An Everyday Getaway on St. Albans Bay

This modern multi-level by Nor-Son Custom Builders creates the perfect West Coast-style retreat for a busy family of five

Photos by Spacecrafting

Build by Nor-Son Custom Builders || Design by David Charlez Designs

With three kids, several businesses, and a passion for travel, Mollie and Roy Krengel are no strangers to the fast pace of life, and their previous home’s location in Minneapolis reflected their active lifestyle for nearly a decade before the two entrepreneurs were ready for a new home with a new vibe.

“We got to a point where our lives felt so busy, we started to crave more serenity,” explains Mollie, who founded and runs Wildhive, a Twin Cities-based company offering dance therapy experiences and retreats, and Wild Bum, a global platform where users can curate travel guides. “We wanted our new home to be located somewhere we would be able to go into the city but also retreat a little and feel a sense of calm.”

This Greenwood property on St. Alban’s Bay features a spacious deck for entertaining, hot tub, turf, and lush landscaping courtesy of Mom’s Design Build.

The couple found the perfect place: a large, wooded lot in Greenwood on St. Albans Bay, located within walking distance of downtown Excelsior. Then, they just needed the perfect home to match, and Nor-Son Custom Builders created it.

“It feels much larger than its 3,900 square feet,” says Nor-Son project manager Brody Schmid about the modern, organic California-style home. “It’s a multi-level house and was designed to blend in with the contours of the fairly steep slope of the lot—a great design by one of the best in town, David Charlez Designs.”

Featuring a James Hardie cladding with pine shiplap accents on the exterior and plentiful windows, every bit of the four-bed, five-bath home “was designed to escape the noise, embrace the imperfect, and center around the serene lake views,” says Schmid. “Lots of glass, natural woodwork, organic materials, and outdoor decks and patios were all integral parts of the design,” he adds.

Mollie, who handled the interior design of her family’s previous home, tackled it here as well with a vision of designing every space to be beautiful, functional, and—above all else—relaxing. “Part of our hearts is on the west coast in northern California,” she says. “The area is so down to earth. You feel relaxed the minute you get there, and we wanted to bring some of that vacation vibe here.”

The interiors are warm and welcoming, characterized by a timeless, minimalistic style and enhanced with a blend of stained and enameled woodwork. Simple touches of understated luxury create focal points designed to add panache without competing with lake views, such as the three-sided fireplace dividing the great room from the kitchen and the floating stairs with cable rails and maple block treads. “It was a great addition mid-build,” says Schmid, referencing the stairway. “The metal frame and open risers opened up views throughout the entire house.” 

A three-sided glass fireplace with a custom plaster finish adds a wealth of warmth to the nearby family room.
The kitchen flaunts a HanStone quartz hood wrap and full backsplash, which is only enhanced by the incredible lake views that steal the show outside the large bay of windows.

Infusing their new space with thoughtful pieces that evoke memories of their adventures around the globe was also a priority. Handmade light fixtures from Finland hang over the kitchen island, an artistic piano hook wall by Timber & Tulip dresses up the main entry, and playful tile from Portland adds a touch of whimsy to the lower-level wet bar. “I love returning home and finding unique pieces by local artisans that remind me of our travels,” says Mollie. “We’re so go-go-go in our daily lives, it’s important to create a space where you can take a breath, unwind, and get a little respite from the noise of the world.”  

The Details

  • Builder: Nor-Son Custom Builders
  • Home Location: Greenwood
  • Square Footage: 3,900
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 5
  • Style: Multi-level Californian

View a virtual tour of this home here.

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