Mother Earth Living

Deep Roots, Strong Branches: Whole Tree Architecture

A pair of biodynamic farmers settles into a home built from whole, unmilled trees.

Architect Roald Gundersen shaped the roof from wind-bent trees to mirror the hills of southwest Wisconsin’s Driftless Region.
Photo By Paul Kelly
A south-facing glass wall overlooks some of the homeowners' favorite views of the gently rolling Wisconsin landscape. The windows also let in sun for natural light and passive-solar heat. Inside, a mezzanine, crisscrossed by graceful branches, anchors the home's central open space.
Photo by Barry Rustin
In the dining room, which shares space with the kitchen, every meal comes with the opportunity for all sorts of wildlife viewing.
Photo by Barry Rustin
Tucked in a corner nook, Marcia's desk seems to grow from the support of sturdy willow branches.
Photo by Barry Rustin
Marcia's bed is framed with birch trees, which recall fond memories of her youth. A cedar drawer beneath provides the foundation for the mattress. She can see the river from her balcony.
Photo by Barry Rustin
In the upstairs bathroom, floors are local rock and wood milled from trees on the farm.
Photo by Barry Rustin
Load-bearing hickory (on left) and soft maple trees (on right) weave throughout the ceiling into the room upstairs. The kitchen cabinets came from a burr oak skidded by Marcia and Steven's horses and milled at an Amish sawmill 16 years ago.
Photo by Barry Rustin
Architect Roald Gundersen and homeowner Marcia Halligan at the 81-acre Chrysalis Farm
Photo by Barry Rustin

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