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Escape into nature in this serene Wisconsin cabin: MetalLark Tower

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SALA Architects is responsible for the design of this architecturally distinctive cabin that provides breathtaking lake and meadow views in Frederic, Wisconsin. Nestled within 140 acres of former farm fields, the rolling woodland and prairie have been replanted with native prairie grasses.

The specific site was selected for its overlook to a small lake, as well as the shade provided by a mature line of trees at the crest of the hill. By setting the building just downslope from the tree line, the structure is partially concealed and has privacy from the drive. The owners are a multi-generational family who shares their two-story, 800 square foot retreat and property as an Airbnb-style rental.

Need To Know: MetalLark Tower offers one king bed and one bathroom, with the option of a pull-down bunk bed for two additional guests. Prices start at $590 for 2 nights (+taxes and fees). Visit Nordlys for more details.

DESIGN DETAILS: ARCHITECT SALA Architects CONSTRUCTION One-Cut Construction ENGINEERING Kirk Davis and MBJ Engineering METAL FABRICATION North Shore Steel

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The structure is approached from the northwest via a gravel drive that winds through the prairie hillside. Parking sits back from the tree line. From there a pathway leads between trees to where the land falls away, and a footbridge carries across to the entry of Metal Lark. A raw, uncoated, corrugated steel wall envelops the uphill side of the building.

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The facade’s thick, super-insulated wall structure buffers the retreat from prevailing northwest winter storms while also hiding views to the lake beyond – saving the big reveal for when one enters. Inside Metal Lark, the line of the bridge continues out the other side where the windows and door open to the landscape and an elevated deck cantilevers over the hillside.

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Awards: 2021 Home of the Month Award

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Living space is accommodated on two levels, each with an efficient footprint of 20’ x 20’. The entry level contains a mudroom, bathroom, and bedroom.

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What We Love: This Wisconsin cabin offers a stylish yet compact retreat that focuses on the most magnificent views that are guaranteed to leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. We are loving the architectural design and the floor plan configuration, every detail in this home is well planned and beautifully executed. This would be an amazing place to get away and zen out for a few days, surrounded by the pristine beauty of nature.

Tell Us: What do you think of this retreat in the Wisconsin wilderness? Do you think you could decompress here? Let us know in the Comments!

Note: Take a look at a couple of other amazing cabin tours that we have showcased here on One Kindesign: Small and cozy rustic cabin in Georgia: Carolina Jessamine Cottage and Charming rustic mountain cabin provides idyllic getaway in a pine forest.

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Photo: Levi Kelly

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A wood-lined stairway winds upward to the glass-walled living room, where dramatic views are revealed.

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The furnishings were sourced from Room & Board, the stove is by Jøtul Stoves, and the ceiling fan is from Big Ass Fans.

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A small, but well-appointed kitchen is contained within the wooden cabinet wall adjoining the stair. A writing desk is tucked into the cabinet wall at the far end, and its back panel conceals a pull-down murphy bed for an additional sleeping location.

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Photo: Levi Kelly

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Photo: Levi Kelly

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The owners asked for a modern building, durable materials, and a small footprint. They were interested in accentuating a verticality of form while providing expansive views of the landscape. The owners also wished to minimize the ecological footprint of the building, leading the design team to conduct comprehensive energy modeling and develop numerous sustainable strategies:

• passive solar orientation
• summer shading utilizing roof overhangs
• shading using deciduous tree cover
• super-thick walls allow for maximizing insulation on non-glassy exposures
• triple-pane windows
• operable windows for cross-ventilation
• stack-ventilation (bringing cooler air in low and venting out high)
• ceiling fans for cooling
• solar panels located in the prairie behind Metal Lark are sized to supply 100% net-metered electricity

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A small storage room and mechanical space on the ground level are accessed from outside underneath the cantilevered floor.

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PHOTOGRAPHER Corey Gaffer Photography

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