History, Memories and Nature on Cotton Lake

Filed in Feature Homes by on August 9, 2014

Peterson-2“Let’s juice.”

“We’re headed for the man cave.”

“Is anyone in the guest house?”

“Grandma and Grandpa are in the main floor guestroom.”

“Pontoon rides anyone?”

As the juicer and fresh fruit come out and crock pots line the quartz buffet counterop, Marti Peterson grabs the necessary supplies from her maple kitchen cabinets and the walk-in pantry, created for efficient storage. On the kitchen island, she preps snacks, side dishes and desserts, giving her Meile stove top and convection/conventional oven a workout. Her husband, Randy, stokes the grill on the patio, while family, friends and occasional international business guests enjoy their home’s panoramic view of Cotton Lake, near Rochert, Minn.


Peterson-5Welcome to a typical lake weekend for the Peterson family, which includes anywhere from five to more than twenty people. It’s all about providing spaces allowing togetherness and privacy and making traditions filled with hospitality and entertaining.


Outside, the (more than) 5000 square foot shake and gable covered home looks like it would be right at home on the Jersey Shore or Cape Cod, complete with twelve front windows to welcome light and the water view. The vaulted beech ceiling and a six- foot porthole window dominate the great room’s living, dining and kitchen spaces, while a round window lights up the first floor bedroom.


Bring on the hospitality

“My personal philosophy is that I love to entertain,” Marti says. “Our kids always had lots of friends, and they are always welcome in our home. I wanted a great open place to sit with a wide view of the lake.”


The Peterson’s coordinated a successful team of Jay Pepple, architectural designer from Fargo-Moorhead, builder Howard Lomsdal and interior designer Lark Lomsdal from Frazee, Minn., to achieve a “welcoming” home.


Cork flooring throughout the house, buffet counter, quartz countertops, with a red glass backsplash, beer and wine refrigerated draws and a contemporary style dining table, which has a built in Lazy Susan, were all designed to handle large groups.


Peterson-6An open natural stone ribbon fireplace with a mantel of re-purposed wood from a farm near Pelican Rapids divides the living room from the den area. Designer Lark and homeowner Marti selected golden mustard leather chairs, a cayenne- color couch and striped pastel chairs lending a pop of color to the shades of brown used throughout the home. Adding more unique color, the Peterson’s showcase local artists’ work with hanging glass balls created by Fargo, North Dakota artist, Jon Offut, and a view of Cotton Lake in stained glass by Turtle Lake Designs also of Fargo.


In the master bedroom, Jay designed a headboard which also functions as a built in chest of drawers along with a large efficient walk-in closet. The master bath includes a combination jet shower, jet tub and steam shower.


Throughout the home, Jay added touches of warm lighting beneath the maple kitchen cabinets and also under bathroom vanities to function as a nightlight, while Lark created ambient uplighting as one of the most creative aspects of the interior.


The four-bedroom, two-story home, includes master and guest bedrooms at separate ends of the main floor allowing guests more privacy. A room above the garage also hosts guests. The lower floor guest room and bathroom has accessibility for Marti’s parents when they visit from their home in nearby Walker, Minn. Son, Kaj, and his friends enjoy hanging out in the “dog house,” across the road and up the hill. The “man cave,” a steel building on the 60 acre back lot behind the house, comes complete with office, workshop and plenty of toys to explore the surrounding lake, forest and prairies.


History, memories and nature all around

The Peterson back lot butts up against the Tamarac Wildlife Refuge, which rests on a “height of land,” important to Native Americans and early fur traders. The Ojibwa tribe believed “all rivers lead here.” From this location, near the Peterson home, one can reach, via water, the Mississippi river to the east and the Red River to the west. After loggers and settlers cut the forests and carved out farms, a 1938 executive order restored the wildlife area to its former grandeur as a breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. Auto tours and hiking trails allow visitors to view the likes of bald eagles an swans.


Marti, who grew up coming to her great uncle’s cabin on Cotton Lake, has fond childhood memories. A picture of the Peterson’s first 1960’s cabin still hangs on their wall. An antique bird house collection and grandma’s cookie jar from 1932 keep early memories of trips to the lake alive.


“My mom remembers rowing to the island as a girl,” Marti says, pointing to the island directly across from the home. “It was a rite of passage.”


14649529228_63e9757c8c_o (1)Today, Shelley Island, a Native American burial site, remains a wooded nature preserve including an old log pioneer cabin. Much to the Peterson’s joy, it is not only a great lake view, but an excellent habitat for a wide variety of songbirds, gulls, loons, bald eagles, terns and a great blue heron colony. Smaller furbearing species also inhabit the island. The island also plays host to various plants, trees, shrubs and vines with an exceptional stand of Canada yew.


Growing up in Bemidji and Moorhead, Marti graduated from North Dakota State University. A Moorhead native and Minnesota State University Moorhead graduate, Randy, travels the country and internationally as a grain trader. The couple’s older daughter, Kari, lives in the Twin Cities and son Kaj resides in Moorhead.


“I love walking in our door and seeing the lake from the windows,” Kaj says. And Kari adds, “I wish I lived closer to the lake. I love to go on the pontoon and spend a relaxing summer day.”


Birth of a house

“It took nine months of planning,with Jay ushering us to see other homes he had built. This is our third summer here,” Marti says. “We broke ground on Labor Day and were in the house by the next year’s fishing opener.”


Designer Jay Pepple credits Howard Lomsdal for the extremely sophisticated house structure as it sits on lower ground with a high water table. The plan dictated placing helical piers and French drains to raise the house from proper drainage, completing required soil tests and planting native grasses on the beech for storm water mamagement. The house is heated and cooled with geo thermal wells.


“We had some difficulties with building the place,” Randy says, “but we had a great team that handled the problems. The build couldn’t have gone smoother.”


“Howard and Lark are always a joy to work with,” Jay adds. “Lark designed one of the finest kitchens I have seen. The house is a matrix of mechanical details and a comfortable home. Assessing what a family wants is a mysterious process. I consider the space, lifestyle, light, and how to work with the interior design. I really feel that the Petersons, Howard, Lark and I hit a home run together.”


More photos, including photos not seen in the magazine, are available in the slideshow below.


by Merrie Sue Holtan | Photography by Bryan Wendland



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