The couple were clear when they approached Divine Custom Homes about building a new house up the road from where they were living in rural Afton: They wanted a home like the rustic-but-contemporary ones they’d seen in the Colorado Rockies.
With that as direction, Divine’s architectural designer Tami Sherman created an 8,230-square-foot U-shaped two-story with a sprawling front porch. Its centerpiece is a lodge-like great room, where windows and a stone fireplace rise 22 feet to reclaimed barn beams. Adjoining the dramatic space is a study and the kitchen (where ceilings are a mere 12 feet high). And off the kitchen is a bar, cigar room, and mudroom. A hallway leads to the main-floor master suite and an open staircase to upper-level bedrooms. In the lower level is a bar, home theater, exercise room and sauna, wine cellar, and additional guest space.
Interior designer Amanda Lorenz, of Bria Hammel Interiors, was brought in to help with finishes. Lorenz had just arrived in Minnesota from Colorado, where she had worked for seven years, developing expertise in “mountain-modern” style. “What goes into a contemporary mountain home for me are a lot of textures and natural materials, using wood tones to create color,” she explains.
The Afton house is sheathed in black board-and-batten siding with stone, cedar, and iron accents, materials that make appearances inside as well. For example, the kitchen boasts a steel vent hood. A 60-inch-diameter iron and wood chandelier hangs in the great room. Cedar strips are inset into the ceiling above the formal dining area.
The kitchen is a study in textures and materials. The sink is concrete, the backsplash quartzite, and the island Caesarstone with a live-edge breakfast table that drops off one end. White oak cabinets were heavily sandblasted before they were painted black to ensure the wood grain would be visible. Cast bronze pulls will patina with use. Giant brass pendants hang above the island.
The interesting mix continues elsewhere. The study and master bedroom have shou sugi ban (charred-wood) ceilings. Walls in the master bedroom bear rough grasscloth, the dining room walls soft felted wool. Flooring choices range from cut marble to whitewashed oak planking. Each of the home’s seven bathrooms is unique. One features an uber-contemporary integrated ramp sink, another a reclaimed wood vanity. “It’s a high-end home,” Lorenz says, explaining such individual touches give a home personality. “Why not have fun with it?”
A limited color palette unifies the space, and overall the home exudes understated elegance, pleasing both the owners and Lorenz. “I was a little nervous to come to Minnesota, but it was the perfect project to roll right into,” she says. “The clients had a great vision, and we worked well together to create something that exceeded all our expectations.”
Luxury Home Tour