[BHH Partners + Ledgestone Construction]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
Initially, the Mankes were considering a renovation of their lake property's existing rambler, but upon further inspection with BHH Partners and Ledgestone Construction, they all decided it would be more efficient to start with a clean slate. There was only one stipulation; if they were going to rebuild, they wanted to keep the previous home's 3,600 square foot foundation. "We loved the snake layout and how the bedrooms were on the sides, so we kept the foundation and then added some square footage with the garage," said Chelsea Manke. The Mankes also wanted to make sure the design allowed for easy transitioning from inside to outside, a feature that was achieved with multiple lake access points and a wrap-around deck.
With three children under the age of five and a fourth on the way, it was imperative to utilize every square foot. To redesign on the same footprint, the Mankes worked with Perham architect, Tony Stoll of BHH Partners, to ensure every space and roofline would be properly appointed. As hands-on homeowners, Ryan Manke created the initial floorplan vision, and Chelsea Manke the detailed PowerPoint showing examples of their European and Mediterranean style influences. She also handpicked every element of the home, managing the purchase of all finish selections; everything from doorknobs, to hardware, light switches and stain colors.
To make sure their unique style in millwork and lighting elements were achieved, the Mankes worked directly with interior designer, Suzanne Kickhaefer of Martin Patrick 3 in Minneapolis, and Ledgestone. Chelsea Manke brought in sketches and a gallery of pictures she'd collected, drawing influence from Minneapolis' Lake of the Isles and Lowry Hill. "Hiring Tony at BHH was the best decision we made in this process. His expertise weaved us through all of the design choices to ensure we knew the pros and cons of each square foot decision we made; many of which we would have made incorrectly and are sure we would have had to fix down the road,” said Chelsea Manke. "As the contractor, Josh Lessman was the most impeccable leader, executing a seamless build with his team at Ledgestone, with no detail missed."
Inside the Manke's European-inspired foyer, an impressive circular design is worked into the coffered ceiling; a rarely-seen detail the homeowners collaborated on with Kickhaefer and Ledgestone. Beyond the stunning entrance, elegant archways open to the great room with heated, engineered hardwood flooring throughout. Eight-foot circular doors and arches lead to a children's wing and master suite wing - all with 10-foot ceilings and elaborate crown molding details.
Ranking as one of the most Classical and stately lake homes we've toured, the Manke's great room is nothing short of exquisite. Mediterranean-style architecture frames stunning lake views, pairing perfectly with a custom, limestone fireplace designed with Suzanne Kickhaefer, Senior Interior Designer at Martin Patrick3 in Minneapolis. Kickhaefer also worked with the couple to design the great room's lighting, 14-foot coffered ceilings, wall detailing and nine-inch crown moldings.
To complete the room's opulent stylings, Chelsea Manke sourced furnishings and decor from a variety of stores like McNeal & Friends, Neiman Marcus, Restoration Hardware, Wayfair, even Walmart. Adding an element of surprise are smaller pieces and rugs they've acquired while traveling in Europe and all over the world. "I love McNeal & Friends in Fargo; that’s where we got a lot of our accessories and decor. I really appreciate their knowledge regarding the background and materials on every piece I purchased. I want to know the story behind everything we bring into our home, who the artist was, or how it was made," said Chelsea Manke. "The mantle artwork was created by a Detroit Lakes artist that the Holmes Art Cellar introduced us to, Anna Lasonde - the painting is actually of her son, but it reminded us of our kids."
At the heart of the family's home, the team crafted a spectacular entertaining kitchen with double islands, wet bar and sleek cabinetry, meeting 14-foot coffered ceilings and elaborate crown molding. Chelsea Manke spent nearly six months working on this room, collaborating with Heidi at SWI Interiors to ensure precise organization through hidden storage solutions. "SWI did a wonderful job, designing and manufacturing the cabinetry on-site. I went through maybe 30 different renditions of the design and Heidi was fantastic to work with," said Chelsea Manke.
The kitchen's aesthetic is brought to the forefront with details like the impressive chandeliers, and Northern Stone's waterfall and double-stacked, beveled- edge quartz countertops. The design also incorporated a unique waterjet cut marble backsplash expertly placed by the Design2Sell team in Detroit Lakes.
The Mankes primarily dine at home and love to cook, especially when entertaining, so double dishwashers were a must. They also made sure to include plenty of prep and counter space to serve buffet-style meals right at the island.
Pantry + Purpose
One of Chelsea Manke's must-haves was a walk-in pantry, but they also needed a storm shelter since the home is slab on grade. Stoll had seen other homeowners using pantries or wine cellars as shelters, so a simple fix was to design a larger pantry with concrete walls.
To create a more refined dining experience, similar to their favorite destinations, the Mankes worked with their interior designer, Kickhaefer, to elevate the backdrop's millwork and source the ornate lighting over their 12-foot, sandstone handcrafted oak table.
The Mankes love to travel, letting their style be influenced by trips to South Africa, Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, Greece, and Italy - always making sure to bring something beautiful home. Pairing with the Classical architecture, Chelsea Manke features work from an Argentinian artist; a piece she brought home from studying abroad this past February. She recently earned her MBA, Masters of Business Administration, while working for BTD Manufacturing in Detroit Lakes. Dr. Ryan Manke, DDS is a local Dentistry Practitioner - conveniently, the two now work within walking distance of their new home.
Working with the beautiful lake view backdrop in the sunroom, the Mankes were able to achieve a French country-inspired space with a fully retractable bi-fold door to bring the outdoors in. The sunroom is an elegant retreat, perfect for morning coffee, afternoon tea, or sunset cocktails - complete with a full wet bar and serving counter.
Mastering the Suite
The Manke's master suite is what European dreams are made of. From the custom Etsy-made drapery to the elegant millwork and lakeside view, we've only just begun. "Outside of Paris we spent time touring the Palace of Versailles, this definitely left a lasting impression on us," said Chelsea Manke. "This stay inspired us to think outside of paint colors and use more accessories, art, and fabrics like the marigold curtains, to bring in color and character."
A tour through the customized walk-in closet by SWI is enough to take your breath away. "This was my exact vision for what I wanted in the closet. All of the shelving is movable, the poles can come down and they can easily be swapped out," explained Chelsea Manke. "It’s nice to be able to see everything in its place." To do the LED strip lighting, she worked with Ace Electric, figuring out a solution via Youtube to make the design hidden and seamless.
As the master suite's finale, Stoll worked with the Mankes to create a spa-like setting with direct lake views. From the 72-inch clawfoot tub, custom tiled shower designed by Skye Fingalson at Design2Sell, dual sinks and a makeup vanity, the result is another flawless amenity. "This was a tough design because I kept stealing space from the master closet, so it was a balancing act for Tony," said Chelsea Manke.
Nursery + Office
Near the master, the Mankes worked with the team to design a smaller nursery for their one-year-old son, George, that could someday be converted to an office. For a temporary design, Chelsea Manke used whimsical wall decals and art lighting to display one of her own art pieces - a talent she's pursued since she was a child.
Since you won't find a mounted TV in the Manke's Classical great room, it was necessary to design a designated den area, this time with a contrasting style of dark and moodier finishes.
The Kid's Wing
Off to the right of the foyer's arch is a wing devoted to their three kids. Here, a full bath is inspired by the penny tile Chelsea Manke saw at The Graduate hotel in Minneapolis. The vanity features a beveled quartz countertop and tiered vanity, designed specifically for their five-year-old daughter, Eleanor.
With the Graham & Brown pink damask wallcoverings and a ceiling-mounted rope chair, Eleanor's room is a colorful fusion of whimsy and worldly elegance. Bedside paper plants are cleverly folded book pages - handmade decor Chelsea Manke found at Zandbroz, in Downtown Fargo.
At the end of the hall, you'll find three-year-old Walter’s room, inspired by all things outdoors and sports. As part of the home's unique design, each of the bedrooms has a view of the lake, with an outdoor shower on the exterior side of the kids' wing.
While the guest house outside is scheduled to be completed this winter, they are still able to accommodate a guest room in the main home. This room features hand painted, imported linens from the Detroit Lakes' store, La De Da Gifts & Floral, as well as original art created by Chelsea Manke.
Playtime by Design
To help kid-proof their playroom, the family cleverly used inexpensive, foam gym tiles from Greatmats.com that cover every inch of the floor. "This is something that we spent a lot of time thinking about. Ryan wanted to be able to wrestle and have fun with the kids, and I wanted it to be easy to clean - so, this was our compromise floor. It worked out so well; I love that we could do the black and white, carrying through some of the home's style, but also make it a functional playroom," said Chelsea Manke.
Classical Curb Appeal
When it came to designing the home's exterior, the Mankes worked closely with Stoll and Ledgestone to emulate the more Classical, European, and Mediterranean styles they'd fallen in love with during their travels.
"In London, we took inspiration from the black-trimmed windows, simple rooflines, off-white colored homes, English shrubbery and strong front doors," said Chelsea Manke. "In the English countryside of the Cotswolds, we walked through many estates that used wall paneling, crown molding, and circular doors similar to the ones we chose for our home. Some of our initial design ideas started in a small wine village outside of Cape Town in 2013, Franschhoek, filled with interesting Dutch designs of classic white stucco exteriors. Throughout Europe and California, there is a focus on indoor/outdoor living spaces and that was another important factor to us as we worked to design the space with Tony."
For an added touch to the exterior, Ryan Manke custom-designed the front door, creating a prototype for the deer emblem and the lower monogram. "It was really important to us to have a stucco exterior; a really classic look that would last through the years," said Chelsea Manke.
"I think it was a great team collaboration," said Stoll. "Chelsea provided great ideas and images that allowed BHH Partners to conceptualize and create an efficient floor plan that addressed their specific family needs. We also provided computer-generated 3-D images of the exterior during the design phase; that really helped make sure that the client, builder and design team were all on the same page with our vision."
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