Sculpted Wood, Iron & Light

Filed in Feature Homes by on December 11, 2013

195Ten years ago, Jerry and Lori Lyng bought a 1950s cabin situated on a hill overlooking Booming Out Bay on Gull Lake. While the old cabin provided a welcome gathering place for lake activities, its small kitchen and single bathroom proved a bit too cozy during the frequent visits of friends and family.

After eight enjoyable summers, the Lyngs opted to tear down the cabin and build a new second home, with the eventual goal of retiring at the lake. For them it was an easy decision to use the existing site, with its quiet road and westward views of the sunset.

The new structure’s walkout level was set at the original cabin’s elevation, preserving the views they had enjoyed for year.s This meant the design flowed seamlessly into the existing landscape and staircase to the fire pit and lakeshore below. The level of the old cabin’s loft became the new main level. The Lyng’s new home, finished in February of 2009, is more suited to the lifestyle of a family with two daughters, lots of friends and a goal of living at the lake.

151A sloped driveway leads visitors inward from the separate two-car garage above offering welcomed privacy to the house near the shoreline with its angled three-car attached garage. The tree-lined hill slopes to the water, making for lovely landscaping opportunities with boulders, shrubs and wildflowers.

White oak grabs your attention when you step through the front door. The floor on the entire main level and extending to the upstairs hallway is made of white oak reclaimed from a Tennessee tobacco warehouse. Set parallel to the front door, the flooring creates strong diagonal lines that extend out, beckoning visitors into adjacent rooms.

“Although the reclaimed wood was already scarred and full of rustic appeal, it still needed attention to intensify the weathered look,” says Beth Hansen, a longtime friend of the Lyngs as well as their interior designer. “This was accomplished with black wood filler applied to the holes and cracks, resulting in a uniformly smooth surface that is easier to clean.” The stair treads leading to the loft are new wood that was distressed to match the reclaimed flooring.

A combination of wrought iron and wood on the stair railings and balcony maintain an open feeling that the sole use of wood may have obscured. A similar combination of stone, wood and deck railing cables – which don’t obstruct the view – were Jerry’s idea.

307The wrought iron and hammered metal are repeated throughout the home in light fixtures, including wall sconces, pendants and chandeliers. The pantry/office glass door also displays an iron grate that Lori designed. “With so many windows and little wall space, I wanted the sculptural light fixtures to be the artwork of the room,” Lori says.

The curves of the iron pieces are echoed in the legs of the bar stools, arched roofline eyebrow windows and, most notably, in the dark hand-hewn curved ceiling beams enhanced by lighter butternut tongue and groove ceiling. From the balcony overlooking the great room, the beams resemble the ribs of a ship, lending the impression of strength and permanence while solidifying the nautical theme of lakeside living.

Lori and Beth toured showrooms before Lake Country Builders, the company that had also worked on the lower level  of the Lyng’s Eden Prairie home, got involved with the project. Lake Country Builders, owned by Pete and Sue Jacobson, has a 34-year history of providing quality home construction, taking the business from its origin in Excelsior to serving the Twin Cities, Brainerd Lakes and Hayward, Wis., areas.

283The Lyngs knew that Beth understoud their style preferences. “I wanted a rustic lodge feel with a luxuriousness about it,” says Lori, who likes nothing better than curling up with a good book of historical fiction in front of the wood-burning fireplace. Jerry likes the fireplace but finds the big-screen TV to its left equally appealing. The TV, with its dark screen and wood trim, blends into the room and the nearby shelves.

The kitchen, with its Wolfe range alcove, wine refrigerator, under-counter microwave and granite countertops, is a gathering place for friends and family. “The kitchen sink was supposed to look out on the driveway, but I wanted it in the island facing the great room,” says Lori, who likes the communal design of this room, which combines kitchen, dining and living areas. “It can get noisy, but you don’t lose touch with anyone.”

The grill with its piped-in natural gas is frequently pressed into service, as is the deli at Schaefer’s Foods just down the road. “There are at least 10 good places to eat on Gull Lake,” says Lori. She and Jerry were attracted to a large lake with lots of activity and looked at sites on both Gull Lake and the Whitefish Chain when they were looking for lakeshore property.

Jerry is an avid fisherman who thinks fishing twice a day is about right. His special room is beneath the screened cedar porch just off the dining area. Housing his hunting and fishing gear, the room also has a minnow tank, dog shower for Bailey the yellow Lab and space to refinish furniture.

226Unlike the old cabin, the Lyng’s new lake home has plenty of space to accommodate overnight guests: a main floor master suite, two bedrooms on the second level and three double beds in the bonus room over the garage. Lori’s dad and brother are frequent visitors, as are the Lyngs’ two adult daughters. The girls and their friends get out on the lake jet skiing and tubing behind the speedboat. Close proximity to the Paul Bunyan Trail or Pillsbury State Park means there’s always a good place for a walk or to zip along snowmobile trails in winter.

Staying closer to home, guests can enjoy the patio and fire pit at lakeside, a dip in the hot tub or communing with nature from the stone steps lined with coral bells, astilbe, daylilies and landscape shrubs.

With the home still a work-in-progress, Lori is awaiting delivery of the perfect rug for the living room. She and Jerry are also pondering a name for their Gull Lake home – perhaps something with a Scandinavian reference, since Lyng is Norwegian for “heather.” There’s plenty of time to contemplate that designation…at the lake, of course.

by Nancy Leasman 

Photography by Bryan Wendland

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