Tom and Melissa Polusny often cruised in their boat across Lake Minnetonka, dreaming about the day they could live on the water.
In 2017, they lucked upon a waterfront lot on a peninsula overlooking Priest Bay in Mound. The property was blessed with 160 feet of shoreline, albeit overgrown with buckthorn.
A large 1950s rambler with a series of piecemeal additions sat on a ridge above the lake.
The house was stuck in an era when walls blocked lake views, kitchens were tiny and cramped, and “there was a huge hot tub in the middle of the master bathroom with mirrors all around it,” said Melissa.
After living in the rambler for six months, the couple consulted with Denali Custom Homes and decided to tear down the old rambler and build new on the original foundation in order to remain close to the Priest Bay shoreline.
“It made more sense to start fresh, and the result would be dollars better spent,” said Jake Wille, project manager and partner for Denali.
In August, you can get an inside look at the Polusnys’ sleek “organic modern” home during the Luxury Home Tour of five remodeled (open Aug. 2-4) and seven new-construction residences (open Aug. 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18).
To be a part of this elite collection, the dozen homes are all valued at more than $1 million, excluding land and landscaping.
The upper-bracket properties include a 7,700-square-foot lavish modern-day Orono castle, which is on the market for $9.95 million. In Lake Elmo, a modern prairie rambler on the fairway of the Royal Golf Club is decked out with a media room, sauna, wine cellar and outdoor kitchen. Or stop by an Edina Flats condo boasting windows on three sides.
The Midwest Home magazine event is also a chance to inspect cutting-edge design, hot trends in materials, color palettes, finishes and light fixtures, as well as luxe features, such as hand-painted De Gourney wallcovering and a see-through fireplace in a master bathroom.
In the fully furnished and decorated Polusny residence, the “lake is the main show, and the house highlights that,” Tom said.
In fact, the 4,100-square-foot design by David Zweber of David Charlez Designs in Lakeville delivers water views from just about every room.
“We can see both the sunrise and sunset over the lake,” Melissa said.
Inside spaces flow to the outside, thanks to a vast wall of 14-foot-tall windows in the great room and a retractable Phantom screen porch.
Doors open to various outdoor lounging and dining areas, to accommodate big summer gatherings around boating and hot-tubbing.
The open floor plan is shaped by expanses of glass melded with warm natural materials, such as rough stone accents, wide-plank walnut floors and dark-stained alder cabinets.
“It feels warm and contemporary,” Wille said, “rather than stark and modern.”
The empty-nester couple recently settled into their lakeside retreat with their dogs Thor and Zorro. “It feels like we’re living at a resort,” Tom said.
Mound home highlights
Muted color palette: Brittany Wille, interior designer for Redstone Interiors, and Jake Wille’s wife, chose understated grays, earth tones, taupes and creams, with minimal bursts of color, to “let the outdoors speak,” she said.
Swanky cocktail lounge: Look for the large-format porcelain panel that resembles natural stone and seamlessly spans the bar wall without grout lines to break it up. “It’s a new application new to the market,” Wille said.
Mixed metals: The rooms showcase creative combinations of brass accents in the bar lounge and great room chairs, stainless-steel finishes on light fixtures and cabinet hardware, and blackened metal on the stair railing
Eye-catching lighting: Clever and imaginative light fixtures, from a tree-branch chandelier dripping in crystals to a retro glass-and-chrome sunburst, illuminate spaces. “The sparkles offset the stone, wood and other masculine finishes in the house,” Wille said.
TV on demand: The solution to watching TV without obstructing the great room lake view was to integrate a flat screen inside a window seat. A remote-control lift raises the TV when the Polusnys want to watch a show, and lowers and conceals it when it’s not in use.
Continuous kitchen island: The center island is topped with a quartzite waterfall edge, which drops to the floor on two sides.
Never need to hit the spa: The owners’ bathroom boasts heated floors, a soaking tub, oversized shower with a rain-shower head and even an integrated sauna.
Down-to-earth dining: A custom live-edge walnut table with a metal base seats 12 for big dinner parties. It’s made from a slab of walnut the owners bought from Logs to Lumber and built by Stockton Heritage, Wille said.
Water elements: Melissa Polusny chose design details that evoke waves on the lake, such as textural wavy tile across the kitchen backsplash and the owners’ bathroom wall.
Push-button porch: The couple can remotely raise and lower the retractable Phantom screen to keep insects out of their lakeside porch.
With the sound of waves lapping against the rocks on the shoreline, “it feels like we’re sitting in a boathouse,” Melissa said.