After raising their family in their longtime home in Medina, Terry and Peggy Kingston decided it was time to move on to another house.
But unlike many empty-nesters, they weren’t looking to downsize.
“I wanted something with a big view,” Terry said.
He spent a couple of years researching local lakes, rivers and hilltops, finally narrowing his search to the St. Croix Valley.
“It’s such a scenic river,” he said.
The couple looked at plenty of properties before finding a home for sale on a bluff in Hudson, Wis. “I went right to the backyard,” said Terry, to check out the vista. “It was jaw-dropping!”
Smitten with the view, the Kingstons bought the place, intending to tear down the existing house and replace it with one that made the most of its spectacular riverfront setting.
Terry, a self-described “frustrated architect,” designed the house himself, working with an architect to create buildable plans from his sketches, then hired Robert Craig Homes to oversee its construction.
Terry designed a Y-shaped floor plan for the house to capture “the long view” of the river. As a result, virtually every room has a view of the water — even the laundry room and bathrooms, he said. “The view is everything.”
As for architectural style, the couple chose to re-create the vibe of a mountain lodge in Aspen. They sourced massive century-old wood ceiling trusses from warehouses on the East Coast, then had them re-engineered, using old-fashioned gussets forged by a blacksmith, to give their house vintage character.
“I’m so glad we went with real trusses,” Terry said. “They truly look like an old lodge.”
Richly colored stone from Arkansas was used inside and out, for fireplaces, chimneys, accent walls and columns. “There was a lot of moss and lichen on it, which gives it an Old World look — makes it feel like it’s been there a couple hundred years,” he said.
The rustic look is softened by artistic iron light fixtures, giving it what Terry calls an “elegant lodge feel.”
The owners’ suite was built “as high as zoning would allow,” Terry said. It includes a bath with a copper soaking tub, a nook with a wet bar and an office with a fireplace at the home’s highest point, offering views of hot-air balloons as they float above the river.
The Kingstons gave their home a name — Journey’s End — which is engraved on a large stone.
“No matter where we go, when we come home, this is as good as anyplace we’ve seen,” Terry said. “I’m always thankful, and appreciate the beauty of this place every day. I never take it for granted.”
Journey’s End has been a great place for entertaining family and friends for the past seven years. “I love it when the kids come over and are jumping in the pool,” he said.
But with the couple’s two adult children and grandchildren now living in the western Twin Cities suburbs, the Kingstons have decided to downsize and buy a home closer to family. “It’s going to be hard to give up,” he said of their home.
The house, which has more than 6,500 finished square feet, has three bedrooms, plus space for additional bedrooms on the unfinished lower level. There are five baths, four fireplaces, a cook’s kitchen with high-end appliances and double wall ovens, and the shaft for an elevator, facing a glass wall to the outdoors — so that even the elevator can have a view.