To Russ and Sue Kalis, the gabled house on Lake Minnetonka is the place where they look forward to living in retirement and gathering with family and friends.
“It’s our dream home,” said Sue.
“We’ve never lived on a lake before,” said Russ.
But first, the couple’s just-built dwelling in Minnetrista will host a steady stream of visitors as a Dream Home (#99) on the upcoming Parade of Homes. It’s one of four upscale projects that cost $5 each to tour. (Proceeds from the tour help provide housing for those in need.)
The Kalises’ dream has been four years in the making. The couple, now living in Ohio, were looking ahead to retirement and returning to the Twin Cities where they have longstanding ties. Russ grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota, and one of their two daughters and her family lives in Minnetonka.
“We wanted a nice family place to congregate,” Russ said.
But finding a building site on a Twin Cities lake wasn’t easy.
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“Our daughter started doing research,” Russ said. “There weren’t many lots available.”
They finally found a site on Palmer Point overlooking Smithtown Bay, and bought it even though retirement was still a ways off. “We let the lot sit for a couple of years,” said Russ.
When they were ready to move ahead, they hired architects Kathy Alexander and Tom Flint, Alexander Design Group, Wayzata, to design a custom home that would make the most of their setting.
“It’s all about the views,” said Sue.
For a builder, they turned to Stonewood, Wayzata. “We love stone and wood, so it made sense,” said Sue playfully.
Both materials are in abundance in the couple’s new home. There’s stonework detailing outside and four stone fireplaces inside. Built-ins made of alder wood add richness and warmth to the interiors.
“It’s very open, homey and comfortable,” said Russ.
• Integrated indoor/outdoor living, with two convertible porches equipped with Phantom screens and infrared heaters in the floor, plus a grill deck. “The indoor/outdoor spaces are cool,” said Sven Gustafson, owner of Stonewood.
• Traditional style with a fresh, bright update. The warm colors — browns, taupes and creamy whites — are a departure from the white-and-gray palette that dominates so much new construction. The couple are not big fans of gray, said designer Melissa Musgjerd, Studio M Interiors, Plymouth, so she took color cues from the brown stone for the interior finishes, then layered in hints of blue-gray, along with warm neutrals, in furniture, rugs and accessories. “I mix warm and cool tones, to keep the house from dating itself,” she said.
• A warm, traditional kitchen, with glazed, antique white cabinets, granite countertops and a stone tile backsplash. “She wanted classic travertine — not subway tile,” said Musgjerd. The 10-foot center island is finished in a deep dark hue, a contemporary touch.
• Ultimate lower-level “fun room” includes a massive TV, custom stonework, cozy bar and a 500-bottle wine cellar. An arched window with hammered steel hardware frames a view from the bar into the cellar. There’s also a multifunctional room with a Murphy bed in the room next door.
Living in Ohio kept the couple far away during construction. Having infrequent face-to-face client contact was a novel experience for Gustafson. “They were out of town, so they let us make some of the decisions,” he said.
It was also a new experience for the Kalises.
“Other houses we’ve built, we’ve been close by to check up,” said Russ. “The challenge with this is we are remote. Pictures are not the same as being there.”
There were weekly conference calls, and updates via an app. And the couple’s daughter and her husband acted as the Kalises’ surrogates, checking on the home’s progress, and weighing in on details as needed.
Sue and Russ, who last saw their house in January, are getting “the grand reveal” this weekend, with their home finally finished and their new furniture in place.
Then Sue will move in soon after the Parade to await the birth of their next grandchild.
What are the couple looking forward to most about living in their new dream home?
“I’m looking forward to lake life,” said Russ.
And Sue? “I’m looking forward to being done.”
PARADE OF HOMES
What: Tour 472 new homes, from a $210 starter home in River Falls, Wis., to a $3.57 million house on the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wis. Presented by the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC).
Where: Homes are located throughout the Twin Cities metro area, including western Wisconsin.
When: Noon to 6 p.m., Thursdays through Sundays, March 2-31.
Cost: Free. $5 to tour each of four Dream Homes, with proceeds benefiting the BATC-Housing First Minnesota Foundation.
Details: Free guidebooks are available at Holiday Station Stores. More information about homes on the tour and tour-related events are also available at Paradeofhomes.org.