This is not your average boathouse. This Adirondack style boathouse nestled on Minnesota’s Nisswa Lake just north of Brainerd is simply spectacular. Designed by Marie Meko of Gabberts Design Studio, , the boathouse design was inspired by the owner’s deep Nisswa Lake roots and his affinity for classic wooden boats.
A tree trunk frame and bark-on wood siding makes the boathouse appear as if it grew right out of the rich Nisswa ground. This organic feel endures as you enter the interior. An octagonal pavilion great room designed after a 19th century French chalet surrounds you with whimsical tree house-style architecture with artfully incorporated Minnesota cedar twig.
A grand cedar staircase of limbs, burls and branches appears to sprout out of the pavilion floor as it gracefully twists and turns upwards to an office and sleeping quarters. Montana glacier stones and live lichen surround the fireplace, and diamond-shaped birch bark and red willow twigs accent each light fixture, custom designed by Hammerton.
The bar area and kitchen feature stone countertops, copper sinks and knotty alder cabinetry with elegant twig work, elk horn and pine cone embellishments. The boathouse also has a breakfast nook, dining hall and wrap-around screen porch, all with gorgeous hand-selected antique furnishings. As Sheri Davich of Lake and Home Magazine writes, “The effect is opulent, substantial, yet at the same time cozy and warm. It’s a welcoming place.”
All this and we have yet to get to the boats! The classical boat display area spans 8,400 square feet and features 26-foot-high vault ceilings that appear to be supported by a 30-foot old growth red cedar tower. Five automated double doors open up to five boat slips where the boats appear to be sitting in the water but are operated via a remote controlled in-ground cable track system.
The inspiration for the boathouse design also stems from the owners’ trip to The Point resort on Upper Saranac Lake, which was home to William Avery Rockefeller during the Adirondack Great Camp Era. They were only at the resort three days, but it was enough to inspire the owners to build their own boathouse in the trademark Adirondack style with exterior walls, railings, staircases and rooflines constructed of unfinished materials. As Davich notes, “While rare in Minnesota, Adirondack methods are a perfect fit for our lakes and forests and well-suited to Anderson’s lifestyle of classic boats and big game hunting.”