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Photography by Spacecrafting

With three kids, Sara and Tony Yocum admit their weekends can disappear quickly. The busy family longed for a cabin retreat but realized that didn’t fit within the scope of their dynamic lifestyle. Then one evening while cruising on White Bear Lake with friends, they spotted a unique piece of shoreline. “Sara and I grew up on the east side of the Twin Cities, so we were familiar with Dellwood,” Tony shares. “We realized we didn’t have to go far for our dream lake place — it was right here all along.”

The Yocums tapped longtime friend and architect Andrea Swan to design a custom home for the peninsular lot. She immediately went to work, prioritizing the couple’s desire to maximize outdoor and entertaining space. The goal? To provide captivating views within a comfortable, lodge-like family retreat that breaks the bounds of any one type of architectural style.

Swan partnered with Streeter Custom Builder to create an aesthetic that beautifully demonstrates the confluence of the clients’ architectural admiration. You see the influence of mountain modern in the gable roof accents, a touch of classic modern thanks to clean interior lines and black-framed windows, and subtle hints of Prairie with natural materials like stone and cedar. There’s even a coastal feel, highlighted by expansive verandas and balconies, making indoor/ outdoor living a breeze. “This home celebrates the process of design,” notes Swan. “It exudes the blended spirits of the clients and provides flexibility for their style to continue to evolve.”

From the beginning, the couple dreamed of a pool and hot tub on the lake side of the residence while still allowing plenty of natural light to pour into the lower level. “A custom home of this caliber is a complex puzzle,” explains Streeter Director Joe Crowley. “The first step is identifying value and asking what’s most important.”

To that end, the team worked closely with the Yocums to achieve a modern lodge aesthetic while keeping in mind the family’s day-to-day needs. A tuck-under garage reconciled walkout lake access while maintaining the main level’s indoor/outdoor connection. “The screen porch is where you’ll find me,” Sara says with a smile. She and Tony love the outdoor kitchen, too — a prime spot for entertaining. The grill boasts a Brazilian backsplash evocative of the Argentinian barbecues Tony enjoys while on hunting excursions. The exotic stone is paired with cedar so it looks right at home.

Entertaining is seamless thanks to an inventive twist: sliding doors at countertop height. “Andersen Windows & Doors is a great partner,” notes Swan, pointing to the team’s excitement to customize a traditional sliding door system into automated windows. It allows for total freedom of interaction, like being able to grab a steak off the grill and slide it right inside. Recessed walls form a perfect pocket for the windows, which can be opened or closed from a smartphone or a wall switch.

The wine and whiskey room also received extra custom treatment. Situated just off the kitchen, the space features a sliding glass exterior door system. “It mimics a storefront window while thermally sealing the contents inside,” notes Crowley. Drywall trim completes the sleek look and camouflages the door casing.

Other highlights include the iconic floating staircase leading to the bedrooms (including a fun loft area for the Yocums’ daughter) and an owner’s suite with a unique element: a closet office. Fondly referred to as the “cloffice,” it makes for an impossibly short commute. “They had one in their previous home and loved it,” Swan explains. “We were excited to integrate and elevate it in this new space.” A vaulted ceiling, custom cabinetry and balcony access make this a home office like no other.

The owner’s suite is flanked by another balcony boasting gorgeous lake views. “It was important that our family enjoy the outdoors as much as possible,” Sara shares. Friends are over constantly — swimming, fishing and boating in the summer and continuing the fun into winter. “The basement is really designed for the kids,”adds Tony. A full kitchen, fitness space and hockey room (complete with synthetic ice) make for a cool hangout any time of year. And parents get in on the fun, too, with the garage dedicated to Tony’s hunting equipment, ATVs and snowmobiles.

“Our top priority is to make your home yours, in every way that’s important to you,” say Swan and Crowley, of this and each collaborative project. In this case, the powerhouse team worked closely with the clients, pivoting when needed while staying true to their dream of a fun and relaxing getaway right at home.

The Team

  Architect: Swan Architecture (Andrea Swan, Constance Chen)
  Builder: Streeter Custom Builder (Joe Crowley, Kim Krogstad)
  Partner: Andersen Windows & Doors
  Landscape Designer: Travis Van Liere Studio

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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