For more than 35 years, two families - longtime friends from Iowa - have shared a vacation home on Gull Lake.
Through the years, the families grew, so a second story was added in 1983 for a 2,200-square-foot cabin with five bedrooms and two baths.
Today, the get-togethers include original group members Kent and Karen Klopfenstein and Jeanne Heinz and six children and 21 grandchildren. Things were getting tight, with four or five people sharing a bedroom.
The cabin, purchased in 1970, recently was transformed into a 3,300-square-foot retreat that has more open living space and enough room in the kitchen for everyone to sit comfortably for a meal.
The Pebble Beach family retreat after renovations by Kuepers Inc. of Baxter. Kuepers won a 2006 Award of Excellence In Construction from the Minnesota Associated Builders and Contractors - for renovation of $500,000 to $1 million - for the project. Kuepers Inc.
Kuepers Inc. of Baxter took on the task of renovating the home in October 2005, completing it in May. The project - the Pebble Beach family retreat - met the two families' needs and earned Kuepers a 2006 Excellence In Construction award from the Minnesota Associated Builders and Contractors for a renovation project between $500,000 and $1 million.
Kent Klopfenstein said the two families, friends since the 1960s, have become attached to the cabin and didn't want to sell it to purchase a larger home.
Klopfenstein said they hired Kuepers because the company built homes for their neighbor and the families knew Kuepers did quality work.
"The project came out well and they (Kuepers) won an award for it," Klopfenstein said. "The best part of the home is the great room and the flow to the kitchen and center bar area."
Gull Lake appears out the windows in the loft in the Pebble Beach family retreat. Kuepers Inc.
The renovation project was a complete remodel of the original cabin. Roger Lorenz and Eric Carder of Kuepers, who worked on the project, said the layout of the original cabin was choppy, made up of small rooms that didn't flow together. Kuepers removed all the interior walls and one exterior wall for the addition, starting almost from scratch.
Because of planning and zoning restrictions, Kuepers could only increase the size of the cabin by 50 percent and had to keep 20 percent of the remaining cabin intact.
Lorenz and Carder said the restrictions, the site location and the extreme winter conditions off the lake made renovations difficult, but Kuepers was able to get the job done on time and on budget.
The site was difficult to work with because Pebble Beach Road bisects the lake lot and the cabin was so close to the lake, Lorenz said. Connecting the old and new foundation also was difficult, Lorenz said.
With the fireplace, the living area in the Pebble Beach family retreat makes for a cozy atmosphere. Kuepers Inc.
Kuepers raised the ceiling to 10 feet and added an upper-level family room to create more space. It also doubled the size of the kitchen to accommodate a large gathering: An island counter in the kitchen has room for seating and two wooden benches and a wood table allow for more seating. Above the island is a suspended light and a custom-made canoe.
Sara Raimann, interior designer for the project and of The Hearth Room in Brainerd, said a lot of planning and thought went into the kitchen. Raimann said the owners wanted to be able to have everyone sit down for a meal.
Raimann said the families wanted a natural and "Up North" look that wasn't overdone. To keep a natural look, the floors, cabinets and ceiling in the kitchen and great room were made of hickory with pine v-joints. Half-log siding was used for the exterior and logs were used for the stair railing.
The home now has six bedrooms and three baths. The bedrooms on the upper level have built-in beds for additional sleeping space, a fun area for the grandchildren to sleep, Raimann said.
The open kitchen area in the Pebble Beach family retreat located on Gull Lake has plenty of seating for the two Iowa families. Kuepers Inc.
"The space was designed for closet space, but later changed to add for sleeping space," Raimann said.
Kuepers also won an ABC award for the Christmas Point Haven project. Christmas Point Haven, a 6,000-square-foot lake home, is located on Deer Lake, north of Grand Rapids. The owners wanted a log cabin tucked in the woods with phenomenal views of the lake.
Kuepers encountered several challenges due to tight site conditions on a peninsula, job site location, delayed receipt of materials and other setbacks.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5851.
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