Reclaimed and distressed contrast with elegant and sumptuous in this Edina home
If ever a home demonstrated the power of the old real estate adage, “location, location, location,” it’s this one. Shortly after these homeowners built a home in Edina, a nearby lakeside lot became available. The property offered more privacy and allowed the family of five to stay in a neighborhood they loved. To say the paint had not yet dried on their recently finished house is an exaggeration, but the timing was almost laughable, they admit.
“We did think we were a little crazy,” says the wife. “We didn’t love the street we were on, but we certainly had no plans to move. We were almost embarrassed to tell people we were starting the process all over again.” Still, their recent homebuilding experience had some benefits. For starters, they had already established a relationship with Edina-based L. Cramer Designers + Builders, architectural designer Jeff Tritch of Tritch Design in Chanhassen, and interior designer Sandy LaMendola of Twist Interior Design in Minneapolis. The needs of the family had changed as the children grew, and the homeowner’s tastes had evolved, too.
She had developed a taste for reclaimed wood, antique furnishings, and distressed surfaces, and gave the design team pages ripped from magazines featuring the interior elements she liked. “Almost every picture I ripped out had something that was a little rough in it,” she says. “I like the character inherent in older things and the look of rough edges paired with clean lines.”
In response, Tritch and LaMendola designed a European-inspired home with an open floor plan, high ceilings, extensive woodwork, and original details at every turn. Custom cabinetry and millwork in finishes that range from natural to faux decorative arts infuse the home’s 11,000 square feet with warmth. Reclaimed wood—all from Minnesota—is used to maximum effect in the ceilings, beams, and floors of the kitchen, living room, and family room. Using reclaimed wood this extensively was an exercise in both ingenuity and patience, Tritch says. “Until we knew what we could get, we needed to keep a pretty open mind about how we might apply it in the home.”
Expert artisanship unfolds throughout this house, beginning with the exquisite hand-stenciled ceiling and inlaid floors in the foyer. “The flooring in this home is a masterpiece in itself,” says Jennifer Cramer Miller of L. Cramer. “The level of detail is phenomenal.” In the dining room, for example, a circular pattern in the inlay underfoot is echoed in the mammoth dining table and beams in the ceiling.
Instead of a great room, the homeowners decided on a more delineated floor plan with several separate gathering places. A formal living room stretches beyond the front foyer, offering an entrancing view of the lake beyond, elegant seating, and a floor-to-ceiling fireplace cast stone. The family typically congregates in the eat-in kitchen, which opens to a sitting area where the kids do homework and watch TV. Antique columns frame a smaller serving island that beautifully divides the kitchen and living room.
A back hallway leads to an enormous family room that might as easily be called the moose’s room. A giant stuffed moose head—bought, not bagged, by the husband—is the feature that grabs attention first in this room, even before the cathedral ceiling with open trusses that soars above the relaxed space. Vintage finds, commercial signs, and even antique car doors, underline the lived-in feel and add quirky distinction. The large fireplace featuring reclaimed street pavers and custom ironwork is the room’s other focal point. Based on LaMendola’s design, Tom Kelly of Architectural Iron in Minneapolis created the fireplace strapping, end-irons, and the unique rolling screen that rises by way of a boat crank.
Three sets of arched French doors provide the immediate access to the outdoors that the homeowners wanted, while an attached screen porch offers additional living space. “The clients had a full walkout basement in their previous home, so the ability to spill right outside from the bar onto the patio and into the backyard was important to them,” Miller says.
The home’s lakeside location influenced its design in other ways, as well. Outside, a low profile helps visually anchor the home to its site. Inside, Tritch placed the busiest spaces, including the kitchen and family room, at the back of the home overlooking the lake. Vaulted ceilings not only add drama, they allow for bigger windows and more light. An earthy color palette and organic elements, including the sitting room’s woven grass shades and exposed grain patterns of the floor and reclaimed timber of the ceilings, also reflect the surroundings.
“When you can see all the perfections and imperfections of nature it really lends a different experience to the space,” Miller says. “The materials themselves want to tell a story.”
The private spaces of the second floor maintain the home’s elegant hybrid of posh and plain. The owners’ suite is trimmed in lush materials beneath the unique wood-paneled ceiling. Large windows, curved lines, and lots of glittering marble give the bathroom its serene feel. A decorative floor mosaic adds another rich touch.
The children’s bedrooms are just down the hall, grouped around an open den with built-in bookshelves and desks. When they need to let off steam, the kids head down to the lower level, where there’s a sport court, game room, and entertainment center. The floor plan deftly weaves in laundry areas, guest rooms, office spaces, and a mudroom. “We literally use the whole house everyday,” says the homeowner.
Now, going on two years after moving into the family’s new lakeside home, she concludes, definitively, “It was all worth it.
Michelle Baltus is a St. Paul writer.
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