Retirement Dreams & Lakeside Themes


AS NIGHT TURNS TO DAY, the sun-soaked sky reflects on Round Lake in Nisswa, where LuAnn and Keith Mickelson watch from their lakeside home. It is with gratitude that the Mickelsons share each peaceful morning on Round Lake—one that followed several years of dreaming, wishing, and waiting. 

“It has been a long road,” said LuAnn. 

LuAnn grew up with a family cabin, and it was her dream to retire on a lake. After a couple of summer vacations to different lake cabins, it soon became Keith’s dream, too. 

The Mickelsons began researching their future lake home purchase in 2013, focusing on the Nisswa area. One year later, they closed on their existing property, including the original, small cabin that required some restoration. Shortly after fixing it up and hosting their first Fourth of July celebration, the area was hit with a severe storm in July of 2015. Their brand-new pontoon, a loss. 

Thankfully, the quaint cabin went untouched. However, with retirement in mind, it was time to plan for building a year-round home. The vision: Nantucket meets the cabin country. After pouring over hundreds of photos, LuAnn realized she favored the Nantucket, cottage vibe.

“From that, I created a vision board, and luckily my husband always said, ‘As long as I don’t hate it, then go for it,’” LuAnn said.

“Since this was to be our primary residence in retirement, I knew I didn’t want a log home or one that was too rustic,” added Keith. “I also wanted a workshop area in the garage. Other than that, I personally had no clear vision of what our home should look like.”

To complete the task, they contacted Lands End Development in Crosslake, Minnesota.

“We interviewed four builders in the area. We were impressed with all of them, but felt Lands End had a creative edge in their designs,” LuAnn said.

Lands End Development describes itself as a soup-to-nuts custom builder, with an emphasis on lakeside homes. Most often, the process includes an initial customer meeting, design creation, construction of the home, and then a follow-up. Lands End Development partner and project designer, Jeff Balmer, recalled the Mickelsons following those exact steps.

“They came in with quite a few ideas, including the look they liked and the space they needed, and we helped them pull it all together,” said Jeff.

The Mickelsons shared that Lands End Development listened carefully to their wants and needs and came up with an original design that was modified along the way.

“It was really a collaborative experience,” LuAnn said. “They gave us good advice and guidance while keeping our budget in mind when presenting options for us to consider.”

LuAnn and Keith began working with Lands End Development in September of 2016. One year later, the old cabin was torn down and they began building their current home. Feeling excited and relieved, in October of 2018, the Mickelsons moved into their long-awaited retirement home.

The result is a breath-taking 3,126-square-foot home. It has three bedrooms, a bunk room, two-and-a-half baths, a kitchen and dining room, a living room with a fireplace, a family room with a built-in bar, an exercise room, and den. A three-stall detached garage and 670-square-foot loft compliment the home on a three-fourths acre lot.

Reclaimed beams and a door made from reclaimed wood harmonize with the painted woodwork and soothing wall colors, mixing new construction with old accents. The exterior is shake and shingle siding with white trim and accents, timber brackets, and exposed rafter tails on portions of the garage and home.

“I always wanted a place where our family could gather and create wonderful memories, and now we have it,” LuAnn said. “I love cooking in our kitchen, and our grandkids enjoy tubing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and more.”

The rising sun is relished by morning, and the setting sun by night with pontoon rides and evening walks. Their home on Round Lake in Nisswa continues to provide their place of relaxation and gathering. 

“We feel so blessed that we have this lake lifestyle to feed us—both spiritually and emotionally,” added LuAnn. 


  • Designer: Lands End Development
  • ARCHITECT: Lands End Development
  • Builder: Lands End Development
  • Appliances: Warners’ Stellian Appliance
  • Building Materials: Simonson Lumber
  • Cabinetry: Wood Products Unlimited
  • Carpet Supplier: Thoroughbred Carpet 
  • Clearing and Window Wells: The Woods Landscaping
  • Drywall Hanging and Taping: Franzen Brothers Plastering
  • Excavate/Sewer System: Schrupp Excavating 
  • Foundation/Footings: McKay’s Concrete & Masonry
  • HVAC and Fireplace: Crosslake Sheet Metal
  • Light Fixtures: Southern Lights
  • Material, Finishing, and Install: Classic Wood Floors North
  • Painting and Staining: All-Ways Painting, Inc
  • Plumbing: Larry Blaeser Plumbing
  • Reclaimed Timber Materials: Big Wood Timber Frames
  • Tile: The Tile Shop 
  • Tile Installation: Skarloken Stone & Tile
  • Timbers: Rajala Mill Company
  • Trim Materials: Brainerd Hardwoods 
  • Windows: Marvin Windows