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Wooded retreat
New addition to home provides an 'up north' getaway

Photos by Doug Edmunds

March 2015

Originally, the owners of a home on the Root River in Franklin debated the idea of building a cabin in northern Wisconsin, but the setting of their own property made them change their minds. The wooded land, which gently slopes down to the river, already gave them views to rival anything they might find up north. With that in mind, they decided to build an addition to their existing home that would give them the wooded retreat they desired and the extra space they needed.

Design Group Three, recent winners of Best of Houzz 2015, was given the commission to design the space. "The owners wanted a room that would take full advantage of the views without blocking the views from the existing house," according to Bob Prindiville, designer and owner of Design Group Three. "They wanted it to be large enough to use for entertaining but small enough to be comfortable for two, and they also wanted a room that had more access to the existing patio and yard."

Prindiville decided the best way to meet all of these requirements was to build a freestanding structure adjacent to the existing home that would be accessed by a bridge from the main living area. "By disconnecting the new space, we are able to preserve all of the existing views and give the owners the north woods cabin they desired," explains Prindiville. The result is a 20-foot by 24-foot garden cabin built on a 45-degree angle to the existing home to ensure total privacy for the new room even though it has two floor-to-ceiling walls of windows.

In tribute to the agricultural roots of the setting, the cabin was designed using a combination of stone, steel, glass and heavy timbers. "We wanted it to have a contemporary rural feel and look like it may have been a remnant structure from a farm," says Prindiville. "Once we had the design, the main challenge we faced was access to the construction area. The lay of the land meant that all equipment, materials and manpower had to move down a steep slope through a narrow side yard. The property’s poor subsoil meant that the entire structure had to be built on 21-foot-deep pilings."

Inside, the color palette is bold yet warm with the recess above the cabinets painted an accent color as a backdrop to the piece of artwork the owners commissioned for the space. In keeping with the rustic look, the floor, cabinets, windows, doors and baseboards are all made of custom milled hickory. Completing the look is forged iron and art glass lighting and a woodstove selected for its modest size and clean lines.



This story ran in the March 2015 issue of: