Island Life

  • Towle cabin on Madeline Island
    “It was dripping and cool the August afternoon I drove to the Towle cabin on Madeline Island’s eastern shore. The sight of the log cabin with its sloped roof, aged log walls, and smoke curling from the faded brick chimney was a revelation: This is what a rustic summer cabin in the woods should look like. The living room is one large room with hand-hewn log walls, ochre pine floors and a massive fireplace of split-faced granite boulders. Could there be a more idyllic image of domestic warmth?”
  • “Many young couples dream of designing a house of their own and building it from salvaged materials. Bob Douglas and Sarah Luck Pearson did just that. Marrying his craftsmanship with her vintage eye, they fashioned a rustic getaway with a three-story great room, a chandelier-lit bathroom, and lofts leading to lofts.”
  • Rustic cabin on Madeline Island
  • log cabin on Madeline Island
    "Stepping into the front room is like entering a dream of primitive life. There’s a bear rug on the floor, a woodstove in the corner, two Mission chairs upholstered in rag rugs, and a romantic willow bedstead studded with flying sapsuckers. Open the front windows, and it’s just you and the sound of the lake.”
  • log cabin on Madeline Island
    “Just a few steps down the beach from our place stands the quintessential log cabin. Its weathered walls, stone chimney, and moss-covered roof are a picture of graceful aging."

In her new book, Madeline Island Summer Houses: An Intimate Journey, author Linda Mack takes readers on a tour of 27 summer homes built on the largest of Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands. Mack, a longtime architecture columnist for the Star Tribune, spent two summers exploring the island with her daughter, photographer and book designer Kendra Mack, to capture a wide range of retreats from cottages to cabins. Here is an excerpt from what Mack calls, “a living museum of summer architecture.”