Robert McNae didn’t grow up in a Cape Dutch-style home when he lived in South Africa, but he had always admired the eye-catching architecture.
So when he and his wife, Angilea, recently bought 2 acres of land, they decided to bring a taste of his hometown of Cape Town to Orono.
Their 7,200-square-foot home blends Old World Cape Dutch characteristics, such as parapet gables, with clean-lined, modern design inside multifunctional spaces for their family. “It feels like Cape Town in Minnesota,” Robert said.
You can take a closer look at the McNaes’ residence during the Artisan Home Tour, which spotlights upper-bracket properties in the Twin Cities metro area.
Find out what you get for $1 million — and more — at 22 newly built abodes packed with high-end amenities.
For instance, an 8,800-square-foot modern home in Edina described as “high-performance” boasts a solar array and green roofs, and is landscaped with a bocce ball court and Zen gardens.
And a contemporary Mississippi River Boulevard home designed for multigenerational living has an elevator connecting all four floors and offers views of the river and Minneapolis skyline.
Many of the homes are equipped with top-of-the-line chef’s kitchens and the ever-popular sport courts, rubber-floored fitness rooms and wine cellars. One lower level even has a “boxing gym.”
As part of the tour, you also can inspect five extensively remodeled residences — from an ultramodern makeover of a “tired” 1980s lake place to the renovation of a contemporary condo in an elegant 1912 Summit Avenue mansion.
The Artisan Home Tour is more than a gawkfest. It also serves as “idea central” with examples of fine craftsmanship and the latest trends in finishes, materials, products, wallcoverings and color schemes.
CAPE DUTCH CHARM
No. 7 on the Artisan Home Tour
Picturesque property: The 2-acre, gently sloping lot nestled among dense trees is only a short drive to Interstate 394 and downtown Minneapolis. “I first looked at it through the car windows in the rain and fell in love,” Angilea said.
Blueprint for success: The couple found their “dream team” of Kate and Kerry Hage of Hage Homes, architect Ron Brenner of Ron Brenner Architects, and Sharon Seitz, interior designer for Historic Studio, to help compose their dream home. “It’s open, airy and full of light,” Robert said.
Cape Dutch meets contemporary casual: “The design captures the essence of Robert’s heritage with a modernized version of the Cape Dutch style,” Brenner said. Angilea’s goal was to edit out ornamental detailing and “loosen it up and make it more casual,” she said.
Rustic and refined interiors: Organic exposed beams bring warmth to the 10-foot-tall spaces, “while balancing the cool black-paned windows and white walls,” said Kate Hage.
A rough reclaimed-oak dining room table is “a nod to the Cape Dutch farmhouse — and we don’t worry about scratches,” Angilea said. Touches of glam include black enameled doors accented with crystal knobs and a glowing chandelier in the kitchen.
Two kitchens in one: The main kitchen boasts a Calacatta Lincoln marble-topped island with comfy vinyl ostrich-textured chairs. An upscale La Cornue range matches lacquered cabinets. Angilea spied the Ralph Lauren gold pendants in a magazine showing Cindy Crawford’s home. “We like to mix the ‘wow’ with finishes that aren’t fussy,” she said.
The adjacent prep kitchen and pocket office is “where I can be creative and make slime,” she added. And messes can be closed off with a sliding door.
Inside out: The kitchen opens up to the media/family room, and sets of French doors lead to an expansive south-facing patio overlooking wetlands. “It’s my favorite sitting spot,” Robert said.
Drama queen: The entrance hall’s massive curved staircase parallels a two-story wall of windows. Angilea had the mod industrial light fixtures custom-made and needed three to fill the voluminous space.
Mixed metals: Designer Seitz chose a varied palette of metals and finishes, including gold leaf, polished nickel, brass and mercury glass, throughout the home. “It’s OK to mix metals as long as you repeat similar styles for continuity,” she said.
Sweet retreats: The three en suite bedrooms on the second floor all have separate formal entries and treetop views of the woods and wetlands.
Kids’ playland: Step down into the McNae girls’ “studio” decorated with a disco ball and designed for art, dance, crafts and sleepovers.
Closet to die for: Now that the home is completed, Angilea loves the way the spaces flow together and evoke a casual, relaxed feel.
When the family moves in after the home tour is over, she’s looking forward to using the master bedroom’s “amazing closet” with light flowing in from four windows.
“Now we can both get dressed at the same time,” she said, “and we won’t have to store out-of-season clothes in Rubbermaid containers.”