Excelsior Lake Home – Tea2 Architects
Excelsior Lake Home – Tea2 Architects

Rooted in, but not constrained by, tradition. It’s the wish of a growing number of homeowners as they seek to marry the timeless character of a historic architectural style with contemporary experiences to create a curated and customized home that reflects their personal taste and style.

It’s a difficult balancing act for architects to pull off—incorporating the homeowners’ 21st-century desires while still respecting traditional architectural values. But when executed well, the result is a contemporary classic tailored to its location and the family that calls it home.

Excelsior Lake Home – Tea2 Architects
Excelsior Lake Home – Tea2 Architects

Such is the case with the Excelsior Lake Home, honored as the “Best Traditional New Construction” in the 2018 Marvin Architects Challenge.

Nestled on the shore of Lake Minnetonka in the Minneapolis suburb of Excelsior, Minn., the residence pays homage to the traditional shingle-style architecture of its neighbors while also offering the open, spacious feel of a contemporary home. It celebrates its lakeside setting, capturing the water views and allowing sunlight to flood into its interior. The richness of materials was prioritized over square footage, with natural elements chosen for their relaxed elegance.

A Good Fit

In style and size, the home fits in with its neighbors.

“Shingle-style homes built 100 years ago still form the character of Excelsior,” says Tom Van De Weghe, project manager for TEA2 Architects. “The owners wanted this house to allude to that historic style.”

And while the lot could accommodate a much larger home, the owners opted for a more modest footprint that is in keeping with surrounding houses.

Open Feel, Rich Materials
Materials—from the stained wall shingles and bluestone pavers to the cedar shake roof with copper details—were chosen both for their historic appropriateness and for their “realness,” Van De Weghe says.

“The owners love the idea that the house will age in an authentic way, with the wood and copper developing beautiful patinas,” he adds.

While the interior has the airy openness experienced in contemporary homes, it offers subtle connections to the historic exterior style. Bordering patterns in the wood floors delineate space between rooms without dividing walls. Beams, columns, and pilasters allude to traditional style and offer a more contemporary look that is simple to maintain.

The interior also continues the emphasis on natural materials. White trim and millwork and oak floors with a pickled finish give the home a warm, “lived-in” aura.

A Home with a View

Quality of view and quality of light were formative to the home’s design.

A side-yard garden provides an enticing glimpse of the lake and allows western sunlight into the entryway.

The main level living areas—living room, kitchen, dining room, eating nook, and outdoor porch and terrace—and the master suite above are located on the home’s north side to capture the lake views.

Expanses of windows bring the outdoors in, similar to what would be found in a contemporary-style home, with dividing muntins added in keeping with the home’s shingle-style architecture. Marvin Windows and Doors were used throughout the house, chosen for the broad selection of sizes, styles, and options.

Three-dimensional modeling was used to meticulously align transoms and muntins and fine-tune the way light would be divided.

“When everything is properly aligned and coordinated, there are no jarring differences as your eye sweeps across,” Van De Weghe explains. “The muntins almost disappear.”

Excelsior Lake Home – Tea2 Architects
Excelsior Lake Home – Tea2 Architects

On the lake-facing side of the home, rows of Marvin Ultimate Awning and Ultimate Double Hung Next Generation windows can be opened to let in fresh air and provide circulation. On the west side of the house, water glass and stained glass allow sunlight to stream in while providing privacy.

A Marvin Ultimate Sliding French Door connects the main living space to the lakeside patio, creating the desired opportunity for indoor-outdoor living to maximize enjoyment of the lake.

Thanks to its siting, layout, materials and placement of windows, the Excelsior Lake Home is a timeless classic adapted beautifully to the owners’ contemporary lifestyle.

“This project had exquisite detailing both inside and out. The quality of light in this home was one of the best we saw,” said one judge in the Marvin Architects Challenge. “This is a challenging project type to pull off, but through attention to detail, careful space planning, a knowledge of architectural history, and thoughtful placement of windows the architect has created a beautiful lake home.”

For more inspiration from the Marvin Architects Challenge, click here.