A River Runs Through It
This Afton home takes inspiration from a natural spring pond and trout stream
If this house could talk, it would thank Mike and Trudy Berggren for giving it a new lease on life.
The current homeowners acquired the original home and property in a sealed bid process from the news anchor Randy Meier in 2003. “There was no indication from the owner what to bid on the value of the property,” Trudy says. “The house had no warranty or guarantees. Really, we were bidding on a one-of-a-kind property with four spring-fed ponds and more than 3,000 feet of stream on the only naturally reproducing brook trout stream left in the Twin Cities.”
In 2010, after living in the home for seven years, Trudy became very sick. Black mold in the house was discovered to be the cause of her illness. In June of 2011, the tear-down process began. Jeff Warren of Divine Custom Homes worked closely with the couple on the project. “By the end of the first week, there was really nothing to save,” Mike says. “We left a portion of the back wall and a small section of the front wall and started over.”
The couple spent countless hours collecting photos for inspiration, visualizing the layout, staining all the floor and ceiling boards, doing the landscaping on the 20-acre property, and selecting the perfect mix of rustic elements, finishes, paint colors, and personal touches. “We wanted our lifestyle to be reflected throughout,” Mike says.
The couple’s lifestyle is reflected in their love of the outdoors and passion for hunting and fishing—Trudy’s dad was a professional fisherman who was inducted into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame; Mike hunts on the property—and in the home’s rustic architectural elements, including reclaimed barn timbers dating back to the 1890s (used to make the interior trusses, wood ceilings, and floors), massive logs from out West, 100 tons of limestone from less than a mile away, and flat stones from Missouri.
“We think of our home as an eclectic American Heritage Lodge,” Mike says.
Special features in the home include hand-made light fixtures, an elevator, a bar made from reclaimed barn beams and wood, a high-tech home theater room, a geothermal heating-and-cooling system, an old-fashioned butler’s pantry, and custom hand-distressed cabinetry in the kitchen. Building the home became a true labor of love for the couple.
“This is our one-of-a-kind dream home,” Trudy says. “We feel blessed.”
- The home is filled with items of sentimental value to the couple, including heirloom antiques, artwork painted by family members, and fly rods and tackle boxes passed down by Mike and Trudy’s grandfathers.
- The sunny dining area overlooks the trout stream, home to the area’s only reproducing population of brook trout.
- A unique hand-made chandelier adds to the character of the expansive great room.
- Modern stainless steel appliances in the kitchen bring the home into the 21st century.
- A soaring ceiling and large windows give the master bath an open, airy feel.
- Both Mike and Trudy’s favorite room in the home is the porch. They have fond memories of spending time in their grandparents’ screen porches when they were growing up, and wanted to recreate that feeling for their two kids.
The Berggrens are passionate about preserving their little slice of heaven. They were named Washington Conservation District’s “2011 Outstanding Conservationists” in recognition of their efforts to improve their land.
Divine Custom Homes
Cartier Lighting and Home
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
Hedberg Landscape & Masonry Supplies
J.J. Vanderson & Co
Marvin Windows and Doors
Minneapolis Glass Company
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