Building a House in Door County

By Nick Wilder


My wife, Keven, and I have owned a small townhouse in Door County for the past fifteen years. It has a great view over Ellison Bay and is perfect for weekend getaways. However, when we retired a few years ago and spent more time in Door County, it became clear that we would like more room, a studio for Keven, and a screen porch. Houses available for purchase were either too expensive, too traditional or both. We thought we could build a house with a view of Lake Michigan for a reasonable price. That turned out to be a fantasy. However, we had always liked the look of Door County meadows dotted with junipers and cedar trees.  In 2020 we found a 16-acre meadow in a great location for a reasonable price; so we bought it and hired a Milwaukee-based architect to design a single-story house to blend in with the surrounding trees and grasses. Construction began in September 2021 and we have been promised occupancy in May 2022. The photos that follow hopefully give you a feel for the construction process to date. Perhaps this summer I will follow up this photo essay with part 2 which will show the finished product.

Keven and I stake out the building site in the fall of 2020

Relocating a cedar tree from the construction site

Temporary driveway to the building site

Groundbreaking ceremony

Bringing power to the site

The electrical construction crew

Keven watches the site clearing

Foundations to be covered with fill

Keven on the back hoe

Keven watches water well drilling down 250 feet
Working in cold muddy conditions
Jake, “the muscles from Brussels (Wisconsin)” measures a beam

Keven looks through temporary bracing

Measuring a beam

The house begins to take shape

Moving lumber

Jake and Geronimo pose for a portrait

Keven is ready to inspect construction progress

Garage roof truss lowered into place

Garage from the inside

Garage from the inside