Home & Design | All Hands on Deck

by HomeDecorBeauty


At first, Lisa Clark Balke wasn’t fascinated by the towering evergreens that are synonymous with cozy cabins tucked away deep in the Wisconsin forest. “I’m from North Dakota,” said the Minneapolis resident and co-owner of Victory Vintage in Linden. “There are a lot of trees here; I’m starting to feel claustrophobic. Every road looks the same.”

But her husband, Jeff Balke, grew up on vacation in the area near Danbury, where the couple ended up buying the 1920s fixed upper, which used to be a nine-acre property. part of a fish camp. Nearly 25 years later, Lisa can hardly imagine without this secluded resort where they made so many memories with their three now grown children. “We found our grooves in the cabin,” she said of the years spent tearing down walls, rearranging rooms, adding layers of paint and character.

Similar to her home improvement store in Minneapolis, Lisa’s love of collecting is also found in the cabin, albeit in an orderly fashion. Near the front door is a metal pharmacy cabinet with some natural wonders, a set of Red Wing vintage clay pots sitting above the TV cabinet in the family room, and a collection of Audubon prints that Lisa picked from a book, Framed and hung along one of the bedroom walls. “I don’t like having a lot of stuff everywhere,” she said. “But I do like trash and weird stuff, so I try to keep it all in one place.”

“I love clean lines and a mix of industrial and vintage.”


– Lisa Clark Barker

Lisa, who has always been a collector, loves hardworking dishes that won’t break or crumble at restaurant supply stores. The impromptu table setting is simple and elegant, with antique sheets embroidered with ancient monograms, glass domes, tarnished silvers and wildflowers. She bought a vintage stove for $50 at a real estate auction, and industrial-style light fixtures add character.

Daughters Ella, 27, and Kate, 25, have inherited mum’s love of hunting and have fingerprints on the space as well. During the COVID lockdown, the sisters lived in the cottage for almost six months, spending most of their time with paintbrushes and hammers in hand, making repairs, building an outdoor herb garden and giving the room a new look. “We’re not very good at relaxing,” Ella said. “We built a rock retaining wall around the fire pit a few years ago as a ‘fun’ summer activity.”

But when they’re relaxing, a dip in the lake, a beer by the campfire, or puzzles on the porch are some of their favorite pastimes. That is, until someone comes up with the idea of ​​the next project to tackle at dawn. “It’s a more meaningful space because we created it together,” Ella said.

Kelly Ryan Caigans

Kelly is a Southern transplant who has covered news and lifestyle for national, regional and local publications for over 25 years. She is the home and design editor of Mpls.St.Paul magazine.

Read more Kelly Ryan Caygens

June 28, 2022

6:39 am

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