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Windreach Island

New Construction

It is always fun working beyond the northwest. This project is sited on a small private island in the northern Great Lakes. And while setting recalls the San Juan Islands, the reality is quite different. The island is locked into thick ice for most of the winter. That ice gives way to crystal clear, almost tropical fresh water in summer as the bear and moose wander the nearby islands.

The house is sited on a promontory that affords a view of the rare arriving visitor and situates the deep porch such that the great room is protected from the strong summer sun while allowing sunlight deep into the house in winter. Solar panels on the island power all lighting, pumps, and refrigeration. Water is collected from the lake. And waste is treated onsite. The main building is heated with a high-efficiency wood stove that is centrally located to distribute heat throughout the house. A conventional wood stove is located in the screen porch and helps take the chill off cool summer evenings.


A separate master building and sauna building are connected by a pedestrian bridge to the north. The master is perched above a ravine with a private outlook to the west and north. The master has a bath with a full-sized door that opens to allow the bather to perch in the trees while soaking. The sauna was built in the 1950’s and allows for intense heat alternating with cold dips in the lake.

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