Many Years in the Making

Filed in Feature Homes by on August 9, 2015



By Jackie Jenson | Photography by Janssen Photography


They say the devil is in the details. When you are talking about building a lake home, however, those details are truly heavenly additions.


Starting out with a small camper on Lake Melissa, Jeff and Deanne Dostal have been drawn to the lake for as long as they can remember. However, the Fargo, North Dakota couple had envisioned something a bit bigger for their lake getaway, especially after their twins were born.


After briefly moving their camper down the road to a resort on Long Lake near Detroit Lakes, Minn., they eventually found themselves imagining new lake home possibilities on a two-acre gem of a lot on Big McDonald Lake near Dent, Minn.


“When we started looking in 1998 [for lake lots], we searched the multiple listing service, for lots near the Detroit Lakes area but ended up finding one on Big McDonald,” Jeff noted.


“You did have to use your imagination, though,” says Deanne.




“The lot was heavily wooded,” Jeff continues, “But once you waded through the trees, it had a really sandy beach.”


After purchasing their lot, the next step was to make room for a camper and the long term goal of adding a home at some point.


“In 1999 we made a hole for the camper,” Deanne says, “And we kind of just kept expanding from there.”


First up, they constructed a garage with living quarters above ─ a place to live and play on the lake while getting the plan together to build their dream home.


“The garage came first; we didn’t start building the house until ten years later,” notes Jeff.


“We knew what we wanted, though, and the plan came together rather quickly,” Deanne adds.




Kelli Wegscheid from Harmonious Architecture was tapped to put the Dostal’s plan to paper. One of the first things the Perham, Minn. area architect had to address, however, was the lay of the land. Originally, the idea was to create a walk-out on the large wooded lot but elevation issues nudged the Dostals to go in a different direction: a walk-up.


“The main level needed to be a half level up from the existing garage level to work with the hill on the site,” explains Wegscheid. “Getting the levels to all work correctly took some extra thought, but they turned out even better than expected,” she notes.


“That is why [the house] ended up being so tall on the lot and why we ended up adding a few more stairs,” adds Deanne.


As a result of the newly married roofs, the Dostals were able to carve out two distinctive areas in their home; charming places for guests to steal away at the lake.


“Kelli calls the nooks ‘quiet spaces’. Interesting little places to sit and read or just relax,” explains Jeff.


The Dostals met their would-be architect at the annual Red River Valley Home and Garden Show and their building project took shape from there. With offices in Perham and a house just down the road on Devils Lake, they felt Wegscheid was in tune with their lake home needs.


Rick Bladow of Bladow & Sons Construction in Battle Lake, Minn. was one of three builders the Dostals interviewed for their build and the one they ended up entrusting to tackle their inventive walk-up design and its interconnecting roof lines.


“He was very hands on and we really liked his work,” notes Jeff.




According to Rick Bladow, the Dostal home was an interesting build, filled with lots of fun challenges like a one-of-a-kind roof complete with specially designed trusses.


“Getting everything to match up was a challenge but everything worked out really well. It is a neat property. Lots of great alder trim work and special landscaping,” notes Rick.


A by-product of ditching their dream walk-out was an opportunity to capture additional space in the basement ─ a space where Jeff gained a true man cave.


Situated under their sunroom, right where they had intended their walk-out to be, sits Jeff’s bar with seating for 20. With a stone-clad bar surround, specially designed booths and six convenient belly-up-to-the-bar stools, it takes the idea of repurposing a room to a whole new level. An 80-inch TV and high-tech surround sound system complete the basement/man cave configuration which also affords the couple the perfect area to watch movies on inclement days at the lake.


Wegscheid says, “The basement provides the extra “rainy day” space – I especially love the photo collage of family pictures highlighting fun times at the lake.” The basement was a must, though. “We can have wicked storms in Minnesota and because the elevation allowed it, we definitely wanted a basement in the home,” continues Jeff.


At approximately 4600 square feet, the now one and half story home fills its 151-foot by 660-foot Big McDonald Lake lot. Adding to the original 900 square-foot garage, the newly added 3700 square-foot, three bedroom, four bath house is a haven for entertaining family and friends.


With handscraped hickory wood flooring, smooth granite countertops, stunning 20-foot tall, alder trim accented ash ceilings, and a massive interior stone wall in the main floor great room, the Dostal home is a harmonious blend of natural color and complementary textures.


Visits to Digin, a Fargo home design and idea center, allowed the Dostals to explore a bevy of products, as well as visualize a number of different colors choices in flooring, cabinets, paint colors and trim before needed to choose. “It was a great place for us to actually touch, feel and see the products together before they were installed,” notes Jeff.


Professional interior designer Danielle Glorvigen from Refreshing Designs in Perham, Minn. also helped the Dostals with their décor. “We are not decorators so we let Danielle know what we like and let her pull everything together which ended up great,” he noted. Wegscheid was also instrumental in helping the Dostals select their finishes, “Kelli was great at piecing together textures and colors for us,” says Jeff.


Designed to eventually become their retirement abode, the Dostal home is the perfect blend of style and convenience as evidenced by their ingenious master bedroom design. “The bedrooms are exact master-suite-style copies of one another except that we have a balcony upstairs,” explains Jeff. “We thought this would be an easy swap once we decide we don’t want to go upstairs any longer.”


Extending this smart design choice, the third bedroom, located in the home’s basement, is similar to the other two by design, minus the views.


Geo thermal heat, LED Lights, and alert sensors are all tied to Jeff’s cell phone so the home can be monitored from their Fargo home. State-of-the-art touch screen light switch panels, and a heated lower level slab to keep basement floor nice and toasty are all modern conveniences with a green touch.


The Dostals live and work in Fargo ─ Jeff as a Quality Assurance Manager and Deanne, as an Accountant. Keeping their property maintenance free, while affording them the pleasures of lake home living today, were a must for the couple. “For now we are still maintaining two residences, but it’s only 65-miles from doorstep to doorstep,” notes Deanne. Utilizing the back roads for their trips to and from the lake makes for a very pretty drive, she adds.


“We wanted this to be a place that we could retire to but not have to do a lot a work,” continues Jeff. With that sentiment in mind, the couple opted for a stucco exterior, a stone patio, and maintenance- free decking. Matt Hoen from Outdoor Renovations in Underwood, Minn., created a beautiful and functional low-maintenance landscape, as well as an outdoor grilling area.


“There are brick walkways to the beach, patio, deck and fire pit. We ended up not having a lot of grass to mow. It is perfect,” concludes Jeff.

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