At This Wisconsin Lake House, Less is More

You don’t have to go all-out to have a retreat that’s all good, this Wisconsin vacation home shows

From our partners at Houzz

When you’re building a custom home from scratch, it’s only natural to want to add things to the project. “While we’re at it” becomes a familiar refrain, and before you know it, that little project has grown. 

That wasn’t the case for a vacation home on Lake Superior. With every iteration of the plan, the house became smaller and more efficient. For the owner, a semiretired physician living in St. Paul, Minnesota, less was definitely more. 

She had happy memories of summers spent at a rustic cottage in Maine, and wanted to capture that same feeling in her new retreat. She insisted on just a single bath and less insulation than the norm, so that the 1,500-square-foot home provides just enough shelter from the elements to be comfortable.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A semiretired physician, dog Cooper and cats Eli and Simon
Location: Madeline Island, Wisconsin
Size: 1,509 square feet (140 square meters), plus a 150-square-foot (14-square-meter) screened porch
Year built: 2013
That’s interesting: The bunk room above the garage contains 4 beds for overflow guests, but the county wouldn’t allow a composting toilet there, so an outhouse was added out back with the county’s blessing.


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