Rural Retreat

Nestled in southwestern Wisconsin’s unique Driftless Area of sweeping farmland and river valley, this rustic retreat is a true getaway from the city. Materials are durable, raw, and authentic: Corten steel wrapped around the base of the house will change to a rusty patina as it weathers, its metal roof draws inspiration from local barns, and the exterior siding is reclaimed Ipe wood from an old highway sound barrier in Chicago. Salvaged siding is carried through to the interior and mixes with locally-milled Douglas fir, darkened steel, and concrete tile floors to create a modern, refined space with a utilitarian aesthetic. While the house has a lot of glass, it’s net-neutral. Design choices included triple-paned windows and a lot of insulation, so the heat from the south carries to the north of the house. Solar panels for energy were also drawn into the blueprint.

The main level’s open floor plan flows outside, with great views from the porches and access to all sides of the site ­– perfect for weekend gatherings. A workshop tailored toward the homeowner’s passion for biking and Nordic skiing is equipped with an overhead glass door for great natural light and an easy in-and-out. Personal elements are thoughtfully incorporated throughout the house: a much-loved road bike as art above the main stair; a side pantry for organic cooking; places for books; and firewood storage for the living room’s wood burning stove. This is a house meant to settle into the landscape for generations.

Project Team

Mark Larson, Ryan Bicek, Laurel Johnston


Bad Axe Log Homes

Interior Design

Brooke Voss Design


Scott Amundson


Star Tribune February 5, 2023
Star Tribune May 13, 2022
Mpls. St. Paul Home & Design Winter 2020
Residential Design Volume 4, 2020
Midwest Home May/June 2020
Home of the Month 2022
Midwest Home Awards 2021
RAVE Awards 2020

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