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Crystal Lake43 viewsDucks on Crystal Lake, 1999 view.
Sign at Crystal Lake41 viewsA view of one of the signs at Crystal Lake, 2020.
Crystal Lake40 viewsFall 2020, Crystal Lake from the top of Buck Hill - photo Jack Kennelly
Crystal Lake40 viewsMap image of Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake 202140 viewsIt was time to remove the fish house from Crystal Lake, 2021.
Crystal Lake 1880s.39 viewsAn 1880 map of the Crystal Lake area of Burnsville.
Crystal Lake 201939 viewsFishing June 1, 2019 at Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake 201937 viewsA park area of Crystal Lake, June, 2019.
Pik Nik Island at Crystal Lake 198737 viewsThe Crystal Lake Improvement Association held a contest to find a name for the small recreational use island in the lake. The contest was open to children ages 5 -12 from Apple Valley, Burnsville and Lakeville and the winner was Leah Laubach. Her winning name was Pik-Nik Island.
Crystal Lake Park 36 viewsCrystal Lake Park.
Sign at Crystal Lake36 viewsSummer 2020 view of a sign at Crystal Lake.
What is the proper name of the lake, Minne-Elk or Crystal Lake? And what of Buck Hill?35 viewsAugust 27, 1879 Letter to the Editor in the Farmington Press addresses the question of the correct name of the popular Lake in Burnsville?
Crystal Lake34 viewsA view of Crystal Lake in the fall.
Crystal Lake 201933 viewsConcession Stand, 2019.
Crystal Lake 201932 viewsClose up of a fisherman on Crystal Lake, June 1, 2019.
Crystal Lake the book by Michael Hofmeister30 viewsA summary of the Book Crystal Lake 2014.
Crystal Lake signage29 viewsNew signage at City Parks, including Crystal Lake, 2018 - 2019.
Bright promise fills Iranian's unique bag - at Crystal Lake 197829 viewsFebruary 7, 1978 MInneapolis Star Tribune: What is billed as the first practical solar powered hot air ballon completed its 45 minute maiden voyage yesterday floating from Crystal Lake to Prior Lake. Pilot was Fredrik Eschoo, an Iranian industrialist.
Buck Hill and Crystal Lake29 viewsUsing the creative feature on a camera - a view of Crystal Lake and Buck Hill 2020.
New lake house in Burnsville is home and cabin in one 202129 viewsApril 18, 2021 Minneapolis Star Tribune

Ali and Debbie Awad's new home at Crystal Lake.

New lake house in Burnsville is home and cabin in one
Kim Palmer, Star Tribune April 18, 2021


© Star Tribune/Star Tribune/Photos by TROY GUSTAFSON/Star Tribune/TNS Architect Ali Awad designed this lake home for his family in Burnsville. The three-level home includes a room with a garage door that opens to the lake.

Like many Minnesotans, Ali and Debbie Awad thought it would be fun to have a cabin on a lake. So the Burnsville couple started looking at property in Wisconsin.

"We were looking for a crummy house we could fix up," said Ali, an architect and partner in Awad + Koontz Architects Builders.

Then a little 800-square-foot house popped up for sale close to home, on Crystal Lake in Burnsville. "It looked a lot like the crummy little cabins we were looking at in Wisconsin," he said.

The cabin was all that was left of an old resort.
"It was literally the last cabin on Crystal Lake," said Debbie. There was no driveway or garage and no place to put one on the petite
lot. The cabin's occupants at the time were parking in their yard.
But Ali was "tantalized" by the challenge that the cabin and site presented. So they took a gamble and bought the property.

At first they hoped to expand the cabin or build on its existing foundation, but it was set less than 3 feet from the lot line.
"One of the problems with the property was that the lot was so small," said Ali. "It was considered unbuildable."

The city was open to a teardown and rebuild. But how, on such a tiny parcel?

Then the Awads discovered that the old road that ran along one side of the property extending to the lake might offer a solution.

"Since it wasn't in use as a street, we could petition the city to vacate," said Debbie. The Awads' petition was successful, and the land occupied by the street was divided between their house and the neighboring one.

"We gained 1,500 square feet of lot and 17 feet in width," said Debbie. "It all went into the size of the house," while also allowing compliance with setback requirements.

The design process took a year as Ali tried to solve the puzzle of balancing the house they wanted with the constraints of the lot.
"What was important to us was to have a strong connection to the outdoors, with lots of daylight and easy flow in and out," said Ali.

The couple had recently become empty nesters, but they still wanted three bedrooms to accommodate their young adult son and daughter.

"That was important, to have a bedroom for each kid," said Ali.
The home's footprint would be compact, by necessity, but the lot sloped down to the lake, which lent itself to a walkout lower level. By making the house three levels, Ali was able to create approximately 3,000 square feet of living space.

"Another piece of our puzzle was the amount of hardcover or impervious surface allowed, which is especially important on waterfront lots," he said. Driveways are factored into hardcover so their driveway had to be laid out by a surveyor to make sure it did not exceed the limit.

The new house is the same distance to the shore as the little cabin was, so Ali added a natural planting buffer along the shoreline and a rain garden that collects water from the home's gutters to protect the lake.

"Water quality is important to us, so we wanted to minimize any direct runoff," he said.

Walls of glass-Their previous house, which they also built, was Craftsman in style. For their new house "we decided to change style and go modern," said Debbie, who collaborated with her architect/husband on the project.

"I'm the client," said Debbie with a laugh. "We work really well together. We have similar taste."

The home's design features clean lines, open spaces, walls of glass facing the lake and low-maintenance siding of ribbed steel.
With so many big windows facing the lake, the house needed to be tight and energy-efficient, said Ali, who included Marvin windows, in-floor heat and high-velocity HVAC.

The lower level that walks out to the lake is casual with polished concrete floors, a walnut kitchenette and a bar.

The second level, with quartersawn oak floors, contains the living room, dining room and kitchen all in one open space. A built-in banquette does double duty, for dining and storage beneath.
"Having a banquette made for a lot of seating in a compact space," said Ali.

There's also a small open area in the middle of the second level to accommodate grilling.

The third level houses the owners' suite — and another irresistible room with an insulated glass garage door that opens completely to the lake. The opening also has retractable screens for keeping bugs at bay.

"It's kind of a tree fort," said Ali of the space. "We're trying to figure out what to call it." They've settled on "stuga," or Swedish for cabin.

Their home also has its own moniker. "We've named it Rockhaven," said Ali. They found that word etched into a concrete step at the original cabin.

The couple took photos of the etched step and used one to create a large "Rockhaven" canvas print that hangs in their mudroom to commemorate the little cabin.

With the help of their children, Ali and Debbie did some of the work themselves, including installing the basement slab insulation, pre-staining their cedar siding and installing the birch paneling in the stuga.

So far, they haven't been able to share their new lake home with others as much as they would like, due to the pandemic. "We like to entertain but we haven't had a chance yet," said Ali.

"We moved in Feb. 29 1/8 2020 3/8 and two weeks later came COVID," said Debbie. "We haven't had an open house or any parties."

But life on the water has lived up to their dreams.
"It's amazing!" said Debbie, who has been working from home since the pandemic began. "I love the house, and it's fun to be on a lake — seeing all the different things that happen, the seasons. Something is always going on outside the windows. I knew I'd love it."

Ali enjoys rising before dawn and seeing people already in their fishing boats. "It's fun to see what's happening on the lake."
And having a house and cabin all in one "ended up being the perfect thing," said Debbie.

"We can get out on the lake and get away from work. It was worth the leap of faith. Everyone that walks by is amazed at what happened on this lot."

Kim Palmer • 612-673-4784

Crystal Lake28 viewsAerial view of Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake 201128 viewsA shelter at Crystal Lake.
Crystal Lake 201928 viewsOnce an area of small homes, cabins, farms and the Judd Hotel, larger and closely located homes are on the shores of Crystal Lake.
Northwestern Bell Team lights Crystal Lake28 viewsJune 11, 1970 - Dakota County Tribune: Northwestern Bell Team lights Crystal Lake.
House at Crystal Lake28 viewsOriginal listing for a new home at Crystal Lake circa 1960s compliments of Charlie Barnes.
Crystal Lake winter 201527 viewsCrystal Lake Ice Fishing Derby 2015.
Crystal Lake 201927 viewsThis stop provides a great view of Crystal Lake and Buck Hill.
Youth Fishing Clinic at Crystal Lake -2018 photo27 viewsFishing clinics for children ages 6 to 10 are held in August, at Crystal Beach Park, 1101 Crystal Lake Road E. Aspiring anglers will learn how to set up their rod, bait their hook, cast like a pro and take fish off their line. They’ll also learn about different kinds of fish and the baits used to attract them.

Cost is $10 for one session. Participants are asked to register for only one. All equipment will be provided, but if kids have a special rod, but students may bring a special reel or tackle from home. A fishing license isn’t required for youth under 15. Parents are welcome to stay but will need their own equipment and a license if they intend to fish. The clinic is presented in partnership with Minnesota Trout Unlimited and Trout in the Classroom. - Photo compliments of the City of Burnsville.
Fishing, either art or work, has enticed us for centuries 197927 viewsMay 23, 1979 Burnsville Sun:

Editor Del Stelling writes about fishing at Crystal Lake at the time of Indians.
Crystal Lake 201926 viewsGoing fishing June 1, 2019 at Crystal Lake.
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