By Jennifer Blaise Kramer for Artful Living
It’s easy to feel so at home while on vacation that you long to create that same feeling in your actual home. For one Minnesota family who frequents Montanaseveral times a year, they took that sentiment to heart, pulling everything they love about lodge life into the ultimate souvenir: a new house. Inspired by the West’s most famous lodges — including Big Sky’s Yellowstone Club and Jackson Hole’s Four Seasons — an expert team reimagined a full-time private resort, complete with a fly-fishing pond and outdoor fire pit, right here in the Twin Cities.
“When you vacation, you want that sense of place,” says Rick Hendel of Hendel Homes, who oversaw the project with his team and wife, Amy, as well as architect James McNeal and principal designer Angela Liesmaki-Decoux. “For this home, it was all about creating that in Minnesota.”
The first step was zeroing in on the key elements the owners love about those classic lodges, namely stones and woods mixed with glass and metal. The team utilized unique reclaimed wood sourced from out west with heavy muddling of brown and gray, echoing the coloration of the stone (native to both Minnesota and Montana) that they applied to the chimneys, siding and landscaping. To balance the rugged and rustic with contemporary and clean, Corten steel and galvanized metals grace the roofing and stairways, while glass runs generously throughout the 5,700-square-foot home’s connecting hallways and spaces.
“It feels like you’re walking through glass blocks,” Amy notes, adding that they endeavored to make the interiors feel more modern with elements like the floating staircase and the windows’ contrasting black metal casing. Whereas the exterior rafters beneath the rooflines are sturdy and timeless, the interior beams become more linear and modern immediately upon entry. Straight lines throughout the abode ensure nothing errs too traditional, and the vibe becomes decidedly relaxed in the great room, where family and friends sink into that iconic resort ambiance.
“The great room feels like you’re in the lodge of the home,” Amy exclaims. Wood beams add warmth and depth to the soaring 15-foot ceilings, while stones surrounding the wood-burning fireplace bring the rockiness from outside in. The owners’ collection of Native American art, sculptures and collectibles along with tribal-inspired upholstery and textiles nod to the West as well.
When not relaxing inside, it’s easy to gravitate out the French doors to the floating terrace, which can be seen directly through the front door. “The sightline brings you into the home and immediately out, connecting the front to the back,” Amy explains. Understandably, it’s a favorite spot for daytime sunning or evening cocktails.
“There’s a sense of roof even though it’s all open to the night sky,” says architect McNeal, who kept the area as open as possible with steel beams and minimalistic cable wire so that residents and guests feel as though they’re floating above the open outdoor spaces dawn to dusk, especially as the abode glows at night with uplighting and downlighting tucked in the rafters. “It was all about the outdoor spaces and how they connect to the inside,” he notes. “The floating terrace allows you to enter right to outside, through the foyer to the terrace to the pond and into the wilderness.”
Outside, the pool and gathering fire pit have obvious appeal, but the real showstopper is the one-of-a-kind pond feature. It begins out front and descends into a waterfall beneath the home and the floating terrace before spilling into the trout pond, where the owner, an avid fly-fisherman, practices casting. At six feet deep with a commercial-grade pump and a heating/cooling unit, it makes for happy fish all year long thanks to the manmade motion emulating a running river.
“The integrated waterfall runs right underneath the bridge, and as long as it’s moving, the pond won’t freeze up,” McNeal explains. “Plus, it creates an environment right by the house with views.”
From the undeniably unique trout pond to the iconic materials to the aspen trees surrounding the property, it’s easy for the owners to feel that sense of vacation right in their own backyard. “This home is transporting,” Amy concludes. “And it perfectly captures that lifestyle the clients just love.”