A Lake Superior Escape With a Whitewashed Masonry Sauna

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By Jenny Xie / Published by Dwell
Wood and masonry come together in this Minnesotan refuge that balances the built environment with the natural setting.

Where the forest meets the shoreline of Lake Superior near Minnesota's Taconite Harbor, Larson Bergquist by Duluth-based Salmela Architect is an exquisite, 1,400-square-foot retreat. Its material palette of wood and masonry embodies the tension between buildings and nature, permanence and impermanence.

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A stone path leads guests past a long, horizontal garage that doubles as a storage shed for kayaks. Clad in black paper resin composite, the structure is striped by cedar battens that echo the surrounding birch trees. Beyond this, the main house and sauna form a courtyard, its stone pavers edged by native grasses. An L-shaped "unchimney" bears the sooty imprint of past fires, connecting visually to the masonry sauna and outdoor baking oven.

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Inside, wood interiors create a warm, serene atmosphere that privileges views of the outdoors. An outdoor deck upstairs allows inhabitants to sit lofted in the surrounding canopy.

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