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Boathouses of Lake Minnetonka

Karen Melvin and Melinda Nelson

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  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Dimensions: 9.70" x 10.00"
  • ISBN: 9780989262750
  • Publication Date: 2017-06-15
  • Big Picture Press

Availability: In stock

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Boathouses of Lake Minnetonka

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Boathouses of Lake Minnetonka is a beautiful 246-page coffee-table book by award-winning author and photographer Karen Melvin and by writer Melinda Nelson. If you’ve ever sailed, boated, or paddled past a vintage boathouse on Lake Minnetonka and wished its rustic wooden walls could talk, you’ll love this beautifully illustrated and meticulously researched volume about Minnesota’s famed lake. Never before has a book so carefully documented the interior views and history of Lake Minnetonka’s boathouses, and with over 400 stunning pictures, you will feel like you are “up north at the lake.”

With more than 11,000 recreational lakes in Minnesota, the state is known for its water activities: boating, fishing, cabin ownership, and resort getaways. It is estimated that there are 125,000 cabin owners — add the kids, grandkids and cousins and there are easily one million Minnesotans claiming a piece of a cabin. Cabin living is about the experience, and Boathouses of Lake Minnetonka brings that experience to life.

Both Minnesota and Wisconsin boathouses are an endangered species. Since 1979, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has prohibited the building of new boathouses. The repair and restoration of an existing structure is the only way to insure the longevity of these remarkable shoreline structures.

Boathouses of Lake Minnetonka gives the reader an insider’s view into the most enchanting boathouses of Lake Minnetonka, including today’s appearance and vintage photos of nearly three-dozen boathouses. Experience the fascinating stories of the history, of the original families, and of the current owners who consider themselves caretakers of these alluring lakeside retreats. Boathouses of Lake Minnetonka serves to inspire those who are lucky enough to own a cabin or boathouse. 


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“To be a Minnesotan means to be connected to water —to have a cabin at a favorite lake. Photographer Karen Melvin and author Melinda Nelson have created an outstanding collection of retreats ranging from the simple, rustic boathouse to the elaborate, over the top, nothing spared fantasy. Using the historic Lake Minnetonka as a reference, there is something to inspire every dreamer in this gorgeous book.” —Lola Watson, president ASID MN

“In this beautifully illustrated coffee table book, photographer Karen Melvin demonstrates her keen eye for design.  The nearly three dozen boathouses selected range in style from quaint to modern, Scandinavian to Japanese.  Most are historic with fascinating tales written in exquisite detail by Melinda Nelson.  If you have ever wanted to experience a boathouse, these tales will enchant you.” —Bette Hammel, author/architectural journalist

“Karen Melvin and her collaborators have been producing beautiful books on legendary Minnesota homes for nearly a decade now. But Boathouses of Lake Minnetonka may be their best effort yet. The intimate charms of these storied lakeside structures have brought out the very best in Melvin’s photography and Melinda Nelson’s storytelling. —Chris Hudson, Editor of Architecture Minnesota AIA.

Karen Melvin

Karen Melvin is a freelance photographer and independent publisher based in the Twin Cities. She photographs for architects, magazines, interior designers, book publishers, and national advertising clients. Karen’s three previous books of architecture and history are regional best-sellers. Great Houses of Summit Avenue has won 11 national publishing awards and 2 preservation awards.

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Melinda Nelson

Melinda Nelson writes about all aspects of living beautifully, including architecture, construction, interior design, and landscaping, as well as entertaining, decorating, retail, and other lifestyle topics. She received a Bronze award from the Minnesota Magazine Publisher Association, and she lives in the historic village of Excelsior on Lake Minnetonka.