[Gull Lake, Minnesota]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman, Amdak Productions
Brainerd's Gull Lake has always been one of Minnesota's premier vacation getaways, but its most appreciative visitors are the ones who call its sparkling shorelines home. Falling in love with her parent's summer home over the past 25 years, Leah Hendrikson, and her husband, Erik, were ready to create their own family getaway. Following her parent's vision of having one of their children build on the empty lot next door, they purchased the lot, then recruited a dream team to give their new construction, old-world, English character. This month, we took a tour with the talented team; TWM Architecture, Collette & Parks Construction and Kristin Hofstad Interiors.
Old-World Character by Design
Nestled in the quiet cove under Gull Lake's towering white pines, Hendrikson's summer home has all the expected amenities of new construction, with the unexpected character of a rustic, English estate. "Leah and Erik didn't want it to appear as a new build. They really wanted it to feel nestled into the woods, almost as if it had always been here," said interior designer, Kristin Hofstad. Working with the architect, Travis Miller, and builder, Steve Collette, Hofstad helped them choose three different finishes, giving the exterior a time-worn, disconnected vibe, reminiscent of many older cabins with additions built on through the passing years.
Beyond the lake home's inspired exterior, the Hendriksons created a floorplan that would be multi-functioning for family and guests. Commuting often from their home in Edina, Minn., their three daughters, 18-year old twins, and a 20-year-old, needed their own space that wouldn't disrupt the house. With intelligently designed rooms by Miller and Hofstad, the Hendriksons and their daughters can entertain with ease. They've also planned for the future; creating spaces that can easily transition with their daughter's needs.
Take a Tour!
Making our way through the winding stone pathways, floral, and vines, we stepped inside to meet the team and take a tour, starting with the home's impressive foyer. Leah Hendrikson's passion for design shines with every detail; achieving the eclectic style she and her husband had envisioned from the start. Going for rich contrast at the door, Hofstad helped them design custom millwork with JP Paine of Brainerd Hardwoods, encasing the stair wall and the large hallway, which begins with a geometric powder room and ends with a hidden master wing.
The great room brings modern, 20-foot ceilings together with old-world hunting lodge influence via pine beams, rift oak-paneled walls, soapstone and brick fireplace, rich fabrics and crystal accents. "We love the juxtaposition of the lodge with crystal sconces," said Hofstad. Hofstad has known the Hendriksons for roughly 25 years, and together, they've curated the home's eclectic furnishings from online sales, vintage markets, estate sales, thrift stores and trips to International Market Square in Minneapolis.
Beyond the lodge-style lounge and family room, Hofstad worked with the family to design a stunning bar, complete with soapstone countertops, custom cabinetry, antique elements and LED inset lighting. Four levels of glass shelving lead to a built-in wine rack and marble chevron tile.
Open to both the dining room and great room, the Hendrikson's rift-sawn oak kitchen is a high-traffic area that expertly handles guests and family alike. Hofstad designed the area with herringbone ceramic tile, a 12-foot marble island and seating for ten. Easily marked by grey-painted cabinetry, this is where guests can find all of the breakfast essentials. "Travis and I spent a lot of time trying to work through the design and flow, figuring out how their family would use the home throughout the day. There are different areas designed for different times of day," said Hofstad.
"I love that the design doesn't feel brand new. There are new elements, but a lot of the lighting features are antiques that we had made into lights like the Hallophane glass kitchen pendants," said Hofstad. "Leah and I scrounged through boxes and find a lot of these vintage items at Architectural Antiques in Minneapolis."
The larger walk-in pantry is designed with a traditional pine beadboard, soapstone counters, open basket storage, and an additional oven and bonus refrigerator.
For a quiet getaway with maximum privacy, the team designed a stunning master suite tucked away, beyond the main living space and foyer. "The master wing was one of my favorite spaces to work on," said Miller. "I thought the home office turned out really well, and I love how the master's entrance is practically hidden from the rest of the home."
In the master, Leah Hendrikson worked with Hofstad to find a stunning light fixture, coordinating with stained walls, beams and French doors to the patio. "They wanted it to feel like an old cabin, so we stayed away from the all-white cottage look. The home office also serves as a quiet getaway from the bedroom," said Hofstad. "Leah was awesome to work with and she's gutsy when it comes to design, she didn't want what everyone else was doing, and we loved this beautiful, bold green."
Inside the master bath's mahogany-planked walls, Hofstad has designed a stunning walk-in shower, his and her vanity, as well as his and hers walk-in closets using antique wardrobes and hooks, versus typical closet organization.
Dinner at the Chateau
While some would expect this home to have a more formal dining room, the Hendrikson's vision leaned toward casual countryside, using the screened-in patio room for their old dining table and vintage mirror. Designed to serve the dining room and outdoor seating, Hofstad created a flush, rough-sawn oak furniture piece that would provide extra storage, and easily convert for buffet-style meals with an icemaker and beverage fridge.
Creating separation between the kitchen and screened-in porch, Miller and Hofstad incorporated modern, sliding bi-fold doors, housed between the same exterior stone columns and antiqued looking beam. They also added an antique door to help create the illusion that the porch space was added on.
Accommodating lake goers with an easy-to-access powder room and laundry is a must. Here you'll find the Hendrikson's "lake bath" and aqua blue hallway, offering guests a beautiful glimpse of the home's vintage sailing style.
Architects Vs. Designers
Working from the architectural drawings, Hofstad and Miller merged seamlessly to perfect the room layouts, making it easier for Hofstad and Leah Hendrikson to handpick all the home's finishes, including lighting, cabinetry, flooring and paint. "Travis was really awesome to work with; he brought his expertise, and I brought mine. We were able to blend ideas really well and talk through any challenges that came up," said Hofstad.
"Design-wise, this project was really different from what I'm used to. Kristin and I had a lot of calls and emails back and forth to make sure everything was done right. Seeing it completed, I'm just in awe of how it turned out," said Miller.
The Girl's Wing
Technically, the home has five bedrooms, but it's nearly impossible to categorize based on the additional bunks in the girl's wing. Upstairs and closed off from the rest of the house, the Hendrikson's three daughters have a cleverly-designed space all their own.
Entering the pine-planked girl's wing is a unique communal area with three vanities, a spacious bathroom and changing room. Five guests can stay in the nearby bunk room, while the open family room has an additional four bunks and access to a beautiful rooftop patio.
Designing for down the road, Miller and Kristen made sure that eventually, each of the girls would get their own suite by converting the family room into a bedroom. The large bathroom and dressing room can also be converted to meet their needs as the girls get older. The bunk room would then remain as-is for guests or grandchildren.
"This wing is a really nice, closed-off place where the girls can bring friends and not worry about disturbing the rest of the house," said Leah Hendrikson. "Just like the outside of the home, we really wanted every room to look like it had been here forever."
The girl's wing has a large changing room, so the bedrooms are not designed with closets, opting to keep rooms efficient and clothing storage in the designated space. Throughout the home, all of the ceilings are variations of wood, so the design included many lighter elements with pops of vintage fixtures, and beautifully crafted textures, like the rugs from Woven Arts at the IMS in Minneapolis.
The Hendrikson's may only have daughters, but they've also included a boy's room with deeper tones and a classic hunting lodge vibe. A nearby bathroom echoes the darker masculine design with hexagon tile, a vintage mirror, and a subway tile shower with glass door.
Hendrikson's lake home is a stunner from the roadside and lakeside, but the true character shines in the finite details. From the lakeside perspective, the home begins with blended tones of stone on the left, moving onto the great room section of stained wide plank douglas fir. Standing out in the middle is the same rough-cut stone, giving the home a time-worn cottage feel. On the far right, the screened-in porch and rooftop patio offers a dynamic contrast with black painted douglas fir and a custom-fabricated railing and spiral stair.
"So many homes of this size have that large wall of windows in the great room, but we wanted to do something different here," said Miller. "Kristin and I looked at a lot of homes in the Austin, Texas area and talked about some of the design trends they're doing. It creates a pretty distinct look when you have the stone next to the wood, then stone and black wood on the porch."
Delivering a spectacular landscape design by Backyard Reflections, the home's European-inspired style called for authentic elements created with native grasses, rustic stepping stones, unique lounge areas, winding paths, a hot tub and a fire table. The landscape is the roadmap for guests, marking the path to Leah's parent's home and the grass driveway turnaround; a clever, water-permeable alternative to a typical driveway.
"We really enjoyed working with everyone, including Collette & Parks Construction," said Leah Hendrikson. "They were amazing to work with and their communication and quality of work was like no other. They deserve so much credit for working with all the parties involved and doing beautiful work on the guts of the home as well as the finishes; they're great people and fabulous builders."
Find the Finishes:
For more information, contact:
Collette & Parks Construction
Kristin Hofstad Interiors
Midwest Nest Magazine features home designs in its monthly print and online publication.