Cabin Fever

From rustic woods to roaring fires, a couple creates a home that’s cozy yet elegant

Bo Palenske's home is warm and inviting. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

Bo Palenske's home is warm and inviting. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

All day long, Bo Palenske and Paula D’Amour spend their time around barn-wood cabinetry, hickory beds and leather sofas at work at Roughing It In Style. When they come home, they’re also surrounded by elements of upscale log-cabin style. And that suits them just fine.

Palenske, one of the owners of the furniture and design store, built his New Glarus house to take advantage of the materials and products he carries. He also thought it could serve as a source of inspiration for his customers. But he and D’Amour, a designer at Roughing It In Style, feel right at home amid antique hickory floors, rustic cabinetry, exposed barn beams and heavy, textured walls.

From the start, Palenske knew what he wanted in his home: a scenic location where he would live surrounded by fields and trees, not other houses. “I’ve never had a neighbor—ever,” he says. “That was important to me.”

After he found the right site in rural New Glarus, he began collaborating with D’Amour on design. They sought a style that was warm yet spacious to accommodate their love of entertaining.

“I wanted it to be open and very rustic,” he says.

“It’s rustic elegance,” she adds.

They broke ground in May 2009 and in December moved into the four-thousand-square-foot home, which features a geo-thermal system and in-floor heating on the lower level, ten-foot ceilings and nine-foot-tall doors. When it came to décor, they knew exactly where to look.

“It’s ninety-seven percent from our store,” Palenske says.

A mix of textures carries through, including leather furniture, stone fireplaces, antler chandeliers, wood beds and exposed, untreated beams in ceilings and entryways. And personal touches take the shape of duck decoys that Palenske collects and carves and wildlife sketches made by his grandfather.

While the interior is cozy and inviting, Palenske and D’Amour took care to ensure it doesn’t detract from the sweeping views of the countryside. “We don’t have window treatments anywhere,” he says.

They also thoughtfully crafted indoor-outdoor spaces. In the summer, they relax on the limestone back patio, while on cooler days they head to the covered porch, where they sit on comfy chairs next to a roaring fire.

Year-round, Palenske and D’Amour enjoy the house, partly because its style feels so natural to them.

“It’s just so nice to come home to,” she says.

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

Find more House of the Month features here.

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