“Every house, every product of architecture… should be a fruit of our endeavor to build an earthly paradise for people.” – Alvar Aalto

The Hunt

There is something thrilling about looking for your next home.  It’s a high-stakes scavenger hunt mixed with a detailed research project.  You get to set your parameters, but much of the time you’re venturing into unknown territory.

We were fortunate enough to have an experienced and market savvy guide to aid us in our search.  Our real-estate agent Judy Barr has been in the business since 1989, and definitely knew the ins and outs of  Northwoods real estate. She really helped us dial in our search.

We had toured a few homes that met some of our criteria but nothing checked enough of the points to make an offer.  If you remember our list from the first post we were looking for a home that met our needs (ranked in order of importance)

  1. Location (Close to work and school)
  2. Price (including remodel budget)
  3. Quality Property and Lake (No Swamps, steep frontage, or busy roads)
  4. Good Structure, with dated interior, needing minor cosmetic updates
  5. Low exterior and property upkeep

The Find

A couple months after one especially painful near miss Judy called. “I found your house!” she stated excitedly. “You need to get over here right away.”  She gave us the address and we set up a time that afternoon for the showing.

The home was in Eagle River, WI, which was the town that Sam had grown up in and that her family all still lived and worked.  It is about 45 minutes away from Roughing It In Style, our workplace, but has a wonderful school district.  It was on the far edge of our search parameter but, because of family, we already end up spending 2-3 days a week there.

Eagle River also happens to be home to The World’s Largest Chain of Lakes, 28 to be exact.

Like at First Sight

We pulled down the long snow packed driveway and up to a rustic, dark brown ranch with an attached two car garage.

The home was sided with live edge cedar and the base of the exterior was a beige brown stained brick.

It seemed like the owners had put a ton of thought, love, and care into their lake home but the years had taken a bit of a toll.

We found out that, lately, it had also been put in a summer rental program.

From here on, we’ll let you experience the home as it was when we first saw it. Roll over the photos to read our initial thoughts.


Living Room


Main Level Bathroom

Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom


Small but functional.


Main Level Guest Room

Basement Living Room


Basement Bedroom

Basement Bathroom

White on White.

Basement Utility Room (Only Garage Access)

It’s a bit hard to tell from the photos, but this home was oozing with potential…we knew right away that it was something we could work with.  We would just need a little help from our team at Roughing It In Style. 

Coming next post…Meet the Torgesons, the design team, and hear what our thoughts are on the home and taking on a project like this.

This is something a bit different that we’re doing on Roughing It In Style Living.  Kind of a blog within a blog…You can follow along with our Rustic Remodel journey a couple different ways:

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  3. Check back regularly at blog.roughingitinstyle.com or rusticremodel.com

Questions and Comments are always welcome!