Surgeon and builder put heart and soul into Northwoods barn remodel

Published: Oct. 8, 2018 at 4:47 PM CDT
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Heart surgeons and home builders have more in common than you may think. They're both extremely skilled at working with their hands.

That's why Dr. Scott Weslow, a surgeon at Aurora Baycare Cardiology, and Dave Janczak, a home builder, decided to work together on transforming an old barn into a beautiful country cabin.

Dr. Weslow purchased 80 acres of sprawling farm fields and woods a few years ago. He saw the potential for some great hunting land. He was also drawn to an old barn on the property as a possible hunting cabin.

The inside needed more than a little TLC. It needed a skilled professional like Dave Janczak.

"I pulled up and he was already here and he said, 'You know, I think we should forget this. This thing should be bulldozed and we can put a different building up here if you want someplace to stay.'"

Weslow continued, "I said, 'OK, fine. Just come in and take a look and see what you think.' So we walked in and he never turned back."

A year-and-a-half later, the two have transformed the old dairy barn into much more than a hunting cabin. It's now a bonafide Northwoods getaway.

"We wanted to keep it as original as we could," Janczak said. "So we tried to keep some of the arched beams in there and try to accent some of the things."

Concerned about trespassing and damage, they keep the location of their getaway a secret. Janczak has built homes around the world, but he says nothing compares to this particular project.

"He was joking, 'You've got to keep me alive long enough to finish your barn.' So, now we're here. I don't know what that means," Weslow says.

The two became friends by chance.

"Dave and I met when he had a large heart attack. I happened to be on call that night," Weslow says.

Weslow moved to Green Bay seven years ago. Dave was his first patient.

"I remember coming to. First thing I said was, 'You done already? This isn't as bad as going to the dentist,'" Janczak remembers.

During follow up appointments, the two talked more about hunting and the outdoors than Dave's heart.

They realized they shared a passion for restoring and repairing things with their hands.

Janczak: "To see what it is now is pretty incredible. It turned out really nice."

Weslow: "Hey, give me a hug."

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