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A Lakeside Escape in Wisconsin

Ed and Marge Gartska spent 13 years hunting down the perfect place for their vacation getaway. Sweat equity (and materials gathered from 13 states) made their Arkdale, Wisconsin, cabin a reality.

Ed: Marge and I had been looking for a lot that was heavily wooded and on the water for more than a decade, so this piece of property along Castle Rock Lake in Arkdale checked all the boxes for us. Even though we have a next-door neighbor, you can sit under the veranda and feel like there’s nobody around. It’s pristine. 

We collected building materials from 13 states, and I did probably 80 to 90 percent of the general contracting myself. The lakeside had been recently landscaped with boulders, retaining walls and a barnwood patio, so we took advantage of that. We wanted the house to look like all the stone was there already and we just built on top of it. We have about 900 square feet of outdoor living area, and enjoying the outdoors is what this place is all about.

Inside, our 4,821-square-foot home features rustic English oak, wide-plank flooring, barnwood cabinets, forged-iron railing, a copper slipper tub, and Everlog concrete 10-inch plank siding. The home is held up by hand-hewn Douglas fir timbers with purlins highlighted by exposed burning to accentuate the ax marks. The combination helps keep maintenance low and lets us simply enjoy our rustic getaway.


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