CROSSLAKE -- A White Fish Chain home, getting attention for its design and construction, is a mix of natural light and contemporary style.
The 8,000 square-foot home is located on a point separating two scenic bays. Windows dominate the lake side in an effort to capture the view from every room. Gables were added to bring in the natural light to the great room, foyer and master bedroom.
A focal point of the exterior design is the tower that extends from the ground through the master bedroom alcove and up to the office on the third level.
The home, built by Nor-son, Baxter, recently received an award for quality design and construction from the Minnesota Associated Builders and Contractors. Paul Maki worked as the home's architect, Floyd Jensen was project manager and Andy Johnson was the project foreman.
Stained glass panels, designed by Judy King, were used to highlight doors and sidelights, such as those in the spacious front foyer.
"That house is a little bit different than the typical house we do on the lake," Maki said of the contemporary theme. "It was kind of surprising. The contemporary furnishings and artwork is very modern. It's different. It's one of the reasons I liked the house."
There are no wood floors. Instead the owners wanted to use ceramic tiles. Kitchen cabinet doors are flush and simple with the stainless steel echoed in the cabinet hardware. Stone used inside the home in fireplaces and on the exterior is also a change from a split-stone or field-stone style.
Light decorative colors and plenty of natural light through massive windows combine to create an overall airy feeling. Maki said light tracks in the great room also make for a dramatic setting at night.
The maintenance-free exterior has a mint green color in the synthetic stucco. Maki said stone was used to anchor the house and used in the landscaping by Landsburg Landscape Nursery. Exterior windows and doors are aluminum-clad. The roof is a greenish gray in a desire to tie in to natural colors. Use of a Dutch hip roof was aimed at keeping the home's profile from overpowering the area while adding gables emphasized the lake view.
A home on the White Fish Chain is a blend of natural light, spacious rooms and contemporary furnishings. The home recently won a builder's award designed to recognize quality and innovation. The fireplace box in the great room is see-through to a TV viewing room on the other side.
Jensen said the home was built on a "fast track" going from the design stage to the completed house in about 10 months from August 1999 to May 2000. Owners Ken and Virginia Merrill were living out of state during the actual construction, but wanted to move in by spring.
About six carpenters and 30 to 35 workers and subcontractors worked on the project. In the end they created a home designed to accommodate many guests and they did it with a few natural challenges.
"Anytime we build a house like that over the winter here in Minnesota -- that is a challenge," Jensen said.
Jensen said the most striking aspect about a home is often the way the owners finish it with furniture choices and decor.
The home's contemporary design is apparent in the kitchen decor, which features a black granite breakfast counter.
"That kind of makes the house," Jensen said. "Although that is a spectacular house from the lake side with the amount of glass."
The home is characterized by bay windows and large rooms. Circles from the mullion design, a slender vertical member that forms the division in a window, are repeated in the light fixtures, countertops and furniture.
Use of stainless steel inside the home -- including a stainless steel banister with a maple handrail that rises from the lower level family room through the two-story front entry to the second floor office -- follows the contemporary style and allows for a largely unfettered view of the lake vistas from inside the home. Custom hardware in nickel and stainless steel are used extensively on larger design elements.
Construction materials included considerable use of stone and built-in nooks to display the homeowner's art collection. Stained glass panels, designed by Judy King, were used to highlight doors and sidelights. Nor-son built niches into the entryway walls, with fabric linings and mirrored floors to showcase commissioned art.
A porch area provides a cozy and sunlit spot to view the changing seasons.
The home features a black granite breakfast counter with a seven-foot radius. The counter was supported with a 3/8 percent steel plate and L bracket to provide ample legroom, Nor-son reported. The family room bar top is made of Ramone limestone embedded with fossils.
"I think it's just very tasteful," Jensen said. "That's my first impression. For the size of it -- sometimes you walk in and they just don't feel right -- when you walk in (the Crosslake home) I think it is just really tasteful."
ABC's awards program is designed to recognize publicly the quality and innovation of merit construction and to honor all the members of the construction team, including the owner, the contractor and the design team responsible for the project.
Winning projects were selected from entries submitted from across the state and were judged on complexity, attractiveness, unusual challenges, completion time, workmanship, innovation, safety and budget.
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