[Ruki Modern + Ahmann Construction]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photos by Erin J. Johnson Photography
Not only does NDSU alum, Katie Roed, manage an award-winning marketing agency, SugarBrooke Creative, she was also the project manager on the recent construction of her family's Lake Sarah home, near Erskine, Minn. Built by Ahmann Construction, with design by Ruki Modern, the Roed's home captures all 950 feet of their waterfront from nearly every room - on all three levels. Fusing timeless tradition with vintage stories and modern lines, their family now has a relaxing retreat and Katie Roed has a beachside, home office with a view.
The Roed Family's Retreat
Nestled into 140 acres of picturesque lakeside property, the Roed's home happily embraces nature. While their daughters, Clara, 7, and Grace, 5, keep watch over the chickens, it's not uncommon to find wild turkeys, deer, fox and even bear on their property. Josh Roed purchased the property at the age of 18, intent on using it for hunting land, but after two decades of nurturing the land, it's now their family's favorite retreat. This hunting ground has become the perfect place to raise their daughters and the family's newest addition, their one-year-old son, Haaken.
Building a New Chapter
Just off the beaten path, a winding trek through the woods will bring you to their own personal hideaway. Giving guests the first hint of the home's craftsmanship are chain-saw carved, native white pine timbers that have been pieced together like a perfect puzzle.
Katie Roed took on the role of generalling the home's build with the help of her contractor, Wayne Ahmann of Ahmann Construction. "Wayne listened to every detail and he gave input on things like the curved trim on the windows. He really put in the extra effort to bring our ideas together," said Katie Roed. Ahmann’s daughter, Tiffany Brantner, a drafter in the F-M area, worked to provide an initial design that was the launching point for their project. To complete the home's floorplan with three levels and five bedrooms, they relied on Brent Behm of Ruki Modern to streamline the design and maximize every square foot.
Framing the View
Inside, the Roeds let the view be the star. "When we started working with Ruki, I told Brent that I liked everything symmetrical and when you walk up to our front door, I wanted to be able to see through our house, right out to the lake," said Roed. "I wanted large windows and I didn't want huge walls to portray artwork. We love the outdoors and nature, so we designed it with less wall space and larger windows to frame in the view; this is our art and a way of bringing the outdoors in."
"Largely, the house is Katie and Josh's vision, but we just wanted to make sure that she had all the elements that she was looking for," said Behm. “Instead of 100 percent design on Ruki's part, this was really more assisting a client and trying to achieve everything they wanted to get. They did a really fantastic job of getting this done."
"In projects like this, a lot of my role is to take the pastiche of ideas and weave them all together into something that's logical," said Behm. "Ultimately, we have to be able to build it and we don't want to have an extra 1,500 square feet of space if it's not needed."
"We love the outdoors and nature, so we designed it with less wall space and more large windows to frame in the view; this is our art and a way of bringing the outdoors in."
Carrying the exterior's craftsmanship to the great room's mantel, the Roeds used chain-saw cut, white pine from the same source as the outdoor timbers, Blueberry Log & Timber in Park Rapids.
While Ahmann Construction perfected the room's knotty alder ceilings and curved window trim throughout the house, Katie recruited her mother-in-law to help stain all of the windows. "We tried to do as much as we could ourselves. I was particular with the color and the look and I've been redoing furniture for years, so I knew the process. After this, I'm probably never going to stain again," laughed Roed.
The Roeds were content in letting the home's natural elements drive their design. To accent the warm pine and knotty alder, Katie relies on local boutiques and vintage, family finds. "Almost all of our decor is local and came from Minnesota Rust, SCHEELS Home & Hardware and The Red Poppy. Minnesota Rust is only about eight miles from us in McIntosh, Minn. - her store is amazing," said Roed.
A Hand-crafted Home
In the kitchen, Katie worked with a local Amish man, Dan Troyer, to custom-build all off the cabinetry as well as the built-ins and dining table. "The Amish do not have electricity, so they did all of this by hand in their shop, which is lit by oil lanterns. I gave them pictures from Pinterest and explained what Pinterest was— in the end, I taught them how to glaze," said Roed.
Dinner with Norman Rockwell
"Our farmhouse table was originally built when I was a little girl for my mom and dad," said Roed. "I had the Amish craftsman disassemble it, use the base, then put on a new top. We then repurposed the tabletop wood for use in the mudroom."
As a creative, it's fitting that Katie Roed's dining room displays original Green Giant advertising illustrations and artwork, paying homage to one of her greatest mentors. Roed explained, "Growing up, my grandpa was the general manager and vice president of Green Giant and Pillsbury and helped spearhead many of their ad campaigns. I got to see firsthand, what truly amazing advertising work could be done and how he helped bring their brand to life through words and imagery.”
Today she cycles through each season with different advertising pieces—among them are original Norman Rockwell prints that were commissioned for ads in the Saturday Evening Post. “Green Giant really nailed it back in the day. A lot of advertising agencies don't do that anymore, so I feel like I learned from one of the masters," said Roed.
Per Katie’s request, Behm custom-designed a quaint desk nook which can double as a media station or drop zone. White shiplap pairs perfectly with white, wood built-ins and galvanized bins in the adjacent mudroom. To create the beautiful bench and desktop, Roed had the wood repurposed from her parent's old farmhouse tabletop.
Dog Days of Summer
Just off the mudroom and back entrance, their 12-year-old purebred bloodhound, Buck, gets his own hideaway with a built-in cove. "I knew that Brent would be really good at making use of space, and that's exactly what he did; from the coffee nook and the built-in desks and dog room - we used every inch of this house and made it livable," said Roed.
Growing up, Roed's style was molded by her design-savvy grandmother. "She always told me that you need to choose classic, timeless colors that aren't going to go off trend," said Katie Roed. "I don't have just one style. I surround myself with things that I love. Josh and I love old things with a story, but, we also love modern design too. In this house, we just meshed them all together."
Beachfront Bunk Room
For Katie, the pine bunk room on the ground level with built-in storage was a "must have". "We like old things, and when you build new, if you're going to put character into the house, you have to put in those special touches," said Roed.
"On the bunk wall is a picture of my dad when he was little. With this and almost everything in our house, there's a story and sentimental meaning," explained Roed. "The pieces I've collected are either family heirlooms, or I've found them at auction sales. Some things, like the horns, are just found pieces from our own yard."
The Hunting Room
Located near the walkout overlooking the lake, the Roeds designed knotty alder barn doors entering Josh Roed's hunting-inspired man cave and custom gun safe room. "We worked with Scheels for the safe room; they were amazing to work," said Roed.
While Katie and Minnesota Rust owner, Andrea Stordahl, found the old bar back in Red Lake Falls, Josh Roed proved himself a savvy thrifter with the green velvet chaise lounge he found at an auction sale.
"Josh and I love collecting old things; it's the story behind each piece, the cockleburrs in my hair, and the tetanus shot I had to get in order to get that piece of furniture in my house."
Office with a View
After moving to the Erskine area nearly ten years ago, Katie knew that if she wanted to continue her passion for marketing, she would need to start her own agency. Today, SugarBrooke Creative is thriving remotely with the majority of her clients on the East Coast, and a handful in Bemidji and Fargo.
"I wanted my office downstairs, away from everything," said Roed. "I love the ceiling detail; Jason Benoit of Benoit's Barnwood did a beautiful job using reclaimed wood from a barn that he took down only two weeks ago. As a career, I love storytelling and it was important that my office has pieces and details that also have a story and history behind it."
Get to Know: SugarBrooke Creative
SugarBrooke Creative is an award-winning, boutique marketing agency that works with companies around the globe, helping them to develop, grow and maintain successful brands through strategic marketing, creative design and thoughtful communication. Named after Sugar Lake and the connecting brook, the company's logo tells a story of the coveted spot Katie found to be magical as a child. "It's modern-day marketing with a touch of old-fashioned flair," said Roed. "It's not about me, as a company, it's about using my skills to help others bring their story to life."
Find the Finishes
For more information, contact:
Ruki Modern, LLC
Contact SugarBrooke Creative:
Katie Krogstad Roed
Midwest Nest Magazine features home designs in its monthly print and online publication.