Tom and Kathy Inselman's
New Lake Home

Story

Inselman's kitchen
Tom Inselman and his daughter Megan sit at the bar that is a focal point for the main living space in their new lake home.

Living Room
The only division between the kitchen and living room is this three-sided gas fireplace.

Dining-desk room
This oak roll-top desk serves as a home office. The formal dining area is in the background.

Outside
The home has only one step to a deck overlooking Rice Lake.

BathroomBR> This bathroom has an outside entrance so one can shower, after working in the yard or using the lake, before entering the main house.

By Michael Jacobson
Building a house requires thorough preparation, consideration of countless details, and making hundreds of decisions. It's no wonder that everything doesn't go exactly as planned.

Having already built one house on Rice Lake, Tom and Kathy Inselman were better prepared than most when the opportunity arose to build again. "The first is just exciting," said Tom. "The second you learn."

In addition to the experience they had from building that first house nearly a decade ago, after the house they bought on the lake burned down, the Inselmans studied, looked for ideas, and spent time ironing out the design for a new house. "Anyplace there was a house, we went," explained Tom, who owns a convenience store in Eden Valley.

Most of the time, the house you design on paper, in your head, really, doesn't come out exactly in wood and paint. "This one here," said Tom, standing in the family's three bedroom patio home on the big bay of Rice Lake, "actually came out the way we wanted it. There are very few things we would change."

The Inselmans live six miles from Paynesville and six miles from Eden Valley. Their new house is just a few hundred yards north along the beach from their old home, which they built in 1991 after the first house was destroyed by fire.

That lot was on a hill, which provided a better view, but made the lake less accessible. A couple years ago, a lot with two cabins from an old resort went up for sale, and Tom and Kathy started making their plans to build.

Construction started last August, and the family Tom and Kathy have two adult children and two kids in high school moved in before Thanksgiving.

One of the tenets of their design was to view the lake, a new ground-level look compared to their previous perch. "We wanted the view of the lake, so we've got a lot of glass in that direction," said Tom.

The other idea was to make sure the house could accommodate them as they grew older. The first part of this was the one-level patio design. "There's not a step in the house; the doors are wider; the hallways are wider," explained Tom, who later admits that there is one step, off the front porch to the lake.

The Inselmans also made sure the shower in the master bathroom has a shelf for sitting and an optional hand-held shower head, concessions to eventual aging. "We just made sure we had things set up for us as we aged," said Tom. In the meantime, especially with high school kids, the house is a lake home, which can make extra demands in the summer. To better accommodate guests, the Inselmans have an outdoor shower to wash off after being in the lake or just after yard work.

They also designed the guest bathroom which doubles as the laundry room for extensive duty. It features a sink and shower, so friends can get ready to go out for dinner after a day on the lake.

The bathroom has an interior and exterior door, so guests can come in and use it without entering other rooms of the house. What's more, the interior door can be locked to keep people out, but it also can be deadbolted from inside the house to limit access only to the bathroom.

Open space
The center of the house is a giant flowing space that comprises the entry foyer, living room, dining room, kitchen and breakfast nook. "We really though on this room an awful lot to make it open," said Tom.

The family had 38 people in the main living area at Thanksgiving. "Everybody was in this one room, and it wasn't crowded," Tom explained.

The foyer leads directly to the living room, which faces northwest across the lake. The living room is further opened to the entry by an open window in the wall. Tom said this opening allowed the family to use the hall as extra living room space during Christmas.

The idea for this interior window came from the Inselman's original Rice Lake home, the one that burned down. That house had an interior window, too.

(The only other remnants of that house are the mantelpiece, now cut in pieces and used as a series of shelves in a small television room, and the dining room table, still singed on the bottom from the fire.)

A three-sided gas fireplace, anchored to the lakeside wall and facing the foyer, is the only separation between the living room and the kitchen. "It divided the room, but you can still see through it," said Tom.

Besides the flowing space, the main rooms are held together by the use of wood and tile for flooring and the use of hickory and lightly-colored oak in the trim and woodwork.

The custom built cabinets in the kitchen are made of hickory. Tom described this as a somewhat risky choice as hickory can be streaky between light and dark textures, but he feels the cabinets, and the kitchen, turned out beautifully. Recessed lighting, as in most of the house, highlights the grain of the wood.

The kitchen features an elevated dishwasher to make loading and unloading easier, two spots for garbage cans to keep them handy, and a center island. Besides providing ample work space, the end of the island is a comfortable spot for sitting, perfect for conversing while someone cooks.

The breakfast nook has another almost completely see-through view of the lake on the northwest side. One of the house's three decks extends from the nook. This one intended as a handy place to grill. (The house has covered, aggregate decks towards the lake and the road for enjoying the evening whether the sun shines or it rains or snows.)

The pantry is also in the nook, and has roll-out shelves for convenience. Tom said these drawers are very handy and might not be something first time builders would think of.

Jutting from the kitchen toward the living room is another bar. Whether for eating or entertaining, this is the focal point of the room, according to Tom. The bar, though only a few steps from the kitchen, has its own sink, for fixing drinks, getting a glass of water, or extra room for cleaning up.

Practical side
The three-bedroom home has a master bedroom with a walk-in closet, master bath with shower, heat lamp, and whirlpool, and an attached workout room. The bedrooms are the only carpeted rooms in the house. All the rooms in the house are wired for television and telephone.

"We have a ton of storage," said Tom. "Anyplace there was a corner we made a closet out of it."

"That's one thing everyone should do," he advised. "Put in enough closets. There's never enough."

The Inselmans have a central vacuum system, but with only a few carpeted rooms, the real prizes of the system are the seven central vacuum dust bins.

These ground-level ports have a switch that can be pushed with your foot. Then the vacuum sucks dirt in the vicinity and discards it outside, eliminating the need for a hand-held dust pan. "That is one of the nicest things we have in the house," said Tom. "I even sweep now."

"In this house," he added, "we use those more than we use the (vacuum) hoses." The seven central vacuum dust bins are strategically located around the house, in corners where dirt can be easily swept and easily sucked out of the house. The location of one these dust bins is one of Tom's few regrets in the new house.

The house has four heating systems. It has hot water heating in the floors, and normally relies on an air-to-air heat pump. If the outside air gets too cold, though, a plenum can be used to heat air. The gas fireplace is a backup.

Another interesting feature of the house is that the furnace room can only be accessed from the three-stall garage. When a repairman or delivery man comes, they can get into the garage without entering the house. In fact, they can get in the furnace room without even disturbing anyone in the house. Building a house requires thorough preparation, consideration of countless details, and making hundreds of decisions. It's no wonder that everything doesn't go exactly as planned.

Having already built one house on Rice Lake, Tom and Kathy Inselman were better prepared than most when the opportunity arose to build again. "The first is just exciting," said Tom. "The second you learn."

In addition to the experience they had from building that first house nearly a decade ago, after the house they bought on the lake burned down, the Inselmans studied, looked for ideas, and spent time ironing out the design for a new house. "Anyplace there was a house, we went," explained Tom, who owns a convenience store in Eden Valley.

Most of the time, the house you design on paper, in your head, really, doesn't come out exactly in wood and paint. "This one here," said Tom, standing in the family's three bedroom patio home on the big bay of Rice Lake, "actually came out the way we wanted it. There are very few things we would change."

The Inselmans live six miles from Paynesville and six miles from Eden Valley. Their new house is just a few hundred yards north along the beach from their old home, which they built in 1991 after the first house was destroyed by fire.

That lot was on a hill, which provided a better view, but made the lake less accessible. A couple years ago, a lot with two cabins from an old resort went up for sale, and Tom and Kathy started making their plans to build.

Construction started last August, and the family Tom and Kathy have two adult children and two kids in high school moved in before Thanksgiving.

One of the tenets of their design was to view the lake, a new ground-level look compared to their previous perch. "We wanted the view of the lake, so we've got a lot of glass in that direction," said Tom.

The other idea was to make sure the house could accommodate them as they grew older. The first part of this was the one-level patio design. "There's not a step in the house; the doors are wider; the hallways are wider," explained Tom, who later admits that there is one step, off the front porch to the lake.

The Inselmans also made sure the shower in the master bathroom has a shelf for sitting and an optional hand-held shower head, concessions to eventual aging. "We just made sure we had things set up for us as we aged," said Tom. In the meantime, especially with high school kids, the house is a lake home, which can make extra demands in the summer. To better accommodate guests, the Inselmans have an outdoor shower to wash off after being in the lake or just after yard work.

They also designed the guest bathroom which doubles as the laundry room for extensive duty. It features a sink and shower, so friends can get ready to go out for dinner after a day on the lake.

The bathroom has an interior and exterior door, so guests can come in and use it without entering other rooms of the house. What's more, the interior door can be locked to keep people out, but it also can be deadbolted from inside the house to limit access only to the bathroom.

Open space
The center of the house is a giant flowing space that comprises the entry foyer, living room, dining room, kitchen and breakfast nook. "We really though on this room an awful lot to make it open," said Tom.

The family had 38 people in the main living area at Thanksgiving. "Everybody was in this one room, and it wasn't crowded," Tom explained.

The foyer leads directly to the living room, which faces northwest across the lake. The living room is further opened to the entry by an open window in the wall. Tom said this opening allowed the family to use the hall as extra living room space during Christmas.

The idea for this interior window came from the Inselman's original Rice Lake home, the one that burned down. That house had an interior window, too.

(The only other remnants of that house are the mantelpiece, now cut in pieces and used as a series of shelves in a small television room, and the dining room table, still singed on the bottom from the fire.)

A three-sided gas fireplace, anchored to the lakeside wall and facing the foyer, is the only separation between the living room and the kitchen. "It divided the room, but you can still see through it," said Tom.

Besides the flowing space, the main rooms are held together by the use of wood and tile for flooring and the use of hickory and lightly-colored oak in the trim and woodwork.

The custom built cabinets in the kitchen are made of hickory. Tom described this as a somewhat risky choice as hickory can be streaky between light and dark textures, but he feels the cabinets, and the kitchen, turned out beautifully. Recessed lighting, as in most of the house, highlights the grain of the wood.

The kitchen features an elevated dishwasher to make loading and unloading easier, two spots for garbage cans to keep them handy, and a center island. Besides providing ample work space, the end of the island is a comfortable spot for sitting, perfect for conversing while someone cooks.

The breakfast nook has another almost completely see-through view of the lake on the northwest side. One of the house's three decks extends from the nook. This one intended as a handy place to grill. (The house has covered, aggregate decks towards the lake and the road for enjoying the evening whether the sun shines or it rains or snows.)

The pantry is also in the nook, and has roll-out shelves for convenience. Tom said these drawers are very handy and might not be something first time builders would think of.

Jutting from the kitchen toward the living room is another bar. Whether for eating or entertaining, this is the focal point of the room, according to Tom. The bar, though only a few steps from the kitchen, has its own sink, for fixing drinks, getting a glass of water, or extra room for cleaning up.

Practical side
The three-bedroom home has a master bedroom with a walk-in closet, master bath with shower, heat lamp, and whirlpool, and an attached workout room. The bedrooms are the only carpeted rooms in the house. All the rooms in the house are wired for television and telephone.

"We have a ton of storage," said Tom. "Anyplace there was a corner we made a closet out of it."

"That's one thing everyone should do," he advised. "Put in enough closets. There's never enough."

The Inselmans have a central vacuum system, but with only a few carpeted rooms, the real prizes of the system are the seven central vacuum dust bins.

These ground-level ports have a switch that can be pushed with your foot. Then the vacuum sucks dirt in the vicinity and discards it outside, eliminating the need for a hand-held dust pan. "That is one of the nicest things we have in the house," said Tom. "I even sweep now."

"In this house," he added, "we use those more than we use the (vacuum) hoses." The seven central vacuum dust bins are strategically located around the house, in corners where dirt can be easily swept and easily sucked out of the house. The location of one these dust bins is one of Tom's few regrets in the new house.

The house has four heating systems. It has hot water heating in the floors, and normally relies on an air-to-air heat pump. If the outside air gets too cold, though, a plenum can be used to heat air. The gas fireplace is a backup.

Another interesting feature of the house is that the furnace room can only be accessed from the three-stall garage. When a repairman or delivery man comes, they can get into the garage without entering the house. In fact, they can get in the furnace room without even disturbing anyone in the house.



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