[Grayland Estates, Benjamin Custom Homes]
Story by Alexis Swenson, Goods of a Soul
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
This month, the builder becomes the client. We'll take you on a tour of Adam and Sami LaPlante’s newly finished home in West Fargo's Grayland Estates. Working for Benjamin Custom Homes as Operations Manager and Designer, this time Adam got a chance to walk in his client's shoes, custom designing his own 2,300 square foot home with an evolved open-concept floorplan. Take a tour and we'll show you how the LaPlantes created a perfect hybrid of 20s and 30s craftsman detail with Mid-century modern design.
Take a Tour!
Inside the LaPlante's foyer, guests catch a glimpse of the finite craftsmanship the family business is built on. Follow the foyer's 19-foot ceilings to the peak's stunning medallion, then stop to admire the carefully crafted wainscoting and trim that Adam LaPlante completed himself.
Timeless tones like Sherwin Williams' Snowbound, flank the walls with its nearby office and private wing with two guest bedrooms and full bath. The home showcases an evolved open-concept, made to feel accessible, but with just the right level of separation between communal and private living spaces.
At Benjamin Custom Homes, LaPlante is well-versed in designing custom builds, not only per the client but also per the property. Designing his own home was no different. Capturing the picturesque land the house resides on was a critical element in the home's overall design. As such, the office and guest bedroom facing the street serves as a privacy screen to offer more seclusion. The majority of the house was designed with windows facing the beautiful backyard and mature trees.
The one major difference in this build, was the swapping of roles. Typically, LaPlante would remain in the office in operations and drafting design, while BCH's founder, Ben Anderson, would manage the build and construction site. "I worked in the house, but I worked for Adam. So, I stepped back on this one and he pretty much built his own house," said Ben Anderson. "He took it from the initial design, all the way to completion; it was really fun to watch Adam's vision turn into reality."
Living Room Luxe
A commanding fireplace centers the main living space with custom-painted built-ins and inset cabinets on either side. Paul Allen of PACC Woodwork crafted all of the built-ins while LaPlante completed the fireplace trim. The board and batten style works cohesively with the accent sconce lighting elements within. Surrounding the fireplace is a thin-cut brick LaPlante pieced together and painted white; a thoughtful detail that incites the feeling that the home has existed long before its time.
Looking above, a 10-foot tray ceiling with elegant coffered detailing anchors the room. Underfoot, Canoe Bay laminate in a soft white oak plank covers the main level of the home. “The core of the home is the dining room, kitchen and living room. We wanted it to be an open concept style, but for each space to feel like their own separate rooms,” said LaPlante.
The LaPlantes may have designed a beautifully-crafted home together, but like most married couples, their individual styles were forced to meet in the middle. "I would have done the whole house craftsmen through and through, but Sami would have done the entire house in Mid-century. The compromise was that I got the house, and she got the decor," laughed Adam LaPlante.
Cornerstone of the Home
The kitchen centers around timeless 20s and 30s elements, modernized with quartz countertops and a 10-foot island designed for hosting. In keeping with their signature craftsmanship, the couple chose inset cabinetry in a rich and earthy tone; Roycroft Pewter by Sherwin Williams.
As newlyweds, the LaPlantes love to cook and entertain, so a full-service butler’s pantry was a must-have in creating flow and hiding large appliances. Behind the pantry's pocket door, the couple included plenty of additional storage, a second sink, and durable Formica countertops that lend to the look of marble.
To create the home's craftsman and vintage aesthetic, Adam's sister, Melanie Anderson, worked closely with Sami LaPlante to choose materials, lighting, and finishes with longevity; helping to appease both of their prominent styles. "When it's a personal project like this one, it's always more challenging. At times, I was a mediator, finding the middle ground and getting them both to compromise," laughed Melanie Anderson.
The 1958 walnut kitchen table was a rare find off Facebook Marketplace; just one of the many Mid-century pieces Sami LaPlante has collected to fuse the home's unique style and architecture.
Transom windows above the pocket door and in the hallway offer welcoming, historic charm while serving to harvest natural light for the nearby mudroom.
Just off the kitchen, the mudroom is lined with a classic white, board and batten wall paneling and features a custom bench by Paul Allen of PACC Woodwork. Further down the hallway, guests enter the other more private wing of the house where you'll find the laundry room and the master suite.
Mastering the Suite
The LaPlante's master suite is located towards the back of the house; a design that maximizes the view and reduces noise from the more centralized areas. Beyond the coffered ceiling and Mid-century rattan lighting, they chose intricately trimmed walls painted in a deep Pewter Green for the perfect, tranquil getaway.
The master bath continues the home's historic charm with ombre gray hexagon tile flooring, matte black fixtures, and classic penny tile in the walk-in shower. Large-format porcelain tile, mimicking the look of marble, encloses the lower part of the shower, while custom glass by Frontier Glass frames the top.
In the Works!
Leading to the lower level, LaPlante designed a custom railing with dark metal elements and a maple handrail, an elegant feature that highlights the craftsmanship and attention-to-detail often seen in BCH's homes. Eventually, they plan to finish the basement with the same distinct wainscoting to coordinate with the upper level. The downstairs space is already designed to offer two additional bedrooms, a bathroom, an exercise room, a family room and additional storage.
When the Builder Becomes the Client...
Inspired by vintage craftsman architecture, LaPlante carefully designed every inch of the home, just as he does for clients every day - but this time, he went a step further. LaPlante spent hundreds of hours at night and on the weekends designing and installing the home's intricate seven-inch trim, wainscoting and three-piece lintel crown molding.
“As a whole, the experience was unique. It was kind of like having a conversation inside of yourself; trying to bounce stuff off of yourself. We had to come to these decisions the same as a customer would: do we want it? Is it in our budget? Is it going to look the way we want it to look? Having the builder background really helped me process things. My sister, Melanie, BCH Designer, did a lot of product and color selections with us which helped us a lot,” said LaPlante. “We had 3-D renderings of the entire house with all the finishings in place before it was actually built. I was able to show my wife what it was going to look like before we even bought the product—just how I would show any client.”
Adam and Sami’s home is the type of upper-level craftsmanship that Benjamin Custom Homes loves to create. “We really enjoy making the details our clients see on Instagram and Pinterest come to life. We can help people determine what is most important to them, and make those items really stand out. At BCH, we also focus heavily on the curb appeal of the home, as well as getting the kitchen right since it’s such an important space,” explained LaPlante.
Get to Know Benjamin Custom Homes!
Ben Anderson has been building and selling homes since he was in high school, but it wasn't until 2001 that he officially started his own company, Benjamin Custom Homes. LaPlante is his brother-in-law and has collectively worked with Anderson for eight years, beginning when he was just 17 years old. LaPlante went on to earn his education in architectural drafting and design, as well as construction management.
Although part of a younger generation of builders, LaPlante has had a front-row seat watching the business expand from handling small renovations and remodels, to a more holistic approach. “The part that I’ve enjoyed the most about watching it grow is that we’ve been able to develop and perfect the process," said LaPlante. "We've made the system much more turn-key and enjoyable for our clients. Since you can customize literally anything, we don’t want it to be an overwhelming experience. We guide homeowners through every step - from the design of the build, the 3-D renderings, product selections, and interior design with Melanie."
Find the Finishes:
For more information, contact:
Benjamin Custom Homes
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