A Gathering Place: Lake Lida contemporary home becomes a family sanctuary

Filed in Feature Homes by on December 13, 2015

PfingExt7 (4)By Wanda M. Perkins | Photography by Henry Hempel, Henry Hempel Associates

Pounding winds and driving rains were raging outside Marcie and Darin Pfingsten’s Lake Lida log cabin as they played cards with friends around their dining room table. They remember that stormy night well. Darin was seated in front of an interior wall when suddenly rain water rushed over the logs like a waterfall onto the table. “That was it,” Darin exclaimed. “The place was coming down! That became the final issue when we knew that it was time to rebuild.”

In the fall of 2012, Darin, president of PKG Contracting, Inc. in Fargo, a general contractor specializing in water and waste water treatment plant construction, contacted Anthony Stoll, AIA Principal Architect at bhh Partners, Planners / Architects in Perham, MN about the ongoing problems they were experiencing with their log cabin. “Tony and I have similar visions and often arrive at the same conclusions,” Darin replied. “He’s talented, creative, and fun to work with. We share similar passions about our work.”

The Pfingstens consulted with Stoll about removing the cabin and rebuilding on the existing foundation. “I’ve known Darin and Marcie for many years, based on our experiences working together on past commercial projects,” Stoll notes. “Our first meeting reviewed how they used their lake cabin in the past and what their future intentions for its use were over the next 10 to 20 years. This initial meeting provided us with general concepts about flow and functionality preferences for their family.”

PfingInt2 (2)From a few inspiring online photos the Pfingstens furnished, they entrusted Tony to make their rebuild a reality. One of Marcie’s requests was to open up lake views and increase natural day lighting into the living spaces. Additionally, the couple wanted to transform the log cabin into a unique, contemporary home. “We gave Tony the inspiration, and he took it from there,” Marcie adds. “We trusted him to bring all the details together.”

The primary challenge with rebuilding their home was the width of the property and Otter Tail County’s requirement to utilize the lake cabin’s existing foundation. “This created substantial limitations to the cabin’s exterior, which forced the Pfingstens to prioritize interior spaces and challenged us to provide interest at the exterior,” Stoll explains. “Another challenge in the process was designing around multiple floor heights as the building progressed from roadside to lakeside. The new design incorporates a two-story structure that maximizes available square footage over the entire footprint of the original cabin.”

Their dream home was under construction during the spring of 2013 and completed later that year. Jim Heyer of Heyer Engineering of Fargo performed a structural analysis of the existing foundation to ensure it would support the weight of the new cabin. Darin oversaw construction with PKG Contracting, Inc. as contractor for the project and all subcontractors were hired through his company.

The modern, 3,629-square-foot home includes an upper level which extends over the top of the existing garage space, a main level, and a limited basement area. An exterior combination of textured Dryvit in Brown Derby and Colonial Tan with a Sand Pebble texture was incorporated with 6-inch clear cedar lap siding and mitered corners. Additionally, a Firestone Unaclad standing seam metal roof in Sierra Tan and exposed timbers below the roof system completes the home’s unique appearance.

PfingInt5 (2)Open with generous natural light and incredible lake views, the main living area includes a cultured gas stone fireplace, dining space, and an ultra-efficient kitchen with a large island. Marcie loves the heated Cerdisa/Bianco ceramic tile floors that are low maintenance and have the look of wood plank flooring. Maple trim work and lighted cabinetry with brushed nickel hardware add warmth to the kitchen. Adjustable can lighting fixtures and sconces throughout the home offer nighttime ambiance.

An ultra-modern, stainless steel cable and hand rail system stairway with 4-inch solid maple treads provides an anchoring focal accent and access to the upper level. Three bedrooms with an additional office, a bonus space, separate TV room, and three full baths all incorporate various shaped Pella windows which allow sunshine to fill every room. The upstairs master bedroom and bath is yet another room boasting spectacular views. “Our bedroom view has amazing sunsets,” Marcie adds. “And seeing the moonlight dance over the lake at night is truly magnificent.”

Marcie enlisted the talents of Linda Birmingham, interior decorator and part owner of DesigningWomen2 in Fargo, to assist her with color schemes, flooring, and furniture selection.

“We share similar contemporary styles,” Marcie replies. “I’ve had the pleasure to work with Linda on a number of projects, and she is always a joy to work with.” Linda and Marcie chose warm and light colors throughout the home; Divine White for ceilings and Kilim Beige for walls. A colorful accent rug in the living space coordinates with a comfortable brown leather couch and mustard leather recliners. Birmingham’s partner, Julie Erickson, also assisted with the interior design. “We looked for comfortable furnishings, great accessories, color and textures,” Birmingham recalls. “Chrome, leather, painted metal, glass, preserved grass, reclaimed wood, recycled bicycle tire rims, all combined to create a family-friendly lake retreat.”

PfingExt1 (2)“Most people would look at the challenges the Pfingsten’s faced with their original log cabin as a negative experience, however, Darin and Marcie viewed it as a positive opportunity to create something unique,” Stoll adds.

Fargo landscape architect Michael Lloyd softened the home’s exterior with natural grasses and plantings. A sprinkler system was also installed, and a multi-tiered stone patio was constructed to provide a sitting area for their family to enjoy.

Future plans are underway to build a detached garage. Their existing garage has become a man cave after the kitchen from the log cabin was repurposed and installed. Sons Zachary and Alex polished and stained the concrete floor. The cedar used on the outside siding was utilized on the ceiling and part of the walls, with corrugated metal panels adding accent to the finished space. This has quickly become one of Darin’s favorite spaces.

When not enjoying the respite of their serene setting on Lake Lida, Marcie works as a controller at Vertin Company in Breckenridge, MN and enjoys working out, reading and walking. Darin loves hunting, piloting and flying to Bison sporting events, running in half marathons and is certified and teaches as a Les Mils Body Pump instructor in Fargo.

Their beautiful, new lake home is a wonderful gathering place for their children, Zach (and wife Heidi), Alex, and Taryn, and their cherished 12-year-old German shorthair, Sammy. “We love the gathering point our lake home provides for our family and friends,” Darin replies. “It’s our sanctuary and it anchors us together.”

“Our home is a place with a purpose,” Marcie concludes. “Home is a place where we find peace.”


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