From Margaret Everton on June 28, 2010 in Minneapolis
About this time of year, everyone and their mother is fleeing to some other area of the country for vacation. Northerners go a bit farther north to cool down from soaring summer temperatures. Ocean-lovers flee to the coast to soak up the sun and splash in the waves. One couple, however, is staying putright in their Minneapolis home. Why should they go anywhere? Their home is a vacation. Charles Stinson, an architect from Deephaven, had fun with the property that now belongs to Peter and Mona Vrijsen. Stinson and builder Steve Streeter had a plan for the lakeside skyline view property that included subdividing and then building a beautiful loft-like collection of upscale homes. They got as far as the first home, and stopped, using it as a model home. The finished product was breathtaking. It borrowed heavily from European design concepts, employing a clean aesthetic and lots of open, airy, light spaces. The central feature of the home is a twenty-two foot high steel staircase. A massive bisecting limestone chimney also defines the house. Those two features add a sense of strength and balance to the home. The Valcucine kitchen, white oak flooring, Venetian plaster walls, limestone tiles, and glass corridors gave the house its characteristic airiness and abundance of light. The couple that purchased the house, originally from Brussels, fell in love with it immediately. They were so taken in by the property and its surroundings that they couldnt stand the fact of having adjacent properties developed, so they bought an adjoining property, too. They didnt let the extra property simply lie there. Instead, they came up with ideas and inspirations to build a second home. It would be a guesthouse, of course, but in the absence of guests, would serve as the Vrijsens own on-property vacation suite. The design of the landscaping and the guesthouse itself was born in the creative mind of Peter Vrijsen, and then refined and brought to life by the professional landscape architects and the homes original builder and architect. The two homes are connected by a glass breezeway, and share a common swimming pool, large lawn, sitting area, and fireplace. There is even a beautiful garden tucked away to the side of the property. Its really the recipe for a vacation. Peter remarks, Its almost like we have a summer house on the same lot as our regular house. Why bother going north for a vacation?