Architecture on the Reserve
[ Eric & Tami Soyring, StraightLine Design ]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
What happens if you fuse interior design, metal design, an unfaltering faith and a passion for music? If you're Eric and Tami Soyring, you get 23 years of wedded bliss, two children and a thriving business called StraightLine Design. Based in the lakes area, the Soyrings have gone from marriage at 18 and touring with bands, to settled in and soaring. Today they work together to grow their own creative outlets - Tami as an interior designer, and Eric as an architectural metal designer. This month, we headed to the protected wetlands just outside of Detroit Lakes to give you a tour of their new abode. From the exterior's distinct ode to Pacific Northwestern design, to the dramatic interior, you'll see how their home has become an inviting reflection of their life's work.
Checking off countless milestones in their personal life and business, it was simply time to build a new home that reflected their current life, a life that had tested them, yet blessed them beyond measure. Inspired by the modern lines of Pacific Northwest design, they searched for architects in Portland, Ore., and quickly fell in love with the work of Mark Stewart Home Design. The Soyrings would go on to general the home themselves and work with Eric's cousins at Soyring Construction to complete the build.
In a neighborhood of protected wetlands near the Sucker Creek Preserve, the Soyring's home is a breathtaking, architectural vision amidst the wooded terrain. While vast windows and earth-driven textures like ledge stone and natural wood connect the structure to its environment, dramatic rooflines, aged metals, and deep, overhanging eaves make it a neighborhood stand-out.
At 4,200 square feet, the Soyrings worked closely with their architect, Mark Stewart, to create a four bedroom and five bath plan that would offer a seamless flow between rooms, while keeping the living space and master on the main level. Their new home would provide an indoor pool, private space for their son, and provide enough rooms for overnight visits from their daughter Savannah, her husband Stephen and their grandbaby Kingston. With another grandchild on the way, the Soyring's have even added a nursery. "I love that in this design there is good flow through each of the spaces, and in my opinion, there are no left-over or unused spaces," said Eric Soyring.
Although it may look much larger from the roadside, the interior is far more intimate than one would expect. Inside, wide plank white oak flooring and an array of organic textures offer immediate warmth, while crisp white walls and eight-foot doors provide dramatic contrast. Each room showcases the interior design expertise of Tami and the architectural metal design by Eric - creating an edgy, but inviting appeal.
With the home's unique rooflines, the interior features a mix of nine-foot and 12-foot ceilings that open to 20 feet at the top of the great room's vault. To give the vaulted ceiling more character, the Soyrings chose to install wood planks in varying depths. "We wanted this house to feel warmer and more family-friendly than our last house. We also wanted a more organic vibe with a lot of different textures and layers," said Tami Soyring.
At the center of the great room, Eric designed an architectural masterpiece in mill-finished steel to surround the fireplace. Accented with the same stacked ledge stone as the exterior, the design is complete with chiseled-edge stone seating and a stained white oak built-in.
"The Soyring's home has a central light core window arrangement near the top of the great room ceiling that floods this home with daylight at all hours of the day. In addition, there is a covered outdoor living space directly adjacent to the kitchen/dining/great room layout. This home is the epitome of open concept with a cook’s gourmet kitchen that is truly the center of the home."
Heart of the Home
With an open floor plan connecting the great room to the gourmet kitchen, Eric and Tami knew this space needed to be just as sleek as it is functional. While Eric handmade each hardware pull and created the metal range hood, River's Edge made the rift-sawn, white oak cabinetry with linear grain for a more contemporary approach. An extra deep, 10-foot island stands at the center with a matte black granite top and dual waterfall edges.
Built-In Butler's Pantry
Since Tami loves to bake, they wanted to be certain that pantry items could easily be navigated. The open butler's pantry was designed to be a unique baking hub with closed storage, extra counter space and a built-in coffee maker. Tami had spent eight years fighting a cancerous tumor in her leg which had spread, forcing her into chemo and radiation. Although she has recently had a successful surgery to help repair the damage, her mobility is still on the mend. "We took a lot of considerations with this build; her health issues were the center of our story for so long, so we opened up this area, and also opened up the side of our bathroom, to make it easier to get to the laundry room and other areas," said Eric Soyring.
Framing in the View
The Soyring's dining room frames in a spectacular view with a striking statement chandelier and a bronze grommet Phillip Jeffries wallcovering. To complete the space, Tami chose an oversized mirror and rustic dining table from Restoration Hardware - one of the couple's favorite furniture lines.
"I would consider our last house very clean and modern, which we loved, but it had a much cooler feel to it," said Eric Soyring. "For this house, we wanted more organic modern, and for us that meant a warmer combination of materials like steel, with natural textures in linen and wall coverings, then lots of wood, stone and glass."
Mastering the Suite
The Soyring's master suite is beautifully designed with easy flow into the master bath and walk-in closet. For a more intimate space, Tami chose a vinyl snakeskin wall covering by Phillip Jeffries with shaded wall sconces and a luxurious, leather tufted bed frame. Adding some edge to the room's softness is a fabricated steel fireplace with stacked stone extending to the ceiling.
The master bath begins with his and hers vanities and linen, then extends to a walk-in steam shower for two. "I'm a musician, so I'm kind of picky about the sound quality, so we brought Jamie DeJean in from SmartHome Technologies - he did a really nice job," said Eric Soyring. "We have integrated AV throughout the house, the pool room, and even two speakers in the steam shower. At first, I questioned why we would need that, but Jamie talked us into it, and we ended up really loving it."
Just beyond that space, the Soyrings have custom designed their own closet with stained white oak cabinetry and custom metal detailing, coming up with a creative hook solution for jean organization.
Located near the entrance is an open-concept space with transitional desks designed to accommodate both of their office spaces and Tami's interior design samples and client materials.
To the right of the main entrance, Eric built a mill-finished steel staircase with four-inch thick treads in stained white oak. This is the entrance to their son Gabe's loft and studio. As a senior in high school, the Soyrings wanted to give him a space where he could come and go as he needed. With an interest in pursuing the family business, he's already spent his summers working for StraightLine Design, working part time during the school year. Eric's dad steps in to help whenever needed, along with their son-in-law, Stephen, who's a builder by trade. Their daughter, Savannah, also works for the company, part-time as Tami's design assistant.
"Notice the privacy afforded by well-zoned bedrooms. Guests, children, and relatives are all welcome and have their own wing for privacy. The master suite is perfectly situated at the right rear of the home for maximum peace and quiet. Upstairs is a very flexible bonus room that would work brilliantly as a studio, art space, game room, etc."
"Certainly, we're proud of this house and we feel really blessed that we even had the opportunity to be able to work on a project like this, because not everyone gets that chance. But, in the end, it's just sticks and stones and "moth and rust doth corrupt" - we know that," said Eric Soyring. "Really, to us - faith, family and relationships come far before any type of structure or building. So, this house is really just a place for gathering. Through all of our struggles, we've really learned what's most important."
Welcome to the Pool
Transitioning from a drop zone and mudroom to a kitchenette, this hallway also marks the entrance to the indoor pool room. The kitchenette and entrance were designed with family in mind, giving them easy access to use the pool, at their leisure. To carry the home's textures through, Tami used a vinyl birch wall covering and Eric designed metal I-beam style floating shelves with a subtle touch of shimmer in the utility sink.
Pool Party Perfection
At the top of Tami Soyring's wish list was an indoor pool. While it was designed to gather family and friends, it's also a therapeutic space that she utilizes daily. Beautiful Turkish towels greet guests at the door and the fiberglass insert design is an efficient saltwater pool that makes it easy to keep at a toasty 85 degrees. "The saltwater is great, especially if you use it a lot like we do - it's better for your skin, hair and clothing," said Eric Soyring. Stacked stone protects the walls while stained concrete play off simple symmetry. To make the most of the space and the wooded view, a glass and steel garage door was designed to lead guests to the backyard patio and pergola.
To create an entertaining mecca, the Soyrings have outfitted the space with a unique line of ultra-plush outdoor furniture, a ping pong table, TV, lounge area, gym, and full bathroom with walk-in shower.
"Our daughter, Savannah and her husband Stephen and our grandbaby come and stay - they call it 'The Cabin'. This is my favorite space in the house," said Tami Soyring. "I love spending time in here, working out, swimming, and especially family time in here. We have a lot of pool parties, especially on rainy or snow days."
Just off the pool, the Soyrings designed and built their own vanity with basalt sink for the pool room's bath, including a custom black penny tile shower by Thiel Tile & Stone.
While Eric has already completed the fitness room's metal shelving and sleek signage, their next project is to enclose the room with glass.
Located on part of the Sucker Creek Preserve, the Soyrings wake up to an awe inspiring view of the protected wetlands. Rivaling nature, Eric created an extraordinary outdoor living space with a custom-stained concrete patio, built-in outdoor kitchen, granite countertops and a pizza oven. Look closer and you'll see the metal designs of StraightLine Design on the custom pergola and naturally aged, steel retaining walls. "CorTen steel is great for outdoor applications because it naturally oxidizes without rusting through," explained Eric Soyring.
Marrying their Talents
On the interior design side, Tami, who studied at the New York School of Interior Design, is currently working on larger lake home projects, primarily on Pelican Lake. Eric's team is busy designing and building nearly anything in metal, from railings, to full-on staircases, range hoods, fireplaces, pergolas, chimney caps, steel retaining walls, fire pits and more. He spends much of his time working with high-end residential architects, designers, and builders, but does some work directly with homeowners. "Tami and I always work together in some way, which is really fun. She assists whenever needed and always has great designer input on the jobs I work on. She was actually the inspiration behind the business - Tami loved interior design and all I wanted to do was be a rockstar," laughed Eric Soyring. "She was so supportive of the band, I thought the least I can do is support her passion for design."
StraightLine Design: Pursuing their Passion
While touring with his band, Eric had spent 15 years working in a machine shop to help pay the bills. One day, Tami requested a Pottery Barn wall easel for $125; even though they couldn't afford it, Eric knew he could make it. This was 2003 and would mark the first metal project he created - he would then spend the next couple of years selling the wall easels online, eventually making other pieces for Tami's interior design business. While Tami was taking time off for health concerns, Eric's metal design had begun to take off in a way that would change the course of their lives.
"I do love music, that's important, but really, the band was a ministry. We traveled to spread a message of hope through music to mainly young people," said Eric Soyring. These days, Eric has given up touring, but he is happy to play for the worship team at their church. "StraightLine Design has really been a huge blessing to us," said Eric Soyring. "Now, we're just excited to see where God takes it from here."
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