Log House Living

“IT’S NOTHING FANCY, AS IT STILL IS A CABIN.” RENOVATING A NORTH WOODS FAMILY TREASURE

Four generations have enjoyed what started as the Mork Family Cabin on O’Brien Lake in north-central Minnesota. Originally built in 1958 by Clarence (Cal) and Esther Mork. this cabin has provided special memories for countless friends and family. It even played a role in bringing together some couples, including current owners Jeff’and I indsay Balmer.

Jeff and his brother. Matt, are the Morks’ grandsons. The brothers are also partners at Lands I nd Development, a dcsign-build firm based in Crosslake, Minnesota. Matt is in charge of sales and marketing, while Jeff provides architectural design. It was a no-brainer that Lands F.nd would serve as contractor for the cabin s renovation.

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And about die cabin as matchmaker? Well, it’s I familiar tale of young love played out since the dawn of cabin time: Lindsay was friends w ith Jeff and Matt’s cousins. Ihc kids gathered at the cabin for summertime fun, and young love blossomed.

A dresser and fish-theme mirror add charm to the bathroom,

Iconic elements of the original cabin were kept, such as Cat’s boat on top of the blue cabinet.

THE ORIGINAL CABIN

The original 920-square-foot cabin was finished with cedar paneling and pine floors and had a living room, kitchen, bedroom, and sleeping loft. But it lacked a bathroom and electricity. To the delight of daughters Priscilla and Sarah, Cal added those “luxuries in 1963, along with a screened porch overlooking the lake. While Esther would have gladly continued using kerosene lamps, having a “real’ refrigerator meant the Morks didn’t need to stop for ice en route to the cabin. (Back then, ice was harvested from Mille Lacs Lake in the winter; the blocks w’ere stored in sawdust for the kitchen icebox.) But other than a well that was added, the seasonal cabin remained untouched by time.

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