Cordwood is usually chosen as a building style in order to save money. The fact that it uses locally available, sustainable materials is an added incentive.  However, sometimes cordwood is built to impress, and here is a fine example.  This million-dollar cordwood lodge was constructed in 1995, by a wealthy family from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   It is located in Northern Wisconsin in the lake-rich area northeast of the beautiful area of Minocqua.  cordwood-mansion-on-star-lake-with-logoThis timber-framed, cordwood infill beauty is located on a gated, private road.  The 62′ x 42′ lodge boasts a full basement, a fieldstone fireplace and three floors.

Star Lake architects home

As good fortune would have it, the architect for this cordwood mansion lived right next store, in a beautiful cordwood cottage.  He designed the cordwood lodge in the shape of a capital I so there would be an entrance and exit that would be shielded from the elements.


This is an excellent view from the east side of the building.  The fieldstone foundation keeps the cordwood up “off of grade” and allows for proper air circulation.  The cordwood is 18″ Northern White Cedar.  It was built with three 4″ mortar beads of a vermiculite/lime/sand slurry (vermiculite was used in place of sawdust).  There are two 3″ dry vermiculite insulation rows down the middle of the logs.  The roof is standing seam green metal.Image

The architect also used a capital I for his cottage, which he built within a post and beam framework.  His cottage is also 18″ Northern White Cedar.  He asked me to not use the name of the owner of the Million Dollar Cordwood Lodge. I have respected his wishes.


The interiors of the lodge and the architect’s cottage are both attractive and tastefully appointed.  The Lodge has sold two times since it was built, which is typical in a highly prized recreational area. This simply shows what can be done when money is no object, however, it is relatively easy to build a modest cordwood home (depending on your parameters) for much, much less.  We built our 1,600 sq. ft. cordwood home 50 miles south for $15,000 in 1980. 

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the book cover to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at  

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Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Construction: Best Practices DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.”