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Living in the treetops
Blending the outside with indoors gives Moose Lake home a special feel



An intimate conversation area containing six leather chairs is nestled in a corner.

At the end of a quiet Moose Lake peninsula stands a house as majestic as the trees surrounding it. Soaring three stories into the sky, still, the structure is one with nature. It blends in as if it grew right along with the neighboring landscape.

Starting as a 1950s ranch, the homeowners had a vision for creating a home that would take advantage of the magnificence of the property. Sitting on nearly an acre, 65 feet from the water, through the tangle of seemingly endless buckthorn, they could see the possibilities. Exposing lake views, restoring terraced gardens from the original estate, living in the treetops ó it was all there, waiting to be discovered and uncovered.

After two years of living in the ranch and working the gardens, they tore down the house, saving the foundation. And thus began the process of building it back. The husband, a native of Seattle and a "frustrated architect" as the wife refers to him, knew what he wanted.

They worked with Dale Kolbeck and Alan Quick of Architectural Homes by Anders Inc. in Pewaukee, to achieve their dream home. "They just got it from the very beginning. Dale and Alan made it work. Everything was first class, right from the start. We didnít even need to shop around," says the wife. The result is a striking mix of Pacific Northwest on the outside and a transitional style interior touched with a bit of Arts and Crafts.

The dining room is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows creating the feel of being outdoors while enjoying a meal.

A stainless steel roof, timbered pergola with hanging wisteria, and floor-to-ceiling windows (every room has a lake and garden view), itís a marriage of the indoors and out. A Bluestone sidewalk extends from the front walk into the first floor foyer and down to the lower level where the entry continues. Also housed on the lower level are a guest room and bath, recreation area and laundry. The front door is all glass so visitors can see through the house to the lake beyond.

The first floor kitchen is spacious, with plenty of room for entertaining and cooking. "Itís where we live," laughs the wife. The scullery area has a comfy sectional sofa and spectacular stainless-fronted fireplace. To avoid a cumbersome trek from the lower level to the kitchen, a dumb-waiter carries groceries and parcels directly from the garage. Glass barn doors hang on stainless steel rods in the living and dining rooms, and the extra long dining table is perfect for everything from New Yearís celebrations to dinner parties. Glass cabinetry and shelves to display the homeownersí extensive collection of glass are also fitted in the dining room.

ABOVE: The Moose Lake home has three levels of living space. Wire railings with natural-looking wood gives the home an open, airy feel between floors.

BELOW: The open kitchen concept allows the homeowners to visit with friends and family while preparing a meal. State-of-the-art appliances make prepping meals a treat.

Peaked clerestory ceilings are a highlight of the third floor. The spacious, cherry-trimmed library has a custom-made, two-sided desk and plenty of built-ins. The master suite, additional guest quarters, office and a deck with a hot tub and fire pit, complete the third level. The couple also had extra wide hallways built to display a collection of 65 art pieces done by the wifeís mother, a talented water-colorist, giving it a gallery feel.

Woodland gardens greet guests. There is no lawn. The wife, an avid gardener, was dedicated to conserving and restoring the original property. "The terraced gardens gave texture to the lot and it was important for us to save them." Toiling for two years, she delighted in exposing day lilies hidden under layers of buckthorn and transplanting flowers that had come from her own grandmotherís garden. Perfectionists, the couple even wanted to preserve a 2-1/2-foot sidewalk from the original structure, which resulted in major construction challenges when the new house was built. As Quick notes with pride, "The homeowner spent a lot of time bringing back the perennials on the hill. Our goal was to tear down the old structure and build the new house without hurting the gardens or the sidewalk. We really only had access to one side of the house, so we devised a crane system. It was a slow and tedious process but in the end, we completed the project without damaging a thing."