A place that’s good for the soul: Couple’s Cotton Lake home offers the right fit

Filed in Feature Homes by on December 13, 2015

CottonLake-88Story & Photography By Julianna Kuhn

A drive through the country is the first indication that you are headed into a welcoming oasis; to a home designed for gathering, relaxing, and living. The wooded, country surroundings remind you to slow down, take it all in.

“Cotton Lake is a good secret,” explain Becky Rudel and Kevin Owen. “It’s good for your soul.”

The slight remoteness of the lake is not a problem for this couple. Becky works as an online nurse instructor for MSUM and K.O., as friends and family know him, is a part-time superintendent for the Northwood School District in North Dakota.

The two started off together in Fargo, but shared a dream of finding just the right place to call home. That place ended up being a lake that holds a lot of history for Rudel’s family. Dating back to her grandparents, Cotton Lake has either been called home or home-away-from-home for generations.

Although they had a good idea of what they were looking for in a home, they relied on a wonderful team to bring that idea to life. After meeting with Kelli Wegscheid from Harmonious Architecture they knew they had found the right partner for their project.

While the couple had a list of requirements for their home, they let Wegscheid work out how to best utilize the buildable space on their lot. “She picked this view for us,” explains Owen, pointing out the view to the lake that can be seen from the dining room and kitchen. “This was our starting point; the rest of the house was built around this view.”

CottonLake-19 (2)Wegscheid points out that the first step in all of her projects is to meet with the owners at their property. Each lot is unique and influences the home that will be built on it. The Cotton Lake lot was not very deep, but had a wide lakefront. “We walked on the lot to identify where the driveway would come in, but then more importantly, where their views would be from the great room, dining room, master bedroom and screen porch.”

At the top of the “must have” list was a dining room that is able to expand to entertain. “We did not want a formal dining room,” Rudel states as she points out how the open dining room and kitchen layout allows the space to be comfortable for just the two of them, or can expand when they host up to 25 people for holidays.

Also on the list of must haves for their new home was the ability to live on the main level. They wanted a home they could live in for years to come. To achieve this, in addition to the master suite on the main level, there is also a guest bedroom with attached bathroom that has everything needed to convert to an office down the road.

For the master suite, Rudel and Owen where looking to create a private retreat. While they love having visitors, they also wanted a space all their own. To accomplish this, the master suite has its own entryway of sorts, with the bathroom on the left, bedroom to the right. The master bedroom also has its own private patio and wonderful view of the lake.

The main floor is complete with a sunroom set off the back of the house. “This is like heaven,” Rudel says as she walks into the room with a 270-degree view of water and mature trees.

CottonLake-7 (2)Surrounded by the peaceful sounds and sites of nature gently floating into high ceilinged room, it would be hard to disagree with her.

While walking up to the second floor, Rudel points out that this is where the biggest change from the original vision for the home occurred. They worked closely with their builder, Paul Evenson of Paul Evenson Construction, and trusted his expertise. He had their best interest in mind and was always pointing out ways to get the most out of their budget. While they always planned on having the upstairs finished to accommodate visiting children and grandchildren, the couple never imagined they would be able to provide such an expansive space for them.

When Paul was working on the upstairs family room, he pointed out that if they raised the roof a few feet, the living space could double in size for virtually the same cost. Since they are a blended family with seven children, five grandchildren and two more on the way, Owen and Rudel decided to do it. Initially, they were going to just leave the extra space unfinished, but when they found out it would be much more cost effective to finish off the space while the builders were on-site, instead of waiting, they decided to finish the space.

“We loved working with Paul. He was an amazing partner,” the couple explains.

In the end, the upstairs space offer the couple a raised family room, small kitchenette and dining area, two bedrooms, one currently being used as an office, a bathroom, and a suite with a living area and two additional bedrooms. That space is kept closed off behind double doors when just the two of them are home, creating extra space without waste.

CottonLake-86 (2)Wegscheid was pleased about being able to create a functional space in the upper level that went way beyond everyone’s initial expectations. In particular, she is pleased with second floor home office with lake views, and the family suite above the garage with its lounge and two bedrooms.

While the couple spends most of their time downstairs in the summer, the upstairs has become their winter hideout. Rudel describes it as their own private tree house, since the view from the upstairs living room is filled with the mature trees that are scattered around their lot.

The decorating and landscaping have been a labor of love for the couple. While their architect does offer assistance with decorating, they decided to tackle that project on their own. Rudel spent hours studying every magazine and website she could find, pulling together different aspects to showcase their eclectic, clean style.

The couple also has put a lot of sweat equity into the lawn and landscaping. While they describe it as a work in progress and point out some plants that need to be attended to, the space is just as welcoming and livable as the rest of their home.

In the end, Rudel and Owen accomplished their goal of blending their lives and interests into one home. A home that can be used to entertain their family, or to escape to the perfect space designed just for them.

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