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2017

MAG A Z I N E

6 Popular Design Styles CREATING STUNNING CURB APPEAL Update. Replace. Change.

BUILDING WITH A PURPOSE

Planning ahead - design tips for pets, children & aging


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MAG A Z I N E

SUBMITTED BY: GREAT RIVER DOOR

Are You Ready?

It’s exciting! After researching floor plans for weeks you finally found one you love. Your contractor meets you at the build site, unrolling blueprints on the tailgate of his truck. He’s indicating your front door will go about here, the deck will run along that tree line there and the plan is to put the driveway through that grove of pines on the far side of the lot. The excavator will show up in a day or so to begin clearing the land but first your contractor would like to nail down a few last minute details. And he’s looking at you. There are a thousand questions he’ll need you to answer on your way from concept to keys. Are you ready? Inspiration for your new home will come from everywhere. Here at Minnesota Home Magazine we are talking to the local professionals with ideas and expertise to transform your dreams into reality. We have the latest trends, advice and ideas wrapped up into one publication. So sit back with a big mug of coffee -- we have a lot of inspiration for you on the pages to come.

Staff PUBLISHER

Pete Mohs PROJECT MANAGERS

Nikki Lyter Linda Hurst DESIGN AND LAYOUT

Cindy Spilman COPY EDITOR

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(218) 855-5895 advertising@minnesotahomemagazine.com Comments/story ideas:

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Minnesota Home Magazine 506 James St., Brainerd, MN 56401 Minnesota Home is a trademarked magazine published by Brainerd Dispatch, a Division of Forum Communication Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. ® 2017

2017 4 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017


2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 5


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Contents 2017

FEATURES

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE

10 Building With A Purpose Planning ahead - design tips for pets, children & aging by Sarah Herron

23 PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICK HAMMER COURTESY OF LANDS END DEVELOPMENT

16 Today’s Smart Home Advances in technology from lightbulb to security by Phil Seibel

30 A Pop of Color

Imagine - 6 Popular Design Styles

Taking a chance on color in your decor by Danae Blanck Anderson, ASID, CID

What’s yours? by Sarah Herron

36 Renovation ROI Projects with high return potential by Nikki Lyter

44 Home Buying Power Navigating the financials of buying a home by Danae Blanck Anderson, ASID, CID

47 Finding Clarity in Clear Title What does that mean with regard to real estate? by Danae Blanck Anderson, ASID, CID

52 Toes in the Water

39 SUBMITTED BY NORTH COUNTRY CUSTOM BUILDERS

Creating Stunning Curb Appeal Update. Replace. Change. by Sheila Helmberger

ON THE COVER Supplied by Lands End Development, a premier lake home and cabin design/builder in Crosslake, MN creating one of a kind projects throughout Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. This beautiful home on Thunder Lake features clear cedar lap siding with rough sawn timber trusses and stone pillars supporting the covered entryway. PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICK HAMMER COURTESY OF LANDS END DEVELOPMENT 8 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

Agents advice to buying lakeshore by Linda Hurst

56 Practical Advantages of Green Homes in Minnesota The science of building more efficient homes by Travis Grimler

63 MMBA Home Tours Fun and easy way to find ideas by Linda Hurst

66 Strong Foundations Block-vs-Styrofoam-vs-Wood by Rebecca Flansburg

70 Must Have Marketplace Top finds for your lake home or cabin by Nikki Lyter


2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 9


Building With

A PURPOSE BY SARAH HERRON

Planning Ahead - Design Tips For Pets, Children & Aging When you build a home you think about how many bedrooms and bathrooms are needed, about how large of a yard you want to mow, but too often other important factors are neglected. For example, does Fido have room for his dog bed? Will the kids have anywhere to run off their energy in the winter? Will you still be able to walk up all those stairs after you retire? Building with these different life stages in mind can save you money in the future and make your lives a lot easier. 10 MINNESOTA MINNESOTA HOME HOME || 2017 2017 10


SUBMITTED BY: NORSON

Building for Pets — There are many innovative ideas for designing a home with pets: Pet Shower – No more dog hair in the human tub. These smaller showers would be a perfect addition to a built-in a mudroom or garage. Carpet Tiles – These are perfect for pet messes. If one square of carpet gets stained you only need to replace that single tile instead of replacing the entire room. Large Windows – This is especially nice for those animals that do not go outside. This will provide them with much entertainment, especially if facing a bird feeder or driveway where there is likely more activity. Meal Cubby – For small or medium pets the kitchen is a great place to add an open cupboard for food and water dishes as well as food storage. For larger pets, like a sloppy drinking dog, the mudroom may be a better location. Litter Box Hideout – Building a room for the cat under the staircase is a popular way to keep the litter box, and the smells, out of the rest of the living space. Bedroom – Just like the food dish and litter box, the bed is commonly tucked out of the way and in a place where the pet can have privacy. Aquariums – A large aquarium can be a great addition to add some flair to your home. The tank can go in between two rooms, or be built into the bathroom sink or even a coffee table. Cat Climbing Shelves – Cats love climbing shelves to play and relax on. These can easily be added as a built-in feature. Air Purifiers – Consider installing air purifiers to control pet dander and odor in the home.

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don’t care to stand while you are chopping a bunch of veggies for dinner. Pull-Down Shelving – For those hard to reach cupboards and pull-out shelving for the lower cupboards, this is convenient for all ages, but necessary as we age. Smart Home Technology – Certain smart home features are capable of reminding you to turn off the coffee pot and can even dispense medications. Enhanced alarms are available for smoke detectors, doorbells and appliances for those hard of hearing or with poor eyesight. Lever Door Handles – A simple switch from a turning doorknob to a lever will significantly help those with arthritis, not just on doors but also on faucets. Built-In Bunks – A room with four bunkbeds built into one wall, with steps between them, will allow for plenty of space for when the grandkids sleep over. There are numerous ways to add these into your home design and are great for younger families as well.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICK HAMMER COURTESY OF LANDS END DEVELOPMENT

Building for Kids — If space in the home or budget allows, these ideas are fun: Wall Coverings – Paint walls with chalkboard paint, magnetic paint or dry erase paint to inspire the budding young artist. There are even wallpapers that look like a coloring book page kids can actually color. Indoor Jungle Gym – The winter can be long, especially when you are young and want to be moving non-stop. An indoor jungle gym, or even just a single swing, can keep children occupied and healthy during those cooped up months. Building an indoor gymnasium with a rock-climbing wall could even be included. Desk Space – A built-in desk, possibly in their bedroom facing a window, would be a relaxing environment for students to study and would keep them from taking over the dining table. Ample Entryway – Room in the entry for backpacks, coats, shoes and all that winter gear is critical when designing a house with kids in mind. Built-in coat hooks and separate cubbyholes for each child is ideal. Floating Vanities – These are very convenient for homes with kids so that you can tuck the inevitable foot stool or potty chair underneath. Child Proof – Do this before you build. Plan how wide the stair entrances are so that a safety gate will fit. Have a built-in cubby for the kitchen gadgets to hide in. Install a lock for cupboards with dangerous items in them. Avoid sharp edges and instead round the corners of counter-tops. Building for Future — After retirement you don’t want to spend all your time remodeling your home. Instead, keep in mind the things you may not be able to do as you age and plan your house accordingly: Location – Although it isn’t fun to think about, keep in mind that as we age it may become difficult to drive. It may be prudent not to build your retirement dream home out in the boonies. Main Level Master – Plan on a main level master bedroom for when the stairs become a hindrance. Another good room to have on the main level is the laundry. That way your day to day living will not include multiple trips up and down any stairs. Wheelchair Ramps – If you plan this before you build it can look like a natural part of the landscaping or in-home design rather than a conspicuous add on. The same is true if you build wider doorways and hallways. Multi-Level Counters – This is crucial if you or your spouse need a wheelchair, but also nice if you


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North Country Custom Builders believe that what they do is more than a job and are dedicated to crafting state-of-the-art homes from the sincere desire to bring people’s dreams to life. They are passionate about the many beautiful homes they have constructed throughout the Brainerd Lakes area. With each custom-home project they design and build, they keep the homeowner’s dreams at the forefront at every stage in the process. Whether your project is large or small, a new construction or a remodel, North Country Custom Builders will do whatever it takes to make your vision a reality. That’s why they’re called “Custom Builders”...they make sure your perfect dream home is designed and constructed to your specifications. There will never be another home identical to yours.

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2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 15


SUBMITTED BY: SHROEDER’S APPLIANCE

Today’s Smart Home

We have techfades to that color nology offerings and brightness. that are integrated There are many into our day from people that tout the the moment we benefits of wakBY PHIL SEIBEL wake up to the ing this “natural” moment we fall way, as you would asleep. Things like when the sun rises. Advances in technology... smartphones that Kitchen — helps us communiThe kitchen is from the lightbulb to security cate and stay on one of the most inschedule, smart novated rooms of appliances that your house when it help us get our comes to technolpairs with a companion app that chores done, and developments ogy. Samsung has offered smart will allow you change the color like If This Then That programs that appliances in recent years, and of the light emitted. You can set allow us to control seemingly any every year more come on the different scenes and save them aspect of our household. market. Refrigerators that track for future use. The alarm function Let’s take a look around some of your milk supply, you can start a is really cool though. You can set these smart home features. grocery list that’s saved on your the light color you want, and then Bedroom — WiFi enabled screen, you can assign the length of time the light The Hue LED light bulb by Philips even look up recipes on the dis16 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017


play. You can control your oven’s temperature and cook time with your phone, adjust the range top as well, all from an integrated app. Operate appliances and kitchen equipment using smart switches - like the WeMo from Belkin. As a very basic introduction, you can use their smart switches to control lights, even lights with dimmers. Partner this with the Hue and you’ve got the option for custom lighting in every room of the house. Digital thermometers that have an app make cooking to specific temperatures a breeze. The ability to set the item and forget about it, and being able to check the temperature at any time means you’re not tied to the oven when making roasts; they’re also right at home on the grill. Living Room — Many living room innovations can be singular upgrades, but if you’re looking for a custom package local companies like Audio Video Extremes and Digital Horizons specialize in state of the art smart home upgrades. A handy gadget that can find its home in many different rooms is the WeMo Maker - a small device that uses IFTTT technology. IFTTT stands for If This Then That, and means that it takes commands and how the device reacts depends on the input it’s given. In an extreme example from their website - you can program the Maker that if your cat uses the litter box, then the Maker will email you a notification. Streaming devices like Roku, Chromecast or Apple TV are changing the way we watch video - whether you’re watching YouTube, catching up on a TV show or watching a movie on Amazon Prime, these devices are constantly updating with new content and features. 2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 17


Hidden TVs are also becoming more popular. Not only do they give you more room, they also deter theft. Panasonic is working on a model of OLED technology that effectively becomes transparent when not in use, and LG is continuing its quest for a completely flexible screen. Amazon’s Alexa and the new Google Home are also gaining traction in the smart home market. Designed to be a sort of virtual assistant, these devices are also compatible with dozens (and growing) of smart devices they can interact with and control. Connect Alexa to a WeMo switch or Maker and control just about anything in your house. On the Go — Ring has created a doorbell camera and monitoring system that not only alerts you when someone is on your doorstep, but you can also see them and communicate with them for total peace of mind. If you’re looking to go a more total home solution route, Smart Home packages allow you combine any number of features into one hassle free package. Video monitoring, motion sensors, lighting control, water sensors, smart door locks and thermostats and more. All of this can be controlled through a convenient app and installation can be completely handled by them.

18 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

Whole Home Security — Local security companies offer a whole array of home security and monitoring products that are ideal for not only year round residents, but also can provide peace of mind for those with second homes or cabins. Harry Brodmarkle, owner of Midwest Security, credits a few key things that have really changed the way they do business- wireless technology, the devices themselves, mobile applications and the available software have all advanced together to create the most technologically advanced offerings that are available today. He is quick to point out some of the key differences in DIY vs a professional installation, wireless connectivity vs wi-fi connectivity only, and what a difference that can make. The systems they use incorporate wireless technology that is not dependant on a wi-fi router system, like many of the DIY products available. They utilize a battery backup so the systems are able to withstand inconveniences like power outages, or internet service issues. This also makes their systems more viable in areas that have spotty, or slow, internet coverage. Rich Erkens, owner of Audio Video Extremes notes, “Our clients’ imaginations is their only limitation.” They have developed a control panel that acts as a


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hub for any of the products they integrate. Whether it’s the security system, a home theater, or the new Amazon Alexa the customer purchased, it can all be controlled by the Control4. Taking that innovation one step further, the systems also have a “learning” capability where the system can learn preferences from either preset settings, like turning the temp up when you wake up, to a semiautonomous mode where it will adapt to the habitual use over time, like Nest thermostats can do. Learning to control a newly installed system is designed to be quick and easy with the average time to learn the Control4 panel being between 5-10 minutes. As Erkens said, their goal is to show people that “things can be easy, you don’t have to make it hard.” When asked about the most commonly overlooked piece of technology by consumers surprisingly it was

the technology associated with monitoring that came in first. Brodmarkle went on to explain that monitoring is often overlooked because of the “out-of-sightout-of-mind” mentality that happens when we leave our homes. We lock our doors (we think), turn down the temperature (maybe), and close the garage (we hope) and generally have no clue what happens in our homes when we’re not around. By extension, if you’re going to invest in an advanced security system, it makes sense to incorporate a quality monitoring system that will help you check in whenever you want, whether it’s integrated cameras, water sensors, or window and door alerts, receiving messages or viewing a live feed can put your mind at ease when you can’t be there 24/7.

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IMAGINE

SUBMITTED BY: BARATTO BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION

BY SARAH HERRON

Design Styles Six Popular

With so many design styles trending, it can be difficult to find the right one for you. Regardless of which style speaks to you, remember to add your own personal touches to bring your personality and preferences to what should be your own personal oasis.

2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 23


SUBMITTED BY: NORďšşSON

SUBMITTED BY: WES HANSON BUILDERS

Farmhouse

24 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

A farmhouse style house is commonly a gathering house. This person might host a big family dinner and therefore loves to convene by the over-sized dining table, the fireplace and wrap-around front porch. A large white farmhouse sink, or apron sink, is a major must-have for a farmhouse style kitchen. Also pertinent in the kitchen is a butcher-block island and glass cabinet doors. Dusty blues, creams, whites and grays are popular color choices to entice that country feel. Houseplants and dried or fresh flowers are perfect for adding pops of color to the otherwise neutral room. Decor will include reclaimed barn wood or distressed wood, bedrooms with iron beds, mismatched quilts, rag-rugs and bathrooms with old fashioned claw-foot tubs. Natural lighting is important to keep a fresh, simple feel. Beadboard and wainscoting are both classic architectural elements that are often used in farmhouse styled homes.


SUBMITTED BY: : BARATTO BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION

Contemporary encompasses a range of other design styles. It has clean, straight lines and no frills, so not overly warm but not cold feeling either. To balance the look, add some curves and color. The contemporary style forgoes carpets and uses very few rugs. This adds to the open and airy feel of this style. If you must have carpeting, choose a solid, neutral color in a low pile. Leave windows undressed for natural light but also add some artistic lighting. Instead of framed family photos there is original artwork, black and white photography or sculptures. The contemporary style is often confused with modern, but contemporary is more flexible and less rigid than the 20th century modern.

SUBMITTED BY: NORďšşSON

Contemporary

Modern

Modern styled homes are sparsely decorated. Not boring, mind you, but functional. If it is not functional then it doesn’t fit with this theme. Clean lines, geometric shapes and neutral colors are the essentials for modern decorating. This design eliminates clutter and anything that is unnecessary. Modern homes may look basic but they also incorporate certain unique styles, such as the furniture, which is often times oddshaped to either fit into a tight spot, for added comfort, or to be viewed as artwork. Abstract art is another of these unique styles that is frequently found in a modern home. Interior design experts recommend mixing in aspects from other styles to keep this theme looking fresh and not outdated.

2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 25


SUBMITTED BY: CROW WING CABINETS

Rustic

26 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

SUBMITTED BY: BARATTO BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION

The perfect style for that cabin up north, surrounded by Minnesota’s abundant trees and wildlife. This design used to be kind of cold and gloomy but has transformed to focus on natural beauty and organic warmth. The pieces in rustic homes are going to big and chunky, not dainty or frilly. Solid fabrics are preferred but simple patterns in stripes or plaid are accepted. Muted earth tones and accents that mimic nature such as birch bark, twigs and repurposed wood are commonly found in rustic homes. The fabrics most frequently used are linen, wool, burlap and canvas. Antlers adorn the walls and animal hides cover the floor in front of a wood burning fireplace.


PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICK HAMMER COURTESY OF LANDS END DEVELOPMENT

SUBMITTED BY: BARATTO BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION

Industrial

Think exposed steel, brick, ducts and rustic wood beams, high ceilings and Edison bulbs, wood coffee tables with exposed steel legs or reinforced concrete tables with wood legs. The colors are rustic and earthy, nothing too bright. There can be a dash of color, but even rugs should be faded or distressed. Decor is made from pipes, wood, metal and leather. Trunks and lockers are also common in industrial decorating. There is flexibility in decor choices with this style - vintage or new is up to you - a heavier, darker look or a lighter feminine look. The neutral colors are accepting of many different design preferences.

SUBMITTED BY: WES HANSON BUILDERS

Bohemian

A plethora of throw pillows, blankets and rugs are involved in decorating a bohemian style home. The textures are rich, the patterns and colors are bright and bold. Hanging plants swing from crocheted plant holders and beaded curtains frame at least one doorway. Many bohemian decor styles are similar to those from the 60s and 70s, like the tie-dyed blankets and hammock chairs. One-of-a-kind flea market treasures will be found in these homes as well. Beds are low to the ground and are regularly surrounded by a sheer canopy. The ambiance is laidback; there are no rules but to follow your heart.

2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 27


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30 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017


p o P A

of Color BY: DANAE BLANCK ANDERSON, ASID, CID

Taking a chance on color in your decor

Taking a chance on adding color into your space can sometimes seem overwhelming. But, it doesn’t have to be! Adding color to a home or office can be extremely revitalizing. If one chooses the correct color it can enhance the function of the space immensely as well as positively affect the end user. In fact, the color around us affects us psychologically in many ways.

2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 31


Pantone color for the year

SUBMITTED BY: NORSON

GREENERY

32 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

The psychology of color can be applied to everyday life. There are studies that show how one’s emotions are affected when exposed to specific colors. Cool colors such as green or blue can be more relaxing or have a calming and peaceful effect. This happens biologically because your eye focuses these colors directly on the retina and its considered to be less strenuous on eye muscles. Meanwhile, warm colors such as red, orange or yellow can bring comfort, warmth and even heightened stimulation. In fact people have been shown to have an increase in blood pressure and adrenaline when surrounded by a red wall. I always suggest doing a little research on a color before deciding to paint a wall, especially if it is in a heavily trafficked area like a great room or kitchen. 2017’s colors invoke nature, inspire tranquility and even robustness. Some colors to be looking for include deep jewel tones, warm grays and apple green amongst other bright colors like melon, lemon and denim blue. Pantone, the “Global Color Authority,” says to think of these colors in three categories: Subtropical - lively and boisterous; Blossom - romantic and colorful; and Dusk - dark and mysterious. Pantone’s color for the year is called Greenery. “This is the color of hopefulness and of our connection to nature. It speaks to what we call the ‘re’ words: regenerate, refresh, revitalize, renew. Every spring we enter a new cycle and new shoots come from the ground. It is something life affirming to look forward to,” Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Color Institute executive director told The New York Times.


SUBMITTED BY: BARATTO BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION

Benjamin Moore’s color for the year is called Shadow. It is a deep mysterious color that speaks of ages past yet yearns for what is yet to be. “It ebbs and flows with its surroundings and light brings it to life. Rich, royal amethyst can fade into the soft lilac-grey of distant mountains or morph into lustrous coal. Indulge your mysterious side. Let Shadow set the mood,” said Ellen O’Neill, Creative Director for Benjamin Moore. Finally, Sherwin Williams’ color of the year is very reminiscent of the warm greys that currently can be found in all aspects of interiors. This warm inviting grey is definitely the new neutral. Sherwin Williams calls it Poised Taupe. “Our story of taupe is simple. Earthen brown combines with conservative grey and the result is a weathered, woodsy and complex neutral that celebrates the imperfections and authenticity of a well-lived life,” states the Sherwin Williams website. Enhancing your space with a pop of color could be just what you need! It’s time to take that chance!

Benjamin Moore color for the year

SHADOW

Sherwin Williams color for the year

POISED TAUPE

2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 33


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RENOV ENO 81%

Projects with high return potential

Deck or Patio Addition Average Cost: $10,000 - $15,000 Average ROI: 81%

BY NIKKI LYTER When you think of adding value to your home, many people jump to large kitchen and bathroom renovations or additions. While extra square footage, gourmet kitchens and luxurious bathrooms are undeniably great selling features in the home, you may not see the full return you are hoping for. This year - think small. These simple renovations can make a huge impact on your home’s value...

98% Replacing your front door (steel)

Average Cost: $1,000 - $1,200 Average ROI: 98% plus energy savings

80%

5 1

New Windows

Average Cost: $15,000 Average ROI: 80% plus energy savings

Questions to ask yourself before getting started

Who am I renovating for? Am I making these changes for myself and my family’s comfort and convenience? Or am I renovating to turn around and sell in the near future?

36 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

2

What are the comps in my neighborhood like? It may be fantastic to have the nicest house on the block, but be careful not to over-improve or you may not see the return you are hoping for.

3

What are my priorities? If you are planning on staying, start with the space(s) you spend the most time in, the ones that are going to have the biggest impact on your life. If you are looking to sell in the near future, you may want to start with external features that boost curb appeal and draw potential buyers in.


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What are my wants vs. needs? Everyone has an extravagant wish list of things they want to do to their home. But if your electricity bill has been skyrocketing or your furnace keeps kicking out, start with the necessities.

5

What is my budget? Set a specific budget per space you are looking to renovate. Set realistic expectations, work with a pro to get a true estimate of time, labor and materials. And most importantly, do your research. What materials and styles will stand the test of time? Is this a project I can do myself to the level of

quality I desire, or is it a job for the professional? It would be a shame to invest in a project that in a few years will need to be replaced or re-done because you are not happy with the results.

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-CreatingStunning Curb Appeal BY SHEILA HELMBERGER

Update. Replace. Change.

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You probably spend a lot of time taking care of the inside of your home. You replace things as they wear out, put on a coat of paint if a room needs it and even update the look occasionally. But, the curb appeal of your home offers visitors an extraordinary first impression of where you live before they ever set foot on the inside. The repetition of everyday life can sometimes mean we forget to notice our surroundings as we come and go. A step back from your own home might help you take notice of things that could use updating, replacing or changing. What would you like to see different?

2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 39


SUBMITTED BY: BACKYARD REFLECTIONS SUBMITTED BY: BACKYARD REFLECTIONS

40 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

SUBMITTED BY: LANDSBURG LANDSCAPING

Do you have a specific focal point to highlight or do you want the entire yard to offer one attractive space? Could the area use more color? Would you like to see more variety in textures and materials? As with everything, less can be more when it comes to landscaping, too. Just a few things can make an impact if they are tended well and look healthy. There are a lot of things you can do yourself to improve your home’s curb appeal but if you’re not sure what changes to make, or if you’re contemplating a bigger job, consider calling a company that can help. “It’s no secret that, in addition to the joy it brings, a professionally landscaped yard will add significant value to your home. The possibilities really are endless,” says Katie Landsburg Stewart of Landsburg Landscape Nursery in Brainerd. “Given all of the variables, it really is difficult to make a blanket suggestion as to what would look nice in every yard, but one thing is for sure, if you are starting from scratch, the importance of a professionally designed landscape plan is invaluable. It will serve as your roadmap for everything you do and will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.” Lars Raisanen of Backyard Reflections agrees. “The biggest thing in landscaping,” says Raisanen, “comes down to design. Having a professional design it will make for a smooth flow of all of the features. I always tell people, “You don’t build your home without a blueprint so why would you want to do your landscape without one?” A designer can help you choose the right color plants to compliment your home’s style, along with the right pavers, retaining walls and other features. “Another important aspect of landscaping that is often overlooked is forgetting to properly maintain what you currently have,” says Stewart, “Probably the number one mistake we see is a lack of pruning. It doesn’t


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take long for a landscape to grow out the right plant for the right space and of control and become unsightly. Just let nature take its course.” Used creatively the exterior of your as people need haircuts, your plants need haircuts to stay healthy, too. home can also be a way to increase Generally, we say it’s safe to prune your living space. A front patio for off about 1/3 of the plant, but if you seating can be charming and inviting. are unsure, please ask a profession- “There really is nothing better than an opportunity to get unconnected al.” Refreshing an existing space really from technology and enjoy the great can make a big difference and be outdoors,” says Stewart, ”and if it’s a a good place to start. While some place you can share with friends and jobs offer obvious, immediate gratifi- family, it’s all the more worthwhile!” Maybe it’s not the year to make big cation, such as replacing an old roof or a new coat of paint, just using a changes and you’re just looking for a pressure washer on your home’s ex- few inexpensive ways to make some terior, walkways and driveway to improvements. Here are a few eyeremove dirt and dust will offer a no- catching changes that will still leave a ticeable change. Other measures big impression: •The addition of include removsubtle lighting, soing weeds that lar or otherwise have found their can have a dual way up through “There really is purpose. Besides cracks or other nothing better than warming up the exlandscape edging, refreshing an opportunity to get terior and illuminate attractive landmulch, cleaning unconnected from scaping, It helps out flower beds, and repairing technology and enjoy guide visitors safely along sidewalks any patches in the great outdoors” and pathways. the lawn. ReKatie Landsburg Stewart place weath•Go bold and of Landsburg Landscape Nursery ered finishes paint your front door such as light fixa splashy, marveltures, door hanous new color. dles and kick plates with new, flaw- •When selecting plants research less ones. those that are easy to care for, right Backyard Reflections says the use for the climate and that add to the of ‘Plantscapes’ is a way to soften overall look of the space. Careful and naturalize an environment. All planning will give your yard blooms flowers are beautiful but you will want from the earliest days of spring to the to make selections for your yard that latest possible moment in the fall. are zone appropriate. Stewart says •The outdoor space of your home plants don’t have to mean a lot of can be a place to exhibit a little artiswork or take up a lot of space to make tic flair. From birdbaths to metal cuta big impact. “Strategically-placed outs, small sculptures and water feaand well-planned container gardens tures, they can up the wow factor and can really have a big impact, for not help make a space interesting. a lot of fuss,” she says, “Of course, the specific plants and varieties will vary depending on your unique site. Sun versus shade, moisture and wind are all factors that will come into play. If designed properly, they can be very easy to care for. The key is to choose 42 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017


SUBMITTED BY: BACKYARD REFLECTIONS

2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 43


Home Buying Power

BY DANAE BLANCK ANDERSON, ASID, CID The home buying process can be overwhelming. Several different pieces to the puzzle are analyzed like an affordable monthly mortgage payment, choosing a neighborhood, home showings, schools, considering commutes, deciding on a real estate agent and lender, discussing title work and so much more. With all of these decisions comes legal paperwork and documentation. But, if you don’t work in a financial institution, as a Realtor or for a title company, some of the lingo may sound like a foreign language pertaining purchasing a home.

“A potential buyer must have a 12-month clean pay history and two to three lines of credit”

Chris Boelter, Residential Real Estate Manager, VP at Frandsen Bank & Trust

There are many lenders to visit here in the Brainerd lakes area. Chris Boelter, Residential Real Estate Manager, VP at Frandsen Bank & Trust in Baxter, is one of them. He told me the simplest way to begin looking at the home buying process is for a client to know their budget. “The customer needs to know the price range they need to be in, knowing what your budget is…is paramount. Then they’ll want to find the right home that fits that.” 44 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

Finding the right home can be quite a procedure. The very first item needed is a prequalification letter. Most Realtors will ask for this before showing a single house. Colleen Goedker from Goedker Realty, Inc., said a prequalification or preapproval letter really helps pinpoint the price range of homes buyers should look at. “The benefit of a preapproval letter is when a Realtor presents an offer, it is stronger or more solid because the buyer has done their homework,” said Goedker. Darlene Hardy, a mortgage loan officer with BlackRidge BANK in Baxter said the “easiest thing to do is meet with a lender or apply online” to get started with the prequalification process. Bring in tax documents, W2s, paystubs and anything else you may need to have your income examined. A credit check is then done. “A lender will let you know if there are credit items to be tweaked,” said Hardy. Hardy recommends jumpstarting the process by requesting a free


PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICK HAMMER COURTESY OF LANDS END DEVELOPMEN

credit report from each one of the credit bureaus to look for errors and then fix them. Boelter agreed that sometimes people have to work on their credit before being able to get a loan for a house. When this happens, it is wise to establish trade lines with secured credit cards and/or loans. “A potential buyer must have a 12-month clean pay history and two to three lines of credit,” said Boelter. People should reduce revolving debt but do not close out any credit cards. Hardy said people think they need to close out accounts all of the time but really one of the items a person’s credit is based on is the amount of credit they have available to them versus the percentage they have charged. So it’s best not to close anything and also not to make any big purchases. 2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 45


Once credit and income are verified and a loan type selected, a prequalification letter is rewarded and the fun begins with searching for a house. See what happens next.

A Lender’s Home Timeline 1) A Realtor writes a purchase agreement. 2) The lender orders an appraisal to ensure the value of the home is equal to or more than the requested mortgage. 3) A title company is hired to research the history of the property and ensure clean title. 4) The lender sends all information to underwriting where loan is reviewed. 5) Buyer supplies any additional info requested by underwriting. 6) The lender shares “closing disclosure” with terms of the loan & request for any certified funds for closing.

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7) The home buyers sign final paperwork with a title company. 8) Finally, Hardy says, “move in and enjoy your own home.”

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Finding Clarity in Clear Title BY DANAE BLANCK ANDERSON, ASID, CID

Clear title … what does that mean with regard to real estate? At the closing table property transfers from one owner to the next. There has to be assurances the new owner will have quiet enjoyment of their property and that it is free and clear of any liens, assessments, judgements or conflicting claims of ownership. That is where a title company comes in. Your title company’s job is to do a careful research and examination by searching public records to recreate the history of the property. I even referred to this process as “detective work. ”Shayna McCulloch, co-owner and Escrow officer at Elite Title & Escrow Corp., in Baxter chuckled when I described it as that but she agreed her job does include a lot of investigative work. McCulloch told me Minnesota is a title insurance policy state. This means the title is examined and used as the main source of information when real estate documents are being studied. After that, if needed, abstracts and other paperwork are looked at. Suz Pohl and Bill Goers, partners at Baxter’s Cygneture Title & Abstract, Inc., shared their brochure with me which defines title as “the right to own, possess, use, control and dispose of land. It is your lawful ownership of real property.” Goers mentioned three important concerns that a title company deals with. First, the legal property description is carefully examined to be sure it is correct. Secondly, the type of access for the property is verified. This involves making sure there is a road or driveway to and from the property and checking easements allowing one to legally use it. Finally, an investigation is conducted researching the history of the property to ensure there are no title problems. Title insurance will protect you from title problems including hidden defects, such as fraudulent transfers in the past and unknown heirs. The title company then offers new owners a Title Insurance policy that is “like an umbrella that can protect you from all of the rain,” Goers said. 2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 47


SUBMITTED BY: NORTH COUNTRY CUSTOM BUILDERS

Lenders typically require a borrower to pay for Lender’s Title Insurance to cover any possible losses due to defective title the lender may have. A purchaser should also consider getting an Owner’s Policy protecting the owner from title defects that existed prior to purchase. It covers the cost of any legal defense of your title up to the amount of the policy. Title insurance is typically a one-time premium purchased at the closing. It seems confusing but an easy way to look at title insurance is “We insure backwards,” Pohl said. Making sure your property’s history is listed correctly saves heartache, headache and money that could go towards legal fees

to fix the defect. The history of your property is kept in the County Recorder’s office, where records of all transactions of all properties are located in the county. A property may have an abstract which is a written summary of all legal pertinent information regarding it also in county records. Another question often asked is what exactly does a title company do during the home buying process? “Buyers always ask, what’s next? I tell them the title company will take it from here … they take care of you until we close the house and I am here to assist along the way,” said Carolyn Olson from Weichert Realtors Tower Properties of Brainerd.

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Let’s find out what a title company does…

Purchase and Closing Timeline SUBMITTED BY: WAUSAU HOMES

1) A purchase agreement is written and signed by all parties. Having a Realtor for this process is extremely beneficial. 2) Buyer and seller information is collected along with current title information and given to the title company. 3) The title company updates the title by searching county records. 4) The title is examined to confirm clear ownership of the property. 5) A title commitment is prepared (a list of requirements in order to pass clear title to the buyer). 6) Lender reviews the commitment and financial information from the buyer . 7) Pre-closing work is happening in the background. 8) A closing date is scheduled and all parties notified 9) Lender sends the loan package to the title company with details and requirements. 10) On closing day: All parties get together to sign documents, exchange funds and finalize paperwork. Congratulations you just bought/sold a property! 11) Title company send documents to county for recording. 12) County returns recorded documents back to title company so that the final title policy can be issued.

50 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

The small amount of premium cost is “so well worth having title insurance because in the event that there ever is an issue it is much cheaper than having to hire legal counsel to have it resolved,” McCulloch said.

In the lakes area there are numerous title companies to work with. Find one that can do the investigative work for you and remember you can request your own title company to help you find clarity in a clear title.

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Toes in th There is nothing more Minnesotan than owning a lake house. Residents have lived here - or visited here - for generations, creating memories on the water. Once you decide to come “up north,” you have some decisions to make. Sandy beach or natural frontage? Big water view or small water solitude? Are you up for some fishing? Pan fish, walleye, bass or Muskie? Your first decision is easy - hire a local Realtor. That person is going to be your best resource to help you find your perfect property. We talked to a few to get their advice.

Matt Pecarich, Kurilla Real Estate Do your research — The internet has changed everything. People are researching the lakes on the Minnesota DNR website http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakefind/. Buyers understand the various types of lakeshore and by the time they get here, they pretty much know what they are looking for. People who aren’t familiar with our area might need a little more education on their options but buyers looking for the Gull Chain, Bay Lake or the Whitefish Chain know exactly what lake they want to be on. Most have been here before and have friends or relatives in the area or on those lakes. In general, many lake home buyers want to be in by July Fourth so they can enjoy the summer. The closer we get to winter the more picked over the inventory will be and it can be harder to find just the right property. Our takeaway: Think about how you plan to use the lake. Are you there for the fishing? Sailing? Sunsets? Do you want a busy lake or a quiet lake? Tell your Realtor so they can zero in on the perfect property. 52 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

Jeremy Miller, Edina Realty Know your budget — Some people don’t understand the scope of the lakes and how expensive some can be. It’s important to have a realistic budget. They might start looking in homes in a lower price range but they might not find everything they want. If a buyer hasn’t found something after 10 or 12 properties they need to either reevaluate their “want list” or up their price point to expand their search. I’ll ask them if they want a basic cabin with nice lakeshore or better cabin with not so great lake bottom. Sometimes the trade-off is the elevation from the cabin to the lake. People with kids tend to want a sand bottom that doesn’t drop off too quickly, whereas a retired person might be OK with a soft shoreline as long as the fishing is great. My rule of thumb is if you find a property has 7 out of 10 things you’re looking for, that’s pretty good. Our take away: Before you call an agent talk with your mortgage lender about how much lake home you can afford. Your Realtor can guide you to homes in your price range. Know what your actual maximum spend is or which property features you are willing to live without.


he

BY LINDA HURST

Agents Advice to Buying Lakeshore

Jana Froemming, Positive Realty

Mary Shimp, Remax Lakes Area Realty Crosslake

Pictures don’t always say a thousand words —

Don’t hesitate when you find “the one” —

People think they are realistic about what they’re looking for until they get to the property and see for themselves. It’s hard to visualize the slope to the lake until you drive to the property. You can read 10 to 15 foot elevation on an MLS data sheet, but until you see it, you don’t know what that really means and if it will really work for you. Photos can be deceiving by masking how much elevation there really is. I showed a gorgeous listing to some buyers with everything on their wish list. They claimed they didn’t need level elevation, but when they saw the property, reality hit and they said it was it was higher than they thought it would be. My advice is to watch for clues in the pictures. A 20-foot slope across a 200-foot yard is fairly gentle. A level yard with a 20-foot bluff is a different story. Our takeaway: Online photos just don’t compare to seeing a lake home in person. It’s the only way to gauge the nuances of the land such as elevation and the quality of the shoreline. When you find a listing on a website that interests you, schedule a showing with your Realtor.

POSITIVE REALTY

We see more and more people returning to central Minnesota. These buyers used to live here and have a desire to come back. They are focused on securing a property now, before they retire. Their short term plan is to use the property as a weekend cabin but once they retire, this will become their main home - a place for family gatherings and celebrations. They’re either purchasing cabins they can add to and fix up or they go straight for their dream home. I ask for feedback on the homes we look at to make it easier to narrow the search on properties that will work. After a while patterns show up, so it’s clear what is important to them. These “return to home” buyers are fun to work with because they’re on a mission. Even if they tell me they’re just starting their search, if they find a property they like, they’re writing an offer right away. Our take away: Lakeshore listings are in high demand and the best bargains go fast. Your Realtor can help you understand the value of each cabin you preview so when you find one that makes your heart race you are prepared to write an offer.

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REMAX LAKES AREA 2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 53


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Practical advantages of GREEN HOMES in Minnesota BY TRAVIS GRIMLER

The science of building more efficient homes Tucked in the community of Pine River is a campus dedicated to finding out what works and what does not in the world of renewable practices. Paul and Lynn Hunt have built a campus dedicated to experimentation to that end, and they know more than most when it comes to green construction in Minnesota. To them, temperature control is the main goal in development of renewable residences. They have five buildings dedicated to discovering what works for the state and what does not. To determine how effective their experiments were, their experimental buildings were compared against newly constructed buildings following Energy Star and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. A new building following these standards operates at about 80 kilowatt hours per square foot. They found that even the least efficient of their experimental buildings was more efficient than Energy Star and LEED standards. 56 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

The types of buildings included a 4,500 square foot straw and mud building (which costs $88 per month to heat), to a 1,100 square foot cabin built from the same materials (which costs $151.23 for all electrical use), a 15,000 square foot manufacturing shop with office and greenhouse space (which costs $98.94 to heat per month), and a 2,800 square foot home for themselves called the ARC (Which costs $53.71 per month to heat). Simple construction practices are what make these buildings efficient. One building, the SPARC, is constructed much like the ARC, but with construction companies and commercial products in mind. “We wanted to get into more practical builds,” Lynn Hunt said. “What makes sense for builders in the region? We stayed with a structural insulated panels (SIP) and came up with a 1,340 square foot two story building, which is a nice size house with three bedrooms and a nice living and kitchen area.”


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Total electrical costs, including heat come to an average of $75 a month. A simple hot water heater coil is enough to heat the entire ARC and SPARC structures because the buildings are so efficient. Most of the practices they used to create their efficient buildings are very practical. “It pretty much boils down to superinsulation, earth coupling and pointing it towards the sun,” Paul Hunt said. Superinsulation — One thing in common between all of the Hunt’s buildings is the attention to insulation values. These buildings all have walls with an r-value of at least R48 and roof insulation of at least R100. The insulation itself makes these homes too efficient for traditionally green geothermal systems. “Because it (the ARC) is so well insulated, the geothermal heat pump is too big for it,” Lynn Hunt said. “Instead, we use a hot water element to pump and heat the floor. That’s off peak. Using that off peak heat for this 4,000 plus square foot building my monthly heating cost is $53.71.” During the interview for this story, the temperature outside was -20 degrees with wind chill, the ARC was 53 degrees in the garage and 78 degrees in the main house with the heat off. On sunny winter days the buildings occasionally need to be cooled with open windows. While they have used a lot of SIP panelling, Paul Hunt says many insulations will work so long as they are thick enough, dense and airtight. “We’ve tried lots of things and they seem very practical if you do them in the extreme,” Paul Hunt said. “A 2x4 with fiberglass insulation is not adequate in a long shot. If you get it up around R40 or better, then a lot of insulations are practical. We’ve used styrofoam and straw and now a lot of cellulose. I would do cellulose again, I think.” Less extreme insulation can also be very effective.

Though they do R100 roof insulation, most people could get by with R80. Proper windows are also important. If they leak, or if frost forms on the inside glass, they can be a source of heat loss. “We tried all kinds of things on windows after we mastered the art of insulating walls and roofs,” Paul Hunt said. “Windows were our next big challenge. We tried different kinds. Some were very expensive. They were nice and worked well, but in the coldest day of the year there was still frost in the corners of them. We wondered why the best windows in North America were getting frost in the corners. We decided to come up with something better and cheaper.” They found two moderately priced windows in each window sill worked much better. The outside window stops wind from outside. The air space between the windows then serves as insulation and the inside glass then serves as an effective barrier to the cold. Insulation isn’t sufficient unless it is also airtight, which actually is still posing a challenge for the Hunts. “Air exchange is a big issue,” Paul Hunt said. “We really haven’t found a super good air exchange system for high performance houses. They are very tight and need good air exchange but most of them are not designed for our cold weather.” Insulation can even be done to an already standing building, making this useful for more than just new construction. Earth coupling — Earth coupling is likely the least known practice used by the Hunts in recent constructions. The buildings do not have basements, because close contact with the ground actually helps heat the building. The ARC and SPARC are both constructed on a bed of

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You see a front yard. We see a constant, renewable source of heating and cooling. Save money - Save the Planet With a geothermal system, your monthly utility bills will be lowered dramatically. Endorsed by both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, geothermal heating and cooling services are the most efficient and environmentally-safe options available. SCR is your full contractor for all of your heating, plumbing and cooling needs.

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insulated sand. “It’s an insulated box of sand,” Lynn Hunt said. “It becomes your heat battery and stores your heat there.” While the in floor heat is running warm water through tubes, the sand underneath the building absorbs the heat, which then rises into the house. The heat remains in the sand and redistributes very slowly. The Hunts turn the heat off in their home in March, but the sand under the building continues to produce heat until summer, when the earth coupling actually serves to cool the building. The earth coupling concept isn’t well known in construction circles, but the Hunts designed it with practicality in mind and would gladly explain the process to others. “We were working on the concept for making something different but more practical,” Lynn Hunt said. The system used by the Hunts uses an electric heating element, but other heat sources including wood and gas would work equally well. The Hunts have even simplified the in floor heating and geothermal systems they use. Instead of a system with manifolds, valves, compression tanks, filling valves, bubble removers and pumps that all wear out over time, the Hunts’ system consists of six to eight small fountain pumps in a box full of water. Though this is still experimental, it proves that in floor heat and geothermal can be simplified for cost effectiveness. Pointing towards the sun — While greenhouses are a luxury to most homeowners, to the Hunts, greenhouses are a functional part of their temperature systems. The northern wall of the ARC and SPARC are both clear, corrugated greenhouse panels that serve to insulate the windows in the living spaces and to allow passage of sunlight which heats the house, even when it is cold outside. The entire greenhouse acts as a solar heating panel. “We don’t have heat on,” Paul Hunt said. “We just open the doors and


windows into the house. It’s an active participant in the solar heat.” Capturing sunlight is vital to heating the homes designed by the Hunts. “You just orient a lot more windows on the south and a lot less on the north,” Paul Hunt said. “That counts a lot. If you have lots of windows on the south you try to hold that heat.” The Hunts also found that too many windows can actually make for a home that gets far too hot. For that reason, the windows on the east and west sides of the buildings are small with blinds. Roof pitch is key to ensuring the sun is able to warm the inside of the home during winter, while preventing too much sun from coming in during the summer. “Having the proper overhang, if you have the overhang on the south side right, in the winter it lets in the sun and in the summer it blocks out the sun,” Lynn said. That proper angle differs by latitude but it can be determined by designing the overhangs with the winter noon sun in mind compared to the summer noon sun. The Hunts say the overhang in the ARC allows the sun to hit all the windows in the winter, but it shades the windows in the summer. Additional benefits — •Earth coupling results in homes higher than the surrounding landscaping thus eliminating flood issues. •The greenhouses on the Hunt properties are useful for growing year round food, hydroponics, supplementing geothermal heat, filtering greywater and maintaining moist air indoors throughout the winter. •Earth coupling and insulation both serve as energy efficient sources of cooling during summer months. A single small air conditioner is powerful enough to cool any of their buildings. •Good insulation and windows can qualify a homeowner for rebates and credits which differ depending on local power companies.

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62 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017


BARATTO BROTHERS  TOUR HOME

MMBA Home Tours BY LINDA HURST

Step one to any building or remodeling project is to find ideas. The MMBA Home Tours are a fun and easy way to take a walk through current trends in building and decorating. Just pick up your tour map and off you go. NORTHLAND CONSTRUCTION INC.  TOUR HOME

The Mid-Minnesota Builders Association has been hosting a bi-annual tour for over a dozen years. I spoke with Colleen Faacks, Executive Officer of MMBA, who said, “The spring and the fall tours definitely showcase the local building professionals who work together to finish these spectacular homes. We have six builders participating in the fall tour and you can visit all of them in an afternoon. All of the builders did an outstanding job.” So with map in hand, I ventured out to talk with each of the builders about the homes they built and to find out first hand what their clients asked them to include. One major theme seemed to run throughout the entire tour - personalization. Jeremy Johnson from Northland Construction summed it up: “There is no standard anymore for decor. We like to find something that is special to the client and take it one step further. We find that nostalgia plays a big part in the design and function of the home.” Northland Construction took the sliding barn door idea and integrated a custom window with metal accents. They said wood tones were trending darker and warmer than in previous years. 2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 63


www.pineriverstatebank.com

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We specialize in new construction and home improvement loan needs.

Five Locations To Serve You Pine River 218-587-4463 Breezy Point 218-562-4977 Nowthen 763-241-5266 Pillager 218-746-3580 Emily 218-763-2666

NORNBERG BUILDERS.  TOUR HOME

Quality Service and Products Since 1913

From Pole Barns to Custom Homes

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218.829.5798 · 3855 Independence Road · Baxter 218.692.3101 · 37568 County Road 66 · Crosslake

64 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

North Country Builders Barry Frieler and Dennis Blosberg were tasked with rebuilding a home on an undersized Gull Lake lot. Frieler noted they worked closely with the homeowner and that helped the process go smoothly, allowing them to do some unique things. Blosberg said he spent a day crawling around piles of wood looking for the perfect mantle - and he found it. The transom stained glass bedroom window was relocated from the family farm in Southern Minnesota. A repurposed farmhouse front door is now the sliding door for a guest bath. Overall, bathroom designs recognized aesthetic in addition to functionality. Nornberg Builder’s crystal chandelier above the stand-alone tub was a modern contrast to the vintage refurbished 100-year-old cast iron tub in the home built by B-Dirt. Custom shower spaces were accented by custom cabinets and glass tile. Stock bathroom cabinets were nowhere to be seen - replaced with tables and dressers and vintage sinks. Wood floors in the bath? Yes! Well, wood laminate - not that you could tell the difference.


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Dotty Brothers Construction’s townhome on the Whitebirch Golf Course showcased single level living. Off-thegarage laundry/mud rooms were popular throughout the tour showcasing cabinets, closets and storage organizers adjacent to washers and dryers. Baratto Brother’s Whitefish Chain home was the ultimate show-stopper. This home had everything from a kitchen with dual center islands to a private theatre room to a massive stone fireplace to incredible lake views from the two-story wall of windows. Clearly every aspect of this house was deliberately thought out. My favorite feature was the track leading from the lakeshore to the lakeside in-house boat garage keeping all of the lake toys safe and neatly put away when not in use. When you’re looking for inspiration for your build or remodel, the MMBA Builders Home Tours are full of great ideas. Talk with the builders and see their enthusiasm and passion for what they do. And when you’re ready to begin your project, you’ll know exactly who to call.

2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 65


STRONG Foundations BY REBECCA FLANSBURG

Block-vs-Styrofoam-vs-Wood Building a home consists of hopes and dreams, but the more tangible aspects of the project consist of foundations, walls and beams. The mindset behind building a lasting home is much like many other aspects of life: start with a strong foundation and you will be more likely to successfully weather the stormy times. Luckily those building a home in these days have newer technologies at their disposal, technologies that increase energy efficiency, add security and enhance the overall strength of their structure. These new designs and stateof-the-art construction options include bases like concrete masonry units (CMU), permanent wood foundations (PWF) and insulated-concrete forms (ICF). Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) — Builders have been actively using standard concrete block since the nineteenth century when a forward-thinking bricklayer named, Francis Straub created the first cinder blocks in 1913. Today builders and DIYers alike are familiar with the square, grey cement blocks with hollow centers (cores) that are designed reduce weight or improve insulation. These sturdy foundation and wall products are not only widely used in the United States, but in Canada and Europe as well. The use of blockwork allows structures to be built in the traditional masonry style with layers (or courses) of staggered blocks. Blocks come in many sizes and the use of them in construction creates one of the strongest and most energy-efficient houses that are possible today with foundations and walls that can withstand hurricane force winds. Other advantages to using this historic building product is that it is inexpensive, lightweight, durable, easy to install, fireproof and low maintenance. The downside to using CMU is that concrete itself is not a good insulator. To keep heat from escaping into the colder surrounding ground home builders, according to a Minnesota State Residential Energy Code Requirement, need to add additional foam insulation to the outside of CMU foundations. “Concrete block has been a popular choice of contractors and homebuilders for many years and has served 66 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017


“Building Dreams Together”

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this area well,” noted Brett Thompson, Vice President and owner of W.W. Thompson Concrete. “We have been manufacturing concrete block in the Brainerd lakes area for a century and our customers appreciate the fact that concrete block is not only affordable, it is very design-friendly foundation option. ICF is gaining in popularity though. Home builders like the fact there is increased energy efficiency with ICF because of the foam that is on both sides. The safe effect can be recreated with concrete by adding the mandated two inches of foam on the outside of the foundation along with interior insulation. But ICF is a few less steps and many homebuilders like that.” Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) — More and more quality builders are using ICFs these days to create homes that are safer, stronger and healthier than ever before. This type of building is based on simple, interlocking, stacking blocks, not unlike Legos, that are made from flame-retardant expanded polystyrene (EPS) panels connected by molded-in high density polyethylene structural foam bridging. These innovative forms also work to provide increased thermal and acoustic insulation for the home and are designed to include a built-in area for electrical wiring and plumbing. ICFs also serve as backing stucco, brick, or other siding on the outside and once the forms are in place and prepared, the interior walls are ready for sheetrock installation. Another appealing benefit to using ICFs in home construction is that the product has a fire rating which is just under four hours and is an exceptional insulator. Studies have shown that homeowners can experience as much as a 20 percent savings in heating costs in areas with cold winters. Unfortunately using ICF tends to increase building costs, though some of those costs are buffered by the fact that it takes less labor hours to install.

www.midmnba.org | (218) 829-4982 2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 67


EcoWater Systems of Brainerd While the first known instances of water treatment date back to ancient times, the water softening business began in the early 1920s. EcoWater was founded in 1925.

Our water treatment units are built in Minnesota.

Jesse Huber

office: 218-270-2900 cell: 218-831-7228

1309 S 6th St., Brainerd, MN

Ecowaterminnesota.com

Your Local EcoWater Professional, Jesse Huber, has almost 20 years experience.

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68 MINNESOTA HOME | 2017

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“ICF is gaining in popularity because of the ease of installation,” shared Bob Rickard, owner of Rickard & Sons Concrete of Pequot Lakes. “But homeowners and contractors can expect to pay around 25 percent more for ICF when making construction plans for their base. As far as longevity, CMU and ICF are both very durable and can stand up to high winds. Permanent Wood Foundations, however, are less popular not only because wood will break down over time, but the fact that it’s green-treated adds a toxicity element that many customers don’t care for.” Permanent Wood Foundations — (PWF) A PWF system consists of load-bearing wall systems framed with pressure-treated lumber and sheathed with pressure-treated plywood. PWFs are suitable for crawlspace, split-entry, full-basement designs and are also very compatible with in-floor heating.One main benefit to having a structure with a foundation made of wood is that the material reduces production costs since it doesn’t involve the mixing of concrete. When talking about the size and scope of building a home, contractors and homeowners can save up to several dollars a square foot of foundation laid. A permanent wood foundation system offers homeowners a comfortable, inviting basement living environment that is warm, dry and odor-free. This style of foundation is known for its energy efficiency and its ability to stop heat from escaping through the foundation walls or from entering into the basement areas from the outside. Basements developed using the PWF system is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer and that efficiency is reflected in heating and cooling bills. A major downside to using wood is that the material is susceptible to issues like water damage and even insect infestation. Minnesotans don’t have to worry about termites due to the extreme temperature fluctuation during the seasons, but damage from insects like silverfish, beetles and wood wasps are a real possibility. Water can penetrate wood more easily than concrete and over time will rot the wood, causing the foundation to fail. This damage will result in thousands of dollars in repair costs or more if the foundation needs to be replaced. The threat of water damage on wood foundations is an important consideration when the home is located in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognized flood zone. Today’s homebuyers are consciously choosing to make informed decisions concerning their future and that of their family’s future and these decision include what base their dream home will be built upon. Luckily they are also reaping the rewards of having multiple choices for their home’s foundation; choices that reward them with a more energy-efficient, and environmentally-friendly home that will be their sanctuary for years to come.

2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 69


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MARKETPLACE Wine Cork Map A great gift for wine lovers across Minnesota, turn your collection into fabulous wine cork art! Made from natural 1/4� birch plywood, each of these wine cork holders are designed with memorable geographic details and pre-drilled holes for easy mounting in your living room, kitchen, wine cellar or anywhere.

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WaterMat EX Elegantly simple by design, the WaterMat EX rolls out in seconds. Very lightweight wet or dry, the WaterMat EX is great for day trips to the sand bar or leave it in the water for a full season of fun! You can walk on water, run, jump, slip and slide on a WaterMat. It is sure to bring lots of laughs and fun to your lake home or cabin all summer long. For more details visit: www.thewatermat.com

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371 Furniture ..................................................................................................................... 29 ABC Seamless of Brainerd............................................................................................ 49 Advantage Seamless Gutters .......................................................................................... 6 Airtech Heating & Cooling ............................................................................................72 Arlean’s Drapery.............................................................................................................. 48 Audio Video Extremes ..................................................................................................... 18 Backyard Reflections ....................................................................................................... 41 Baratto Brothers Construction. ......................................................................................... 7 Better Living Concepts.....................................................................................................54 Brainerd Glass ................................................................................................................. 46 Brainerd Hardwoods, Inc.............................................................................................. 55 Brainerd Savings & Loan ............................................................................................... 55 Brock White ....................................................................................................................... 61 Capital Granite ................................................................................................................ 46 Crosslake Sheet Metal.................................................................................................... 74 Crow Wing Cabinets ......................................................................................................34 Custom Upholstery & Awning Center ......................................................................... 65 Cygneture Title & Abstract.............................................................................................. 51 David Mernin - Edina Realty............................................................................... 28 & 41 Digital Horizons ................................................................................................................ 21 Ecowater Systems............................................................................................................ 68 E.L. Builders ........................................................................................................................34 Elite Title & Escrow Corp................................................................................................... 2 Fiks-Con Inc .......................................................................................................................62 Frandsen Bank & Trust ............................................................................... 43 & 45 & 47 Gerhads First Supply ...................................................................................................... 28 Great River Door Company ........................................................................................ 57 Gull Lake Glass................................................................................................................. 74 Gutter Helmet................................................................................................................... 38 Habitat Architecture ........................................................................................................ 59 Hirshfield’s ......................................................................................................................... 29 Hudrlik Carpet ..................................................................................................................54 Hytec Construction.......................................................................................................... 20 Jim Christensen - Kurilla Real Estate ................................................................................ 3 JN Tree Service................................................................................................................. 21 KC Companies, Inc..........................................................................................................67 Knife River Materials........................................................................................................ 51 Kurilla Real Estate .............................................................................................................35 Lands End Development ................................................................................................... 9 Landsburg Landscape Nursery .................................................................................... 50 M & M Mortgage LLC .................................................................................................. 57 Mattson Lumber Company ........................................................................................... 68 Mid-Minnesota Builders Assn. ......................................................................................67 Midwest Machinery ....................................................................................................... 58 Mosquito Squad ............................................................................................................. 58 Neumann Construction ................................................................................................... 19 Nhance ..............................................................................................................................62 Nor-Son, Inc ..................................................................................................................... 13 North Country Custom Builders, Inc. ...................................................................... 14-15 North Star Water Wells LLC ......................................................................................... 69 People’s Security ............................................................................................................. 20 Pine River State Bank ...................................................................................................... 64 Positive Realty ................................................................................................................... 49 Schroeder’s Appliance....................................................................................................76 SCR - Northern Division................................................................................................. 60 Simonson Lumber ............................................................................................................ 64 Sunesta ...............................................................................................................................22 Up North Fireplace Gallery ..........................................................................................54 Wausau Homes.................................................................................................................. 5 Wes Hanson Builders. ..................................................................................................... 17 Wilderness Land Clearing .............................................................................................72 Wilkening Fireplace........................................................................................................ 57 W.W. 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2017 | MINNESOTA HOME 73


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MINNESOTA HOME MAGAZINE | 2017

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The staff at Minnesota Home Magazine would like to express our thanks to our advertisers. We want you to know that we appreciate the time and skill that go into each of your projects and that you share them with us and our readers. It is our honor to showcase your businesses not only in your ads but throughout the magazine. HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING Heating & Air Conditioning Sales and Services in the Brainerd Lakes Area

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MINNESOTA HOME MAGAZINE | 2017

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Minnesota Home Magazine 2017  

Welcome to Minnesota Home Magzine! Inspiration for your new home will come from everywhere. Here at Minnesota Home Magazine we are talking...

Minnesota Home Magazine 2017  

Welcome to Minnesota Home Magzine! Inspiration for your new home will come from everywhere. Here at Minnesota Home Magazine we are talking...

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