A Triumph of Teamwork
Minnesota Viking Steve Hutchinson and family come home to Nantucket-style charm
If cameras had been rolling when Landyn and Steve Hutchinson walked into their new house for the first time, it would have played like the final minutes of an extreme home makeover show, complete with astonished faces, big hugs, and a few tears of joy.
“It was like Christmas morning,” recalls Landyn, who had been away with her husband on vacation. “We walked in and everything was done: The pictures were hung, the beds were made, the furniture was in place. All we had to do was put the dishes in the cabinets.”
The couple’s made-for-TV moment wasn’t realized overnight, however; it was three years in the making. Their five-bedroom, seven-bathroom home near the shores of Lake Minnetonka was custom built for Steve, a Minnesota Vikings guard, his wife, and their two young children. The home’s open layout fits the family’s casual yet active lifestyle, while its dramatic ceilings and large-scale details suit the seven-time Pro Bowler’s 6-foot 5-inch frame. A gray-and-white color palette captures the Nantucket-style charm Landyn desired and provides a neutral canvas for splashes of color and pattern. A lower-level sports bar displaying memorabilia from Steve’s career and a backyard pool are among the entertainment-driven amenities that made the roughly 9,000-square-foot home worth the wait.
“Everybody told us building a home would be a nightmare, but we had so much fun,” Steve says. “Wanting to get in was the worst part, which is a huge credit to our design team.” That team included friend and Coldwell Banker Burnet agent Jeff Dewing, who assisted in the family’s initial relocation to Minnesota and put them in touch with builder David Bieker of Denali Custom Homes. Dewing and Bieker accompanied the couple as they surveyed neighborhoods and available lots. The Hutchinsons bought land in 2008, and the design work began while they waited for their current property to sell. “It was hard not to pull the trigger, but that gave us time to work things out on paper and not make costly changes later,” Landyn says.
Not that the pair ever wavered on what they wanted: a light-filled home with a big kitchen, main-floor owners’ suite, and highly personal spaces that fit how they live. “Landyn came to us with a vision and a portfolio with pictures of what her dream home should be,” says interior designer Martha O’Hara, whose namesake Hopkins firm signed on early in the project. “At the same time, she was always open to new ideas and willing to take risks, which led to a wonderful collaboration.”
The couple’s French country-influenced kitchen, framed in hand-glazed blue-gray cabinetry, is proof of that. “They wanted me to sleep on that color choice for a week,” laughs Landyn, who fell in love with the look in a magazine. “To me, it’s more neutral than it is bold.” A custom range hood anchors the room’s focal wall, which features a counter-to-ceiling marble backsplash and arched windows—a shape echoed in the vaulted tongue-and-groove ceiling above.
A central work island with an apron-front sink allows the couple, both passionate cooks, to work side by side comfortably. A second, parallel island houses storage and a drawer microwave, and offers seating that encourages guests to linger. “Everyone gravitates to the kitchen,” Landyn says. “This is where we live.”
It’s also the literal hub of the house, linking a sunroom, breakfast nook, and family room on one side, and connecting to a butler’s pantry and dining room on the other. An eclectic mix of upholstery and distressed finishes creates a breezy cottage feel in the window-lined sunroom. “It’s where I put my feet up while dinner’s cooking,” Landyn says. A tufted leather ottoman and velvet-covered occasional chairs lend a more polished look to the great room, while extensive wainscoting and a circular tray ceiling heighten the drama in the dining room. White millwork, contrasting hand-scraped oak floors and transom windows reinforce the home’s refined coastal style.
“I wanted it to look like Martha Stewart lived here,” says Landyn, who shares the domestic diva’s creative nature and passionate attention to detail. Her pride and joy is a beautifully appointed craft room just off the kitchen, where she sews, wraps gifts, does laundry, and sends emails. A wall of enameled cabinets puts rolls of paper and ribbon front and center, and keeps craft supplies handy. There’s counter seating for the kids and a farmhouse sink for easy cleanup. From her desk, Landyn can also see the kids playing out front. Hand-stenciled walls infuse “mom central” with elegance. “It’s totally me,” she says.
Alternately, the handsome lower level is Steve’s domain. Relaxation is the game plan here, as card and pool tables, a dartboard, and a built-in beer tap attest. The action centers on a bar with backlit shelves and two TV screens. Wood paneling and leather furnishings underscore the masculine tone, while 10-foot ceilings open things up. “I don’t feel like Gulliver down here,” says Steve, whose collection of autographed helmets line up around the room. “I feel like I belong.”
A state-of-the-art home automation system was another priority for Steve. He can cool the house, heat the pool, and choose a movie from a touch panel—or his phone. Landyn uses it to create poolside playlists for the kids, who swim whenever they can.
When mom and dad are off duty, their main-floor retreat combines privacy with easy access to the rest of the house. “I like shuffling out for my morning coffee without having to worry about waking the kids,” Landyn says. Other grown-up amenities include his-and-hers walk-in closets and an enormous marble-lined shower with custom curved glass wall. Not that Lily, 6, and Luke, 3, missed out. Both have upstairs spaces tailored to their own preferences: for him, a giant fire-engine print; for her, Swarovski-crystal-studded shower tiles.
Now that the Hutchinsons’ dream is complete, Steve says, “I had no idea a house could be this beautiful.”
Michelle Baltus is a St. Paul writer.
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