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Photography by Troy Thies

Kyle Rudolph knows the value of teamwork. The NFL pro — a tight end with the Minnesota Vikings for 10 seasons (now playing for the New York Giants) — understands that the tighter the team, the better the outcome.

He followed that same playbook when he and wife Jordan decided to build their forever home in Minnesota. He grew up in Ohio, she in Michigan, but they formed deep connections to the Twin Cities community during his time as a Viking. The couple’s commitment to Masonic Children’s Hospital — they visited weekly pre-pandemic — culminated in Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone, a respite space for young patients and their families. “That place is very special to us,” Jordan notes.

“We’ve been in Minnesota for 10 years,” she emphasizes. “After being here for so long, there’s no other place we could consider home. This is where our kids were born, we’re ingrained in the community, and our friends are here. This is home for us.”

With a commitment to raising their young family in Minnesota — no matter where Kyle’s career takes him — the Rudolphs found a lot on Lake Minnetonka’s Maxwell Bay in 2018. Though they love California architecture (they once spent the off-season there and toured many houses), the couple looked to local talent to design and build their Minnesota residence.

Photography by Troy Thies

Serendipity played a role in selecting what Jordan calls “the dream team” of L. Cramer Builders + Remodelers, Swan Architecture, and interior designer Henri Interiors. For instance, the Rudolphs were neighbors with L. Cramer Client Consultant Jennifer Cramer-Miller. As for interior design, friends recommended Amanda Lorenz at Henri. And when Kyle and architect Andrea Swan discovered they were both Notre Dame alums, the connection was immediate. “We really had this team metaphor going, which was perfect for how we put a project together,” says Cramer-Miller.

The Rudolphs had a vision. Jordan craved a modern farmhouse, white with black windows. Kyle wanted a sport court, with a fitness center, spa and golf simulator. They also needed room for their growing family: twins Andersyn and Finley, who turn 5 this fall; 2-year-old Henry; and a baby boy due to arrive soon.

Plus the residence needed to be fit for the entertaining they love to do, indoors and out, with plenty of room for hosting out-of-town family and friends. Above all, they wanted a house that would exude comfort — an informal, put-your-feet-up sort of house.

Photography by Troy Thies

Through ingenious design, the Rudolph home maintains that comfortable family farmhouse demeanor despite its seven bedrooms, bunkroom, multitude of bathrooms, golf simulator, theater, fitness center, and impressive sport court. Retaining that feeling was the biggest challenge, Swan explains. 

On approach, the property presents a welcoming face to visitors, beckoning one and all to the charming front porch, complete with a swing. It doesn’t appear mansion-like, and no one would suspect that a massive sport court (half the size of a regulation NBA court with 23-foot ceilings) and fitness center lie 30 feet beneath the driveway. “A lot of structural gymnastics were required to make that happen,” Swan adds. 

L. Cramer built the fitness center/gym first, then jumped into an ambitious 18-month schedule to complete the rest of the house. This is where the dream team shone. “You couldn’t ask for a better team or a better process,” notes L. Cramer owner Greg Jurvakainen. “The Rudolphs were 100% invested in the process — always responsive and available.”

Photography by Judith Marilyn

And it shows in the results. The light-filled main level, with its 12-foot ceilings, transom windows over each doorway, and views to the lake, is airy and welcoming. The great room and kitchen lend themselves to large gatherings, while the cozy dining nook, with its artisan-made table, is just right for family meals.

Thoughtful details abound. The whitewashed brick arch that frames the kitchen — a detail Jordan had seen and loved in a California house — was built and color-matched to her specifications. She also wanted a custom look for the Cambria countertops on the double islands and the perimeter cabinetry by GK Millwork. “Jordan knew what she wanted and worked with Cambria to get it exactly right,” says Henri principal designer Lorenz. Cambria’s designers liked the results so much — a misty gray with dark veining and plenty of movement — that the company launched the pattern as Gladstone.

The black-and-white palette, softened with neutrals, carries throughout the abode. Kyle’s office, situated in a turret-like space surrounded by windows in the front of the house, features sharp blacks. The kitchen islands of ebonized ash contrast with the countertops and wire-brushed white oak floors. Black cabinetry in the adjoining pantry continues the theme, as does the butler’s pantry with its black speckled Cambria countertops. The silvery gray stone used on the fireplace and on the home’s exterior (one of Swan’s finds, Fond du Lac Silver Webwall from Halquist in Wisconsin) subtly complements the color scheme.

Photography by Judith Marilyn

And then there’s that showstopping staircase — in fact, there are two staircases, both equally stunning. The one in front boasts black shiplap and multiple white lights. When the designers pitched that color scheme, they knew it was unconventional, but the couple loved it. “That really set the tone for the project,” notes Lorenz. “We knew they would take some risks here and there.”

They ordered the textural white farmhouse lights from Circa Lighting in multiple sizes with extra cord and chain, “and crossed our fingers,” laughs Lorenz. “The installation took a full day and very patient electricians.” The lights in the front hang down two-plus floors. In the rear stairwell, which reaches the fourth level fitness center, the designers took a similar approach with multiple custom pendants from Hennepin Made. Those beauties hang down more than three floors. “The light is so pretty when the lights are on at night,” Jordan gushes.

Photography by Judith Marilyn

For Jordan and Henri Interiors, this abode was just the beginning. She and Lorenz became fast friends during the project, working so well together that they decided to partner on a retail venture. Henri Home, a boutique home goods shop set to open this fall in Wayzata, will stock artisan-made furniture, pottery, lamps and other decor with a mod California-coastal-meets-desert vibe.

Similar goods accessorize the owners’ suite — the Rudolphs’ sanctuary — on the main floor. On the upper level, twins Andersyn and Finley share connecting bedrooms, also a carefully considered decision. They may want to share a bedroom now, says Swan, but as adolescents, who knows? Her solution: a sliding barn door between the two spaces that allows for togetherness or privacy.

With the bunkroom and play area above the garage as well as two guest rooms, one on the upper level and one on the lower, accommodating guests is easy — by design. Kyle and Jordan are close to their families, and they visit regularly.

Photography by Troy Thies

The couple loves hosting, and their new home offers the best of Minnesota lake hospitality: boating, swimming and fishing. The pool-party-friendly landscape, designed by Yardscapes, entices everyone outside. And if the weather should be uncooperative, guests can enjoy the theater, gym, exercise room, golf simulator and sauna. Then again, they can head for the porch swing and wile away the afternoon.

A home, it’s often said, tells a story about its owners. This one has heart. It embraces family, friends, community and comfort. As Lorenz puts it, “It’s really true to the people who own it.” 

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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