LONGVILLE -- Earlier this month, the public had the opportunity to tour four Longville Community Church Women's Fellowship members homes and gardens.
Two of those homes were featured last week -- the homes of Howard and Isabel Karon and Skip and Sandie Reiter. This week, the homes of Mike and Carol Connelly and Gary and Barbara Lyall are featured.
Mike and Carol Connelly's home
The real story of Mike and Carol Connelly's property is not the meandering driveway snaking toward their house at the top of a hill on the south shore of Woman Lake.
Individual logs provide a unique look as the log ends are visible inside the Connellys' cozy home.
It is not the perfectly manicured lawn, nor the magnificent gardens, laced with paving stone walkways, nor is it the screened gazebo offering a panoramic lake view.
It is their log house.
The young Hennepin County accountant and his wife purchased their wooded lot in 1982 and, with no experience at all, bought 50-foot pine logs from a logger north of Bemidji.
The couple pealed the logs, cut and notched them, and crafted their own log house. In 1992, they moved to their property, lived in the basement and began creating their home a log at a time.
Steps lead to Gary and Barbara Lyall's cedar-sided lake home on Woman Lake. A nearby bench provides a spot to rest in the gardens.
Unlike many log houses, theirs includes log interior walls as well as exterior, with each log end carved to create archways between rooms.
They obtained stained glass windows from an old church in Minneapolis and crafted interior doors to fit around them. They installed Cyprus wood flooring.
Their still-in-the-process second floor has wood paneled walls rather than log. Without realizing it, the Connellys incorporated several European techniques in designing their upstairs space.
It will open onto a Swedish sitting room. Their guest room appears to be a paneled wall, but actually includes pull-out beds, using space in the sloping attic wall.
A deer antler chandelier contributes to the northwoods look in the Lyalls' dining room.
Their upstairs master bedroom will have a step-up window seat from which they can view the gardens and lake.
On the main floor, the room off their living room now serves as an interim master bedroom. It has year-around porches on two sides.
The living room split rock fireplace backs against the main floor bathroom. A solid split rock wall in the bathroom draws fireplace heat along one wall of their whirlpool bathtub to make it a cozy retreat in winter.
They have adopted another European technique, using a block and tackle suspended from the peak of their eaves to hoist table saws to the second floor for the construction phase and eventually will use that to hoist furniture to the finished upstairs.
The master bedroom in the Connelly home provides a restive spot between two enclosed porches.
Gary and Barbara Lyall's home
Gary and Barbara Lyall have summered on Woman Lake since they were teen-agers in the late 1940s.
They built their cedar-sided home on the south shore of Woman Lake on property they purchased in 1968. It offers plenty of space for visits from their three married sons and six grandchildren.
Barbara's mother and brother are their neighbors.
A bench, wood carvings and metal sculptures highlight their shaded rear garden. Their home sits high on a hill above a sloping and long stretch of lawn to the lake.
Sun loving flowers fill their front patio and balcony facing the lake.
Inside their house is a massive, two-story living-dining room facing the lake, with huge beams exposed between the first and second levels.
The open space keeps their sons' huge hunting trophies of moose, deer, antelope and a bear skin rug look in keeping and not overpowering.
One son made their massive dining and coffee tables. A Wisconsin craftsman created the deer antler chandelier and wall light fixtures on either side of their fireplace.
Another craftsman created their unique birch and oak table and floor lamps, turning part of the logs and leaving a portion in natural bark.
Unique features include a hand-painted tile picture of pines and Woman Lake on the wall above the kitchen cook top and a stained glass hummingbird window to serve as a partial sun shade for people sitting at the dining table.
They also brought a stained glass window from their house in Illinois to be the main feature in the window at the end of their bedroom hallway to the right of the main entrance to the house.
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