The lot seemed unbuildable. It was relatively long but shallow, and the required setbacks from the road and river reduced the buildable area even further. Shoehorning a home of distinction into such a shallow space was going to be a challenge, but the homeowners decided the effort would be worth it. They were right: Perched on a bluff overlooking the St. Croix River, the Hudson, Wisconsin, home affords breathtaking views of the nationally protected riverway.
Appropriately enough, they hired Dreamstructure DesignBuild to build their dream home. It took two years to work through development of the concept drawings, design, and the issues involved to obtain the necessary permits from the city, Department of Natural Resources, and National Park Service. And when the home was framed in, it fit within the legal parameters by a mere two inches in height and backs up to the minimum bluff setback.
The homeowners wanted a house built for both retreat and entertaining, and every inch of the 5,600 square feet is designed to meet that prime directive. The open floor plan on the main floor includes a generous kitchen dominated by a 6-by-10-foot granite island—which allows seating for six and a crowd to gather ‘round during a party. The wall of windows in the nearby great room looks down at the mesmerizing view of the river valley.
Upstairs is the retreat. An enormous owners’ bedroom and bath, lined with windows that open to a private balcony, offer even more gorgeous views down the bluff line to the river. Across the hall from the owners’ suite is a bedroom reserved for a future nursery.
The lower level is designed as entertainment central. A sunken media room, wine room, and bar, all embellished with cultured stone, create the feeling of an English pub. Two additional bedrooms and baths round out the offerings on this level.
Beneath the beauty is a home that is energy-efficient and technologically advanced, another requirement of the young owners. The geothermal heating and cooling system, as well as the lighting and sound, can be operated remotely. And the system can be programmed to sync with the sun so that window shades slowly raise or lower during the day. The shades provide energy efficiency without ever blocking the owners’ view of the panorama that inspired it all: the lovely St. Croix River Valley.
By Beverly Geber
Photos by Spacecrafting
Builder: Dreamstructure DesignBuild
Home location: Hudson, Wisconsin