A Home for Generations

Filed in Feature Homes by on December 28, 2013

6841360153_4daebb924e_bWhen Roy Holmquist and his twin brother, both attorneys in the small western Minnesota community of Benson, planned their nearly identical state-of-the-art lake homes on Lake Minnewaska in 1956, they had blueprints drawn up by the Twin Cities firm of Patch & Erickson Architects. Fifty years later, Roy’s property on the southeast shore was owned by his grandson, Evan Carruthers. Though the family had gathered on Lake Minnewaska for generations, creating memories and gathering mementos, this summer destination needed some work. Since the foundation was fragile and unlikely to support major reconstruction, the difficult decision was made to raze the structure and start over. The 1956 blueprints were found prior to the home’s demolition. Attractively framed, they now have a place of prominence in the new home’s foyer.

The new timber frame, completed in June 2011, is in stark contrast to the cabin built a half century ago. A cabin in a fly-fishing magazine was Evan’s inspirations; he stored the image away for when the time came to build, Amy Willert, who shares both the lake home and a home in the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis with Evan, knew they wanted a home with two levels and four bedrooms since it would always be a place for extended family to gather.

6841359981_07c4f29264_b“This has more of a farm or prairie design that fits well with the landscape,” says Evan, who is pleased with the result of their careful planning. Red is the common denominator: The original cabin was clad in red siding, and the new one is topped with a red steel roof.

As Evan and Amy planned the home’s interior, Ben Miller of Blue Ox Homes in Alexandria cautioned the two to keep it light. A timber frame home can become dark with the exposed wood and tongue and groove ceilings. A specially formulated stain on the timbers, ceiling and the plank flooring (which exhibits circle saw marks) unifies the kitchen, dining  and family room. Light walls, off-white kitchen cabinets and bead board detailing, hand-painted Scandinavian-style tile backsplash and nearly floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on the lake make this great room a bright and inviting space.

Filedstone rip rap that Evan says has always been part of this secic bay is echoed in the cut northern Minnesota fieldstone used on the kitchen floor and in the grill room. Natural stone from Colorado was the material of choice for the living room’s floor-to-ceiling fireplace.

Evan admits his favorite room of the house is the one next to the four-season porch. This screened area snuggles is Weber grill and Green Egg ceramic smoker grill under a large fabricated industrial hood. Evan is a frequent world traveler as a partner and portfolio manager for TPG Credit of Minneapolis. His favorite getaway is to make the 2 1/4-hour jaunt to Lake Minnewaska, where he can fire up one of the grills and relax with a gin and tonic. This room is also a great stop for swimmers who run up from the lake, enjoy cold beverages at the bar that lines the lakeside wall and use the garage bathroom as a changing room.

6841359369_43285007b1_bAmy favors the heart of the home, the kitchen and living room, since her primary vocation is caring for the couple’s two homes. She also has a penchant for floral arrangements and tending the original cabin’s knick-knacks, artfully displayed throughout. Her handiwork is evident both indoors and in the arrangements in the outdoor stone planters.

Amy also enjoys stirring up family recipes on the six-burner range, and even the cleanup isn’t bad with a molded farmhouse sink. The stand-alone icemaker and wine refrigerator make cold beverages a breeze. She often uses recipes from the Holmquist’s “Sharing Our Heritage, Our Family Cookbook” compiled by Evan’s sister Leah. The Scandinavian sections includes many family favorites.

Perhaps it’s Evan’s Scandinavian seaside heritage that has influenced his passion for fishing. His saltwater fly-fishing has produced some outstanding trophies: Release mounts of a deepwater sailfish and tidal flats tarpon are displayed in the dining and living rooms, as well as a redfish from south of New Orleans in the four-seasons porch. Large marine life paintings by Islamorada, Fla., artist Tim Borski extend the theme and inject bold color into the room.

6841359161_c068467048_bThough this lake home is a getaway for Evan and Amy, they knew that it would be a year-round gathering place for family. “My grandmother likes to come and see the family items we still have,” says Evan.

His mother is frequent visitor in the main floor’s guest bedroom. Two additional bedrooms upstairs and a series of three cabinet beds complete with slide-out trundles bring the home’s sleeping accommodations up to 18, including the main floor master bedroom. The cabinet beds, set back from the loft’s railing, were made by Swedberg Wood Products, Inc. of Alexandria. (They also created the bathroom vanities, drawer-enhanced closets and kitchen cabinets.)

The built-in full-size bed unites feature reading lights, cubbies with hooks and privacy curtains. Each is separated from the next by a shelf unit and linen cabinet. A large-screen TV at the end of the loft offers a rainy day moving option. This is the only area in the home with carpet, chosen both 6841359025_7ca0d952b6_bfor comfort and sound-deadening benefits. Bean bag seating is flexible for TV viewing or snuggling up with a good book. Amy has plans to display old photos of Evan and his cousins taken in the original cabin. Scattered though the loft, they will be a reminder of the site’s history in a space to be used more frequently by the younger set.

Amy and Evan are happy with their timber frame home. Careful planning and a few adaptions made during construction produced a functionally beautiful structure. They still intend to make some changes to the garage across the road. They’ll also do some landscaping and add outdoor entertainment options on the lot that extends south to the neighbors pasture. They know that whatever they do the property is likely to be appreciated in an area where cabins stay in families for many generations.

by Nancy Weasman

Photography by Bryan Wendland

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