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Clearwater Lake Retreat

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Angler’s Sanctuary

An esteemed graphic designer’s dream fishing retreat on a secluded Northern Wisconsin lake is realized with a 999-sf modernist structure that elegantly integrates stone and glass walls to harmonize with the lake and forest surroundings.

The design brief requirements included:
– A simple, elegant living space
– Two bedrooms and two bathrooms
– Natural light and ventilation.
– Views to the woods and lake
– Privacy upon entry

The single-story structure is carefully positioned on a flat clearing within a 2.6-acre heavily-wooded site to maximize views and its connection with nature. Two three-foot-wide stone walls bookend the concise, rectilinear form. The stone walls create captivating backdrops, visually contrasting the solidity and weight of the stone with the delicate transparency of the floor-to-ceiling glass walls that span between them. Overhead, supported with light steel columns, a shallow butterfly-shaped roof gently slopes upward to accentuate the stone walls transitioning from the interior to the exterior and capture views. The roof extends beyond the glass walls, creating a covered porch on two sides, further extending the interior space outward.

Inside, spaces are functional yet universal. Accents of wood, stainless steel, and white painted walls and ceiling complement the minimalist palette of black metal structure and frame windows, concrete floor, and stones of varying shades of gray. The horizontally dry-stacked stones add warmth and dimension to the large communal space, dedicated for cooking, living, and dining, and serve as an accent wall in the two private bedrooms. A central core volume conceals a mechanical room, two bathrooms, and storage.

Surrounded by a forest adorned with maple, aspen, red oak, and pine trees, the cottage prioritizes views, natural lighting, cooling, and ventilation. Hydronic radiant tubing in the concrete floor slab and the vertical stone walls quietly heat the interior with the mass of the elements. Enhancing both the ambiance and functionality, a wood-burning fireplace is seamlessly integrated into the living room’s stone wall, offering a traditional focal point and an additional heat source. In warmer months, the rooms rely on the cool breeze through low set operable windows and shade from the tall trees. Light filters into the home through the expansive glass walls creating a year-round dappled sunbath. Artificial illumination is limited to a small amount of recessed lighting in the living area and highlighting work surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom; small floor lamps light the bedrooms.

Clearwater Lake Retreat is a restorative place to escape from busy city life and establishes a profound connection with nature. Amidst the ever-shifting interplay of light, colors, and landscape, the cottage’s enduring stone walls stand as timeless anchors, embodying a sense of permanence and grounding amidst the ephemeral beauty surrounding them.