[Lighthouse Construction, Detroit Lakes + Helenske Design Group, Fargo]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
Located on the shores of Lake Le Homme Dieu in Alexandria, Minn., Lure Lakebar is a hotspot where Midwest comfort meets coastal cuisine. Seven months prior to its opening in May of 2019, its facade was primarily pink and pastel; the home of a Caribbean-themed restaurant named Bug-A-Boo Bay. Under the new ownership of Lake Life Hospitality Group, the team recruited Helenske Design Group of Fargo and Lighthouse Construction of Detroit Lakes. Together, they completed a massive overhaul of the 10,800 square foot space, in a mere seven months. Today, Lure Lakebar is a year-round destination, inspiring a classic twist on Minnesotan lake vibes, with an "Industrial Cabin" and coastal design.
Putting Pink in the Past
With only seven months to complete a speculated 14-month project, Lighthouse Construction adopted a strict and strenuous, seven-day workweek, often bringing more than 60 subcontractors to the site at a time. A late spring added more challenges, but the team worked diligently with Helenske Design Group's plans to complete the extensive renovation, just in time for the start of the 2019 lake season. To find out more, we sat down with Lighthouse Construction's Anthony Boehm, Sales & Design Coordinator, Mike Lovelace, Project Manager, and Anna Sanders, Interior Designer.
Welcome to Lure
Inside Lure Lakebar, Lighthouse Construction worked with Helenske's design plans, custom-making nearly all of the interior doors, host stand, and grain silo booths. The entrance sets the tone with rustic corrugated metal, exposed ducts and reclaimed wood barn doors.
"The architect, Craig Helenske, of Helenske Design Group, came up with the idea of the ‘Industrial Cabin’ design," said Lovelace. "They wanted to keep that Minnesota theme, so we used a ton of repurposed wood, mixed with new wood, polished concrete, exposed ductwork and custom metal designs." According to Boehm, Lighthouse Construction was the perfect partner; they routinely stock reclaimed wood and beams from area brokers, keeping an inventory available for clients to handpick and browse.
"I came in midway through the project as the Interior Designer. Due to the time constraints, I worked remotely and mainly based on 2D plans to help choose the finishes. Craig had a lot of the industrial inspiration picked out, along with many of the light fixtures," said Sanders. "There are about 23 different light fixtures throughout the restaurant. I helped with some of the remaining lights and fans, then helped source wood from really unique places to fit true to the rustic industrial style."
Dining by Design
Working within a larger footprint, Helenske and Lighthouse needed to design and build an array of environments that would define each space. Inside, guests will find dining with a view of the kitchen, wooden silo booths, a private hearth room and a space devoted to live entertainment. On the lower level dining area, large garage doors open to the lake, while the patio offers guests a front-row seat to capture lakeside sunsets.
Near the bar, Lighthouse Construction used an old wooden silo that Lovelace had purchased to create the barrel booths lining brick walls designed to replicate a warehouse.
Some of Lure's booths have a chef's view of the kitchen, created with oversized windows and leftover silo wood. To change the aesthetic, the silo wood was installed vertically, mixed in with horizontal, reclaimed wood and metal features. As the focal point, artist, Rando, created a large-scale art piece depicting nostalgic lake imagery in a pop art backdrop.
To design a more intimate and raised dining area, Lighthouse Construction utilized native river valley rock, custom cut in Bagley, Minn., for the rustic hearth. "We did 3-D board and batten, which I'd never been asked to do before," said Lovelace. "The boards were all varying thicknesses and widths, so it created a really unique look." Lighthouse sourced the wood from regional suppliers, then local Amish milled the wood, while another local, Brent Miller, fabricated the restaurant's custom framework.
One of the biggest design challenges for the team was redesigning the bar structure and raising the floor to double the expanse. "The bar feature was an engineering marvel in itself," said Lovelace. "I found 12x12 beams that were 32 feet long from an old grain elevator by Devils Lake. The ceiling is 28 feet tall in the middle, so we installed the beams and hung a structure that would hold bottles; it weighs over 12,000 pounds. To hold up the structure, we engineered a large metal plate all the way around the outside with down rods that are welded to existing metal columns."
After securing the structure, the bar was designed with a polished concrete top and a reclaimed wood base, with seating for 56 around the bar. Exposed ductwork and rebar bottle displays finish the bar's elaborate design.
Live Entertainment at Lure!
To create another unique experience for Lure's patrons, Lighthouse and Helenske would need to designate one of the larger areas for live bands and entertainment. In this space, a custom stage area was designed with LED lighting features, while walls continue the industrial vibe with corrugated metal wainscoting.
Quote from architect:
"This was a fun project to be part of; fast-paced and demanding. Working with Cole Hanson and Lake Life Hospitality was a great experience. He created a team environment that encouraged each party to contribute ideas, and that made for a very creative atmosphere. The end result was a collection of unique interior and exterior experiences, that are now part of the Lake Life culture."
Craig Helenske, Helenske Design Group
Embracing the Outdoors
At Lure Lakebar, outdoor dining is encouraged with stylized seating on the new patio and pergola, all with access to a tiki-style bar and a 550-foot marina. Lake Life Hospitality Group also requested an area designed specifically to pamper patron's furry friends. If you're looking for outdoor action, check out their volleyball courts with leagues running throughout the summer.
Hand-Crafted Curb Appeal
A far cry from its Carribean pink past, Lure Lakebar's new exterior now features a modern take on a rustic facade. The team transformed the pastel structure using timeless tones of Terra Cotta, Iron Ore, and Copper - replacing aging white elements with sleek black. "The only thing we did not replace in the entire project, was the exposed rafters inside, the corrugated metal on the ceiling and the roof steel itself. We added the exterior wainscoting with the same native rock that's inside, then custom-built wood beams. We also built the new outside deck and pergola additions," said Lovelace.
Find the Finishes:
Get to Know Lighthouse Construction
Lighthouse Construction is a family-owned, full-service general contractor located in Detroit Lakes, Minn. They are licensed in Minnesota and North Dakota, providing multiple services in the areas of remodeling, new construction, additions, 3-D Drafting and Interior Design. Anthony and Stefan Boehm created Lighthouse Construction with a desire to help simplify the construction process. Anthony, Sales & Design Coordinator, graduated in Construction Management from NDSU, while Stefan, General Manager, has a degree in Accounting from the University of Mary.
Lighthouse Construction offers a Design Center and Showroom where clients can work one-on-one with an interior designer and browse a variety of products, including cabinetry, countertops, backsplashes, custom showers, flooring and more. Lighthouse takes a team approach, assigning all of their projects a Designer, Project Manager and a Sales Associate. Their team has eight in-house carpenters and offers 3-D computer drafting services to help visualize and plan each project.
Their residential work is primarily in lake home construction and renovations, while their commercial work can be seen throughout the lakes area. Lighthouse has completed extensive renovations to Long Bridge and Zorbaz in Detroit Lakes, as well as multiple phases of renovation at Fireside and at Little Pine's Zorbaz.
For more information, contact:
Helenske Design Group
Midwest Nest Magazine is a monthly print and digital publication that focuses on culture around the upper midwest.