An Ever-Changing, Yet Timeless Chateau

James McNeal of James McNeal Architecture & Design and Luke Busker of Masonry Builders partner to create a castle-like Art House in Orono

Photos by Spacecrafting

Out front, masses of limestone and a circular entry beckon visitors into the home.

Sometimes, luxury isn’t something that’s final and will last forever exactly as it is, with well-appointed touches that denote a “what you see is what you get” approach. Now and again, luxury allows people to dream, build, and tweak long into the future—something that’s surprisingly the case with a castle exterior that looks as if it was pulled right from King Arthur lore. Instead, it’s a modern-day, malleable design that can be modified over time.

In Orono, you’ll find the now-famous Huntington Manor, a locally sourced masterpiece of stone and steel. As the result of a partnership between architect James McNeal of James McNeal Architecture & Design and third-generation stone mason Luke Busker of Masonry Builders, the home is currently on the market for $6.9 million and has been made even better since its orginal completion in 2019.

Displaying stately Richardsonian Romanesque details with a hint of steampunk style, the partners turned to the home once again to incorporate more fresh features. McNeal shares they designed an addition, which includes a glass link that connects the upper-level bedrooms to the bonus room and biophilic atrium. “This connection created a more functional bonus room that can be easily accessed from the main and upper levels,” he says. Busker adds that it brings more natural light into the home as well.

Huntington Manor’s most recent addition, a glass-enclosed breezeway that connects the upper-level bedrooms to the bonus room and biophilic atrium, can be seen from the back of the property.

For a particularly opulent feature, the two also plan to install a glass elevator, which will be incorporated up the center of the main staircase. “The glass elevator will allow for easy access from floor to floor, which is a valuable asset when you have guests or inhabitants who can no longer use the stairs,” McNeal says. “It will nod to the steampunk aesthetic throughout the home with metal rails and a pulley system that uses a crank to move the safety gates up and down when operating the elevator. Never has a vertical ride been more entertaining.” The duo also intends to add more features that will “enhance the overall experience of the home,” as McNeal says, which includes a pool and patio with a grotto nestled into the rocks of the hillside.

Busker reflects on the manor’s timelessness, saying, “The home is built primarily of stone, steel, and glass—which require minimal maintenance and outlast most other building materials. The house has weathered Minnesota well.” Even though the outside will undoubtedly look the same for years to come, you can bet that the inside of this masterful home will be constantly evolving.

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