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In 1994, long before “going viral” was a thing, budding Minnesota homebuilders Kyle and Laurie Hunt did it the old-fashioned way. The storybook Maple Forest house the duo built for the Parade of Homes was an instant hit, immediately launching into viral fame. Thousands of Tour spectators were followed by features on the PBS television series Hometime with multiple follow-up episodes, a spot in Fine Homebuilding magazine, then finally a major story in Better Homes & Gardens, which also offered up the house’s plan to the public.

Photography by Landmark / Architecture by Sharratt Design & Company

“It became one of the most popular home plans ever featured,” Laurie says. To this day, 25 years later, Kyle Hunt & Partners still gets calls about the timeless plan. “We meet so many people who recognize and remember that home,” she adds. “Often they can’t put their finger on one specific reason why they loved it, but they just remember that it made them feel good.”

That viral fame provided a solid foundation for the Hunts to hone their homebuilding niche. For the past three decades, the company has focused on the art of building architecturally driven abodes with uncommonly high-quality detail, created by curating an expert team of craftsmen. “Our artisan approach presents an alternative to the one-stop-shop builder who designs and builds from an internal library of plans,” Kyle explains. Each project’s specific goals and priorities are analyzed, then the Hunts assemble a handpicked team to realize that vision.

This careful curation is evident in the firm’s latest project, an elegant Lake Minnetonka family retreat. “Kyle is also a realtor, so first he found the perfect property,” notes Laurie. “The homeowners’ hope was to create a fresh, open, lake-oriented space that reflected their active lifestyle.” The final product exceeds their wildest dreams, which Kyle attributes to the collective wisdom of the project’s team: “We work with the best craftsmen who have so much wisdom, and that wisdom multiplies exponentially when brought together.”

In other words, true homebuilding curation goes far beyond simply assembling a group of individual players. Rather, it’s honing an intuition for the ineffable phenomenon that takes place when brilliant combinations create masterpieces far beyond the sum of their parts. And that art of curating requires attention, integrity and zeal. As Laurie explains, “It doesn’t just happen by accident.”

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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