Photos by Spacecrafting
Peter Crain, the owner of Trestle Homes, is in boss mode as he leads a tour of his new Lake Harriet house. “Josh, close the drapes.” “Josh, turn the lights on at 50 percent.” “Josh, pull down the screens.” And as the drapes glide silently shut, ceiling lights come to life, and screens lower, he walks over to a small black screen on the wall and introduces Josh—the home’s voice-controlled automation assistant. The feature is one of many he had seen over the years as a builder and added to his “that would be nice someday” mental file.
Someday came when Crain and his wife found the right property in the Fulton neighborhood of Minneapolis, on a quiet street close to the lake and some of their favorite coffee shops and restaurants. “We love this area and were ready to build a home for us,” he says, referring to previous remodeling projects that had focused on kid-friendly spaces for their three sons. But, with the boys grown, they were ready to start from scratch to create a home that would be as comfortable when it was just the two of them as it would be when one of the kids touched down for an extended stay or they hosted large groups. (Jeanne comes from a big family and holidays can include 20-30 people.)
Working with InUnison Design, plus PKA Architecture’s Gabe Keller, principal/designer, and Ted Martin, AIA, they designed just enough house to meet their needs with the simplicity and elegance of Danish design—inspired by a trip to Copenhagen. The exterior has a low profile that blends well with the neighborhood, featuring distinctive limestone masonry with a “Roman” cut (defined by its long, slender shape), expansive windows, and a recessed porch.
The interior is light, bright, and well-organized. The glassed-in living room seamlessly connects to an outdoor patio via large 10-by-16-foot sliding doors, while the kitchen and dining areas feature plenty of space to hang out. A hidden-from-view butler’s pantry is designed to work as a second kitchen and conceal messes
The Crains chose to locate their bedroom on the second level, and the house doesn’t have an elevator. “My great-grandmother Amelia lived until she was 98 years old in a house with her bedroom on the second floor and the laundry in the basement. So, I think maybe the steps keep you healthy,” says Crain. In the bedroom, double doors open onto a small patio and green roof designed to capture runoff. Installed using pre-planted trays filled with hardy, pollinator-loving sedum plants, it lowers the temperature of what would otherwise be a hot, flat roof and provides a pretty vista from the suite.
The couple is delighted with their new neighborhood and house, putting the “someday” file to rest. “This is our last home,” says Crain. “We plan to be here until the end.”
- Builder: Trestle Homes
- Home Location: Minneapolis
- Square Footage: 4,700
- Bedrooms: 3
- Bathrooms: 4
- Style: Organic modern with traditional references
Enjoy a virtual tour of the home here.