Photos by Spacecrafting
Modern French Tudor. That’s the phrase Tim Murphy came up with to describe this five-bed, five-bath house in Minneapolis’ cozy Linden Hills neighborhood. As Murphy puts it, as the principal owner of GroundUp Development and frequent business partner of Exceptional Homes & Remodeling (also known as EHR Construction), he conceives the house’s design to fit the lot, the market, and the neighborhood, and Exceptional Homes & Remodeling brings it to life. It just so happened that this particular house needed a style you don’t see every day.
The modern Tudor part is obvious in the front elevation. From the exterior, two light gray gables flow in a minimalistic slab from peak to foundation, only interrupted by black-framed windows, classic Tudor-style arches, and sleek black lanterns. Pair that with the rest of the home’s mostly black exterior, and these gables become towers—making the home even more stately on its small lot. While not everyone will register it, the partial stucco finish hints at the French influences within—from the quartz, marble, and white oak materials to the arches and parts of the strategic layout.
As a tribute to its unique style, Murphy named the 4,500-square-foot house Stupéfiant, or “breathtaking” in French, but to pinpoint what makes it so means relying on a different word: luxury. There’s the rooftop deck off the primary bedroom on the upper floor, the energy-efficient Wirsbo heated floors in the basement, and the natural light that passes from the four-season porch and through the custom indoor sliding glass doors to the great room—and that’s just the start.
Then you have a butler’s pantry and wine room, not to mention the kitchen itself, which features a full hood, custom quartz slab backsplash, pot filler, and custom white oak cabinetry. “There’s still a decent number of builders [at this home level] who don’t put in true custom cabinets. They buy what we call box cabinets,” Murphy says. “Everything we do is custom. In the kitchen, we hand-paint with our painting crew. We hand-paint all the trims with seven, eight coats of paint, so all the miters are sanded and puttied and it’s one big piece. …We finish everything on-site.”
The buyer, who bought the house before it was completed, inspired another customization because of his technology background. Exceptional Homes & Remodeling installed a low-voltage system of TVs, surround sound, and more that are perfectly integrated with each other—just an extra touch to both elevate and personalize.
“In the last four years, we’ve presold almost every house once we get it to framing,” Murphy says. “[Homeowners] always tell me, ‘You have a better vision than I would ever have. I see something I like,’ and from there, they make some tweaks—‘Make it so I want to have it,’ they say—but it’s already 90% or 85% of the way there.”