Lake&Home Magazine Jul/Aug '17

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Reclaimed Wood • A Beach Fit for You • Brief Guide to Lumber • Protecting Your Property S u b s c r i b e t o p r i n t o r d i g i t a l b y v i s i t i n g w w w.l a ke a n d h o m e m a g o n l i n e.c o m








54 VOLUME 19 • ISSUE 4 • JULY / AUGUST 2017

10 From the Office by Erin Hintz

Interior Design 12 The Evolution of Reclaimed Wood by Alicia Underlee Nelson

On the Lake 22 A Beach Fit for You

On the Lake 48 Assessing the Health of MN Lakes

Lake Learning 90 Lake Stewardship Checklist

and Fish Populations

by Moriya Rufer

by Kristi Coughlon Minnesota Department of Natural Resources



A Modern Home with a Natural Flair by Patrice Peterson

Customizing Your Docks and Lifts

by David Pederson


Lumber 32 A Brief Guide to Lumber

Service Directory 94 Find the Right Professional for Your Next Project Featured Lake 98 Lake Brophy

A True Family Retreat 64 Family Fun Refuge on Cross Lake by Jackie Jenson

Lake Gifts 42 Gifts for the Lake Lover

Finance 82 Keeping it All in the Family

Home Experts 44 Your Questions Answered by

Protecting Your Lake Property by Patrice Peterson

Our Panel of Experts

Cover photo by Kip Johnson See story on page 64



Volume 19, Issue 4 • JULY / AUGUST 2017 PUBLISHER Kip Johnson EDITOR Brent Rogness CREATIVE DIRECTOR Kip Johnson ADVERTISING/MARKETING CONSULTANT John Burns LAKE AND HOME MAGAZINE – ADVERTISING SALES Erin Hintz • 218-205-2120 Jerry Shea • 218-205-7454 Trista Larson • 218-731-0255   SUBSCRIPTIONS In the U.S., one year $23.95; two years $42.50; three years $54.00. Elsewhere add $5.00 per issue. Back issues are available for $5.00 per issue, plus shipping and handling. Subscriptions can be purchased online at

LAKE AND HOME MAGAZINE Published bimonthly by Compass Media PO Box 9761, Fargo, ND 58106 (218) 205-2706 lakeandhomemagonline­­.com Unless previously agreed, all rights remain the sole property of Lake and Home Magazine. ©2016 Compass Media Except for purposes of review, material contained herein may not be reproduced without prior written consent. Printed by LSC Communications, Long Prairie, MN, USA




From the Office

e live in the neck of the woods where everyone grew up going to “the cabin” for summer weekends. Ours, like most, was a time capsule. White metal kitchen cabinets, furniture that was probably made by hand a hundred and some years ago, creaky floors, and magazines dated 30 years before I was born. I’m certain that even the crayons that I drew pictures with were the same ones my dad used. This was a place without the luxuries of home. The bathroom was rough, there was no AC, there was a TV - a tube TV with no remote. Yes, you got out of your chair to manually flip through the two or three channels that the antenna might be picking up today. None of those luxuries were what the lake was about. It was about family, friends, and neighbors. It was about waking up to bathe in the lake, spending the day with my dad teaching us how to ski, eating meals made completely off the grill, cannon ball contests, campfires, and moonlight swims with my mom. It was

about staying up too late in the rundown old guest house with your cousins, playing cards, watching the stars, sneaking pops, and telling stories. It was about crawling into a bed with the familiar “cabin smell” on your sheets and bringing a little leftover sand with you, with a tight feeling in your skin from the sun, sore muscles from tubing, and callouses starting as you “break in your bare feet,” exhausted but so eagerly anticipating starting it all over again tomorrow. No matter what age, you can relate. There’s nothing like a summer spent at a Minnesota “cabin.”

These are the same kind of memories I hope to provide for my daughter. I hope that even in today’s fast paced, technology-driven world, she gets to experience what it’s like to disconnect and not think twice about what’s new on Facebook or what’s on TV. I want her to one day remember those magical lake days, when nothing else mattered. I, as well as many people in my generation, have two incredible parents who also feel strongly about the importance of pre-


serving these family memories for future generations. They already have plans to protect the family recreational properties so that my brother and I, and our children, and their children, will continue to make memories for many years to come. What a legacy. (Thank you mom and dad!) If you’ve considered the same thing, but aren’t sure where to start, this issue contains a great article on protecting lake homes through trusts. And as always, this issue takes you inside two gorgeous lake homes. They don’t resemble the cabins that we grew up in, but no doubt, will contain just as many memories. Probably more comfortable ones, too. I hope this issue finds you making family memories at your “cabin.” Enjoy the rest of the summer!

Erin Hintz Advertising Sales

JULY / AUGUST 2017 11





eclaimed wood adds warmth, interest and a sense of history to a home. Better yet, experts in the region praise this popular, sustainable and environmentallyfriendly material as being more affordable and more versatile than ever before. Homeowners often gravitate toward reclaimed materials for both emotional and aesthetic reasons. “When you’re building a large house, historical materials add a warmth and character that you just can’t get otherwise. They give the home a historical perspective,” said Joseph Amann of Urban Evolutions, Inc., a reclaimed materials company that serves a diverse list of corporate clients including L.L. Bean, Urban Outfitters and Nike. Urban Evolutions also does brisk business with Midwestern homeowners, many of whom are drawn in by the company’s 8,000 square-foot showroom featuring reclaimed materials, furniture, accessories and fixtures in Appleton, Wisconsin.

by Alicia Underlee Nelson photo courtesy of Urban Evolutions; Richard Steinberger

JULY / AUGUST 2017 13

photo courtesy of Urban Evolutions; Geoffrey Cook

“I think the biggest fear when you’re building and remodeling is that what you do will be dated in ten years,” Amann continued. “I think that reclaimed materials really add a sense of timelessness – especially in new construction.” The situation is similar further west, said Seth Carlson, owner of Dakota Timber Co. in Fargo, a production sawmill company and North Dakota’s largest supplier of reclaimed wood. Carlson says his customers want a classic look that will stand the test of time, but they’re also looking for a way to differentiate themselves from other houses on their street. “There’s a lot of new homes that are very similar to each other, design wise,” he said. “Reclaimed wood is kind of a talking point that really sets you apart.”

“When you’r e building a large house, historical materials add warmth and character that you just can’t get otherwise.” Joseph Amann Urban Evolutions, Inc.


photo courtesy of Urban Evolutions; Geoffrey Cook

Carlson adds the history behind the wood makes it more than just a product. “Customers today want to buy an experience, they don’t just want to buy a product or service,” he said. “They definitely get that with our product. People love to have a story to tell in their home. And it makes their home a little cozier.” The gorgeous character of reclaimed wood makes it a favorite (and eye-catching) flooring choice. Since the material’s beauty is found in the richness and patina of the wood, it feels a lot less fussy than brand new, pristine flooring. This nonchalant beauty is a good match for the laidback midwestern lifestyle.

photo by Dakota Timber Co.

Reclaimed wood flooring can unify different zones of a contemporary, open floor plan, honor the historical legacy of a vintage house or add a fresh look to a midcentury modern dwelling. Extending the flooring to include stairs is a time-tested, traditional look that can help pull an entire home together.

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Reclaimed beams function as both an architectural element and an accent. They give a room that timeless feeling. “When you add reclaimed beams into a ceiling that look like they’ve been there for a hundred years, it’s going to be something that people appreciate longer than the current trends in kitchens and baths that change so quickly,” said Amann. A reclaimed wood ceiling throughout a home adds a sense of drama to a space that’s sometimes overlooked. Customers with a more modest budget might be surprised to learn that reclaimed

photo by Dakota Timber Co.

photo courtesy of Urban Evolutions; Richard Steinberger


photo courtesy of Urban Evolutions; Joseph Amann

photo by Dakota Timber Co.

“Customers today want to buy an experience, they don’t just want to buy a product or service” Seth Carlson Dakota Timber Co.

wood is within their reach. “Prices are becoming more and more affordable,” explained Carlson. “We really try to make a really cool product and make it accessible to everyone, not just multi-millionaires. About 50% of my clients are just average income customers.” If the price is still too high, there are ways to get the look of reclaimed wood on a budget. A solid wood door can add a feeling of gravity to a room while introducing the soothing colors and textures of reclaimed materials. Amann recommends adding a reclaimed wood accent wall. Even just one reclaimed wood wall can add drama to a master bedroom, make a dining room or kitchen feel inviting and add warmth and provide texture and interest to basement living spaces. An accent wall can also be used to highlight a feature like a fireplace or to stand in for art as a focal point. “It’s a way for people to experiment with reclaimed wood without a huge commitment – breaking down those socio-economic barriers to using reclaimed wood in an entire house,” Amann explained. JULY / AUGUST 2017 19

As reclaimed products come down in price and homeowners experiment with more affordable ways of using reclaimed wood, the market doesn’t just open up to those with a variety of budgets. It opens up to those with a variety of design aesthetics as well. And as the customer base expands, the variety of reclaimed wood finishes – and the effects they can provide – expands too. “When people think of reclaimed wood, they think of barn wood and western themes,” said Carlson. “But that’s all changing.” “It evolves every year,” Carlson continued. He modifies his own finishes to suit trends and customer tastes at least twice annually. “Right now, I think people are kind of moving into a little more modern stuff, so we’ve been revisiting our finishes to do brighter whites and cleaner, smoother finishes, versus the rustic barn wood look. We can do modern and contemporary style.”

photo courtesy of Urban Evolutions; Joseph Amann

photo courtesy of Urban Evolutions; Teri Fotheringham

Amann adds that he’s seen an increase in clients adding reclaimed wood to mid-century modern houses and clean, contemporary spaces. “They want to add something warm,” he explained. “They don’t want it all to be steel and girding.” There are more reclaimed wood options than ever before. And the variety of finishes and installation methods make this sustainable building material timeless yet modern, soothingly steady yet exciting and suitable for a variety of projects and aesthetics. “You have infinite possibilities,” said Carlson. ~L&H

photo by Dakota Timber Co.


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Wave Armor Wave Docks


David Pedersen

JULY / AUGUST 2017 23


very year there seems to be more reasons to spend more time on your lake home dock as it becomes more unique and fun from morning to night. The traditional dock may stay the same, but what can be attached is every changing, including sectional systems allowing you the opportunity to create your own space. Docks have become a gathering, entertaining and relaxing space for more and more lake homeowners. “People are spending more time on their docks, mainly due to the comfort that is now available,” says Cindy Gray from FLOE International. “I used to have a bench on my dock and I would sit there for about 10 minutes and then leave. Since I have purchased FLOE’s aluminum swivel/rocking dock chairs, we live on the

Bottom Voyager Dock Furniture


Lake Area Docks and Lifts Dock Furniture

dock. We bring our coffee down there in the morning and enjoy many sunsets sitting on the dock.” Donavan Rasmusson started working for a company called ShoreMaster based in Fergus Falls, 30 years ago. He is now an owner of Lake Area Docks and Lifts with stores in Pelican Rapids, Brainerd, Battle Lake and Cross Lake. “Your dock used to be only used to get to your boat lift, now it is your entertainment center,” said Rasmusson, who adds that a lot has changed in the last 10 years.


Top Left / Right

FLOE International Dock Furniture

JULY / AUGUST 2017 25

Two years ago the company added furniture along with curved sections. New products include paddle board and kayak racks attached alongside the dock. He says dock space has not lessened to accommodate all the accessories.

most of the top dock manufacturers offer several different styles of decking used to highlight what you want. Rasmusson says, “My most popular product is the wood grain aluminum decking by ShoreMaster that looks like cedar.”

“All benches and furniture are what they call off deck, hanging over the water,” notes Rasmusson. “The toys and equipment you play with, including water mats, can be stored on adapted sides so they don’t take up floor space.”

Voyager Industries based in Brandon also offers dock design and construction allowing for endless configurations without sacrificing stability. Voyager sells a special line of furniture just for docks. A swivel chair comes with a foot rest. Seats are in the form of a sling which dries off rapidly, unlike a cloth cushion.

Along with curved sections to alter the design and make bigger platforms,

“Dock sections and quick attach accessories can be added at any time to ensure your dock investment will meet your future lakefront needs,” said Tom McMahon from Voyager Industries. “Most recently, Voyager Dock launched a twoslot paddle board rack that quickly integrates with Voyager Dock Systems.” Comfort has been introduced to dock accessories, resulting in more enjoyment on the dock. “Today, especially with modular dock systems where you can create many different configurations with sundecks, the dock has become an extension of people’s living space,” says Gray. “A lot of people will have multiple docks on their property for different activities such as swimming, water sports and fishing.”


Lake Area Docks and Lifts Wood Grain Aluminum Dock

Middle Voyager - Paddle Board Rack Bottom FLOE International Modular Aluminum Floating Dock


An example of how lake homeowners are customizing their docks to a desired shape is Wave Armor floating docks, built to allow you to easily attach additional accessories and components. There are floating Wave Ports for boats, canoes and personal water craft. You drive the crafts right up on the port that blends in with the dock. “We have 10x5-foot sections that attach together,” said Kati Werner at Wave Armor. “We also have lower-down sections so you can have feet in the water. You can attach a kayak assist section to help you in and out.” Dock accessories can create a visually appealing, decorative and festive atmosphere. Some examples include using bumpers with rounded corners that

change the design, putting attractive hexagon solar lights on top of poles, and utilizing wedge sections that create a small slip for boats and lifts where there is limited space. A company called Lifeform LED manufactures underwater LED lighting systems to add color even at night. The five LED configuration dock light starter kit produces intense light output shining both far and wide. “Not only does the light improve your dock safety, they attract fish, make night swimming fun and take hanging out on the dock at night to a whole new level,” said Dennis Sand from Lifeform LED. “You can add up to 14 additional lights anytime.”



Wave Armor Wave Port

Bottom Lifeform LED Underwater Dock Lights

JULY / AUGUST 2017 29

Boat lifts are also becoming more user friendly. FLOE is the first on the market with its Maxis Canopy System. With the push of a remote button the end of the canopy raises to allow room for towers and bimini covers when entering the lift.


FLOE International MaxisTM Canopy System

Middle Lake Area Docks and Lifts Dock Furniture and Dock Stairs Right

FLOE International Dock Furniture


The canopy sides are extra deep for great side protection and have mesh ends and sides for better air flow. The tilt is 11.5 degrees, which is just enough to get in a tower. FLOE also has a new item called Float-N-Roll. It’s a float that goes inside the lift so you can float your lift to any location. Once you get it in place, you use a cordless drill on the level legs.

Other big sellers in accessories for dock companies are steps versus ladders and flag poles, allowing people to more prominently show their patriotism. People want convenience and maintenance-free products, that is why people with older docks made with cedar and carpet decking are going back to redeck with maintenance free materials. While the lake home may always be the area that gets the most attention, putting some TLC into your dock and boat lift space can transform your shore into a more welcoming, attractive space. ~L&H


Content provided by

If you’re not a lumber expert, selecting the right kind of lumber for your home improvement or DIY project can be difficult. From measurements to lumber grades to types of wood, there’s a lot to know before you start working with wood.

Understanding the Different Types of Lumber There are endless varieties of lumber, each with their own aesthetic and best use. While the lumber you picked might have the warm tones you were looking for to lighten up the room, the softness of the wood might make it unusable for fine woodwork. Avoid finding yourself in this predicament with the help of our guide below. Softwood As the name implies, softwood can easily be dented with a fingernail. These planks absorb and lose water much easier than their hardwood cousins and thus require extra care to ensure longevity. However, they are also much cheaper than hardwoods because they require less time to grow. This makes softwoods best suited for construction and home DIY projects. Softwoods come from trees that have needles rather than leaves, including: • Pine • Cedar • Douglas Fir • Hem Fir


Hardwood Hardwood comes from deciduous trees with broad leaves. They aren’t easily dented, making them great for furniture, cabinetry, and flooring. These lumber types take a long time to grow, making them more expensive, and therefore, are predominantly used in fine woodworking. The most common types of hardwood are: • Maple • Oak • Poplar • Cherry

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Engineered Lumber Engineered lumber combines strands, particles, or veneers with the help of adhesives to create composite materials perfect for construction and industrial products. These types of lumber are able to create precise specifications and are all tested to reach national standards. • Plywood • MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) • OSB (Oriented Strand Board) • LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) Understanding Lumber Dimensions If you’ve ever purchased lumber, you’ve heard the phrases “2×2” and “2×4” thrown about by your local lumberyard. If your like any normal person, you’d assume a 2×2 piece of wood is in fact 2 inches in width by 2 inches in length. However, this is actually incorrect. A 2×2 plank will actually be about 1.5×1.5 inches. The reason for this is that trees retain a lot of water. When they are cut they are full of moisture that evaporates as they are transported to your lumberyard. This means that when they are cut they are a true 2×2 but will dry about half an inch.

Lumber isn’t all business - the wood that we use for important things is also great for the things that make us smile. People have been whittling wood into figurines, masks, and toys for hundreds of years. As time went on, we got more creative with our use of lumber material, and fun things happened. Clothesline Though traditionally a long strand of sturdy cloth material, clotheslines have occasionally been made entirely of wood. It isn’t difficult to get the necessary materials for a wooden clothesline, and measuring and carving is actually fairly simple. Hang your laundry on the finer poles of wood, and secure them with clothespins. Try treated pine for a fresh scent that will linger on your clothes and sheets.

Yard Tool Storage Pallets are the ultimate DIY tool. People all over the internet have jammed them together with nails and glues, sanded and painted them. If you’re not a DIY expert, never fear: there is a simple way to participate in the sustainable and renewable movement without much effort. Turn a pallet up to stand on its side. Load it with your home cleaning tools, like your rakes, your mops, and shovels, and voila! You’ve just saved room. She Shed If you’re a serious DIY builder, it’s time for you to show your skills off to…the backyard. She Sheds are a relatively new phenomenon that is the woman’s version of the Man Cave: an escape from the stressors of home life. She Sheds can be recy-


cled sheds from someone’s backyard, or you can build a simple platform, and start your own! Check with your local government to see if you actually need a permit to make your own, but you can finish it, decoration and all, in a week! In a week, you could have your own office, studio, or book nook. Don’t feel limited by the actual purpose of your She Shed – it’s your space! Tree House If you’ve got the time, and the skill (and of course, the tree), build a treehouse and make memories with your kids that will last a lifetime. The hardest part about this project is the need to make sure that you have a strong enough foundation to support at least a few hundred pounds. Your kids will want to play in their treehouse, but they may also bring their friends, too.

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When you’re remodeling your house, you find out for the first time that lumber comes in different grades of quality. This is a hard thing to navigate, as many people don’t know how the quality of the wood is going to affect the quality of the overall remodel. The truth is, knowing the grades of lumber could save you a ton of money, or save you from a shoddy job. Either way, it’s something that you’re going to want to know about going into the remodel. Here are the different grades of lumber for your remodel and what they could end up doing for your home.

Select Lumber Select lumber is the kind of lumber that you make a table out of. It’s the kind that you varnish because of how pristine it is. It’s the kind of wood that you’re making a real effort to protect to make sure that it stays looking as good as it did when you first got it. Grade A select lumber is almost completely blemish free, making it the most sought after type of lumber, while Grade B will only have a few blemishes. You don’t want to go down to grades C or D, as that’s when the wood starts getting to be pretty poor quality for the purposes of making a piece out of it. If you do end up going lower, you’re probably not going to want that wood to be exposed. Wood that’s grade C or D should always be painted to cover up the natural blemishes that exist in the wood. If painted, these grades could actually look nice, but you’re not going to want to use it for an exposed surface piece.

Common Lumber Common lumber is the type that you’re going to use during construction, and is usually known for being slightly lower quality. This is the type of wood that you’re not going to see, but is just as strong as the rest of the wood in your home, it’s just not as pretty to look at. These come in grades 1-3 (don’t go below 3 for the most part). Number one has absolutely no knotholes, number two has slightly more knots and blemishes, while number three contains just a few knotholes and blemishes. These three grades are usually the ones that you’re going to find at a lumber yard, as most construction teams don’t want to go below that grade.

Photo courtesy of Boyle Landscape Architects


Knowing Your Lumber Now whether you need to make a table, or build a house, you’re going to know the grade and type of lumber you need to get the job done correctly. For exposed wood, you’re going to need grade A select lumber, while for painted wood you can usually go down to grade C. For common lumber, you want to stay in the first three grades and only use that wood for general construction, as it’s not quality enough to create a piece out of. By knowing your wood, your next remodel is going to look great!

We have seen it happen so many times, homeowners get started on a home improvement project. They start with a trip to Lampert Lumber to get all of the supplies they think they need, only to get home to realize that they bought the wrong tool or they forgot to buy a piece of hardware. Being unprepared will result in multiple trips to the lumber yard or the project will remain unfinished. Use these tips to help you with your trip to the lumber yard so that you can be sure that you will get everything that you need to easily complete your trip.

Do a Full Assessment of the Project Understand exactly what you will be doing before you do it. Decide if you need any special tools or specific hardware such as screws or nails. Take inventory of how many of each item you will need. Look ahead to see if you have everything that you need before you leave your house. For example, we have seen many homeowners begin on a woodworking project, thinking they had enough stain to finish their project at home, but later realized they needed another pint to completely finish the project. Make notes or take pictures of everything that you need to complete the project. Call the Lumber Yard Beforehand Make sure you go to a lumber yard that has a number of products and that they have everything that you are looking for. If you are looking for something in particular, give the lumber yard a call to make sure they have it.

Lumber yards, such as Lampert Lumber, often have access to an online catalog and can get a product within a couple of days. If you call them beforehand, you can check to make sure they have the products you need, and if they do not have the item, they can order it for you. In this way, you could just make the one trip to pick up all the products at once. Bring Any Items that You Need with You Let’s say you are looking for a specific size screw for your project. It can be very helpful if you bring an example screw with you. This way, our experts can compare the example screw with their selection to find you the right kind of screw for your project. This is also helpful when you are looking for a certain kind of hand tool. If you have an example screw, nut, or pipe, we can help you find the right kind of screw or wrench.


Talk with an Expert It can sometimes be difficult to ask for help, but most people need it when it comes to home improvement. No matter how experienced homeowners are at doing their own home improvement projects, they often still forget something. Most lumber yards have experts that can assist with product selection and other services. Having the advice of a professional can prevent a return trip to the lumber yard. They can instruct you on the right kind of tools and materials for your project. They have often helped many homeowners with similar projects to yours and can offer advice when you need it. We know that you want to have a nice experience when you go to your local lumber yard. Follow these tips so that you can have an easier time completing your home improvement project. ~L&H

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All lumber is graded based on appearance and defects to give an overall judgment of quality. The following defects are commonly found in lumber and decrease their grade. Depending on what you intend to use your lumber for, these defects might not impair your craftsmanship. Common defects include:

Source: Lampert Lumber

A check is a crack that occurs along the wood’s growth rings. It does not extend through the entire thickness of the board. You may notice the corners of a board do not touch the ground when the board is flat on a surface.

A bow is a curve on the face of a board, typically extending from one end to the other. If the board was sitting flat, the ends would not be touching the ground.

A crook is a warp that happens along the edge of a board.

A knot is a naturally occurring defect in a piece of wood. Knots are circular imperfections caused by a broken-off tree branch. Tight knots are nothing to worry about, but dead or loose knots may fall out or leave a hole.

A cup is when the face of a board is hollow.

A shake is when the grain between the wood’s growth rings separate. Shakes can occur on the face of a board or below the surface.

A split is a crack in a piece of wood that goes all the way through the board.

A twist occurs when there are multiple different bends in a board.

A wane is when there is missing wood or an untrimmed edge along the side or corner of a board.



Your Questions


Answered By Our Panel Of Experts


Question: What value does an interior designer add to my project?


Leann, Shayla, & Bailee Allied ASID Interior Designers Refreshing Designs

Save Money It might sound strange that hiring someone to decorate your home would save you money since you have the additional fee of the designer, however, hiring a designer can help you to avoid costly mistakes that will not only help you save money but can increase the value of your home. A designer can add a great deal to the aesthetic of your home, which in turn can increase showings and sales. The benefit here is twofold, a faster turn-around time and more money in your pocket. It can help boost buyer appeal and set your home above the competition. If you plan to stay in your home for a few years, interior designers can also save you money on smaller projects and full-scale remodeling.


Professional Assessment A designer can give you a professional assessment of your situation, which will lead to a solid plan of action. The order of things in a design/build plan is key in determining what can be repurposed or should be edited. This will not only affect the budget but also help you to spend it more efficiently. A designer offers an extra set of eyes, but these eyes are trained to see and notice things that you may not. Budgeting & Planning A designer can keep you on budget and save you time and effort. A designer knows where to go for resources for everything related to your home. This will save you endless amounts of time researching products, brands and prices. A designer will have all OTTER TAIL COUNTY, MINNESOTA

“My clients who have worked with American Federal for their construction loans have appreciated the welcoming environment and professional advice provided by Chris Marvel. The entire staff at American Federal is committed to making the financing process stress free.�

- Dave Erwin, Dave Erwin Construction, Inc.

117 South Mill Street Fergus Falls, MN 56537 218.739.3377 888.389.3377 44 LAKE AND HOME MAGAZINE JULY / AUGUST 2017

this readily on hand, and should he or she not, will spend the time researching so that you don’t have to.

ing these resources designers can help to make your space look more collected, unique and pulled together.

Liaison A designer will be able to build a stronger bridge between you and your architect or contractors early on and can head off design misses in your overall plan. This is crucial in managing time and money. Also, designers are trained to think about things we may overlook. It’s so important that the lighting and furnishing needs are addressed before construction. If your living room sofa is floating in the middle of the room you want to make sure you have the proper placement for floor outlets.

Contacts In addition to vendor resources, designers have many home improvement industry contacts. They can save homeowners time and headaches trying to identify reliable, contractors, plumbers and electricians for their project.

Wide Availability of Resources There are things available to designers that are not available to the general public in terms of connections, resources and general merchandise. By culminat-

Wow Factor & Function Designers can help to give you the “wow” factor you’ve been looking for. They are trained to think differently and to see an overall picture that clients often cannot. Thinking outside of the box is what designers do all day long. You can always tell a home was planned out by a professional because of the spacing and layout. When it comes to form and function, a designer always does things harmoniously.


Unique Ideas Designers will be able to come up with unique solutions for your home that you may not think of and also know what to avoid to eliminate costly mistakes. The more unique the space, the more impact possible! A great designer takes the time to understand your personality. A Trained Eye A designer is a professional with a trained eye that can automatically tell you if there is something wrong or right with a space. Having that immediate consultation is a major advantage when making aesthetic decisions. Visual Story-Teller Interior design is a skill and an art that will only enhance the space and the quality of your life in the space. A designer will help you tell your visual story. ~L&H


JULY / AUGUST 2017 45



Your Questions

Answered By Our Panel Of Experts Question:

How often should my septic tank be emptied?


Doug Green Nature’s Call Septic Service, Inc.

According to Doug Green from Nature’s Call Septic Service, Inc., homeowners should not go more than 36 months between cleaning or evaluations. For new home installations, the tank should be pumped either before occupying the home or after 1-3 months of use as a precautionary measure to ensure proper operation. In new homes, sewage containing paint, varnish, stain, and other construction related products can reduce the initial levels of bacterial activity. Once a system is known to be operating properly, how often a septic tank needs pumping depends on the system design and how your household uses the system. Factors include tank size, household size, if you have an in-home business, or large amounts of overnight guests. Other factors are use of garbage disposal, low flow appliances, MINNESOTA


sump pumps, and types of cleaning products that are entering the tank. The septic tank is designed to collect solids, sludge and sediments, preventing contaminates from entering and damaging the drain field area. Based on your system and habits, this will determine how often to have the tank pumped to remove these solids. This work must be done by a licensed septic Subsurface Sewage Treatment System Maintainer or Service Provider. Your Maintainer or Service Provider can give you a better estimate of your pumping needs. ~L&H


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ON THE LAKE Anglers who fish Minnesota lakes and streams benefit from the management, research and habitat work of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Within the MNDNR Section of Fisheries is a team of managers and research biologists who work together to assess the health of the state’s lakes and streams to provide top notch angling opportunities to citizens and visitors. These folks use many tools to obtain the information needed to manage, monitor and enhance our state’s lakes and streams so they remain a sustainable resource for current and future generations.

Fish population assessments, also referred to as lake surveys, are the foundation of Minnesota’s fisheries management program. Results of these assessments guide the management plan process. Lake surveys are used to collect physical, chemical and biological information related to habitat, water quality and fish populations. They allow managers to evaluate management techniques such as fish stocking or harvest regulations. Regularly scheduled lake surveys in which fish population data is collected in

Fish Population Surveys Fisheries management at the individual lake level is guided by the fisheries lake management plan. MNDNR Fisheries maintains more than 4400 active fisheries lake management plans that are updated regularly as new information becomes available.

Large seine nets are used near shore to catch small fish, which are used to calculate the lake Index of Biological Integrity (IBI). This information is used to determine habitat conditions and to develop a score for the lake.


Assessing the health of Minnesota lakes and fish populations a standardized manner over time allows changes in fish populations or fish communities to become evident. Surveys also foster greater awareness of and care for those resources. The two main types of fisheries assessments are standard surveys and targeted surveys. Standard surveys are intended to provide a relatively broad overview of the fish community, as well as some basic

water quality information. Targeted surveys are used to address specific aspects of a fish community, fish population or aquatic ecosystem.

electrofishing for bass is also done if the lake management plan designates bass (either largemouth or smallmouth) as a management species of interest.

Standard surveys include, wherever possible, certain core components: standard gill netting, standard trap netting and water quality sampling, which includes water transparency and a temperaturedissolved oxygen profile. Spring night

Targeted fish sampling is more narrowly focused on a small number of species or, more often, a specific life stage of a species. Electrofishing and trap netting are the two most commonly used sampling methods for targeted surveys

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By driving a boat equipped with an iPad and GPS receiver around the edge of aquatic plant beds, biologists create maps of the emergent and floating-leaf plant communities in lakes. Index of Biological Integrity Surveys Fish communities are a reflection of the cumulative effects of natural and human-caused influences on the lake. Certain fish species can’t survive without clean water and a healthy habitat, while other species are tolerant of degraded conditions. These species are considered “indicators” of the health of a lake. Index of Biological Integrity, or IBI, are tools used to measure a lake’s health and identify lakes that may be impacted by watershed or shoreline factors.

MNDNR fisheries biologists electrofishing the shoreline. Electrofishing equipment sends an electric current into the water that attracts and stuns fish, allowing them to be captured with a net. Biologists count, weigh and measure fish before returning them to the water. Mapping Minnesota’s Underwater Forests Biologists use innovative technology to map lake plants - from shallow-water, emergent species like bulrush and wild rice, to the submerged forests that grow as deep as the light from the surface can reach. They are learning about how the types and amounts of aquatic plants affect fish populations. In water deeper than three feet, sonar is used to measure how much of the water column is filled with plants. In the past this required high-tech, expensive, scientific grade sonar, but advances in commercial fish-finders allow quick measurement of submerged plant abundance in lakes. Some lake associations are collecting this data themselves, using volunteers.

Emergent and floating plants, which are usually found in water less than three feet deep, are mapped using an iPad connected via Bluetooth to a GPS receiver. This allows the person recording data to drive or walk around the edge of plant beds, recording the plant species as they go. These new, detailed maps are helping fisheries biologists learn how various fish species use different plant communities. This information will make aquatic plant management more fish friendly.


MNDNR scientists developed four fishbased index of biological integrity tools by sampling the entire fish community in a wide range of lakes, from high-quality lakes to those with significantly degraded water quality or shoreline habitat. Statistical analyses were used to construct tools using several measurements of the fish community. When the measurements are analyzed together, they are given a score that reflects the lake’s health. Using IBI scores, scientists can judge the overall health of a lake and compare it to what is expected for a healthy lake. ~L&H

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DNR fisheries biologists using a large trap net to target and capture muskellunge on Pelican Lake in Otter Tail County. Trap nets are used for both standard and targeted fish surveys. At various depths in the lake, biologists record the temperature and dissolved oxygen to obtain a “profile.” A temperature/oxygen profile is one measure of quality of habitat for cold-water species like the cisco, which is an indicator of good water quality.

on the status of a fish population. Angler creel surveys are a tool that shows how the product (the fish population and its management plan) meets customer (the angler) needs. Creel information can be an integral part of management decisions on lakes that are fished.

The IBI score is an important component of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s water quality assessment process. To date, over 180 lakes have been assessed in 13 watersheds. Biological assessments provide important information to guide Clean Water planning, restoration and protection efforts and complement pollutant-based water quality sampling efforts on lakes. On lakes with low scores, IBI information is used to identify which stressors are impacting a lake and prioritize appropriate restoration activities. IBI information can also be used by conservation groups, lake associations and homeowners to guide future lake management actions. Creel Surveys Fish population surveys are the bread and butter of most fisheries management plans and provide detailed data

For many popular fishing lakes around the state, creel survey information tells a story of how good fishing was. At the end of a creel survey, fisheries managers estimate angling pressure, catch rates, total harvest and other statistics. This information ensures that population goals are being met and shows how anglers may be influencing the fish population. From creel statistics, fisheries managers design regulations to protect the resource by reducing harvest, protecting spawning-sized fish and improving the size structure of the fish population. Creel surveys also tell us how fishing regulations affect anglers and if the regulation is doing what it is designed to do. Creel surveys work in concert with lake surveys, stocking, habitat protection and restoration, enforcement and education to help manage and protect the resources we all enjoy. With all of the tools working in concert, fisheries management goals can be met and sustained for future generations.


Natural Fish Reproduction and Stocking Each spring northern pike, walleye, muskellunge, yellow perch, bass, panfish and minnows complete their spawning ritual in the shallow water, near-shore zones of lakes and streams. These zones are the warmest part of any lake, where plants serve as a protective underwater forest canopy for young fish to develop. The importance of spawning habitat to fishing quality cannot be understated. In lakes with good spawning habitat, new additions to the fish population will replace fish lost by predation, starvation, old age, angling and disease. Stocking activities can enhance fish abundance in lakes where reproduction is limiting, but good natural reproduction has no equal for maintaining a fish population. A lake can only support a certain amount of fish over the long haul. Stocking additional fish into a “full” lake causes overpopulation, creating a situation where there isn’t enough habitat (food and shelter) for the new fish, so they either displace existing fish or die off. Referred to as a lake’s carrying capacity, this biological limit is based on a lake’s size, fertility, amount of available habitat and length of growing season. ~L&H

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ucked away up on a hill looking down on Lake Brophy near Alexandria, Erika Johnson’s decidedly contemporary home makes a statement with its sharp corners and steel siding, mixed with touches of cedar and stucco. Dramatic decks and patios add to the modern lines of this secluded treasure.

Erika was personally involved with every tiny detail in the design of her home, including exactly how and where it sits on the 6.1 acre lot. Instead of directly facing the lake, it is off center at a slight angle that enhances her views of Lake Brophy and beyond. “I never thought about building a house before this, but I’ve always been drawn to modern architecture,” says Erika, an OB/GYN


g by JS Des

3D Renderin


who graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School. She lived in St. Paul and then Maui prior to moving to Alexandria 14 years ago, where her identical twin sister Sandi is also a doctor. “I finally decided that I love the water and I love kayaking,” she says. “So why wasn’t I living on a lake, and what was I waiting for?” After purchasing this undeveloped lot with more than 900 feet of shoreline in 2013, she spent the next couple years sketching

out her design ideas – and changing her mind a multitude of times about the house she would build. During that time, Sandi and her husband, who live on a nearby lake, lost their home to a fire and had to rebuild entirely. “Watching my sister lose her home was awful, but then I watched them build a brand new place on the lake,” she says. Although she admits the twin sisters have totally different tastes and styles – Sandi’s house design is much more traditional – Erika turned to the same builder, Brian P. Johnson Construction. Throughout her sister’s building process, Erika became convinced that Brian would be the craftsman to help bring her contemporary home design to reality. “I had been carrying around these little pieces of paper with my little drawings for so long, and I finally decided I needed to move forward.” To begin tackling the task of consolidating all those pieces of paper into a workable plan, Erika initially began working with a draftsman. Then Brian introduced her to an interior designer, Jill Stoeck from JS DESIGN whose 3D drawings allowed Erika to slowly see how those tiny pieces of paper would come to life. “Jill and I played with it for more than a month, and unfortunately, I had to give up some of my loftier ideas, like the allglass wall I had envisioned,” she says with a laugh. One of the benefits of working with Jill and the 3D design is that she was able to see the entire home complete both inside and out before even breaking ground. Using 3D design makes some decisions easier when homeowners can’t visualize the space. “The entire time I was making decisions on my home, however, there was one thing I was thinking about that I knew I wouldn’t give up: I wanted to make the entire house and grounds as environmentally friendly as possible.”

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“The entire time I was making decisions on my home, however, there was one thing I was thinking about that I knew I wouldn’t give up: I wanted to make the entire house and grounds as environmentally friendly as possible.” Homeowner Erika Johnson

The home was completed in 2015, and in taking a closer look, signs of those “green” efforts are apparent. The installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system and energy-saving LED lights throughout the house are a couple examples. Furthermore, they used as many natural materials as possible, planted native grasses and flowers instead of a lawn, and, most recently, installed a series of solar panels. A geothermal system, according to Jill, is a series of wells in an underground piping system, called a “loop.” Water circulates in that loop, taking advantage of the warm temperature of the underground water to heat the home in the winter, and the cooler underground water temperature to cool it in the summer. “These systems initially can be very expensive to install,” she says, “but they have long-term benefits both financially and environmentally.” Ellingson’s hooked up the entire system to a TRANE furnace system to ensure dependable backup heat.

3D Rendering by

JS Design

At 4,700 square feet with four bedrooms, 4 ½ baths, a screened-in porch, three additional decks, and a 3-car garage, the home got “way bigger” than Erika intended it to be, but the views are amazing, and it’s a “perfect” place to live, along with her mother and 16-year-old son. In her research on energy savings, Erika found out the square contemporary look and design she envisioned would actually make the house more energy efficient. “If you have too many ‘boxes’ in the design element, you can lose heat, so I decided, ultimately, to make it very square for that reason,” she says. “The squarer it is, the more efficient it is.”


Modern Touches Because Jill was involved with Erika throughout the entire building process, she found that this homeowner’s heart was entirely into both the environment and the contemporary look of the house. “One of the interior features that highlights the home’s modern tone is the cable rail system on the way,” she says. “Erika saw these distinctive stainless steel cables, with a maple handrail, in a magazine, and she showed it to Brian and asked if he could make it that way.” Since he enjoys working on creative and unique stairways, Brian was up to the task. “It took special measuring and drilling, and lots of time to create that stairway just the way she wanted it,” he says, “but it truly gives the inside of the house a

contemporary feel, it is one of my favorite parts of the home for me.”

straight out from the house, adding more drama to the contemporary style.

They also created a modified version of that same cable rail system on two of the home’s decks, tying together the modern theme from inside to outside. One of those decks, facing the lake, is cantilevered out of the house on the lakeside with hidden structural beams. It appears to be sitting

Erika’s love of the outdoors necessitated those numerous outdoor living spaces. There is also a screened porch off the kitchen area that is used for eating meals, and there is another unique deck on the second level that sits directly above her living room.

“Built over an interior ceiling, it has a glass railing with rubber pavers for the floor and cedar on the walls and ceiling,” Jill explains. “It’s still within the house ‘footprint,’ but it is outside. The views from this porch are incredible. This is very unique to the house and geographical area to have a porch over the interior of the home.”

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Photo courtesy Creative Impact Design

Specialized Flooring The quiet, forgiving and natural qualities of cork flooring appealed to Erika for the entire downstairs of the home. In her master bathroom shower upstairs, she also has a cork floor with a distinctive design that incorporates unusual little tiles of turtles and dragonflies that she brought back from Maui and are very special to her. Using a specific grout that would expand with the natural cork, those tiles were carefully imbedded into the cork floor for a sentimental look and feel. The rest of the upstairs flooring is elm and all from the Wood from the Hood Program, which reclaims discarded trees from Minneapolis neighborhoods – “recycled from the Twin Cities urban forest” – to create wood products for environmentally sensitive building and remodeling.

Solar Energy Erika’s desire to be as environmentally friendly as possible eventually led to the installation of solar panels after she moved in. “I didn’t initially consider solar panels, but the house used way more electricity than I initially estimated,” Erika explains. “I didn’t want my personal energy consumption to be that high, and with the solar panels, it should reduce the energy burden by more than half – we’re hoping for a 3/5 reduction.” Natural Grasses Environmental concerns also led Erika to the grounds around the house. One of the most amazing elements of this property is the native grasses and flowers.


“I’m working with Prairie Restoration on native planting with native grasses, bushes and wildflowers,” she says. “Most of this acreage is either woods or wetland, and of the area that used to be wild grass, more than half will now be native prairie.” Erika admits that it’s “sort of odd” to have this modern house on property that will have all native grasses, but eliminating a lawn to mow and establishing the prairie grasses are higher priorities for her. Those prairie grasses are in the first year of the five years it will take until they’re completely established, when her “yard” will actually resemble the look of an oldfashioned prairie.

The whole prairie grass look isn’t for passersby – it’s for the birds, butterflies and bees!” Homeowner Erika Johnson

Photo courtesy Creative Impact Design

Photo courtesy Creative Impact Design

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“Most of this property isn’t seen by anyone else,” Erika adds. “You wouldn’t even know there’s a house back there when you approach the area, and nobody can see my lot until they turn into the long, private driveway. The whole prairie grass look isn’t for passersby – it’s for the birds, butterflies and bees!”


This project was very unique according to the builder, Brian, and designer, Jill. They both find it extremely gratifying to see Erika and her family in their new home, surrounded with the love of nature and the preservation of the environment. ~L&H



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estled within the Whitefish Chain of Lakes and its more than 13,000 acres of water and 100 miles of shoreline, Cross Lake perfectly encapsulates the beauty and serenity of the Minnesota northwoods and the lake life it reflects. Offering up great boating, fishing, skiing, and swimming opportunities, this northern Minnesota hide-a-way is the backdrop for the Stuhr family retreat. With ties to the area dating back to the 1950s, their newly constructed yearround lake home is filled with newness and nostalgia, an impeccably designed getaway for the intergenerational family it serves. “Our family spent the 60s and early 70s visiting my grandparent’s lake home


on lake O’Brien, a small lake located a couple miles east of Cross Lake,” recalls Craig Stuhr. “My grandparents, Bud and Ruth Stuhr, purchased their lake home on O’Brien in 1950 and Gordon and his brothers, Stu and Jim, spent their youth there.” Then, in the 70s, Craig Stuhr notes his parents, Gordon and Carol Stuhr, purchased their own lake home on Upper Whitefish, part of the Whitefish Chain of Lakes. “This [cottage] was an old resort cabin purchased from the Red Cedar Lodge which was selling off its land and cabins,” relays Craig Stuhr. “The family spent their time here until the fall of 1994 when business interests took them out of state.”

PHOTO: Connie’s Studio of Photography

Although the cabin was rustic, to say the least, Stuhr notes it was a great place to enjoy all the amenities the lake had to offer – namely its pristine fishing, boating, water skiing, bonfires and the like. In addition to its ideally situated location, the old family place was able to house the entire Stuhr clan due to the cabin’s open concept interior. “Our cabin was a traditional resort cabin,” starts Stuhr. “It had a very open floor plan that could fit everyone. When we decided to come back [to the area], we wanted to re-create that 1950s open cabin feel,” he relays. Although it took some time to return to this part of Minnesota –15 years to be precise – Stuhr and his brother Corey revisited the Whitefish Chain of Lakes area in 2008 and

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“Our cabin was a traditional resort cabin, a very open floor plan that could fit everyone. When we decided to come back [to the area], we wanted to re-create that 1950s open cabin feel.”

“We wanted to try to recreate the experiences we had growing up for our families,” relays Craig Stuhr. Strategically situated in the Whitefish Chain of Lakes, eventually Stuhr discovered a half acre-parcel of land on Cross Lake in 2010. The lake lot would be the perfect place for his wife Peggy Jessen and their two children Patrick and Kristen, parents Gordon and Carol, brother Corey and his younger sisters Melissa, Suzanne and Brynne to take advantage of Minnesota lake life once again. With a site selected, the Stuhr families shifted gears and spent the next two years deciding on their exact priorities for their dream lake house, as well as refining the resulting house plan to accomplish that goal.

“We loved our old 50s cabin but no one really wants to go back to live in that time,” explains Craig Stuhr. “We wanted to maintain the nostalgic feeling but include a few upgrades.” The eventual home plan, created by Bercher Design and Construction out of Baxter Minnesota, includes a variety of amenities and design elements that represent a number of Stuhr family must haves. The plan was a combined vision for what they wanted their lake home to look like, and how the shared retreat would be used to maximize their enjoyment of the lake. “A family friend suggested we talk to Bercher Design to come up with our house plan, and I could not have been happier,” says Stuhr. “They were very attentive to what we wanted.” With lots of family input and help from Bercher to sort through all the ideas, a collective blueprint came together.

PHOTO: Connie’s Studio of Photography

Craig Stuhr

2009 on a mission. The goal was simple: find the ultimate lake spot to build a family retreat.


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At approximately 5,000-square feet, it was a custom home plan designed specifically for the Stuhrs and the piece of property it would sit on, notes Bercher Design and Construction president, Brent Gunsbury. “We wanted a cohesive design that reflected the strong opinions of each of the three main decision-makers: Gordon, Craig, and Corey,” says Gunsbury. “I think our process captured each person’s thoughts and desires which were then integrated with our own ideas to create something truly special.”

PHOTOS: Connie’s Studio of Photography

Consisting of three bedrooms, an open floor plan, a sweeping two-story great room, large lake windows and vistas of the water from all angles, the subsequent two-story structure also came complete with a separate master suite that feels


like a self-contained cabin within a cabin. Just one of the unexpected but appreciated touches the local design firm included to maximize use of family space in the abode. “The plan really came together,” notes Stuhr. “They [Bercher] took our vision and got it down on paper. Then, after hours of going over and over it, we were ready to build.” With its plan set, finishes were selected to reflect their new lake vision comprised of

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vaulted ceilings, reclaimed wood floors, and a refined yet rustic looking timber exterior. Then, after a year of planning, the Stuhr lake home project started its construction phase in 2011. “The construction evokes feelings of a historic and yet updated family lodge,” reflects Gunsbury. “There were a lot of things that we wanted in the house that would make it look like the old cabin. Things like tall ceilings and red-stained wood,” Stuhr details. “We also knew we wanted to have a timber exterior as a nod to the old resort cabin.” In addition to the old, however, there were many new features included too. For example, French doors were utilized to take advantage of the ample lake views from almost every room, wood ceilings were incorporated to add a feeling of being up north, and notable tin roof accents on a few of the exterior gables. “I love the French doors because we can open them up between rooms to let in light and see the lake from different

PHOTO: Connie’s Studio of Photography


PHOTO: Connie’s Studio of Photography

points,” starts Stuhr. “The wood on the ceilings also have the same red stain look that the old cabin had. However, we did not want to over do things, so we do have sheet rock walls and such. We also used a new wood flooring product to give the floors an aged look.” Gunsbury, notes the flooring was constructed of pine of random widths to mimic the look of reclaimed wood. “It is new wood, but the technique we use gives it a reclaimed appearance,” explains the local builder/designer.

PHOTO: Photojenic Photography

An avid downhill skier, Craig Stuhr notes he added one particular home highlight, the tin roof, after noticing them out West at various ski resorts. “I had traveled out West and loved the aged tin roofs I saw out there. I wanted to incorporate that look into an architectural

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“The construction evokes feelings of a historic and yet updated family lodge.” Brent Gunsbury Bercher Design and Construction

detail in the house,” Stuhr describes. “We settled on a neat product to reproduce the look, a re-used, galvanized tin that would partially rust in pieces but not over the entire roof. I think it turned out perfectly.” With its many vintage touches – timber exterior and stone-clad fireplace – there was also one late addition to the plan. It was a nod to many Minnesota cabins of old, just not to this family cottage in particular, a screen porch. Recalls Stuhr: “It took some time to take hold but my wife kept pushing it, and now it is one of the favorite places in the house. We find ourselves using it all the time. It gets a great lake breeze and is a


wonderful place just to sit and enjoy the lake even when it is raining. We definitely use it more than we would have an open deck.” Finishing up all the last minute design elements and wistful touches, the Stuhr retreat wrapped up construction on Memorial Day of 2012. “I told Bercher I couldn’t be happier with their workmanship, but I was even happier that they would be gone by Memorial Day that year,” recalls Stuhr. True to their word, they completed the project before the holiday weekend and were vacated from the site by Memorial Day.

“We loved our old 50s cabin but no one really wants to go back to live in that time, We wanted to maintain the nostalgic feeling but include a few upgrades.” Craig Stuhr PHOTOS Photojenic Photography

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The current Stuhr home has approximately 3,500 square feet of completed space with a 1,688 squarefoot lower level that remains unfinished. With the build accomplished, the Stuhr family has now switched their attentions from planning a dream house to living in one. For the past five years now, they have been living lake life to its fullest. In addition to kayaking, hiking, fishing, boating and occasionally water skiing together at their Cross Lake cabin, they have also been passing down their many family lake traditions to the next generation of Stuhrs.

PHOTOS : Photojenic Photography

“I have to admit that I don’t water ski much anymore. I’ve let up as I would rather snow ski and don’t want to push it on the water,” states Stuhr. “We do still do all the other stuff though, fishing, hiking, and lots of boating. We even cross country ski and snowmobile in the winter. We basically enjoy the lake at every opportunity.”



As with all good things, however, some end too soon. Gordon and Carol Stuhr were able to take pleasure in the new family retreat for only a few years. Gordon passed last year and Carol just this past spring. Their warm memory lives on vibrantly in the decidedly family retreat along the quiet shore of Cross Lake.



They will be remembered always, notes Stuhr. “They truly enjoyed every minute at the lake. In fact, they had more clothes here than they did in their retirement home in Arizona. The lake home was their favorite home,” concludes Stuhr. ~L&H

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emories are made at the lake. Whether you own a small cabin or a palatial home, families come together to share the joys and pleasures of lakeside living. While some cabins have been in families for generations, many lakeshore owners still wrestle with decisions about preserving that ownership for future generations. If you want your children and their families to continue making memories at the cabin for years to come, it will involve some well thought-out estate planning – perhaps transferring ownership or setting up a trust. It’s not, however, as straightforward as it may seem at first glance. “Entire books have been written on this topic,” says Daniel Carlisle, an estate planning attorney with the Pemberton Law Of-

fice in Wadena/Ottertail, who is a lifelong lake resident. “There is no perfect answer for how to keep your cabin in the family, but there are a variety of options for different situations.” So when is it time to start thinking about protecting your family lake home ownership? When you’re 50? 60? 70? There’s no magical age to begin your estate planning, just as there is no crystal ball to tell us the future. Chatter from friends, neighbors or acquaintances about “wills” and “trusts” and avoiding “estate taxes” and “probate” are common – and often inaccurate. No two families are the same, so no two plans will be exactly the same. Carlisle says it’s important to first consider your own goals, objectives, and personal family dynamics before getting started.

Ramona Johnson, an accountant and partner with Eide Bailly LLP in Fargo, works with clients to help structure their estate plans from a tax standpoint – both income taxes and estate taxes. It’s been her niche area and her passion for most of her career, and she agrees there are no “cookie-cutter” families, so there are no “cookie-cutter” solutions. “The entire process of estate planning is to minimize the ramifications, while also accomplishing the distribution of property,” she says. “We always try to work together, but sometimes the best tax result isn’t what is going to work best for the family.” With all of those considerations, planning ahead and establishing a solid estate plan to tackle cabin succession will take time and professional guidance.

“The entire process of estate planning is to minimize the ramifications, while also accomplishing the distribution of property.” Ramona Johnson, accountant/partner, Eide Bailly LLP


The questions below may be a first step to understanding your needs and wishes: • Is your goal to provide for continuity of ownership of your cabin after you die? •

Have you spoken to your child/children regarding interest in ownership, and will that be a financial burden to any of them?

• •

• If you have more than one child, are those children realistically capable of working together to make it successful? • For future generations, do you want the property to be passed down through bloodlines only?

medical assistance lien may be attached to that property. • Do you have concerns about the capital gains your children will incur in a transfer/sale?

• Are you worried that one (or more) of your children might want to sell?

• Do you want your family to avoid the slow, and sometimes costly, probate process following your death?

Are you interested in providing a sum of money (in addition to the property) that would assist with maintenance and repair of the cabin?

Have you thought about eventual medical assistance liens (that can force you to sell the property) if you go into a nursing home?

Do you want to avoid estate taxes, which currently go into effect in Minnesota when you have more than $1.8 million in assets?

Are you interested in implementing and including a Cabin Use Agreement (spelling out scheduling and decisionmaking rules for your children)?

Do you realize there is a 60-month “look back” that can affect medical assistance liens? Any gift of your property must be accomplished more than five years prior to receiving medical assistance – or else a

Instead of keeping your cabin in the family, do you have an interest in leaving it to a favorite charitable organization that could benefit from its use?


Brief Descriptions of Common Estate Planning Options: Transfer on Death Deed (TODD) A transfer on death deed automatically transfers your property to your children upon moment of death, so it won’t get mired down in probate court. It’s revocable, meaning it can be “undone” at any time, but it will NOT protect you from a medical assistance lien if you go into a nursing home and run out of funds. Direct Deeding This document gifts the property to a child or children and gets it out of your estate while you’re alive. As long as it is recorded 60 months prior to a need for medical assistance, it will protect you from a lien if you go into a nursing home and run out of funds. The negative could be the loss of control during your lifetime – deeding it away could lead to issues if any creditors

went after your child or children, and there would be high capital gains taxes if they had to sell it. Revocable Living Trust This is a popular alternative to a will, where you appoint a successor trustee, who informally winds down your estate without probate intervention. It will NOT protect your assets from a medical assistance lien if you go into a nursing home and run out of funds. By using a trust, you may also choose to keep cabin ownership in the trust after your death, instead of leaving it to the children. The trust would contain very explicit instructions/preferences listed within it. For example, a sum of money from the estate can be distributed from the trust into an account to be used for upkeep, maintenance, and taxes. It can also be


made clear that inheritance of the property would pass down through bloodlines only. Each child has an equal share, and a Cabin Use Agreement can be created to spell out guidelines. The property doesn’t actually belong to the children, but by unanimous vote they could sell the property or take it out of the trust (with a high tax burden). Limited Liability Company (LLC) LLCs are now sometimes used to hold ownership of real estate. Ownership is then reflected in shares (membership units) of the LLC instead of a direct interest in real property, which may possibly avoid probate. The children would have equal ownership, and it is run like a business that is member managed. It could make it more difficult if one member wanted to sell their “share,” so it isn’t always a good fit for a cabin. ~L&H



Gaining an understanding of general lake processes and ecology can help people understand what is happening in their lake. Determining the current condition of your own lake can then provide a knowledge base that you can use to protect and restore your lake. After the lake’s current condition is determined, associations can monitor water quality each year to learn about seasonal variability and year to year variability. If abrupt changes in water quality occur, they’re able to investigate potential causes and respond accordingly.

Our lakes are some of our most precious resources. Especially here in “Lakes Country,” we understand the value of enjoying the lakes and the economic value of tourism involving our lakes. So, what is lake stewardship and how do we promote it? First of all, stewardship is an attitude. It is the understanding that what we do on land and in the water affects the lake. It is recognition that lakes are vulnerable and in order to make them thrive, citizens, both individually and collectively, must assume responsibility for their care.

Lake stewardship can be promoted through lake association meetings and publications such as a website or newsletter. At your lake association meeting, you can have an open brainstorming session about goals for the lake. People use lakes in different ways, and may have different goals for enjoyment of the lake. Discussing these goals in an open forum can help people understand each other’s view points and vision for the lake.


Banding together as an association and a coalition of lake associations is one of the best ways to share knowledge and understanding about lakes and lake stewardship. “In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what

we have been taught.� - Baba Dioum, a Senegalese ecologist. ~L&H This article was written and shared by Moriya Rufer at RMB Environmental Laboratories as part of continuing education for their Lakes Monitoring Program (218-846-1465, To learn more, visit

Resources: The Freshwater Society and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency have put together an excellent Guide to Lake Protection and Management. This guide can be used in understanding your lake and developing a lake management plan. You can obtain this publication at water/lake-protection-and-management or by contacting the Freshwater Society at 651-313-5800 or

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| Products and Services for your Lake Lifestyle


Advertiser Index Advertiser

Page #

Advertiser...................... Page #

1st National Bank........... 2,3

Lakeside Lumber............ 39

Advanced Storage........ 95

Lifeform LED................... 29

Advantage Seamless..... 31,94

Lumber Depot................ 41

Aitkin Hardwoods............ 77

Mattson Lumber............. 35

Alex Glass & Glazing...... 93

Mill Street Residence...... 89

All Seasons Heating........ 94 and Air Conditioning

Merickel Lumber............ 8,11 and Design

American Federal.......... 8,44

Mosquito Squad............. 53

Anytime Plumbing.......... 81,94

Nature’s Call .................. 46 Septic Service

Arnquist Carpet Plus....... 63 Bayer Interior Woods....... 37 Bell Bank......................... 47 Bitzan/Ohren Masonry..... 63,94 Brainerd Hardwoods ...... 51 Incorporated Brian P. Johnson............. 57 Construction Bercher’s Design............. 69 and Construction Bladow & Sons............... 99 Construction Brock White.................... 51 Carr’s Tree Service.......... 94 Coatings Unlimited......... 97 Dakota Timber Co.......... 16,17 Dave Erwin..................... 8,9 Construction Deerwood Lumber......... 34 Eide Bailly....................... 53

Norson Window.............. 94 and Glass Northern Stone............... 47,94 Ohren Electric................ 94 Outdoor Renovations..... 45 Pelican Valley Health...... 87 People’s Security............ 77 Company Pioneer Pointe................ 83 Prairie Bay....................... 29 Pride Painting................. 95 Ravnik & Co................... 45 Refreshing Designs......... 7,42,44 Research Products......... 98 River Oaks Landing......... 85 Ron Holstrom Antique..... 21 Floors and More Ron’s Cabinets............... 79

Ellingsons........................ 62

Save the Boundary......... 80 Waters

Emil’s Electric.................. 94

Simonson Lumber.......... 78

Evert’s Lumber................ 96

Starr Fireworks................. 4

Extreme Lakes Area........ 94 Cabin Care

Stenerson Lumber.......... 5

Extreme Marine.............. 94

Swedberg Wood............ 63,94 Products

Farmers State Bank......... 27

T-Weeder........................ 51

First Security Bank........... 81

The Market..................... 97

Frontier Powersports........ 25

TNT Woodworks............... 42

Gate City Bank............... 100

Tri County Foam............. 31,94

Geo’s Paint & Finish........ 78

Truax Buildings................ 94

Great River Door............. 31

Ulen Building Supply....... 43

Gull Lake Glass............... 78

Urban Evolutions............. 15

Hilltop Lumber................ 33

Vergas State Bank.......... 96

JS Design........................ 57

Western Bank.................. 93

Lake Area Docks & Lifts.. 25

Winkels Carpet Center... 94

Lake House Lifestyle....... 42

JULY / AUGUST 2017 97



Lake Brophy Douglas County

Size: 292.58 Acres Max Depth: 44 ft. County: Douglas Clarity: 10.3 ft. Shore Length: 3.37 mi

Lake Brophy is a 289-acre lake located five miles west of Alexandria. A DNR public access is located on the northwest shoreline. Lake Brophy’s outlet is located in the northeast area of the lake. The outlet channel affords anglers with small boats navigable access to a chain of smaller lakes. Those connected basins include North Union, Stoney, and Lottie lakes and eventually, Lake Cowdry. Quiet fishing experiences on lightly developed, natural environment lakes can be found here, especially during the week. Water clarity measures average 10 feet during summer months. With extensive shallows, bluffs along the south shore and an island offering protection from wind and waves, and good water transparency, Lake Brophy supports a healthy mix of submerged, floating-leaf and emergent plant communities. Habitat conditions are optimal for sunfishes such as largemouth bass, bluegill and black crappie, and ambush feeders such as northern pike. Walleye are stocked, but recruitment of stocked fish has been modest. Walleye catch rates may not be great, but average size of captures tends to be greater.

Source: MN DNR

The park and lake are bisected by the Central Lakes Trail, a 14-foot wide bituminous recreational trail that runs 55 miles from Dalton to Osakis where it joins the Lake Wobegon Regional Trail. Fish Species include black bullhead, black crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, largemouth bass, northern pike, pumpkinseed, rock bass, tullibee (cisco), walleye, yellow bullhead, yellow perch, bowfin (dogfish), common carp, white sucker, bluntnose minnow, brook silverside and golden shiners.