Maybe you’re about to realize every Minnesotan’s dream and build your own lake home. Or maybe you are already blessed to own a beautiful little lakeside cabin – but it’s dearly in need of remodeling. Either way, the choices you make now will have a huge impact on how you enjoy your lakefront property in the future.


As one of the preeminent lake home construction and cabin remodeling contractors serving the Alexandria and Brainerd Lakes areas, our team knows a few things on the subject. Without going into boring amounts of detail, here’s what you should keep in mind before you break ground or start tearing down walls!


Lake Homes Come in Many Styles


A lake home shouldn’t look like it was plucked from a typical Twin Cities suburb and planted next to the water. Certain types of architecture complement lake life far better than others, which is why the majority of our construction projects belong to one of a handful of styles.


  • Timber frame – Similar in appearance to post-and-beam construction, albeit without visible metal connectors. Whether you sand them down to a fine finish or leave them rough, the large, weight-bearing timbers give the home a rustic appearance that looks right at place in the woods.


  • Lodge – Expansive windows. Prominent use of natural materials. A wide open floor plan that’s perfect for entertaining large groups. A lodge-style lake home is ideal if you intend to welcome the whole family over each summer, and can look as woodsy or modernistic as you prefer.


  • Colonial – Not a great fan of contemporary architectural styles? Then you’ll love one that began rising to prominence during the 15th century. Colonial architecture is ideal for lake houses because its design can easily accommodate many windows, as well as multiple stories – excellent if your lot isn’t especially large.


The Lay of the Land Matters


Building a lake home isn’t as easy as screwing a lightbulb into a socket. Each parcel of land possess several qualities which must be carefully taken into consideration. What is the current tree coverage, and how does it affect where sunlight reaches? What is the slope of the land, and how does it impact the rate and direction of water flow? How much does the lake’s water level rise and fall with the seasons? Questions like these underscore the importance of commissioning a construction survey before breaking ground.


Energy Efficiency Is Important for Vacation Homes


You may reason that energy efficiency is less important for a home you only intend to use during the summer. There is a kernel of truth to that argument, but even so, it’s best to take just as much care to build or remodel an energy-efficient lake home as you would a year-round residence.


Energy-efficient features won’t just make your lake home more attractive to eco-conscious buyers. They will also appreciably reduce your heating and cooling bills (which you’ll still have to pay even when you aren’t residing in your lake home), as well as keep you more comfortable during Minnesota’s warmest months. That’s why any construction or remodeling project had best include smart thermostats, smart lighting, and high-performance insulation and windows.


Natural Light Is King


You didn’t dream of owning a home in the middle of nowhere just so you could illuminate it with lightbulbs. That’s why it’s so important to take the sun’s path across the sky into consideration while designing a lake home. If your current cabin wasn’t designed by a great appreciator of outdoor light, then you can make up for their oversight by installing new windows and skylights. You can get surprisingly creative when it comes to retrofitting a cabin with windows!


Outdoor Living Spaces Are Essential


There’s no sense living in the beautiful wilderness if you can’t enjoy it comfortably. If you’re building a lake home, make certain the project includes an amply sized deck and patio. And if you could only choose one major addition to make during a cabin remodel, you can’t go wrong by increasing its outdoor living space. Even if you haven’t got much space to work with, Wensmann Contractors’ creative solutions to decks and patios ensure that you’ll make the most use of it.


Whether you’re building or remodeling a lakeside property in Central Minnesota, Wensmann Contractors is standing by to make the upcoming project a total success. Contact us today to help us understand your goals. With that understanding an on-site visit, we’ll have everything we need to draft a proposal you’ll love!