Retreats | TEA2 Architects
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Our clients cherished large, frequent gatherings of family and friends. They wanted their retreat to feel rustic, yet contemporary and inviting. We stretched it along the waterline to allow extensive lake views to the north, and sun to penetrate from the south.

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The living room has separate spaces for winter and summer—this one, wood-filled and cozy with a massive fireplace.

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A steampunk-inspired, TEA2-designed roll-down screen for the fireplace. Wood storage is recessed into a slot in the chimney. The TV, to the left, disappears behind pocket doors.

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The wood throughout the house is reclaimed timber and barn board. The warmth of the materials keeps the house from feeling voluminous.

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Natural light was maximized with a range hood and cabinets that “float” in front of south windows. The wall-less kitchen also grabs light from the screened porch.

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During summer months, the screened porch becomes an extension of the kitchen— expanding the seating, eating and entertaining area.

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State-of-the-art, thermal bi-fold doors separate kitchen from porch. When they’re open, the two rooms live as one; the threshold between them seamless.

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Family and guests can enjoy multiple activities on the porch while expansive screening brings in light from the south, and views of forest to the east and beach to the north.

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In cooler months, dining moves inside and looks out to the fire pit, pines and lake beyond.

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From the lake, the home seems almost transparent: a glowing, glass structure on top of a knoll, providing a spectacular connection to the outdoors.

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And yet, the home retains the feeling of a great rustic cabin.

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Rustic Retreat

Northern Wisconsin

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This couple wanted to replace their cramped cottage on a long-loved peninsula with gathering space for an extended family—and charm, not square footage, topped their list.

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We anchored the home with American Granite of a casual, yet ordered, pattern. The wood bracket and stone corbel gracefully marry the overhead beam and structure to the stone.

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The wraparound stone terrace extends the cottage form, and creates layers of gathering areas and prospect for breathtaking views of the lake on three sides.

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The cottage roof forms, terrace, and steps cascade down to the land—integrating an outdoor kitchen and fire pit. The terrace wall was designed to double as seating.

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The “witch’s hat” stairway tower recalls historical lake “lookouts” and creates a lighthouse-like effect—perfect for a peninsula home. Copper metalwork, ridges and finials add lovely patina-ed detail.

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The combined dining and living area, framed in knotty alder, offers an expansive view to the dock and beyond to the point—important to a family of boating and water-skiing enthusiasts.

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The kitchen adds a counterpoint of fresh color to the laid-back ambiance. It flows seamlessly onto the screened porch via a single 6-by-7-foot sliding door.

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A spacious kitchen work area is essential to feeding throngs. Strategically placed eating areas—in the adjacent porch, dining room and tucked into the stair—graciously seat all.

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A raised second-floor vault accommodates custom-made triple-bunk beds—every child’s dream. With judicious room designs, we created sleeping space for 25 within house, carriage and tiny cottage.

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A formal entryway was forsaken for a casual, eclectic entry/bead-board mudroom. Guests can head straight to the lake-facing screened porch or turn and step in to the kitchen and great room.

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We designed a long and shallow porch—to provide distinct living areas with up-close, expansive views of the lake.

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Family Heritage Cottage

Central Minnesota

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The site overlooks Lake Superior, the Apostle Islands, and a ravine with a public path to the shore. Porches and terraces provide choices for enjoying fresh air and views in privacy. The stone base echoes the sandstone native to Bayfield.

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Site limitations demanded a compact, square footprint. The blockiness of the design was opened up with hipped roof wings and graceful eyebrow windows.

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The homeowners’ goal of an evening glow was created with carefully selected woodwork, stone and lighting. The essence is of a handmade boat—reflective of Arts & Crafts style, but filled with light.

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Mahogany and Spanish Cedar were used to create layers, depth, and niches for objets d’art and books. Here, the kitchen blends gracefully into living space. Behind, a hard-working prep kitchen/pantry.

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Mahogany beams frame a breakfast nook and create datum lines throughout the home. Tucked into virtually every wall are bookshelves and display spaces. The Rosso Verona marble backsplash adds subtle texture.

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Strategically perched above the ravine, the breakfast nook enjoys southern sun and a Lake Superior view.

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Can a dining room double as a library? Of course. The table and window seat provide perfect spots to pour over art books and historical documents. Dormers in the barrel-vaulted ceiling bring light to illuminate books or brunch.

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A hallway through the center of the home might have been dark and dreary, but carving into the roofline allowed a skylight. Russian Waterglass provides soft dappled light.

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The hallway becomes a salon filled with collectibles. Adjustable, low-voltage recessed lights direct the beams, making art glow and pop.

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Was the home built recently, or 100 years ago? With touches like Arts & Crafts reproduction lighting, the question is hard to answer.

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The finishing touch? A Corten Steel bridge built over a refreshed ravine is a beautiful amenity for both the homeowners, and the many cyclists and walkers who also enjoy the trail.

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Lake Superior Retreat

Bayfield, WI

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Cabin Retreat

Northern Minnesota

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Park Point Home

Duluth, MN

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Shingle Style Lake Home

Northern Minnesota

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Lake Superior Residence

Northern Wisconsin

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Gate & Carriage House

Lake Pend Oreille, ID

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Cozy Lake Cottage

White Bear Lake, MN

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Rustic Bunkhouse

Northern Wisconsin

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Balsam Lake Retreat

Balsam Lake, WI