day-to-day living habits and about features they would like to incorporated into the flow, function and finish of their new lake home,” Stoll says. “That communicative process eliminates surprises during the construction process.”



Grand, arched wooden timbers beckon the eye outdoors. Cherry shelving frames an antiqued limestone gas fireplace, and a distressed oak floor lends nostalgic warmth to their living room.

When the Wischers first met with their building and design team, they didn’t have an preconceived ideas. They literally began with circles on a piece of paper noting various rooms, they chuckled. The final plan emerged into a one-story with a walk-out basement, three bedrooms, two full baths and two half baths.


With their budget and preferred design style in mind, the collaborative team discussed architectural and design features to incorporate within the Wischer home.


“Great design begins when you work with a master design plan for the style of a home, considering how all selections and details will interact with each other within the interior rooms of a home,” notes Shears. “Working with the Wischers was a pleasure. They actively expressed their personal voices as active partners in all design meetings and in the selection process. Their willingness to remain open to new ideas – even those stretching their comfort zone – enabled us to work together in agreement with both compromises and solutions.”


Desiring to incorporate a Tuscan style throughout their home, the Wischers combined their love of California wine country – specifically, Napa Valley – into a neutral autumn color palette of their home, further enhancing the rich Tuscan design they desired to achieve.  This is evidenced in the interior stair railing which features custom-carved wooden newel posts, iron balusters and grapevine detailing.


“A distressed oak floor gave the look of an aged, vintage home. Even the exterior doorbell button has grape detailing,” adds Shears.


The Wischers most enjoy their Tuscan, custom-designed kitchen with Old World charm. A tiered cherry island is perfectly positioned for dining and living room guests. Pale butter cabinetry, earthy colored granite and a flamed candle chandelier add interest and charm. “We spend most of our time in the kitchen,” notes Cameron. “Both of us love entertaining and cooking, especially seafood dishes.”


“For the Wischers, their kitchen is truly the heart of their home,” adds Shears. “They love good wine, good food and good company. High-end Wolfe appliances were chosen to complement their custom cabinetry, created with a blend of paint and stain. Wood detailing at the island, dining server and the stone and

Open shelving and a built-in cabinet in pale butter with brown antiquing blend Tuscan and vintage design elements. Overhead beams and decorative bronze stove tiles add interest to this kitchen space.

Open shelving and a built-in cabinet in pale butter with brown antiquing blend Tuscan and vintage design elements. Overhead beams and decorative bronze stove tiles add interest to this kitchen space.

hood add extra character touches and nostalgic charm. A separate butler’s pantry with an extra farmhouse sink, refrigerator and two-tone green painted cabinetry allows extra workspace and storage.”


The Wischers continued their Tuscan design preferences into their basement by adding a vintage wine cellar.


“We strived to create something similar to an Italian vineyard, combining all the functions of modern technologies,” notes Shears. “A brick arched ceiling, stone floors, custom-curved shelving and curved walls all complement the oil-rubbed bronze glass doors with iron grill detailing.”


When the Wischers are not enjoying the peaceful environment their lake home offers, they reside at their primary home in Grandin, N.D. Deb works as an operating room nurse at Sanford Health and Cameron as a aerial applicator. Their lives and schedules are often full, but when time allows they enjoy traveling to Napa Valley to sample the latest flavors of wine and enjoy the beauty of the vineyards. The Wischers dream of visiting Italy someday.


Their lake home is a culmination of suburb craftsmanship, architectural details and unique design concepts. These aspects – combined with the Wischer’s personal style and preferences – created a lake home that truly reflects and complements the Wischers’ lifestyle. “Great designs begin with vision, build with passion, and succeed with teamwork,” notes Stoll. “This project was a true example of this concept.”



A dramatic brick arched ceiling and entryway blends Old World charm with Tuscan design in Cameron’s favorite, the wine cellar.

“Everyone working on this project was a joy to work with, including the foreman and subcontractors who worked closely with Dana. In fact, working with the entire crew was wonderful!” Deb recalls. “Lynne did a great job of having everything organized on paper, and working with her and Tony eliminated many changes. Everything was pre-planned. Every detail came together!”


From the circular drive and inviting front porch to the welcoming sunroom with vaulted wood ceilings, the Wischers’ lake home is a welcoming abode with beautiful views inside and out. Even though they never imagined living at the lake, they are completely settled in and feeling right at home.


Today, a perfect day for them includes enjoying a morning cup of coffee on their deck, throwing a few tennis balls from the dock for their canine kids to retrieve and watching them swim. They would probably go on a pontoon ride – or two – an then they’d grill a delicious meal of sizzling salmon filets and enjoy a glass of wine – maybe two. A perfect day would be a relaxing day at the lake… just like they’d never dreamed possible.






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