Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by J. Alan Paul Photography
This month, we met up with a local builder, Robert Leslie, to see inside his extraordinary personal home in The Wilds of West Fargo. This stunner by Designer Homes is 6,700 square feet of the latest design trends and amenities, you need to see before you build. Step inside their laid-back style with high-tech entertaining, and fun-filled features around every corner. As a family retreat for Robert, his wife Melissa, and their three children, home is truly where the heart is.
When Designer Homes’ founder, Robert Leslie, decided it was time to rebuild, the goal was all about fusing extraordinary design with the latest in technology and amenities. “This house will host private tours, by appointment, so that we can walk our clientele through all of the different ultra-custom features that are now available,” said Leslie. “Our clients deserve to know the latest trends and technology in new homes, and it’s our job as home builders to always be educating ourselves on new trends, as opposed as just knowing how to build. I personally work with clients on every build when it comes to the design elements of their home; I really pride myself on the relationship I have with each of those clients.”Nearly every inch of Leslie’s six bedroom, six bath home is automated, controlling each room’s specific lighting, shade controls, media, security and audio settings. “It’s great to be able to show people all of the different things we do, and also showcase our subcontractor’s work.”
“Our family and our style is laid back; it’s kick your feet up, enjoy your home and enjoy your family,” said Leslie. “We’re not fancy people and I appreciate every style of living, but for me, I wanted our home to be a place where we could just be at home and be comfortable.”
Near the great room, Leslie displays Designer Homes’ custom wood wall and geometric patterned stair railing, fabricated by Straightline Design. These are just a couple of the endless features that Designer Homes can bring into their homes, giving each client their own signature look.
To offer their homeowners a well-rounded experience to complete the interior or exterior design, Designer Homes offer additional services through two different divisions. “Through EnVision Builders, we are able to provide the install and design of decks, fences and basement finishes. We also offer designer window treatments and window films through our subsidiary company, Designer Window Treatments,” said Leslie.
“A lot of people don’t want to put blinds on their windows, but they still want their privacy. This is a linen look and it’s simply a film we apply to the windows; if you get tired of it in two years and you want a different look, you peel it off and you can easily replace it. All of the windows on the back side of the house have a custom film which blocks out around 99% of ultraviolet rays. This will help protect your flooring, furniture and cabinets from fading.”
Heart of the Home
In the kitchen, Leslie designed the custom cabinetry with Braaten Cabinets and worked with Spaulding Stone to create the three-inch-thick, quartz waterfall countertop. A gourmet kitchen and appliance package is featured, including a more modern, raised dishwasher design.
Entertaining is made easy with a spacious butler’s pantry which doubles as a second kitchen. This space showcases multiple storage options, another set of gourmet appliances and unique amenities, hidden behind closed doors.
Contemporary meets Vintage
For Melissa Leslie, the home’s host bar, pantry and built-ins provided the perfect backdrop for her vintage dishware collections, in cheerful tones of Hazel Atlas, Jadeite, Blue Charm and Ruby Red. “It adds a pretty pop of color, but I also think it makes a house feel like a home because of its sentimental value,” said Melissa Leslie. “My inspiration comes from my grandma and my mom; they always made meals the most important part of our day as a family.”
To perfectly complement the space, Designer Homes custom-built Leslie’s one-of-a-kind dining table base with three-inch-thick quartz to mimic the adjacent kitchen design. Furniture design is just one of the many features his company can now offer clients who crave custom.
Custom dresser built-ins with waterfall-edge, quartz countertops, white shiplap and tray ceilings make this suite any homeowner’s dream. Their masterful retreat also comes complete with a private patio, double crown molding and LED strip lighting.
Inside this Designer Homes master bath, the Leslie’s start their day with plenty of natural light, gorgeous ceramic tile, clean white finishes and a spacious walk-in shower. “I love big spaces, so to me, this is how I want to start my day,” said Leslie. “The tiled walk-in shower has interior and exterior controls, glass doors with a custom film for privacy, as well as more appealing, tile drain basins. It’s also a steam shower with two separate steam units and five shower head options for each person.”
Lower Level Luxury
In the Leslie’s lower level, Designer Homes worked with Straightline Design to create the custom wine racks in a glass-enclosed space between the bar and theater areas.
With custom wood columns and LED lighting, guests are greeted with thick quartz, waterfall countertops and seating for four. This alcove features a beverage center, ice maker, dishwasher and wine bar with a separate chamber for temperature control.
“We have seating for 12 and we worked with Custom Cinema & Sound to incorporate the best theater features like silver lenticular screen technology, so you can watch a movie and get a perfect picture, even with the lights on,” said Leslie. “It actually has the LED built into the back side, so you can change it to over 100 different colors.
“Tricked out and lit”, might be the most accurate phrase to describe the Leslie’s stunning exterior with stamped concrete and stone surroundings. Directly off the home’s back entrance, guests can enjoy the pond view through tempered glass railings in the patio’s dining area, fire pit, playground or custom-designed, outdoor kitchen and grill station with granite countertops.5721
In the backyard, Leslie wanted the pond, but not the slope. As a solution, he incorporated an eight-foot retaining wall that extends all the way across the back, with varying levels stepping down to another level-ground yard near the pond.
If that’s not enough to keep you entertained, keep walking and you’ll find the salt water pool with automated cover, spa, built-in fireplace cove and the garage room; which is fully equipped with a poolside bath, flat screen, state-of-the-art sound system, smart home technology, cozy seating, game room and built-in storage room. There’s also wireless hubs throughout the entire house, so you never have a poor signal, even around the pool.
Leslie’s stunning, fireplace cove is a jaw-dropping, limestone haven with a massive flat-screen, fireplace, automatic shade controls to control sunlight, wind and mosquitos – as well as color-changing LEDs to coordinate with your favorite team.
“As a builder, I feel it’s our responsibility to have a design background. For me, when I built this house, I didn’t just design a house, I designed the home around this location,” said Leslie. “We kept every detail of this land in mind and designed the home around maximizing the space and the views.”
We all know that Designer Homes can wow us with their ultra-custom, luxury line of homes; but if given the challenge, they’re ready to show off what they can do in other areas. “People don’t know that we can build high quality in a lower range like $275,000 to $500,000 including lot,” said Leslie. “This year, we’ll still be focused on the high-end, ultra-custom homes, but we’re excited to showcase a few examples of this type of high quality at a different price point.”
Find the Finishes:
Builder – Designer Homes
Designer – Cheyenne Jundt, Designer Homes
Cabinetry – Braaten Cabinets
Countertops – Spaulding Stone
Furniture – Scan Design
Tile & flooring – Floor to Ceiling Carpet One
Home automation & theater system – Custom Cinema & Sound
Window films – Designer Window Treatments, a division of Designer Homes
Power shades on patio doors – Pella Windows
Power shades in bedrooms – Kateva
Glass door fabrication – Frontier Glass
Fixtures, lighting, plumbing and appliances – Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
Theater seating – thetheaterseatstore.com
Metal fabrication – Straightline Design
Spa & fiberglass pool – Hot Springs Spas
Playset – Rainbow Play Systems
Plumbing & HVAC – Precision Plumbing
Drywall – Red River Drywall
Exterior dryvit and stone install – Ottertail Stucco and Stone
Siding – Knoke Seamless Siding
Concrete and stamped patios – All-Finish Concrete
Fence – Envision, a division of Designer Homes
Electrical – K&D Electric
Home security – Laser Systems
Landscaping – Scenic Landscaping
Sprinkler system – Aqua Lawn
Stone supply & fireplace – Hebron Brick
For more information, contact:
Designer Homes/Remax Legacy
4342 15th Avenue South Suite 105, Fargo