Island Renewal

A multi-stage renovation honors 100 years of a charming mainstay on Madeline Island

Photos by Corey Gaffer

One of the property’s newly renovated cabins, the aptly named Sea Cottage, is situated just feet away from the shores of Lake Superior.

When a couple with a shared love of sailing discovered a historic bed-and-breakfast for sale on Madeline Island, they knew they had found something special. Originally built as a family home in 1913, the main residence—previously known as Coole Park Manor—had since been transformed into an inn. When the couple purchased the property, they knew they wanted to convert it back to a private home and update it to meet the needs of a modern family, but also retain as much of its history as possible. So, they reached out to Todd Hansen of Albertsson Hansen Architecture in 2013.

Skylights were installed in the 75-foot-long screened porch facing the lake, and a twin bed-style porch swing was added in an homage to the bed-and-breakfast’s original porch swing.

“The clients loved the original house, and saw themselves as stewards of the property,” explains Hansen, who also teamed up with Crown Construction and Cynthia Dalzell of Sylvan Design. “The home was celebrating its 100th anniversary, and they wanted the best long-term advice of how to make the house last another 100 years.”

Built on a hill, the main house features a space below the terrace that contains a kitchen, a full bath, and a second laundry area for guests to stay when a wedding or special event is hosted on the property.

The project, completed just last year with interiors designed by Lauren Piskula of Deluxe Design Studio and Taylor Mahoney of Tailored Design Studio, included the restoration of the main residence, plus the renovation of four cabin spaces—each outfitted with a new name and signage. While the main house, rechristened “Chateau Madeline” (one of its previous monikers), is the family’s private home, the cabins are rented out to guests.

In the cozy Sea Cottage cabin, a bedspread of blue and white nautical stripes complements the cool waves just outside the windows.

“We have people come by who tell us they used to work at the B&B 50 years ago, or that their parents honeymooned there,” says one of the owners. “It has a really special place in the community, and we definitely want it to remain that way.”

A kitchen capable of hosting large parties was a must for the owners, whose desires were fulfilled with the airy and spacious result containing two islands (one topped with stone and the other with butcher block), a 24-inch griddle perfect for serving up stacks of pancakes, plenty of counter space, and a secondary wash area.
A large custom bi-fold window was installed between the main house’s kitchen and the screened porch to create a handy pass-through to both dining spaces.
The architects salvaged as many of the property’s original doors as they could, and the second level of the main house highlights a door and baluster that are both over a century old.
The owner’s study, originally the dining room of the house, still features many original details, from the darker woodwork and flooring to the dumbwaiter.
An abundance of windows floods the sunroom with natural light, and while the original house featured deep wood tones, the interiors have been brightened up with crisp white paint and shiny birch floors—a combination of original and new flooring.
The guest suite’s bathroom features double vanities and a soaking tub situated beneath a wide row of windows.

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