Gull Lake is the Lake Minnetonka of northern Minnesota. Hundreds of boaters cruise past long-time resorts such as Cragun’s and Madden’s, and dock at rockin’ restaurants on the shoreline.

Dan and Judy McAthie always loved the Chain of Lakes area, and built an 8,000-square-foot vacation home on a picturesque point on Gull Lake near Nisswa.

“We can watch the sunrise and sunset from the porch and deck,” said Judy.

The couple were enchanted by the scenic point while cruising Gull in 2007. An older home on the land appeared to have been damaged by a fire and was empty.

Soon after their real estate agent inquired about the property, the McAthies became the new owners of 3.8 wooded acres with 327 feet of sandy shoreline.

First they built a boathouse with guest quarters on the second floor in order to stay there during the construction of the main house, completed in 2010 by Wes Hanson Builders in Crosslake.

The rustic lodge-style design is constructed of brick, stone and logs. Chunky timbers support the ceilings, and some walls and ceilings are clad in knotty pine.

A buffalo head above the massive stone living-room fireplace “is a nod to South Dakota where we are originally from,” said Judy. She also picked out the antler-accented ceiling fans and a chandelier in the foyer.

“We always had a dream of building a log cabin,” she said. “We’ve taken trips to the North Shore, Montana and Colorado, and we liked those style of homes.”

The lower-level rec room has a walkout to a sheltered hot tub which can hold up to 8 people.

Outside, there’s a firepit near the shore and docks to store boats for tubing and cruising the big lake, which covers more than 9,900 acres.

The heavily insulated home is “built like Fort Knox,” said Dan. It’s even equipped with a geothermal heating-and-cooling system to lower energy consumption and utility costs — while providing cozy in-floor heat.

The McAthies made sure there was plenty of room for their extended family, with separate guest quarters above the garage and in the boathouse, for a total of seven bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.

“This was my project when I retired, and it took me three years,” said Dan, who designed the home.“We’re ready to move on to the next one.”

Patti Jo Hermann of Edina Realty has the listing.