HOUSE #3 on MidModern Home Tour
Writer: Jenny Schuster
Photographer: Dan Francis Photography
Come along with us on a peaceful journey deep into the heart of lakes country, down a gravel road, onto a ½ miles trail weaving through trees of all kinds. We’ll cross a small wooden bridge laid over lily pad filled waters and enter the private oasis featuring the City of Erhard’s well- kept architectural treasure.
Tucked in amongst the evergreens, rock gardens and flowers, the jutting peaks of Harlan Shuck’s and Robert Sampson’s beautiful Midcentury modern retreat lays in wait for those with an appreciative eye for architecture and design. This unique home, positioned between two lakes (Lake Tonseth and Lake Kempfer) which once served as only a summer getaway, now serves as a year-round home to enjoy with a beautiful updated addition in 2004.
Originally built in 1954 as a copy of a California beach home, the original structure consists of cinder block walls and soaring redwood ceilings, expansive walls of glass, cedar walls and open living spaces indicative of the simple and clean lines found primarily in the Midcentury design movement.
“The first time I came out here, I fell in love with it immediately” said Harlan (a former English teacher at Moorhead High School) who originally spent summers as a caretaker on the property. When given the opportunity, he purchased it in 1975 and since then, he, along with his husband Robert, (a former interior decorator) have thoughtfully added personal touches to stay in line with the theme of the original design.
In an effort to blend the old with the new, beautiful pops of colors on the walls can be found throughout accenting the artistic feel of the home, while still keeping with the nostalgia of the original simplicity.
“We decided to paint it in a variety of colors, which made the place a lot more interesting than it was originally”, shared Harlan. “Robert had assembled an entire display of colors and we chose the ones that we thought would go well. And admittedly some of them at first didn’t seem appropriate. But they really came out well.”
The cinderblock walls colored with yellows, blues, purples and red combined with warm wood ceilings, beams and built in’s, offer a wonderful mix of nature blended with artistic modernization throughout. Truly a one of a kind!
To keep in line with the home’s design, the couple worked with a builder who helped them add an additional bedroom, bath, updated kitchen and double attached garage to the home in 2004. This portion offers year-round living with modern day amenities while keeping with the integrity of the original build.
This modern day sanctuary, situated on one of the banks of old Lake Agassiz, with its over 1000 feet of lake front footage (combined), forest of trees and wildlife in abundance, has the most magical appeal. And after almost half a lifetime of loving and caring for this home, the owners are hoping that someday, someone will enjoy and appreciate it as much as they do.
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