The Anderson Summer Kitchen

Filed in Feature Homes by on December 25, 2013

6414656949_98402059f7_bThe world is all about relationships: those between people, places and things, or those that connect people to their places and things. And so it is with the inspiration for and construction of the Anderson Summer Kitchen on Nisswa Lake, just north of Brainerd. Its story is told through relationships.

The origin of the Summer Kitchen was a small, seasonal structure located between two buildings on the Anderson property. The family gathered there during the summer months to barbecue indoors and enjoy each other’s company. Initially the Andersons wanted to remodel. After careful consideration, it was determined it would be best to start from scratch and build new, providing opportunity to blur the line between indoors and out, making them essentially one.

This unity is accomplished with the use of exterior cedar and glass bi-fold doors, installed in lieu of windows, making the transition from indoors to outdoor seamless. With the touch of a button, phantom screens drop to create a porch like atmosphere, all the while allowing guests to remain within the comforts of an indoor environment. The doors can be left open without the use of screens for outdoor entertaining, and easy access to lakeside activities.

Now, we all know relationships can be simple or complicated, harmonious or disjointed. With people, the more variables introduced the trickier the the relationship becomes – and so it is with a structure, its furnishings and its environment. In construction, “variables” translate to “challenges.”

6414656187_99769b802a_bThe Anderson Summer Kitchen had more than its share, but a long-term association leveled the scale. For more than 30 years, the Anderson family has turned to Nor-Son inc. of Baxter in the design and construction of commercial, residential and recreational properties. Nor-Son built the main house on the property, known as the Chateau, completed in 2008, and the Adirondack Boathouse, completed in 2002. The Adirondack Boathouse was featured in the pages of Lake and Home Magazine.

Precise execution was critical in the teardown and construction to protect these sister properties. Site mobility was limited, and maneuvering equipment down the narrow paved driveway proved difficult. Care was required with thorough planning as to not disturb the native trees and landscaping.

There were severe cold spells, and record snowfall that Minnesota winter, extreme, atypical even by our standards. Unique materials not readily available were requested. Granite was imported from India. Cabinetry hardware was specialty ordered from France. Tiling came from California. Factor in a demanding schedule (the family asked for a Memorial Day weekend deadline), all while maintaining the integrity of the property as a whole, and the Summer Kitchen’s story is all the more remarkable.

While the Summer Kitchen is distinctive in its own right, there is a replication of materials used throughout the family’s onsite properties. Reclaimed oak timbers and paneling provide an aged appearance, mimicking what is found on the Chateau. The stonework resembles that of the Chateau as well, dry stack interior and mortar joints on the exterior.

The interior design, too, is unique and true to itself while blending in with the decor of the Boathouse and the Chateau. Credit can be extended to interior designer Maria Meco, another long-time Anderson “go to” partner.

The Andersons’ appreciation for Country French style and their love of antiques and historical memorabilia are evident. A full masonry stone double-sided fireplace is the focal point, visible from both the bar area and the living room, beckoning family and friends to gather.

6414655727_825df2d88c_bA congenial yet opulent atmosphere is created by the kinship of extraordinary elements. A circular knotty alder island, hand-painted and distressed on site by an artist from Bemidji, is featured in the kitchen. Complementary knotty alder cabinetry showcases cherished antiques. Chicken wire is used in place of glass fronts on each cabinet housing the family’s knick knacks, a bow to that Country French style.

Custom-designed tiles in the kitchen, placed in a picturesque pattern, are found above the cook top and on the integrated paneled appliances. A 48-inch range and Weber grill are housed under an arched, full masonry stone exhaust hood with stainless steel lining capped in limestone. Custom wrought iron shutters were created for the interior of the windows within the bar area. A brick veneer ceiling in barrel vaulted in two directions, intersecting within the bar, hand-framed, as its curves had to be perfectly uniform.

Granite atop the bar gives way to a hammered copper sink etched with an intricate grapevine pattern. There are custom tiles and wood-paneled integrated refrigerators. A pocket door showcasing the Anderson family crest separates the powder room and water closet. It is fitting to put the focus on family and tradition in a structure devoted to embracing family and friends.

Successful relationships? They hinge on communication. The family was away during much of the build, so coordination between the Andersons, the property caretakers and the Nor-Son team was key. Project manager Jeremy Bjorge, along with an architect, project manager, project specialist, superintendent, cabinet designer, interior designer, project developer and building science engineer all worked together in harmony, and their teamwork has been rewarded.

The Anderson Summer Kitchen was entered into the 2011 Associated Builders & Contractors National Excellence in Construction competition. The Summer Kitchen’s interior designer, Marie Meko, received the Best of Show award for the project from the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers.

For more photos of the Anderson Summer Kitchen scroll down for the slideshow. 

by Sheri Davich | Photography by Scott Amundson


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