How many designers does it take to decorate a 13,000-square-foot house?

A team of more than two dozen design pros tackled this year’s showcase home, a French chateau-inspired custom creation set on Lake Minnetonka’s Crystal Bay.

It’s the first new construction in the 20-year history of the event. Previous homes have been existing ones that underwent extensive remodeling.

All that new space gave designers a very big blank canvas on which to work their magic. However, the homeowners, who have chosen not to go public, also worked closely with builder John Kraemer & Sons and the designers on every aspect of their house, even incorporating some of their own architectural antiques.

“It’s light and fresh and still family-friendly” — with durable fabrics, tough materials and rounded edges, said Jennifer Austin-McGrath of Fine House Interiors, chairwoman of the event.

The couple, who have one young child, were seeking a home they could “grow into” and remain in for a long time, said John Kraemer, vice president of Kraemer & Sons. A main-floor “junior suite” (in addition to the second-floor owners’ suite) with universal design features will serve as a guest room for visiting parents now, and an aging-in-place option for the future.

Other things you’ll see in this year’s showcase home:

• Whimsical kid-focused features, including a “treehouse” fort with climbing wall on the lower level, and an antique armoire door leading to a secret playroom — a nod to Narnia in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

• For adult recreation, there’s a sport court, bar with built-in beer dispenser, an Old World wine cellar and a 16-foot “wall of fire” feature on the patio.

• The family dog even got its own room, complete with pooch-themed wallpaper, a doggy door to a run, and a Dutch door into the home. 

Designer Showcase Home

What: Tour a new 13,000-square-foot French château on Lake Minnetonka that has been designed and staged by a team of 25 interior designers. Presented by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and ASID MN (American Society of Interior Designers). Special events include Wine & Design Nights, Ladies’ Night Out, culinary evenings and designer-led tours. For details, visit

Where: The home is located on Crystal Bay in Orono. All visitors must park at Lord Fletcher’s (3746 Sunset Dr., Spring Park) and take the free shuttle. There is no parking at the home.

When: Open for touring Thursdays through Sundays, Oct. 21 through Nov. 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shuttles will run continuously from 9:30 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. on tour days.

Cost: $10 online at or at the door; $5 at discounted ticket outlets Patina, Bibelot and Hirschfield’s. (Tour-goers will receive 20 percent off in Lord Fletcher’s main dining room with proof of ticket.)