A Modern and Rustic Lakeside Retreat Designed for Family Fun
Every Fourth of July, the Dimke family lines up in a row, and at the shout of Go!, launches into handstands while a friend snaps a shot. The newish tradition makes it clear: Fun comes naturally to this crew.
These days, Mary and Bob Dimke and their four adult children (and good-sport in-laws) are flipping head over heels on a peninsula in Minnesota's Brainerd Lakes region, where the couple recently finished a summer compound. The three cabins—one new, two remodeled—mark a celebration of sorts.
"The kids were all out of state when we bought the property [nine years ago], so we sat on it for a few years," Mary says. "When we got the feeling they'd all come back to Minnesota, we went ahead with construction."
The Dimkes hired architect Collin Jacobs and designer Laura Tays to referee a friendly duel between Bob's woodsy hunting-cabin vibe and Mary's light, modern-leaning style. "Mary is drawn to nature, texture, neutral tones and things that are lived-in," Tays says. "Bob was more 'tiny cabin with bear rugs'—very rustic."
Eventually, Bob came over to Mary's side (mostly) and the 3,000-square-foot home came into focus. Main-floor living will enable the couple to avoid stairs if needed, while ample second-floor guest rooms invite visitors.
Dramatic windows capture the lake views. Among stylish tone-on-tone neutrals, reclaimed wood ceilings, trusses and beams add a dose of Up North. As Mary says, "Anytime we could bring in wood, that was good for Bob."
Even Bob's antler mounts look good in the calm setting. But if he ever feels the need for a space a little rougher around the edges, he walks 20 steps out the front door and lands in The Doghouse, the family's stand-alone private pub. The stone-swathed building sits on the site of a former falling-down garage and had to keep the same footprint, so Mary describes the 689-square-foot structure as "little bathroom, big bar." Three local craft beers are on tap behind a 14-seat custom iron bar. The lounge revolves around a fireplace, leaving room for a table, where there's almost always a cribbage game going.
But Mary's favorite spot isn't The Doghouse or the sun-streaked great room or even the water glittering outside. It's the upstairs hallway, where Tays hung a collage of family vacation photos Mary chose. Front and center: five years' worth of headstands.
Peek inside the pub, see what's on tap and get the resources for the rest of the home.