What looks like an English castle but lives like a modern high-tech house?

An imposing new home in Orono, grand enough to have a name — Huntington Manor.

The stone-and-steel structure is a passion project of James McNeal Architecture & Design and Luke Busker Masonry. McNeal and Busker had collaborated on another project with a lot of stone and wanted to reteam for the ultimate stone house.

“We wanted to create art,” said McNeal.

McNeal’s vision for the home was a modern take on a castle.

“It’s a glass box inside a stone house,” he said, with floor-to-ceiling windows inside a Richardsonian-inspired limestone shell. “I was trying to play with the modern feel of a glass home with an open plan and lots of light. From the outside, you might think it would be dark and gloomy.

“We wanted a real surprise when people enter.”

There’s also a “steampunk twist,” said McNeal, custom features that integrate old and modern technologies, such as the massive high-tech TV with a steel door operated by a pulley and hand crank. “I have a passion for science-fiction movies,” he said.

“Game of Thrones” also was a design influence, inspiring a stone fireplace on the lower level with three flame openings. Other features include:

• Two-story atrium with spiral staircase designed to be “a vertical garden,” with a built-in irrigation system.

• Phantom screens in the main-floor living area, opening onto a large covered deck, one of six outdoor spaces.

• Tricked-out kitchen with walk-in refrigerator, butler’s pantry and two dishwashers.

• Outdoor kitchen with wood-burning grill.

• Lower-level bar with LED mood lighting, surrounded by glass-encased, temperature-controlled wine storage for 1,100 bottles.

The 7,774-square-foot home with four bedrooms and six baths sits on almost 5 acres overlooking a marsh. There’s also unfinished space above the three-car garage ready to be converted into additional bedrooms and bathrooms.

With 2 million stones, 74 tons of steel — and a $9.95 million price tag, Huntington Manor may be the Twin Cities’ most expensive spec home.

“We kind of overdid it,” McNeal said. “We did what we wanted to do — stayed true to the art.”

 

Drew Hueler, Coldwell Banker Burnet, 612-701-3124, has the listing.