Collete’s Cove

Designed by Katherine Hillbrand
with Donald Rowe of Rowe’s Work, technical assistance

This project was begun with an investigation of place and materials that culminated in a well-crafted building. It sits quietly on the crest of a hill overlooking a pine-framed lake in northern Wisconsin.

Upon entering the property through a lofty pine plantation, one encounters a multilevel courtyard and profuse garden. A linear walkway to one side, defined by regularly spaced young maple trees and concrete columns, intersects with the horizontal form of the house at its entry.

Flat roofs extend well beyond the walls of the structure to expand the circumference of living. Sloped roofs tilt toward the southern sun and stunning lake views. Clerestory windows light the main circulation spine.

A trellised alfresco dinning area on the leeward side of the building aligns with the dining room. A twelve-foot long table made of a single slab of a thousand year old Kauri tree, defines the dining room. On the lakeside of the dining room there is a large window that overlooks a gas fire ring and waterfall. The water cascades over the edge of the upper terrace to a rock bed below. The resultant spray encourages moss and tiny plants to take hold between stone steps to the terrace below.

The living room, with its suspended fireplace, cantilevers out over the lower level masonry wall that is soon to be covered with vines, moss and ferns.

Guests have their own living quarters above the family’s wing. For the many international visitors who are welcomed here by a raised flag of their nation, this level separation bestows a gracious sense of privacy and hospitality.

Construction by Kuckkahn Construction
Structural Engineering by Jerry Palms, ArchiStructures
Garden and Landscape Design by Elizabeth J. Sanderson, London, U.K.
Photographs by Troy Thies