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Subscribe at w w VOLUME 21 / ISSUE 6



Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019




VOLUME 21 • ISSUE 6 • NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019 subscribe online at:



Meet Our Team




From the Office by Erin Hintz



Designer Concrete A New Choice in Home Décor by Andrea Canning


Customizing, Organizing & Optimizing Cabinet Storage New Ways to Solve Age-Old Problems by Patrice Peterson




Unique in Minnesota Gifts for the Lake Lover


Furniture Trends in Interior Design by Danae Branson




Granite Finish Options

Kitchen & Bath

by Capital Granite


Caring for Your Counters Stone Counter Maintenance by Northern Stone




Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019


Service Directory



Lake Views and Light A Quiet Point on Cedar Lake by Alicia Underlee Nelson




Modern Remodel Highlights 100 Years of History by Jen Miller


Ottertail Glass by Andrea Canning





Lakeside Oasis on Rush Lake

by Patrice Peterson




Cover photo by Kip Johnson Story on page 94

Lake Le Homme Dieu

on Le Homme Dieu by Angela Garvin




Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019



Lic. #BC520694

Volume 21, Issue 6 • NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019 PUBLISHER Kip Johnson EDITORS Brent and Jennifer Rogness ADVERTISING/MARKETING CONSULTANT John Burns LAKE & HOME MAGAZINE – ADVERTISING SALES Erin Hintz • 218-205-2120 Jerry Shea • 218-205-7454   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 & HOME MAGAZINE Published bimonthly by Compass Media 118 S Vine St | Fergus Falls, MN 56537 (218) 205-2706 Unless previously agreed, all rights remain the sole property of Lake & Home Magazine. ©2019 Compass Media. Except for purposes of review, material contained herein may not be reproduced without prior written consent. Printed by Hess Print Solutions, USA

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From the Office The roller coaster that is Minnesota weather continues. After what seemed like weeks of nothing but gray skies and rain, we’ve finally had a few beautiful early October days, but looming ahead is an early blizzard. I was just getting comfortable with fall. We’ve made little to no progress in taking things in or getting ready for winter. So this week has been a mad dash to finish a front walkway project, take in outdoor furniture, deadhead plants, clean up the garden, and mow the lawn in preparation for a snow storm I’m praying never materializes. How often can you say that you mowed the lawn and shoveled snow in the same week? Only in Minnesota. While hoping for the best, I’m preparing myself to be cooped up inside far earlier in the season than I expected to be. On the bright side, I have several gallons of tomatoes that I’m looking forward to giving my undivided attention while the outdoors is less appealing.

On the cold winter days that are ahead of us, I love grabbing my garden veggies out of the freezer and fantasizing about the warmer days when I was picking and freezing them, then filling the house with the aroma of spaghetti sauce, tomato soup and salsa while the canner pumps humidity into our dry winter air. Time spent in the kitchen hasn’t always been on the top of my list, in fact the tiny, dark galley kitchen in our first home was a room I tried my best to avoid. One thing we were sure of after that kitchen, was that we needed to put extra time, detail and attention into our kitchen renovation in this home, and I’m so glad we did. It truly is the heart of our home. It’s not just where we prepare our meals, but also where we share them, around the island I always wanted. It’s where messes are made with Play-Doh and cupcake batter. It’s been filled to the brim on holidays and, on a daily basis,



been faced with begging dog’s paws on cabinets, toddler toy collisions, crayon art on walls and floors, and spills, so many spills. Our kitchens really are where our lives happen, so it goes without saying, that they should be built with our lives in mind. This issue of Lake & Home Magazine is packed with everything to consider in your kitchen build or remodel and plenty of inspiration to make it a space that feels like home. You’ll find articles on kitchen and bath efficiency, unique countertop finishes and cabinet storage options, as well as tips on countertop maintenance, and inspiration for your kitchen and bathrooms provided by Granicrete and Ottertail Glass. We’ll also be diving into popular furniture styles and of course, touring four beautiful homes recently built in the Minnesota lakes area. As for this weather, I’m still hopeful for a winter that is kinder to us than last year. ~L&H

Erin Hintz Advertising Sales



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As we look ahead to a new year, the furniture trends from 2019 are expected to maintain popularity. There are a variety of fabrics, styles, colors and materials that are continuing to appear in newly designed homes all over the country.

One of the most popular trends is comfort. Comfort is king where furniture is concerned, as more and more people are using their spaces for entertaining and conversation as well as spending more time at home. When designing spaces, I love to consider something Alexandra Stoddard, interior designer, author and lifestyle philosopher, said: “Make every room a living room.�

Along with comfort, are you curious about what else is popular right now? Let’s take a look!

antique pieces antique pieces

The great thing about antiques is not only do they look great incorporated in almost every home; they are great conversation pieces. Antiques don’t have to be passed down by generations, you can visit your favorite antique


stores to find some great pieces.


Showrooms all over are showcasing this great fabric that has a dramatic texture and the ability to turn a boring piece of furniture into something amazing. The fabric is knitted or woven with uneven yarn creating a surface of loops and curls. Although this fabric is beautiful and cozy, it’s not very suitable for people with children or pets due to the fact that it’s easily snagged.

velvet velvet

This fabric is soft, gorgeous and luxurious, however, like boucle, it’s not practical for people with children and pets. Despite that, it’s still a popular fabric for sofas, chairs and headboards today. 20 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019 21

wood wood

Wood including live edge tables, blackened or oxidized oak and rustic looking wood is all going to be showcased in homes for years to come. As our love of natural materials

chesterfield grows, so does our love of wood.


There are a dozen or so popular styles of sofa, but the Chesterfield seems to make every list. With its tufted back


and arms, this sofa always makes a strong statement.


Doesn’t everyone have at least one sectional in their home these days? These are great for family rooms and places where you gather. They have so many stylish options to fit every design style and they are great to maximize seating in certain spaces.

curved sofas curved sofas

People love the non-traditional shape of curved sofas that make a family, living or sitting room perfect for entertaining. The softer lines provide a cozier feel to the space and it’s easier on the eyes in a room that’s already full of hard edges.

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acrylic or lucite acrylic or lucite furniture

This material is commonly seen in end tables, coffee tables, entry tables, and even bar stools. It’s a great piece of furniture that doesn’t take up visual space so it’s nice for smaller rooms or rooms that already have a lot going on in them.


handmade handmade or custom-made pieces

Being unique is the name of the game in the interior design world and everyone wants a look all to themselves. More and more custom pieces are being built for clients every day and that trend will continue to grow as many homeowners want to set their design


apart from the rest.


Metal is being used in coffee tables, shelving, beds and bar stools. Metal adds a unique element that draws the eye, it’s sometimes unexpected in rooms full of wood and fabrics yet it can be just what a room needs to complete the most impeccable design.

farmhouse four poster

farmhouse dining tables Wide planked rustic dining tables are super popular. Surround yours with simple yet stylish black wooden chairs to complete the look.

four poster beds

I see these in magazines and HGTV home design shows all the time. They definitely make a statement and are great for large bedrooms and bedrooms with high ceilings. Wood and metal are most popular, but I’ve also seen them in soft luxurious fabric.

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custom oversized nightstands With larger beds come larger nightstands. The larger nightstands help create balance with the large four poster beds or even larger headboards. Plus, they


add a lot of additional storage.


Gray furniture along with other neutrals are still going to be very popular but due to increased internet searches for other furniture colors the most popular, predicted furniture colors, will be purple, dark green and blue.

Although there are more trends out there than I could possibly write about in this article, the great thing is it’s still trendy to create a space that is unique to you … a space that you’ll love! ~L&H




Stone countertops are an exceptional choice for durability and, contrary to some myths, are generally low maintenance. But there are several things you should be doing on a regular basis to prevent your countertops from becoming damaged or worn. Stone countertop maintenance is a breeze, once you learn the correct methods.

Maintenance Guide First and foremost, granite countertops need to be properly sealed. Unlike quartz, granite is a porous material that will absorb liquids relatively easily if not properly sealed. Improper sealing is one of the main reasons why granite countertops become damaged. Granite sealer is pretty easy to find at your local granite countertop supplier.

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How to Seal your Granite

Step 1 Determine if your countertops need to be sealed. An easy indicator is the water droplet test. Pour a small amount of water onto your countertop. The water should form a tight rounded edge and sit on top of the stone. If not, you may need to reseal your counters.

Step 2 Make sure your countertops are perfectly clean and dry. We recommend letting them dry overnight. Specks of dirt, water or food can become problematic with the sealing process.

Step 5 Wait 15 minutes. This allows the sealant time to penetrate and bond to the stone. After 15 minutes, come back and wipe down the counter with a cloth to remove any liquid remaining on the surface..

Step 6 Don’t touch the counter for at least 4 hours. The sealant will need some time to sit and absorb into the countertop to create a proper seal. Sealing your natural stone can double or triple the lifespan of your countertops. As a general rule, granite countertops may need to be sealed every 9 to 12 months, but professionally installed sealants can last as long as 15 to 25 years. You can always seal countertops on your own, but if you feel the need for a little help, we can come to your home and seal the counters for you.

Remember: Quartz is nonporous and does not need to be sealed. Only granite and similar natural stones need sealing.

Step 3 Liberally spray a small section of the counter with a granite sealant. Side note: When sealing a large surface, apply the sealant in small sections to ensure an even coating.

Step 4 Lightly smooth out the excess liquid with a lintfree cloth or latex glove.

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Helpful Hints

Things to Avoid

Wiping down your countertops at least once a day will go a long way to keeping stains and blemishes from forming on the stone.

Liquids with color of any kind like red wine or grape juice, can discolor countertops if left unattended.

Wipe any excess water off the counter. Water can start to calcify around faucets and fixtures if left unattended. This calcification can spread to the rest of the counter.

Avoid using harsh soaps to clean your counters. Check labels for recommended use on stone.

Keep a blunt, plastic scraper on hand for stuck on food and grime. Stone can scratch another stone, so be cautious with rough stoneware pieces on your countertop. Only use certified granite cleaners or mild soaps on your stone countertops. Anything with acidic content will shorten the lifespan of the sealant and dull the surface finish.

Avoid using Windex, vinegar, or bleach products to clean your counters. Set potentially wet containers onto a shelf away from the countertops. Things like olive oil or butter containers can leak and cause discoloration on the counter. Avoid leaving hot containers on the counter for extended periods of time. Granite and quartz can stand the heat for a short time, but things like slow cookers can leave unsightly discolorations. These stains are easily preventable with the use of hot pads or mats. Quartz is especially prone to be damaged by rapid changes in temperature.

While the old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is true, life can get in the way of even the most diligent homeowner. Accidents like spills and extreme temperatures happen. Don’t stress. If your countertops are damaged, odds are it’s a pretty simple fix. ~L&H






hen building a new home or initiating a remodeling project, homeowners are more and more resisting a cookie-cutter design, especially when it comes to kitchens. Hot new trends, distinctive themes, multi-purpose appliances, and unique accessories for cabinets and drawers are all ways to set a home apart and create the WOW factor when someone walks into that room. “People are more daring, and they want a lot of personality to show through in a kitchen, but often they only think about the total look, the view, or how many people can fit around the island,” says Betty Ravnik, senior interior designer at Ravnik & Co. in Alexandria. “They don’t always stop to consider how and where to store the spices to be handy when they’re cooking, or what system they would like to install for arranging the dishes and the pots and pans.”

Where Should I Put That?

Just as there are many different ways a homeowner can use a kitchen, there are also many different ways to design and build that kitchen. Organizing and customizing cabinet space isn’t a new concept, but it has come a long way in terms of expanding the “cool” options that can truly personalize a kitchen to the people living in the home. As a custom cabinet builder in the Perham area, Phil Stoderl of Lakes Woodworking, has seen the rise in accessories, particularly with the popularity of design sites like Pinterest that raise interest and awareness.

“A pull-out wastebasket in a drawer is now a ‘no-brainer’ in new kitchens, and goes into every job.” Phil Stoderl - Lakes Woodworking

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“A pull-out wastebasket in a drawer is now a ‘no-brainer’ in new kitchens, and goes into every job,” he says. “But today even that wastebasket can be upgraded with an electric motor and a touch-to-open option.” Ease-of-use and maximizing storage are important elements when designing a kitchen, along with practical solutions, according to Kelli Wegscheid of Harmonious Architecture in Perham. As an architect, she thinks that as formal dining rooms are becoming a room of the past, the kitchen becomes the heart of the home.

“Since the kitchen is turning into the mostused room in the house, it needs to function properly,” says Wegscheid. “Some of those practical solutions include more large base cabinet drawers, so that instead of opening a cabinet door, pulling out a shelf and crouching down, the drawer is easily opened in one easy motion and all the items are visible.”


these are ways to both store and access them with ease. In the bath, we also have systems that contain and hide away blow dryers and curling irons in drawers for ease of use.”

Not Your Grandmother’s Pantry

There is no “typical” pantry anymore. New types of shelving units are made to swing out and allow each homeowner to personalize an efficient system for food storage. Other systems feature a roll-out pantry where the shelves slide out and nothing is out of reach.

Thinking About Cabinet Organization in a New Way

Several different kinds of inserts for deep drawers can organize spices, knives, dishes, or even pots and pans. Shelves can roll out, slide out, or even pop up to make kitchen tasks – or even unloading the dishwasher – easier and more efficient. Shari McPeek, advertising and public relations manager at Rev-A-Shelf, a manufacturer of residential cabinet storage and organizational products, believes that homeowners are looking for ways to maximize their spaces for convenience, practicality and something “fun” in the kitchen. “One example of a product that checks off those three items is a blind-corner cabinet,” she explains. “People used to call those corner spaces the Thanksgiving cabinet, because you would only put items in there that you used once a year. Now, with our Blind Corner Optimizer, you can use every inch of storage space and easily bring the inside of the cabinet outside within view and reach.”

An electric countertop stand mixer is an item that can take up a great deal of space, but storing that mixer has never been an easy task, especially if it’s used often. A specialty item is now available that can be ordered and installed in a cabinet or a drawer that keeps that mixer out of sight. When needed, a system allows the user to lift it up to counter level, and then after using it, lowering it back down is simple. “Some of the hottest trends with accessories right now are drawers that feature both electrical outlets and charging capabilities,” claims McPeek. “We all seem to be tethered to our electrical devices and appliances, and

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“Since the kitchen is turning into the most-used room in the house, it needs to function properly.” Kelli Wegscheid - Harmonious Architecture


A pull-out pantry offers even more versatility for combining the storage of food and cookware in a convenient spot in the kitchen – near the appliances. Gone, also, are the cute little dust covers for all the large items that used to be left out on the counter. “We’re finding that people want less clutter and don’t want big items out on the counter anymore – even paper towel holders,” says Ravnik. “They’re looking for innovative ways to hide things like paper towel holders, but still have them handy.” Kitchen design can also be budget driven, and there are extra costs with extra items, but Ravnik adds that “23 percent of consumers say the biggest mistake they made is penny pinching on cabinets, lighting and organization in the kitchen.”

and what they want, and we work closely with various chapters of the NKBA (National Kitchen & Bath Association), providing educational opportunities and understanding what their customers are asking for in cupboard accessories.” For any room in a house, but especially in the kitchen, it’s important to plan in advance and to actually customize the kitchen to the people who are living in it. “So many houses now have high ceilings, and one of our customers wanted tall cabinets, but we had to figure out how they would reach those cabinets,” adds Ravnik. “So, we’re installing a rolling library ladder.”

Design Driven and Life Driven

According to McPeek, those thousands of different accessory items available on the market help solve everyday organizational problems that people have in the kitchen and throughout the home. “We bring our own experiences to the design table at Rev-A-Shelf, as well as listening to our customers and finding solutions to their frustrations with storage and accessibility,” says McPeek. “The use of social media is also helpful in finding out what consumers like

Although not all design solutions and accessories are that unique, McPeek says many of the items like deeper drawers and roller drawers can make items easier to access during a homeowner’s years of transition in the house, providing a longer period of accessibility and self-sufficiency. The amount of sheer choices when planning and designing a kitchen doesn’t have to be overwhelming. “Again, maximizing storage and customizing organization is key,” adds Wegscheid. “But I believe the foremost element of the design is to create a functional space that produces a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all.” ~L&H

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Thirty years ago, there were limited options for your home’s countertops – polished finish, a few edge details and only a handful of colors. Fast forward to 2019 and there are so many options that it can be a daunting task to make all of the selections on your own–particularly without proper instruction for the best product and finish for the application. The staff at Capital Granite has the expertise and hands-on experience to assist with decisions along with seven distinct finishes and over 30 edges to customize your project. Resurfacing natural stone is completed inhouse by Capital Granite’s skilled technicians. They have been trained to recognize the mineral composition of the stone and how to develop processes to achieve consistent finishes for each of the seven options.

The most widely-recognized finish is the high shine and sleek feel of POLISH. It is still the most popular finish for kitchens, baths and bars. The reflectivity of the stone may vary slightly from product to product, depending upon the mineral content within the stone. This finish can be seen anywhere in the world on a multitude of other products–such as building cladding, monuments and furniture. Polish finish may not be the appropriate option for all countertops. For example, polished finish on natural materials such as marble and travertine will show scratches or etching. The HONED finish appeared next in the countertop market as it also was used in the building industry and its features are well known to the design community. The matte, non-reflective honed surface is also smooth to the touch but will feel slightly different than polished.

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Honing and the remaining five other finishes will alter the depth of color in dark stone and slightly change in lighter products. All countertops are sealed prior to installation and the most commonly used sealers will enhance the color to some degree.

A honed finish is strongly recommended for marble and travertine products that may come into contact with acids resulting in etching. This finish will diminish the appearance that texture etching will cause.



The LEATHER finish provides a matte appearance with slight texture. It is a versatile finish that is often combined with other finishes, or in a combination of materials. Extremely durable, it is a great choice for the everyday use of kitchens and baths.

SATIN finish introduces a heavier texture with a weathered look and a slight sheen.

SUEDE finish is a great option for darker granites as the final finishing highlights the color, producing a luxurious surface. The most popular textured finish, ANTIQUE, creates a rugged surface, particularly in veiny material. Used throughout the home, it is often featured in areas such as bars and outdoor grills.


finish takes the antique finish to another level, polishing the highpoints of the stone to a high sheen. This creates a surface combination of matte and shiny finishes.

When looking for a TEXTURED finish, there are several options to consider not only in the amount of texture to be achieved, but how it will react in various natural stones. A textured finish will feel different on marble, granite and quartzite. Typically, textured finishes in a veiny stone will be more irregular than those without veining. Textured finishes are suitable for all areas of the home, offering interesting design elements while providing the durability and ease of care for natural stone. They include LEATHER, SATIN, SUEDE, ANTIQUE and CARESS.

Many engineered quartz companies also offer honed and textured finishes in limited colors. The wear and care of alternate finishes in quartz may vary.


An alternate finish opens the door to creativity allowing homeowners the opportunity to develop their own unique design. ~L&H




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Concrete has been in continual use as a building element since the Roman Empire built the Pantheon, and it has held a permanent place in construction ever since. Yet, it has never been used as a home design element until now. With the introduction of innovative concrete products that are coming into the local design market, building and home design companies are now able to modify traditional concrete into something that can transform traditional design elements into reimagined home décor ideas. Concrete is taking its place as a separate category in specialized décor for your home or lake cabin.

Benefits of Concrete The surprising benefits of using concrete as a home décor element will set it apart from the rest of the design options that are available to transform your home or cabin.

“Our company, Granicrete Minnesota, is a company that specializes in durable polymer modified concrete that is used as an overlay. Using concrete in this way is extremely durable and lightweight, in fact, four layers of our Granicrete when applied are only 1/8 inch thick. While some traditional countertop options will shatter when direct heat is applied, our countertops can withstand heat up to 500 degrees,” shared Jean Eaton of Granicrete Minnesota, which has locations in Albert Lea and Golden Valley.

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“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


Concrete as a design choice provides the ease of maintenance-free living in all areas of your home. At installation, the concrete is sealed and can be cleaned with basic nontoxic household cleaners. “About 99 percent of our sealers do not have a smell and homeowners can remain in their home during both installation and the sealing process.” The cost comparison of concrete to other stone or manufactured options sets it apart as a cost-effective design choice. Concrete design is a new separate category in home décor, as it is completely customizable to your specifications and is specially created by artisans who can bring your design dreams to fruition for every room of your home or cabin.

Concrete Countertops in the Kitchen Concrete countertops in the kitchen may be a new idea, but thanks to popular renovation shows that implement this design frequently, it is taking its rightful place with traditional kitchen countertop options. The uniqueness of concrete countertops extends past the visual impact that you can create with a wide range of colors or textures that can be used. It is truly a durable work surface that will resist the wear and tear of meal prep and handle the daily aspects of living. The heat resistance that concrete countertops provide allows for even the most casual of cooks to feel comfortable in their own kitchen without fear of burning or scalding delicate laminate or fragile stone counters.

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The ease of concrete counters extends to maintenance, as it is sealed at installation and does not require continued maintenance as with other stone countertops. “The sealing process allows for easy maintenance and is on par with what is used in commercial restaurants. Our product is the only concrete in America that has been certified by the National Sanitation Foundation, meaning that it is safe from bacteria and staining,� stated Eaton. With concrete countertops, the options for designs are only limited to your imagination. It is a completely customizable option that can incorporate textures, colors, or themes that make your cement counter installation uniquely your own.

Concrete Flooring Prior to the rise of concrete design, most concrete floors in basements have been covered or relegated to storage space. New techniques in design have created a new category in flooring options, not only for the neglected basement but for every space in your home or cabin. “There are no seams–even if it looks like it on a floor, everything is seamless! We do not pour concrete as one might imagine. Everything in this design process is hand troweled in layers on the surface by a trained artisan installer.”  The moisture resistance of concrete makes it an ideal flooring option for not only basements, but kitchens and bathrooms. A sealed concrete floor can have décor longevity in your home or cabin and be a one-time investment due to its strength.  The durability of this design element can handle the daily foot traffic of life, the elements of nature that are tracked inside, and is also an excellent flooring option for homeowners with pets.

Concrete Sinks The basic bathroom and kitchen sink can take on a new and unexpected edge with the implementation of concrete. By using this modified building element in a sink design, it offers the ability to customize it to the design specifications that you desire. A powder room sink can be transformed from a forgettable room, to a space that is remembered for its artistry. These unique sinks can be used in a traditional bathroom with cabinetry surround, or as a minimalist floating sink that gives a distinctly modern edge to your space. An unexpected benefit from the composition of cement being used in a sink is that it diminishes the sound of running water by absorbing the sound within its durable walls.

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Bathroom Design Creating a spa-like retreat in your bathrooms can be achieved with the use of concrete in all aspects of your home or lake cabin. Implementing concrete into your design can begin with the walls to create a textured focal point, a cocoon with deep leather tones to envelop you with warmth, or a bright space that mimics the ideal light for makeup application. The design options are virtually limitless when it comes to utilizing concrete for the flooring of your bathroom. Due to its flexible properties and ability to be modified with textures and color combinations, concrete can take on the appearance of a modern sleek retreat with polished concrete flooring, or it can be made to look like the floor of a rustic Tuscan villa. The added benefit of textured concrete in bathrooms is the ability to prevent slips, due to its physical makeup that can give a natural grip to slippery feet.

Concrete flooring design options include incorporating color into the surface with dyes, epoxy coatings, or stained to blend with other design elements in the home. Another option for concrete flooring is a high gloss polished look that can create a one-of-akind space based on your desired level of glossiness. Stamping or adding texture to your concrete floor through different surfacing methods can create the look of antique cobblestone, natural stones or even vintage hardwood.

Sinks and tub surrounds can take on a unique spa-like appearance with the incorporation of decorative concrete, from floating sinks that give a room a clean edge to artistic tub surrounds imprinted with wood grain texture to display your love of the outdoors. Each element of concrete design is an intentional and personal choice that creates a one-of-akind look that belongs solely to you and your home.

“Our floors are done basically with two thin layers (unless we are going over tile or wood or a heated floor, then we add a mesh over the floor before applying our products). A specialized tape is applied to create any design the client wants, and then we spray the area with the selected color. We have a large array of waterbased colors and acid free stains that can be selected to use on the floor, the final step is to seal it with the client’s choice of sealer.” With the wide range of options available for designs, your personalized concrete floor can take on the appearance of an industrial loft or be colored to the exact hue of the waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Implementation of Concrete Once the final concrete design plan is chosen for your home or cabin, the entire project can be accomplished in a relatively short time span. “As soon as a client selects their colors, designs, edges and finishes it takes about one week to install a kitchen counter. Flooring, bathroom sinks and showers can often take less than a week. It’s a relatively short process to achieve a show stopping element to your home,” stated Eaton of Granicrete Minnesota. While the options for using concrete in your home or cabin are endless, its time-proven elements of durability and strength will continue to make it a stand-alone choice to bring your design dreams to life. ~L&H

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Creative Touch Boutique 320-762-8786 | 516 Broadway St, Alexandria, MN We are a boutique store in downtown Alexandria, which carries home décor, gifts, and clothing. We specialize in women’s clothing with an emphasis on being cute, comfortable, and affordable. One whole section of the store is devoted to Minnesota clothing. Here you’ll find T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats for both men and women. Also included in this section are gift items and home décor with a lake theme, which includes personalized lake signs, lake map jar candles, cribbage boards, beer glasses, and coffee mugs. You will also find hundreds of signs with many featuring lake sayings. Follow us on both Facebook and Instagram. The store is open year-round, seven days a week, right in the middle of the bustling downtown Alexandria shopping district!

Periwinkle 218-367-3900 328 MN Hwy 78, Ottertail, MN Welcome to Periwinkle! Periwinkle Marketplace is an Ottertail city shopping favorite. Find women’s clothing, jewelry, a kids section, home décor, and all things lake! Check out our vendors section! You’ll find clothing, furniture and all sorts of rustic, vintage and re-purposed finds. See more on our Facebook page. Open 7 Days a Week Monday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Kitchen & Bath


Learn more at


Gas Cooktop what is it?

sustainable features

A cooktop or ‘stovetop’ with natural gas or propane burners. AVERAGE COST



15 Years

Induction Range what is it?

An induction cooking device uses electromagnetic induction to generate heat in the cooking pot or pan. The element itself is relatively cool to the touch. The pot or pan must be made of a material that is attracted to magnets, like cast iron or magnetic stainless steel. A range typically includes both a stovetop and an oven, but only the stovetop is induction while the oven has regular electric resistance heating elements.

Cooks quickly and effectively, with a short startup time. They can have a lower or higher carbon footprint than an electric cooktop, depending on how low-carbon your electricity supply is. The down side to gas cooktops is that they release the products of combustion into your home.

sustainable features Induction elements offer fast cooking times, and are safer because they are less hot to the touch than regular elements. Like all electric elements, they emit no combustion gases in your home, and are more energy efficient than gas ranges. They also have a glass cover that is easy to clean. AVERAGE COST



10 Years

Gas Range what is it?

A gas range is a cooking range (stovetop and oven) fueled by natural gas or propane. Gas ranges cook quickly and effectively with short startup time, and they still operate when the power goes out.

sustainable features Gas ranges typically have lower efficiencies (~40 percent) compared to electric ranges (70-80 percent). However, they can have a smaller or higher carbon footprint than an electric range, depending on how low-carbon your electricity supply is. The downside

54 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

of gas ranges is that they release the products of combustion into your home. It is advisable to have a range hood installed over the range.

advantages Evenly distributed, immediately responsive heat are big pros to some homeowners. This type of range is also unaffected by power outages and is cheaper to operate than an electric stovetop. AVERAGE COST



15 Years

what is it? An induction cooktop uses electromagnetic induction to generate heat in the cooking pot or pan. The element itself is relatively cool to the touch. The pot or pan must be made of a material that is attracted to magnets, like cast iron or magnetic stainless steel. Some cooktops are meant to be fixed into a countertop. Smaller induction cooktops, also called induction plates, are also available. They have one or two elements, sit on a countertop, and can be plugged into a standard wall outlet.

Induction Cooktop sustainable features

Induction elements offer fast cooking times and are safer because they are less hot to the touch than regular elements. Like all electric elements, they emit no combustion gases in your home and are more energy-efficient than gas cooktops. They also have a glass cover that is easy to clean.




10 Years

how does it work Induction cooking uses electromagnetic energy to heat directly. Gas and electric cooktops heat indirectly, using a heating element or burner, and passing radiant energy onto the food. Within the cooktop, there is a coil of copper wire. When a pot is placed on it, an alternating electric current passes through it. This creates an oscillating magnetic field and induces a magnetic flux, producing an eddy current in the pot. The eddy current that flows through the resistance of the pot is what heats it.


RefinishedBat htu b

what is it? Refreshing an existing bathtub with a refinishing coat of epoxy, polyurethane, or polymers, to look beautiful and work well for another 10 or so years.

sustainable features Saves on the materials, energy, and cost of replacing a worn-out looking steel bathtub that may still have years of use left. It can allow you to conserve a classic older tub, like a clawfoot tub, that has vintage value. It also avoids destroying the tile surround and other parts of the bathroom to replace the tub.

what to look for Look for either do-it-yourself kits or hire a bathtub refinisher. Whoever does the work, the bathtub has to be scrubbed thoroughly to remove all oils and deposits so that the refinishing epoxy will stick. The epoxy contains volatile organic compounds, so wear gloves and use proper ventilation when working, and then leave the room for the curing time. Follow all the instructions and safety procedures. AVERAGE COST

$110 plus time


10 Years

Low-FlowShowerhead what is it?

what to look for

Low-flow showerheads are designed to minimize the flow of water. Traditionally, showerheads used 5 to 8 gallons per minute (gpm). The standard for low flow showerheads is 2.5 gpm at 80 pounds per square inch (psi). Many new and exciting showerheads are engineered to use less than 2.5 gpm while providing a similar or better shower experience. This is done by reducing the water flow while maintaining or increasing water pressure (psi). AVERAGE COST

$20 - $100


25+ years

Look for WaterSenseÂŽ certified showerheads; these have a maximum flow rate of 2.0 gpm. The U.S. EPA WaterSenseÂŽ label ensures that products have completed a thirdparty certification process, which includes independent lab testing to verify adherence to EPA criteria.

sustainable features Low-flow showerheads can reduce a households water consumption by up to 20 percent compared to a standard model. Using less hot water also saves the energy used to heat the water.

Closed LoopShower what is it?

A shower system that filters and recycles the water in a shower continuously while you are showering. You can shower as long as you want and use very little water.

what to look for Closed loop or recycling shower systems that filter and UV or ozone sterilize water to cleaner standards than regular tapwater. And check whether and how often filters will have to be cleaned.

56 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019




20 Years with Filter Maintenance

sustainable features Reduces water consumption for showers to a tiny fraction, and saves most of the energy used in the shower, by avoiding having to heat up water. No more wasting warm water down the drain.


Low-Flow Kitchen Faucet what is it?

Low-flow kitchen faucets are designed to minimize the flow of water.

what to look for




15+ Years

A low-flow kitchen faucet dispenses no more than 2.2 gallons per minute, as required by U.S. and Canadian federal standard/plumbing code. There is no special certification for lowflow kitchen faucets though, all new faucets in the U.S. must be made low-flow. If a new faucet is not in your plans, consider adopting

smart habits for water use. Don’t keep the tap running for rinsing, turn it on only when needed.

sustainable features Using less hot water also saves energy used to heat the water.

Low-Flow BathroomFaucet what is it?

Also called low-flow lavatory faucets, these faucets meet the U.S. EPA WaterSense® certification of dispensing a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute water or less.

what to look for Look for the WaterSense® label to ensure that products have completed a thirdparty certification process, which includes independent lab testing to ensure adherence to EPA criteria. Installing a WaterSense®

Faucet Aerator

labeled faucet, on average will save a household more than 500 gallons a year. These water savings will reduce demands on water heaters, translating into energy savings.

sustainable features Low-flow bathroom faucets can reduce water consumption by up to 30 percent compared to standard models. Using less hot water also saves energy used to heat the water.

what is it? Aerators screw onto faucets to constrict the water flow and deliver a mixture of water and air in the stream.

what to look for Some faucets already have older, inefficient aerators that can be replaced. Look for WaterSense® certified aerators; these have a maximum flow rate of 1.5 gallons/minute. The U.S. EPA WaterSense® label ensures that products have completed a third-party certification process, which includes independent lab testing to ensure adherence to EPA criteria. If you have an older faucet, an aerator may not fit and it may be beneficial to replace the entire faucet with a low-flow model. 58 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019




15+ Years

sustainable features Less water is typically drawn from a faucet with an aerator, reducing the amount of energy required to heat water. Low-flow models can reduce water consumption by 40 percent compared to older, less efficient aerators and these savings can be much more for faucets that didn’t have aerators to begin.


$1 - $5


15+ Years


Rise was started on a simple premise - how can the average homeowner have a home that is more sustainable in every way? Today, Rise is the leading online authority in sustainable home improvement - we provide homeowners with know-how and connections to build this way, and by giving professionals a new way to connect with educated customers. So really, what is Sustainable Home Improvement? Some may refer to it as ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’ home improvement, but we got tired of the greenwashing, and stuck to something more meaningful. And what does Sustainable Home Improvement actually mean? It might mean a resilient, long-lasting home, an energy efficient home, a healthy home, perhaps one with a small environmental footprint. Turns out, sustainability has a varied meaning depending on who you talk to - and it’s our goal at Rise to arm homeowners with decision power that reflects the different values of sustainability, so they can have and live in a better home. And why is this important now? Because this type of building isn’t a pipe dream anymore, it’s the future of the home improvement industry. Our goal is to help expedite that adoption, by being the go-to resource for homeowners, so that we may all have a better tomorrow.

Learn more at




60 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

“It’s somewhat cozy, but connected with the woods and the lake through the extensive windows and the decks.”


here’s been a cabin on the peninsula that juts out into Cedar Lake near Aitkin for generations. But few would guess that the charming stone and wood cottage nestled in the pines is actually a new build. “It’s somewhat cozy, but connected with the woods and the lake through the extensive windows and the decks,” says Jim Campbell, who lives there with his wife Debra Campbell. “The house itself, it looks like it could have been built in the 1930s or something, but it’s got all of today’s modern conveniences.”

Jim Campbell - homeowner

Jim, a commercial real estate investor and longtime woodworker and Debra, a homemaker and former executive secretary, appreciate that timeless appeal. The couple has a deep connection to the Cedar Lake community and ecosystem–Debra serves as president of the Cedar Lake Conservancy and both partners help monitor the water for invasive species–and wanted their new home

62 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

to be a harmonious part of the landscape. They live in Edina, but they’ve balanced urban living in the Twin Cities and lake life for years. “My wife’s family has been here for 50 years,” says Jim. “In fact, her mother owns a place a few hundred yards from us across a narrow channel.” The Campbells bought their first cabin on Cedar Lake in 1992. It wasn’t exactly move-in ready. “We had an old cabin that was hand built by a shop teacher and his sons in the 1950s, and it was in great disrepair,” Jim explains. “So we rehabbed it and added wings to it and enjoyed that for 20 some years. But we wanted something more modern, something that, in order to fix a leaking pipe, you didn’t have to put a flashlight in your teeth and do a military crawl under the house.”


So when an unusual lot caught their eye, the Campbells were ready. Thanks to variances from Crow Wing County and a thoughtful design from Lands End Development in Crosslake, Minn., a striking but neglected lot was transformed. “It’s a unique piece of property that we were able to acquire,” Jim explains. “It’s a peninsula, about a quarter mile, so we have lots of shoreline but not lots of land. We were able to use the footprint of an old cabin that had been there for 70 or 80 years. We were able to create a unique building in a unique location.” That old cabin was small and very close to the water, which made creating a larger home a bit of a puzzle. Jeff and Matt Balmer, co-owners of Lands End Development, LLC in Crosslake, worked with the couple to create

a design that maximized every inch of land and the property’s enviable water views. Since the Campbells had remodeling experience and strong design ideas, the group worked well together from the very beginning. In many ways, the couple and their unusual property were an ideal fit for Lands End Development’s business model. “We’re a design builder, so all the homes we build are a collaboration with the customer,” says Jeff Balmer. “Customers come in with a piece of property and all kinds of thoughts, 64 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

so we work with them to create a plan. We’ve built maybe 350 homes and we’ve never built the same home twice.” The Balmer brothers have created many distinct homes. But this project was unusual. “It isn’t too often where we get to work out on a point like this,” says Balmer. “It’s literally out on a peninsula, so water views in every direction. So that was the biggest thing that influenced the design. There’ s really not a bad view in the house – obviously, a great spot to build.”

But before they could build, they had to do a little digging into a previous owner’s home improvement project. Literally. “There’s some fresh water springs in the yard,” Balmer explains. “There’s literally a pipe out of the ground that runs water 365 days of the year, so we had to do some test holes and some digging to see how high that water was and if we could do a basement. It’s amazing to me to go out there in January. It’s almost like there’s a spigot, just this water pouring out of the pipe.” Once the builders confirmed they could build a basement, the final plans for the home took shape. The Campbell cabin offers 1,550-square feet of mostly open living space on the main floor, which includes a welcoming entryway, laundry room, and a master suite that boasts a walk-in closet and a bathroom where bathers can soak in a tub with

“It’s literally out on a peninsula, so water views in every direction. that was the biggest thing that influenced the design. There’s really not a bad view in the house – obviously, a great spot to build.” Jeff Balmer - Lands End Development


a view of the trees. The home’s undisputed centerpiece is the spacious great room. It contains the kitchen, dining and living spaces and boasts multifaceted views of the lake. “It’s almost like you’re on a prow of a cruise ship,” says Jim. “You’ve got water out the windows to the left and water out the windows to the right and straight ahead.” Dramatic wooden beams are the room’s crowning glory. Kevin Berczyk led a small team of carpenters that brought the home’s distinct wooden beams, railings and trim work into being. Jim, a fellow woodworker, still admires their handiwork, calling it “terrific, meticulous.” High praise, indeed.

The beams continue upstairs, where an airy 600-square foot loft offers ample storage and a second bathroom in a private nook. There’s also a cozy bedroom tucked up under the eaves. The lower level was finished in a second stage and provides an additional bedroom and bath, family room and storage space. Wire railings and weighty barn doors maximize space, and add texture and an industrial edge that contrasts with the warm wooden beams and the great room’s rustic stone fireplace. The fireplace itself echoes the mix of larger square stones and smaller round stone found on the home’s exterior.

This thoughtful blending of textures, colors and materials continues on the outside of the home as well. A curving path of irregular stone lends a whimsical, welcoming feeling to the front walk. Quaint square windows and shakes in soft, rich shades of brown and red provide a touch of storybook charm. A gracious wood deck perfect for entertaining and relaxing envelopes the home, invoking the woods around it and visually linking the indoor and outdoor living spaces. “The outside is a classic northern Minnesota cabin, with the heavier overhang and the combination of wood and stone,” says Jeff. “But it’s a little unique on the inside. The inside is kind of a mix of the natural or stained wood and stone, but there’s a fair amount of whitewashed wood and a lighter wood floor, so it’s a little lighter on the inside.” Adding white and pale-colored wood throughout the interior counteracts the darker beams and trim work and amplifies the available light. After spending years in their old cabin, light was something the Campbells were craving.

“The outside is a classic northern Minnesota cabin, with the heavier overhang and the combination of wood and stone, But it’s A little unique on the inside.” Jeff Balmer - Lands End Development


“Our old cabin was all dark pine on the inside, so it had aged over the years,” explains Jim. “So it was quite dark and the windows basically faced north, so it was always slightly claustrophobic. Now we face south and we almost overreacted with windows. It’s very light and airy.” Combining modern finishes, natural materials, treasured family pieces and vintage touches acquired from the Campbells many antiquing trips over the years, has created a home that feels comfortable and lived in, like it has evolved slowly over time. A Singer sewing table doubles as a nightstand in a bedroom, the metal legs contrasting with a delicate eyelet bedskirt that peeks out from underneath an intricate crocheted coverlet. An antique trunk doubles as décor and vintage art and advertisements adorn the walls. A well-loved fishing pole and duck decoy serve as a nod to the region’s outdoor heritage, while antique lamps glow from bedside tables. A soft chenille bedspread in subdued sage is accompanied by low-slung curtains that–like everything in this home–are designed to quietly maximize light and views. Visitors to the Campbell home are greeted by the sight of a gleaming wood stove in the entryway. A well digger told the couple its history.

“We boat, we fish, we kayak, we commune with nature, we feed a lot of birds, we entertain guests from out of town and also other people who live on the lake. The calling is to go up there and relax.” Jim Campbell - homeowner

68 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

“This wood stove had, at one time, been used as the sole heating source at an old school just west of Cedar Lake,” says Jim. “So the old wood stove migrated to a local farm and when the shop teacher and his sons built the old cabin that we had, they bought the stove from the local farm. It migrated over to our place and it’s now sort of the focus of our entry in the new cabin. It’s quite a nice old stove. And it’s got history. It’s been there at that lake for I suppose the better part of 100 years.”

CouLDn’t have done it without: Lands End Development


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Now that they have a cabin that provides the historical look they love without the constant upkeep, the Campbells are free to relax and really settle into lake life. Debra knits and Jim spends time in his woodshop in the garage. The couple stretch out to read on the deck, head out in the boat to fish for bass and northern together and enjoy a slower, more contemplative life on and by the water. “We boat, we fish, we kayak, we commune with nature, we feed a lot of birds, we entertain guests from out of town and also other people who live on the lake,” says Jim. “The calling is to go up there and relax.” ~L&H


70 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019



It all started with a sketch on a piece of notepaper. Once Dave and Amanda Bush found the perfect lake lot after years of searching, Amanda began drawing sketches of the perfect home to build on the property. Architect Kelli Wegscheid, of Harmonious Architecture in Perham, still keeps those original drawings in her files. “They both had pretty strong ideas of what they were looking for, and since they were such great ideas, my design stayed fairly true to what they were thinking,” says Wegscheid, who knew the Bushes from their children’s sports and activities. “With so much wide-open space, we were able to work together to create exactly what they wanted.”

Situated on an eight-acre lot on the shores of Rush Lake in Otter Tail County, Wegscheid says the striking two-story gray structure, with white trim and brick accents, isn’t necessarily any one style, but rather “a great mix of styles that fits perfectly in that location.” The homeowners think of it as more of a modern spin to a classic two-story lakeside oasis. Or it could ultimately be defined as “Amanda Style.” From the secret bookshelf doors to the theater room with leather reclining chairs, Amanda was involved with every idea and every light fixture. “I can’t tell you how many times I fell asleep with my laptop open, looking for items, especially light fixtures, which aren’t stocked as much in showrooms anymore,” she says. “It’s a time-consuming challenge to find all these different light fixtures that don’t necessarily ‘match,’ but would work well together.”

“With so much wide-open space, we were able to work together to create exactly what they wanted.” Kelli Wegscheid - Harmonious Architecture


MAKING A LIST AND CHECKING IT TWICE The Bushes have lived in Perham since 2012, where they own and operate a health care business. With four children – Peyton, Matthew, Madison and Bo – they wanted to find a place in the same general area where they could all enjoy it as a vacation, or getaway, and then someday it would become their retirement home. “I had a checklist of must-haves,” she says with a laugh. “One of the things we weren’t sure we would find is a flat lot with no house on it. We also wanted something in close proximity to Perham with a good view, good fishing and good boating.”

They chose Brandon Nelson Construction. “I’ve worked with Kelli at Harmonious Architecture before, and I felt it all went flawlessly,” says Nelson, who operates his business a few miles north of Perham. “The Bushes put a great deal of thought and planning into this project to ensure it would go smoothly. Dave has experience in construction, knows the ins and outs, and happens to be one of the few people who

“The Bushes put a great deal of thought and planning into this project to ensure it would go smoothly.” Brandon Nelson - Brandon Nelson Construction

That list was always evolving, but they’re happy with the lake home they’ve built while they still have a home in Perham. “We’ve done so many remodeling projects in the past that I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through that again, so we felt very lucky to find this piece of land where we could take our time and build exactly what we wanted,” says Amanda. “It was also important for us to find the right builder, since we would be our own general contractor.”

can do a great job acting as a general contractor.” Since it was their decision to choose the subcontractors, it was also important for the Bushes to work with as many local businesses as possible. “Except for the HVAC business out of Fargo, which happens to be my brother, Tom Zander of Patriot Air Inc., we were able to stay local,” says Amanda. “They were all wonderful to

work with, especially Phil Stoderl of Lakes Woodworking in Perham, who took all my ideas, drawings, and online photos, and created the specialty items I dreamed up.” Bookcases that actually open up as doors give a “secret room” kind of feeling to the under-the-stairs storage on the first floor, and another hides a furnace room on the second floor. In the master bedroom closet, there are several more custom items, including a revolving shoe carousel.

See this home for yourself at next year’s Lakes Area Home Tour on Saturday, September 26, 2020. Follow Lakes Area Home Tour on Facebook to stay in the loop.

“I’m a custom shop, so every job is personalized,” explains Stoderl, who grew up in Perham and has been in construction since he was 16 years old. “In the kitchen, they have some unique appliances, so I gathered all the specs and then made the cabinets to fit.” He agrees with the builder that the project went smoothly because of the amount of planning and detail. “They took their time, working everything out ahead of time, hiring an architect, and then following the well-drawn plans,” he adds. “There are challenges with every job, of course, especially since I had to see a picture of what Amanda wanted and then try to mimic it with my own techniques, but that seems to be the trend. People find items and ideas online, and then I try to create them.” FROM THE OUTSIDE When Amanda turned over her house plan sketch to Wegscheid, the only thing she wasn’t clear about was where to put the stairway – and what the outside of the house should look like. The lake side of this exceptional home

features distinctive windows, an expansive patio, lush landscaping, and a covered deck off the master bedroom on the second floor. “That deck is actually a roof over the top of the dining room,” Brandon explains. “It looked great drawn on paper, and I wanted to be sure to get it right the first time, especially regarding any water issues. We eliminated those issues by installing some hidden gutters underneath the decking to divert the water, and that particular project is one of the things about this house that stands out for me.” A portion of their lake frontage will remain undeveloped, but the 200 feet of usable shoreline provides a surprising level of sand found hidden just beneath the berm, giving the property its oasis feel. Although there was no home on this particular lot, a nearby boathouse was grandfathered into their property. While they were somewhat restricted with the improvements they could make because of its proximity to the lake, they’ve achieved a bright, lighthearted

76 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

“We kept Kelli busy with all our changes, but we were almost grateful for the delay that gave us additional time to work out some of the details.” Amanda Bush - Homeowner

theme on the inside of the renamed “Game House,” with plenty of activities for the family to play together. Around the back, the street side of the house can’t really be seen from the street due to the long, winding driveway. Amanda still felt it was important to get it right because, she says, “I see it every day.” An initial delay in beginning construction led her to re-think the exterior on that side, and she went back online and found ideas for extending the porch to wrap around, and adding arches and gables for a more dramatic effect. “We kept Kelli busy with all our changes, but we were almost grateful for the delay that gave us additional time to work out some of the details,” adds Amanda, who also moved

78 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

around a few other things on the interior during that time that made the house “so much more of what we love now.” TO THE INSIDE The most significant change to the interior during the construction delay proved to provide a true focal point for the main floor. “We had a fireplace that I initially wanted on one of the interior walls, but one day I was at the Wild Goose in Perham, where they have a see-through fireplace,” says Amanda. “I knew immediately that was what we needed with our open floor plan, and I called Dave right away so he could come take a look at it. We are so glad we added that, and it proves that some things are meant to be.” With four children and an active outdoor lifestyle, the luxury vinyl plank floor they

chose for the living areas and kitchen is both beautiful and practical. “It’s a high variation Armstrong product with a wood pattern that looks very realistic, and it works well in their large downstairs area and part of the upstairs area,” says Rich Winkels, owner of Winkels Carpet Center in Perham. “It’s ideal for their situation at the lake, especially the fact that it’s 100 percent waterproof.” The kitchen boasts all the modern amenities, including an oversized refrigerator and a commercial style KitchenAid range and grill. “The one item Dave had on our list of must


haves was an indoor grill,” says Amanda. “He’s the cook in the family.” One hobby they share is wine making, and a floor-to-ceiling wine wall in the family room displays some of their home-made sweet red wines. A lot of “trial and error” have led to wines with names such as Chateau Bush and The Prince of Wine, and their favorite is a raspberry chocolate port. The family loves to watch movies together, so the spacious theater room in the back of the house, with an oversized TV, comfortable seating, a popcorn machine, and blackout shades to cover the windows, provides the right atmosphere for a true cinematic experience. UP THE STAIRS The location of the stairs in this open floor plan worked out perfectly, and Amanda’s only other initial concern was about blending the wood-look floor with the wooden staircase to the upstairs. By mixing dark brown and white on the steps and handrail, along with adding decorative iron rails, the result is warm and inviting. Besides the terrace off the master bedroom through French doors, a raised fireplace is the upstairs focal point of this luxurious master suite. Also reflective of “Amanda Style” are amenities like specialized cabinets for jewelry

and shoes, innovative storage space, a walkin shower, a soaking tub, and even a sauna in this closet that is not only well-designed, but beautiful and practical. “This entire master suite is truly a fantastic area of the house,” adds Wegscheid. “An additional door at the back of the bath connects to the bonus room over the garage, which they currently use for their exercise equipment, and a second stairway winds down into the garage.” Three other bedrooms for the children round out the upstairs, and they all love spending time at the lake, where they can enjoy water activities like fishing, jet skiing, paddle boarding, jumping on a water trampoline, and swimming at the sandbar.

“It’s truly a beautiful home. It’s one of the nicest homes I’ve ever built, and I’m very proud to put my name on it.” Brandon Nelson - Brandon Nelson Construction

CouLDn’t have done it without: Brandon Nelson Construction Harmonious Architecture



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T & L Services Hebron Brick THE VISION When the Bushes first pulled up to this lot several years ago, they could see the possibilities, but it was undeveloped at the time. A few years later they went back to find the land was divided and developed into buildable lots. “We got out, walked the property, and decided to buy it that day, which was about three years ago,” says Amanda. She feels like they bought the right lot, hired the right architect, the right builder and the right craftspeople, and everyone in the family is very happy with the way it all turned out. “It’s truly a beautiful home,” adds Nelson. “It’s one of the nicest homes I’ve ever built, and I’m very proud to put my name on it.” ~L&H



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he north shore of Le Homme Dieu in Alexandria, Minn., was once known as Nebraska Row because the lake lured Nebraskans to its peaceful shores. A Lincoln, Neb., physician was rumored to be responsible for driving Nebraskans north. “He was a friend of Mr. Secord, and insisted that his friends and patients relocate to Alexandria in the summer to escape the heat and humidity in Nebraska for their health,” Robert Fricke stated and went on to say, “My greatgrandfather F.G. Fricke and his family visited the area earlier. They stayed at the Blake’s Hotel before the cabins were available.” The cabin we’re about to explore was built in 1911, which is the same year it was rented by Robert’s paternal great-grandfather, Hugo Wiggenhorn. This is one of six cabins constructed on the shore of Le Homme Dieu. In 1920, Wiggenhorn purchased the cabin, and that little piece of paradise has stayed in the family for five generations. The keys, along with treasured memories, were passed down to Robert and Karen Fricke of Nebraska. The couple recently remodeled the cabin with some modern updates in a way that preserved some of the cabin’s history and expanded the space for the family tree to grow.

The hundred-year-old foundation buried in the heart of Minnesota has only gotten better with age. The original bones of the 1,284-squarefoot cabin had a non-functional dormer roof structure with a set of windows overlooking the lake. Decades ago, the Frickes removed the dormer structure but asked that the style be incorporated in the 2014 remodel. “The 84 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

original had open stud ceilings and minimal areas of internal paneling,” Fricke mentioned. The first remodel took place in the 1980s, which included opening up the kitchen. The next remodel consisted of a new master bedroom, guestroom, and bathroom. “Our first intention was to open things up and


reclaim unused space. Shortly after the project began the contractor discovered that the old structure was not sound enough to support our idea,” Fricke explained. Therefore, Jay Paulson and his crew from HighPoint Homes knocked down two-thirds of the lakeside walls to add an additional 1,336 square feet to the cabin and raised the roof to include a vaulted ceiling. The vaulted ceilings harbor the guest room, great room, kitchen, and dining room. “The revised and final solution was perfect and much better. It gave us vaulted ceilings, larger windows, and full insulation,” Fricke stated. The deck was removed during the final remodel and replaced with a cozy sunroom off the master bedroom. The remodels opened the cabin up into a modern style, yet accents the vintage and charming characters of the cabin as well as the nautical theme that flows from room to room. The space is now complete with 11 rooms, up from the original seven. There are five bedrooms and bunkrooms with three full baths, comfortably accommodating 12. And to top it off, now the family can enjoy all four seasons at their cabin.

When you step into a cabin, the view of the lake often grabs your attention first, but it seems the vaulted ceilings draw the eye in this beautiful remodel. “The wood on the ceiling is a stained pine shiplap. We liked the profile of shiplap because it was wider and offered contrast to the narrower, original wood plank floor. The stain complemented the warm wood tones seen throughout the cabin,” said Ashley Trousil, interior designer/selection coordinator at HighPoint Interior Designs. Sweet memories are created and kept in the kitchen. Five generations are likely to stack up within the walls of their cabin, which is why the Fricke family asked to preserve the cabin’s authenticity with minimal refinishing and vintage touches. “The cabin itself inspired the kitchen design. We often see the mix of warm wood and white, beadboard, and natural stone, in these older 1900s cabins. As Bob and Karen said, we tried to re-use these elements we see in cabins of this era and modernize them,” Trousil explained.

86 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

The Hoosier hutch and icebox have long since been replaced with stainless steel appliances. However, the Douglas fir flooring that runs through the kitchen, great room, sitting room, and dining room is original. “The wider planks on the wall are shiplap. By painting over a knotty pine material, we can see some of the knots and character of the wood. This texture makes the space not feel so pristine, so perfect like it could have been there 100 years,” Trousil stated. “We chose painted or stained shiplap pine 1/6-inch boards to give it a great vintage look, and hanging pictures cause no “hole” problems,” Fricke added.

“The revised and final solution was perfect and much better. It gave us vaulted ceilings, larger windows, and full insulation.” Robert Fricke - homeowner


Swedberg Wood Products built the white cabinets, which are topped off with granite, creating a “wet” look and cherry butcher block, creating a “dry” look. Bob is known for his breakfast omelet but prefers to fire up the grill, so the countertops serve as mostly a prep station and buffet line. The beautiful island in the Fricke home is a focal point as you enter the kitchen. “The stacked stone on the back of the island was a creative way to keep the island from being damaged by those feet that tend to dangle when you’re sitting in a bar stool,” Trousil commented. The unique kitchen backsplash above the stove is one of the Fricke family’s favorite features and is older than the cabin. Years ago, the Fricke family visited a fossil quarry in Wyoming that was famous for its fish specimens. “We used their commercial restoration wing to design our backsplash. The half-dozen or so museum-quality specimens

swimming through the backsplash are 50 million years old,” Fricke explained. The cabin is a scavenger hunt of distinctive touches, and nautical themes such as Bob’s grandfather’s restored 1955 Johnson 5½-horsepower outboard motor that resides in the sunroom. Pella windows encompass the dining room, offering a crystal clear view of the sunlight dancing off the water. Halo lights built into the stained pine shiplap bounce off the dining table like a centerpiece. Several generations of Frickes have gathered around that dining room table, as well as the neighbors who 88 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

happen to be family. “The dining room set is a bit of a mystery. Years ago, my mom stripped the paint off, hoping to return the set to natural wood. She discovered several had been damaged by fire, so she painted the chairs in the colors of the original Fiesta dinnerware (beautifully displayed in the glass doors of the Swedberg cabinets). We keep looking at old photos hoping to track the set to an old hotel or resort that may have burned,” Fricke explained.


Tucked behind the kitchen with a lakeside view is the great room which was part of the HighPoint Homes remodel. Along the back shiplap wall is a built-in bookcase crafted by Swedberg Wood Products. The shelving was one of Bob and Karen’s requests to display their model boats and antique treasures they’ve pulled up in their net along the way. Another interesting knick-knack you’ll find scattered throughout the cabin is dollhousesized Adirondack chairs. “Over the years, we purchased these unfinished chairs. The tradition has been to have guests choose a chair and paint it. When they’re done, they’re signed and dated. Everyone gets a kick out of finding their earlier chairs and doing a new one. We are getting quite a stack of them,” Fricke explained. You’ll notice several of those chairs displayed in front of the stone fireplace. This natural stone fireplace installed by Stonewall Masonry was dry stacked to cut out grout lines. As you head down the hall, you’ll notice a smaller grooved material along the walls, in the cabinet, and barn doors. This look is called beadboard and is pretty common in the lakes area.

There are three full, uniquely designed bathrooms in the cabin. “The subway tile fits the early 1900s cabin. It is something they would’ve installed in homes back then. The stone shower floors were a fun nod to the lakes area and water-washed stones we find all along our lakeshores,” Trousil explained. The Frickes purchased the tile in the master bathroom walk-in shower and subway tiles from Arnquist Carpets Plus in Alexandria. The complimenting countertops came from Capital Granite out of St. Cloud, and once again, the Fricke family went with Swedberg Wood Products for custom-built cabinets. If you look closely, you’ll catch that nautical theme in the bathroom hardware. “I got the idea of using boat cleats after seeing an ad for a painted cleat hat rack,” Fricke stated and went on to say, “Taking this to the extreme, we furnished all of the master bath cabinets with unfinished cleats. We used a couple of large cleats for towel racks. We really liked the unfinished look and left them that way.” “My favorite bathroom is the subway tile bath. It’s small but packs a punch. I love the details of the mirror and how the subway tile ties into the wood and then ties into the storage above the toilet. That was a fun space to design,” Trousil shared.

90 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

“I love how they kept some of the original elements, modernized the spaces, and added their own touches with the furnishings and decor.�

Ashley Trousil Interior Designer/Selection Coordinator HighPoint Interior Designs 91

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From the dining room glass door, is an incredible view of Lake Le Homme Dieu; full of wonderful memories for the Fricke family. “We have dozens of pictures of fish stringers, and most importantly generations of first fish caught. When I was small, the rumor was that my parents tied a rope around my leg and to a tree to keep me out of the lake,” Fricke shared. Creative Landscapes of Alexandria paved the path leading from the steps to the dock. Scott Giroux installed the pavers, which are permeable due to coverage restrictions on the lot. The path spills into an intimate conversation circle around the firepit just before the grass meets the shore. From the deck where wave runners, canoes, and the Fricke’s 1948 Shepherd mahogany classic runabout bob in the water, the gray siding, and white trim pop among the greenery. Linden trees tower


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the lot. “Interestingly, on about every lot, the trees were planted in a cluster of three. Many of the clusters still exist,” Fricke stated. When HighPoint Homes took on this remodel, they asked Robert and Karen to list their needs and how they’ll utilize the space. “I loved that they were able to come to us with a need, like display space for the model boats, and we were able to come up with an innovative display space that still worked with their furniture arrangement. I love how they kept some of the original elements, modernized the spaces, and added their own touches with the furnishings and décor. They really took our designs and have made them their own,” Trousil concluded. ~L&H 92 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019




94 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019


“We were attracted to the town, the lakes, and the different activities that are available.” M ike F ritz - homeowner

When you begin the journey of building a home, one step in the process is choosing a contractor. When the time came for Mike and Kristie Fritz to build their dream home, this was an easy phase to navigate. As owners of M & M Home Contractors, they had built-in knowledge. “M & M Home Contractors, founded in 2004, is a design-build firm, which focuses on highend, quality, custom, new home construction and remodeling, and services the area surrounding the Twin Cities, as well as the Alexandria lakes area,” Mike said. Over the years, the Fritz family fell in love with the Alexandria, Minn., area and decided they wanted to build a home there. “We were attracted to the town, the lakes, and the different activities that are available,” Mike said. After having a few property deals fall through, they finally found a lot that was everything

96 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

they were looking for on the shoreline of Lake Le Homme Dieu. “We wanted to be on the Alexandria Chain of Lakes,” Mike continued. “It’s a nice lot, has great views, and is on a popular shoreline.” Kristie added, “We’ve been told that a lot of people that live on our road have a property that has been passed down for generations. It’s a neat area.” Mike and Kristie built their beautiful fivebedroom, three-and-a-half bath home in 2018. This elegant craftsman cottage house has 4,600 square feet of living space, as well as a 1,100 square-foot, three-car garage, featuring two-sided insulated steel doors with a wood grain from Custom Door Sales. The front entrance and back patio were done with stamped concrete. Impermeable pavers were used to create the driveway and


were placed by Brundell Landscaping, who also did the landscaping. The interior and exterior stonework was completed by Bitzan/ Ohren Masonry. Fixed to the exterior of the home is white LP smart siding, as well as real natural stone accents. The peaks were also done with LP siding but placed in a board and batten pattern. The windows in the home came from Andersen Windows and feature black cladding. The front double doors and the windows on each side are made of knotty alder wood and have a custom stain, as do the interior doors in this gorgeous home.

Walking in the front door and through a wide-open entryway, you find yourself in the beautiful living room. The 10-foot ceilings and open layout make the space a cozy place you never want to leave. Overhead are shiplap ceilings, custom stained knotty alder beams, and a gorgeous chandelier. A gas fireplace from Glowing Hearth & Home, surrounded by natural stone installed by Bitzan/Ohren Masonry, warms the space. Built-ins sit on each side of the fireplace with a lodge finish, which is a chocolate glaze over the enamel color, which is then texturized. Large windows in the living room and dining room allow in a great deal of natural light and

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give you a clear view of the lake. Wide plank hickory flooring from Arnquist Carpets Plus with a custom stain covers much of the floor space on the main level of the home. The perimeter of the kitchen includes white custom cabinetry from The Woodshop of Avon contrasted with a gray, black, and beige granite countertop from Universal Stone. A stone backsplash covers the space between, as well as a custom chevron design above the gas burners where the pot filler faucet resides. Thermador stainless steel appliances from Warner Stellian Appliances complete the perimeter of the kitchen. The refrigerator and dishwasher both have white panels on them, allowing them to blend in with the cabinetry.

The kitchen island matches the living room built-in’s lodge finish, and the countertop is a gorgeous white quartz with a gray vein running through it. Off the kitchen and entryway is a half-bathroom powder room with elegant feature wallpaper. Next to the kitchen is the butler’s pantry with white cabinetry and granite countertops. Included in this space is extra recycling storage and rollouts, and a second oven, which is perfect for extra baking or hosting a large get-together. Between the butler’s pantry and the garage is a mudroom with stained locker cabinets and a drop center. Walking back through the kitchen and dining area, you will find yourself in a cozy threeand-a-half season screened-in porch.

100 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

The floor is real mortared brick, and the ceiling is a dark custom stained, handscraped pine, which happens to be the same material used above the front door of the home. The walls are covered in gray LP siding in the board and batten pattern. The room also includes a gas fireplace with natural stone and is surrounded by Amazing EZ-Screens, making it easier to enjoy summer breezes without the bugs. “We wanted a rustic look for that room,” Kristie said. “It is probably one of our favorite rooms; to have a cup of coffee, or watch the Twins game in.” Walking back through the living room and past the front door, you will find the master bedroom. One side of the room features a headboard wall, covered in navy and earthtoned bricks. The room has a vaulted box ceiling with shiplap and custom stained wood trim. The master suite includes a large closet with custom shelving and elegant diamondpatterned carpet.


“There are a lot of neat little details that were added into the Fritz home,” Littfin said. “For example, there is an entrance from the hallway to get to the laundry room, but then we also made a more direct route straight from the master closet.” “We got in touch with Mike and Kristie a few months before they started construction, and we talked about what they were looking for,” Littfin continued. “We took that information and started to do some sketches on what could work on the floor plan to get what they wanted.” The homeowners wanted to be able to view the lake from several rooms, to have all the main living space on one floor, and to have bigger doorways and hallways. “When you meet with me, we’re going to talk about what you want, what spaces make the most sense, and what type of materials you’re going to be putting in your house,” Littfin said. “We’re then going to develop a design, and work with the homeowner and the contractors to make sure it is within their budget and that

His and hers sinks on opposite sides of the room sit in the master bathroom. One vanity is taller for him, and the other is shorter for her. White marble tile covers the bathroom floor as well as the master shower. Another space on the main floor is the laundry room which is right off the master walk-in closet. The room includes side-byside front load washer and dryer, leathered quartz countertops, and a white penny round

backsplash. A sliding glass barn door leads you back into the hallway. Over the years, Mike and Kristie have built many relationships with different businesses and vendors as they’ve worked on other projects through their company. Some of those businesses were a part of their home project, one of them being Littfin Design, owned by home designer, Mitch Littfin.

102 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

it can be built the way they want it to be built.” Heading back out to the living area through the glass barn door, you find yourself at the bottom of the stairway and its beautiful iron balusters with a diamond design detail. At the top of the stairway is the first bedroom with a window seat, a great view of the lake, and a headboard feature wall with white wainscoting wall paneling. Walking out of the bedroom and past the stairway brings you to a cozy sitting area facing the front of the house. Adjacent to this space is the loft.

“We got in touch with Mike and Kristie a few months before they started construction, and we talked about what they were looking for. We took that information and started to do some sketches on what could work on the floor plan to get what they wanted.” M itch Littfin - Littfin D esign

A step up brings you to this beautiful loft space, with its vaulted shiplap ceiling, and wide plank hickory flooring that is throughout the living areas on the second floor of the home. It is the perfect place to hang out, play pool, and enjoy time with friends, not to mention the fantastic view of Lake Le Homme Dieu. Down the hall from the loft space is a Jack and Jill bathroom with a herringbone pattern on the floor and a custom tile shower. Next to the bathroom is another bedroom with a nautical theme. A closet with double doors houses a stackable washer and dryer next to the second bedroom on the second floor, making laundry easy. Down the hall from the second-floor laundry area is a unique space in the home; the mother-in-law suite. The suite has a private staircase directly into the three-car garage.

The suite includes a kitchenette with a sink, refrigerator, and microwave. It also features white custom cabinetry, quartz countertops, and a glass tile backsplash. The suite also has two bedrooms, a full bathroom, and a living area allowing visitors to have some privacy from the other parts of the home. The house has been wired for an audio system, security system, and cameras done by In-Focus Systems. The entire home also has closed-cell spray foam that was done by M & M Insulation, and the tiling materials throughout the house came from The Tile Shop. There is no doubt the Fritz family will enjoy their new home on the chain of lakes, maybe even for generations to come. ~L&H

104 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

There is no doubt the Fritz family will enjoy their new home on the chain of lakes, maybe even for generations to come.

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106 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019















F ER GUS FA L L S - 218 .73 6 .6791


PER H A M - 218 . 3 4 6 .7310 OTTERTAIL GLASS WASN’T ALWAYS UNDER ITS CURRENT OWNERSHIP. HOW DID THE COMPANY END UP WITH YOU AND ERIK? Erik bought it six years ago. He called me up and asked me if I would be interested in going into business with him. We started a partnership to help this thing keep going and we’ve done well. Three years ago we put a store in Perham and every two or three years it’s kind of been our plan to add a new location. 

Custom work has become a desire of many homeowners and businesses over the years. They want that touch of something different, that detail that catches the eye of guests and customers and becomes a topic of conversation. Companies are answering those needs, dedicating their businesses to coming up with impressive creations that customers can’t find just anywhere.

I handle most of the measures, project management, and sales, especially for residential customers. When it comes to showers, windows, dual pane glass inside the windows, any custom glass like mirrors, table tops, and patterned glass for cabinets — I take care of all of that. Erik is typically our commercial guy. We do a lot of commercial storefronts like doors and windows in buildings. 

Ottertail Glass has been providing such services to the lakes area with custom glass creations for over 50 years. The business is currently run by Erik Knutson and Mike Butler.   I had the opportunity to talk with Mike, who manages a majority of residential customers looking for that special “custom” look to add something different to their home and learn more about the specialized services Ottertail Glass provides to Minnesota lakes country. | 108 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

YOU PROVIDE SERVICES TO BOTH RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL CUSTOMERS? We actually have a commercial crew and we have a residential crew. Both of our locations have a customer support rep that manages that showroom, that phone number and those local customers.

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU THINK CUSTOMERS GET HUNG UP ON WHEN IT COMES TO PICKING CUSTOM GLASS FOR THEIR HOME? A lot of people think they can’t get glass shower doors because they have kids or they live in a rural location and they don’t want to deal with hard water spots and that type of thing. All of our showers come with Enduroshield. It’s a product we put on that fuses to the inside of the glass. For most people, that’s an upgrade when going with another glass company and customers would be paying more for that. We include that with all of our showers which provides customers with a product that’s going to last much longer as long as they squeegee it off. We’ve got showers out in rural settings that have been there for years and years and still look really nice. The Enduroshield has a 15 year warranty so if anything happens, they’ll come out and reapply it.  The glass is thick, too. It’s 3/8-inch thick tempered glass. It would be very impressive if you could break it. We actually did a video where I had a two-and-a-half pound sledgehammer and I hit the shower door five or six times but it never broke. They’re extremely durable. 

WHAT IS THE PERCENTAGE OF CUSTOM WORK YOU DO COMPARED TO PIECES THAT ARE READY TO INSTALL? We do everything custom. It’s pretty rare to find anything in stock sizes unless you go to a big box store but everything we do is custom. We have show rooms at both our locations in Perham and Fergus Falls. We’ll soon have a showroom in Alexandria, too. 

WHAT IS THE TIME-FRAME CUSTOMERS WOULD BE LOOKING AT FOR INSTALLATION? Typically for custom showers and that type of thing, it takes about two weeks from the time of my final measure to final install. Commercial storefronts obviously take a little bit longer because there’s a lot more involved with metal and framing. WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND CUSTOMERS TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION AND HAVE PREPARED BEFORE THEY CALL YOU?  I always encourage people to check out our Facebook page ( ottertailglass/). They could probably have a lot of their questions answered by that. But so many people don’t realize what a lot of their options are. It’s nice when I can actually meet with them one-on-one. A lot of times they’ll say, “Here’s what I want,” and often times I can get out there and suggest things to help them save money. Just by moving something slightly or adding something minor, they could potentially save hundreds of dollars.  


The biggest thing I tell customers is to let us know before the tile is in, while you’re in your framing process, because a lot of times I can go out there to meet with the contractor and tile guy. I can meet with the homeowner and typically we can give all kinds of suggestions and ways we need to do things in order to save them money or create the perfect fit. I highly recommend getting a hold of us, even in the middle of the design phases. We do a lot of estimating based on a blueprint and a Pinterest picture.  

YOU HAVE A LOT OF REALLY GREAT PICTURES UP ON FACEBOOK, INCLUDING A SWIVELED OPENING ABOVE THE SHOWER DOOR. WHAT IS THAT CALLED? It’s called a transom. If someone doesn’t want to make the investment of the full-on steam shower system with boilers and all of that but they still want a nice, steamy shower, we add that transom in. They can actually shut that and everything will get really steamy inside the shower. If they don’t want to use it, they can just open it up for a vent. 

Another part of what we do is the custom mirrors. We can do pretty much any mirror in any shape or size. We do a lot of mirrors for weight rooms, gyms, and yoga rooms. We can notch out mirrors for outlets, lights, and televisions. And then there’s the custom glass for cabinets. We have about 25 different patterns and designs. You can see them in our showrooms.  We get a lot of cabinet makers in the area that get their glass through us. 

WHAT ARE THE STEPS TAKEN AFTER THE INITIAL QUOTE? Typically, we will follow up with a phone call or email.  When the customer says to go ahead and do it, we place the order and then it takes about two weeks. We get them on the schedule right away and then once the product is here, we give them a call to install it. If it’s taking more than two weeks, we’ll call the customer and let them know.  It’s not very often, but in some occasions our suppliers can get backed up or breaks happen in transport. We have a lot of communication, including messages through Facebook. 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CUSTOM PIECES YOU’VE DONE THAT YOU FEEL REALLY DEFINE YOUR COMPANY AND SET YOU APART? The big thing for us is that we really, really enjoy the custom stuff. Which is not the industry standard. There’s a lot of customers that we get to meet with and ask if they’ve thought about doing this or doing that and they’ve said no or they were told, “No, we can’t do that.” Eighty percent of the time, we can do it. We really love that custom thing. Obviously with the shower, that’s kind of our niche and what people know us for.  Commercial contractors know us for commercial doors because that’s what they’re doing and home builders and designers know us for the showers, mirrors, etc., because that’s what they are doing. 

DO YOU HAVE ANY WARRANTY ON YOUR PIECES? I always warranty everything from us. Nothing’s officially on paper but we’ve had people call us up two years after we’ve installed the showers and say “Hey, the glass is touching,” or “The door feels loose,” and we’ll go back out there, straighten things out and tighten it all down to take care of everything and we never charge the customer. We stand behind our products. All of our hinges and hardware also have a lifetime warranty. If you go to a big box you’re probably not going to get that. You’ll get a square shower that’s not going to look right because there is no such thing as a perfectly plumb or square opening.  Even a wall being out of plumb by 1/16 of an inch will throw the glass off. We adjust sometimes to the 64th of an inch to make sure it looks perfect.

All of our hardware is custom fit for each specific shower so that’s how we can warranty things. You’re definitely getting a lot more for the money. WHAT IS ONE OF THE MORE INTRICATE CUSTOM PIECES THAT YOU’VE DONE?  That’s a hard one! There have been a few of them. Erik always makes fun of me because I always say we can figure it out for tougher pieces. Some of the showers we can put glass in are pretty ridiculous. With a few it took multiple guys to lift the glass and we have to take doors off to get the glass in the house. Those are some pretty intense shower pieces.  There’s American Federal Bank here in Fergus Falls. Their table - we call it “The Bean Table.” We do a lot of table-top glass but this one was custom shaped and then we actually had a divider made of a separate piece of glass in the middle that’s fused glass. It’s a very, very unique piece. 

We’ve done a college with a structural glass floor. One section of the second floor by the theater is a glass floor walkway and it’s structurally sound so people can walk on it. There are LED lights in the tracking so it lights up and glows. That’s down in Morris. Again, check out our FaceBook page to see many, examples 


WHAT TIME OF YEAR WOULD YOU SAY YOU’RE THE MOST BUSY? With the joys of Minnesota, we’re pretty much like any contractor.  April through November is when I’d say we do about 80 percent of our work.  However, a big part of that is public unawareness that we can still do most things during the winter.  Obviously interior glass is no issue but we can also swap out that broken or fogged up dual pane glass and still install windows and commercial storefronts in the winter.    ARE YOU ABLE TO DO YOUR WORK AND MOVE GLASS WHEN THE TEMPERATURES GET DOWN AS COLD AS THEY DO IN MINNESOTA SOMETIMES?   Two of the most common things we get is one, people don’t think we can fix or install glass in the winter — the broken or foggy dual pane windows. The other thing is they think they have to buy a whole new window if the

glass is foggy or broken. I’d say 99 percent of windows we can just swap the glass out and it’ll save customers hundreds of dollars per unit. Most people don’t realize you can just swap the glass out. They think you have to put a whole new window in so they sit there with a fogged window or a cracked window for years. YOU HAVE SEVERAL LOCATIONS LISTED ON YOUR WEBSITE. DO YOU GO OUTSIDE OF THOSE AREAS FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS?  Yes. We’ve done work in Fargo, Hankinson, Wahpeton and we’ve gone farther, too. We’ve done stuff in northern, southern and central Minnesota, too — Brainerd, Morris, Marshall, Crookston, St. Cloud, etc. We’re kind of all over the place. And we’re dedicated to our customers. We are your small town local mom-and-pop shop to a point. Erik and I, as well as our employees, all live here, our families are here, our kids are in school here, we know our neighbors, our community, and our churches. Customers, clients and contractors have my cell phone number. People call me on weekends all the time. It’s

not a big deal at all. I enjoy helping people. But our hours are 8-5 Monday through Friday. We do that on purpose because I want my employees to be with their kids and families. That to me is more important than making a few extra bucks. We have that small town feel and operation but at the same time we’re very entrepreneurial and dedicated. We see a need and opportunity here. A few years ago we started our Perham store. We are going to start our Alexandria store around the first of the year and other locations are in the plan. We definitely have ambitions, but we’re still small.  Ottertail glass has kept with trends and provided exceptional customer service through the lakes area. With the opening of their new location in Alexandria tentatively set for the first part of the new year, it will open new opportunities for this hybrid company that can compete easily with the big-box stores but still maintain that small-town local feel that invites customers, promising amazing custom creations that homeowners and companies will love for years. ~L&H

112 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019



Size: 1,800.96 Acres Max Depth: 85 ft. Clarity: 13.5 ft. Shore Length: 10.07 mi

Lake Le Homme Dieu is a 1,800-acre basin located on the northeast city limit of Alexandria and is part of the Alexandria Chain of Lakes. Navigable connections exist to Lake Carlos and Lake Geneva. The shoreline and most of the watershed are well developed. Water quality is good. Water transparency was 16 feet during the 2016 survey. Because of its clear water and close proximity to Alexandria, the lake is popular with anglers and recreational boaters. Boating pressure can be high on weekends during the summer. Two wellmaintained accesses are available to the public. Rotary Beach Access is located on the northwest shoreline off County Road 42. Krueger’s Creek Access is located along the northeast shoreline. The City of Alexandria maintains a public swimming beach on the southeast shoreline. Boaters should be cautious of marked navigation hazards on the lake. A shallow rock bar is located in the middle of the lake off the west shoreline. Shallow rock areas are also present off both points leading into the west bay (Bugaboo Bay). Lake Le Homme Dieu sustains a modest walleye fishery, which is supplemented with combined fingerling stockings by the DNR and a cooperative arrangement by the Lake Le Homme Dieu Association and Viking Sportsmen Club, Inc.

Lake Le Homme Dieu supports abundant populations of largemouth bass, northern pike, and bluegill. Due to moderate fertility of the lake and moderate to high abundance of these fishes, growth rates can be slow. Fortunately, gamefish in Lake Le Homme Dieu live to be quite old, thus it does support some larger fish. Seventy percent of the largemouth bass surveyed during the spring were 12.0 inches or longer. Some were estimated to be up to 17 years old. An 8.0-inch bluegill may be 10 years old. Few black crappie are caught during summer surveys since larger fish move offshore and are less vulnerable to capture in trap nets. Low catch rates recorded in surveys does not accurately reflect abundance and size. Lake Le Homme Dieu does support good crappie fishing. Yellow perch numbers have consistently been low. Yellow perch are preferred prey of walleye, northern pike, and largemouth bass. Quality fishing opportunities exist for many species in Lake Le Homme Dieu. Even modest harvest of older fish can degrade fishing quality. Anglers are encouraged to practice selective

114 Lake & Home Magazine NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2019

Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

harvest to help maintain and improve the quality of the Lake Le Homme Dieu fishery. Selective harvest encourages the release of larger fish while allowing the harvest of more abundant smaller fish. Releasing medium to large fish will help restore and maintain fish community balance, as well as increase opportunities to catch large fish in the future. Lake Le Homme Dieu was designated as an infested water after the discovery of zebra mussels in 2009. Eurasian watermilfoil was also discovered in 2012. Minnesota statutes require all equipment be free of invasive species prior to leaving any access. Recreational users should take necessary precautions to prevent the further spread of invasive species. ~L&H


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Lake & Home Magazine - Nov/Dec 2019  

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