With its picturesque tower topped with wrap-around windows, Jerry Johnson’s getaway home looks like a charming storybook lighthouse. That’s by design, said Johnson, a Mankato entrepreneur and sailing enthusiast who built the place in 2000 on 14 acres overlooking Lake Superior and Madeline Island in Bayfield, Wis.
The area is home to the largest collection of historic lighthouses in the country, Johnson noted. “I decided to follow the lighthouse theme.”
To fulfill his vision, he turned to architect Dan Nepp, TEA2 Architects, Minneapolis, and builder Greg Carrier, Carrier Construction, Bayfield. They crafted a rustic retreat with vaulted ceilings, round windows and many nautical details inside its 2,175 square feet.
The front door was reclaimed from a ship, while the trim wood inside is old-growth Douglas fir reclaimed from the bleachers of Minneapolis’ former Roosevelt High School.
“It’s a work of art, by master woodworkers,” said listing agent Victor Sacco, Edina Realty.
The teak-topped bar in the kitchen evokes the deck of a boat, while the blue-tiled fireplace in the living room was inspired by Superior’s waters. There’s even a stained-glass window, made by a local artisan, that shows a map of the Apostle Islands.
“You can come home from sailing and talk about where you went,” said Johnson.
Inside the lighthouse-inspired tower, there’s a spiral staircase leading to the top, a room with windows all around and an old ship’s lantern. “It’s a place to get away. The kids like to play games and read up there,” Johnson said.
Nepp also designed a boat barn, where Johnson could store and work on his sailboat, with a workshop on one side and an office and garage on the other.
Johnson added two additional structures, a sauna and an unfinished “Viking hut,” both shipped from Norway and reassembled on the property.
Johnson and his family have enjoyed spending time at their getaway home, which is walking distance to downtown Bayfield, along a hiking trail that follows the old railroad bed to the marina.
“We absolutely love it up here,” said Johnson. “But we’re getting older, and it’s time for somebody else to enjoy it.”
Victor Sacco, 715-645-0832, Edina Realty, has the listing.