The kitchen takes shape

A week ago today, our cabinet bases arrived wrapped in old bedspreads and blankets. Jake Shetler and his driver/installers brought them from his Utica, Minnesota workshop on an open trailer. It was a big day.


Inside the house, Ryan King (the finish carpenter) moved saws, stacks of wood and a tangle of cords to make way for the installation. Notice that the door is wide open! Spring is here at last and though we move from coats to shirt sleeves often, we enjoy that fresh breeze.

In the photo below you can see that the wood floor is fully installed. During the last couple of weeks we’ve been pre-finishing wood trim on the area covered with plastic, and also in a room upstairs.


Our main living space includes kitchen, dining and sitting areas. It’s one big room, with the kitchen defined by a cabinet peninsula. We like the openness, but made sure the cabinet facing the table is tall enough to create a separate kitchen “room.”

Jake (pictured below, in the kitchen) and his son, Rudy, did a beautiful job building the cabinets.


Yesterday, Wayne Hammer arrived with the countertops!


They’re wood, like so much else in the house. We chose wood for countertops because it’s local, minimally manufactured, affordable, renewable, and beautiful. Yes, it will show use over time, but we’ll take care of it and the patina will be part of our story.

Below, Wayne and Ryan lay the untrimmed tops in place.


Once there, we tried them out! Wayne served rhubarb dessert to everyone. In this post’s featured photo (at top) Ryan digs in.


All of the wood in the house is being finished with oil, which brings out its natural beauty. The wood we bought so many months ago, moved around, and finally used, is imperfect and full of gorgeous natural patterns. As I work on the finishing I see the sands of the river bottom. Bird tracks. Eyes. Curling paths. Vines. Ripples on water. I remember characters from fairy tales and childhood views, and I feel connected to everything.


Last night, before leaving the house about eight, I put a couple of coats of oil on the bottom of two countertops. Look at what emerged! Those white streaks are a beautiful surprise.


  1. Lois Peterson

    ok absolutely topped the cool charts with the wood counter tops. Next year we will be moving onto the kitchen renovation in the “Mississippi River House” and will be seeking you out for advice on the wood counter-tops which I have always loved.

  2. wow! The cabinets and countertops are beautiful! I love your fascination with pattern. BTW, walked along the flooded shoreline with Wayne and Donna last evening – he had just come from your house.


Lanesboro, Minnesota
Climate Zone 6 (cold/moist)
Latitude: 43° 44' 18'' N
Longitude: 91° 54' 48'' W

House Size

Net Treated Floor Area: 1,514 SF
Gross Square Footage (House only): 2,210 SF

Building Envelope

Roof: R-99
Wall: R-61
Ground: R-53

Windows & Doors

Glazing: U-0.10 BTU / hour / sq. ft.
Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC): 0.48”
Frame: U-0.19 BTU / hour / sq. ft.

Modeled Performance

Specific Primary Energy Demand (Source Energy Demand): 12.1 kBTU / sq. ft. / year

Specific Space Heat Demand: 7.0 kBTU/sq. ft. / year

Peak Heating Load: 7,047 BTU / hour

Space Cooling Demand: 0.44 kBTU / sq. ft. / year

Peak Cooling Load: 3,625 BTU / hour

Pressure Test Goal: Whole House Air Changes Per Hour (ACH) = 0.4 ACH 50


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