Warm Woods & Cool Lake Breezes

Filed in Feature Homes by on November 20, 2014

Hass-Main-960x400by Jackie Jenson | Photography by Bryan Wendland


Filled with wood, warmth and a breathtaking view of Big Cormorant Lake, Carol and Evan Hass’ lake home is a true haven for a family on the go and on the grow.


The Hasses previously had two small houses, one in Fargo and one on Lake Belle Taine near Park Rapids. But with two grown sons and an expanding group of grandchildren – six under 10 with one more on the way – the Hass abodes were bursting at the seams and presenting a commuting challenge.


For Carol, a retired teacher, and Evan, a yet-to-retire general manager for a broadband telecommunications company in Fargo, the two-home scenario had sufficed until they found themselves continually venturing from one home to the other to attend their grandchildren’s concerts and programs.


“Our sons also work in Fargo, one is a doctor and the other a pharmacist, and it was becoming difficult for them to come to the lake for a day with such a long drive,” Carol explains.



A lofty great room with an 18-foot ceiling peak and an eight-sided turret room facing the lake give the Hasses an almost 180 degree view of the lake.

Carol and Evan decided it was time to build one centrally located house, one that would give them much-needed space for their growing family and a simplified commute for all.


With that said, their construction project was not built on a whim but rather was years in the making. The couple also knew one thing for sure: They were not interested in remodeling.


“We had been there and done that. This time we wanted to build from scratch,” Carol says.


With a file of well-preserved magazine clippings and four pages of detailed notes, the Hasses knew exactly what they wanted in a home. It was at this point that they sought out architect and area builder Alan Hochhalter, owner and chief designer at Building Concepts in Fargo, to make their building plans a reality.


“We came across Alan and Building Concepts after we discovered he had built our Fargo home,” Carol explains. “Everything there just seemed like it was perfectly placed and so well-crafted.”


Enamored with the home’s workmanship, Evan and Carol became acquainted with Hochhalter when they decided to install wood floors at that residence.


“We are custom builders who primarily build in the Faro-Moorhead area but have built homes in the lakes area, Grand Forks and several in Casselton,” says Kim Hochhalter, who is Alan’s wife and also helped the Hasses with many of their building material and color choices.



Special adornments that give the Hass house character include the red oak floors installed throughout the main floor, ivory kitchen cupboards with burnt sienna glaze and oil-rubbed bronze hardware.

Watching Hochhalter bring their file folder of plans to life was a dream, Carol says. “This whole building experience just seemed to fall into place so well with Alan and the many wonderful subs.”


Sub-contractors included mortise and tenon beam expert Joshua Bakken from Dent and Wendy Dynes at Wood Specialists in Fargo, who helped pick out the Hass’ ivory kitchen cupboards complete with special burnt sienna glaze and oil-rubbed bronze hardware.


“I don’t like shiny things. I like things to look like they’ve been there a while, like me,” jokes Carol.


Long before they got to pick out cupboards, though, the Hasses needed a unique building lot free of trees and buildings. After three long years of searching, they eventually chose a 125-foot lot on the west side of Big Cormorant Lake.


“We like trees and didn’t want to have to cut a bunch down,” explains Carol.


Superior Lakeside, Inc, a landscaping contractor in Pelican Rapids, prepared the site. Their goal: Provide great views of the water and create functional access to the lake, which the Hasses say was expertly accomplished.


Completed in 2012, the Hass’ Big Cormorant home has a 2,300-square-foot main level, walk-out basement and killer lake views.


“We get views of both the sunrise and sunset,” adds Carol.



“I love my Regency fireplace. It is so efficient, I bet I could heat the whole house with it,” says Carol.

Special adornments that give the Hass house character include the red oak floors installed throughout the main floor, a lofty great room with an 18-foot ceiling peak, an eight-sided turret room facing the lake and a cozy basement complete with entertainment room and a place for each grandkid to sleep.


The couple says many of their building material choices were made to ensure the house seamlessly fit into the lake landscape – they “didn’t want the house to look like it didn’t belong.”


To accomplish this feat, the Hasses incorporated lots of windows in varying sizes and shapes as well as a number of exposed Douglas fir wood beams both inside and out. As a result, their home is a study of warm woods, playful light and earthy textures.


“This house really comes alive at night due to views of the lake, the moon and the play of light on the wood,” says Carol. “The wood floor really is amazing. Kensox Hardwood Floors of West Fargo outdid themselves with this floor.”


Some of the couple’s favorite material selections include special allergen free-carpets which help to keep Carol’s allergies at bay, a log-burning fireplace from Fargo Hearth and Home and a variety of woodsy wrought iron and oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures coordinated by the Light House in Fargo.


“I love my Regency fireplace. It is so efficient, I bet I could heat the whole house with it,” says Carol.


Coziness abounds in the Hass home thanks to geo-thermal heat, numerous HEPA filters, a special durable permanent cedar siding product, under-floor heating for their walk-out and, of course, Carol’s log-burning fireplace.


“This is the warmest and most allergy-free home I have ever lived in,” she adds.


With family in mind and so many grandchildren visiting the lake, the couple worried about the safety of the little ones and invested in special gates on all the staircases as well as child-proof locks and special knobs on each door so that a toddler cannot get out and explore on his or her own.


The warm glow of lights illuminate the home on a cold winter's night.

The warm glow of lights illuminate the home on a cold winter’s night.

Another family favorite is the specially designed grandkid benches at both the back and front entries that offer a place for the kids to take off shoes and hang up coats. Then there is Carol’s prized possession, her “Walton-style” dining room table capable of seating 14.


The Hasses ended up having to enlarge the dining room floor plan to make space for the extra-long piece of furniture. Their goal with the table was to provide a space – like they had in the 1970s TV show, “The Waltons” – to host family dinners with everyone seated around one table.


To ensure this special piece of furniture matched their existing dining room furniture, especially a nostalgic family hutch, Carol took a drawer from the hutch with her when she made her table purchase.


“I love this table, and it has room for everyone, even all the high chairs that we needed at Christmas,” she says.


The table, much like the Hass home, fits perfectly into the well-designed, friendly family space.


“I like to be the party coordinator,” says Carol. “I’ve lived in many houses through the years and have come to know that it is family that makes a house a home.”



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