It’s pure Americana: the dream of living by the sea in an abode with open views of the shifting tides. That was the idea when MA Peterson set out to create a new house in Cottagewood — only instead, this 4,000-square-foot residence is set along the shoreline of Lake Minnetonka. “I lived in New England for most of my twenties, and I’ve always loved the classic homes along the Atlantic Coast,” the owner explains. “Our goal was to build an authentic Cape Cod shingle-style home, and I think we accomplished that beautifully.”
This home carries that kiss of the sea, complete with a breezy palette, broad vistas and easy charm. From day one, the goal was to optimize the exhilarating views of the lake, some of the best in the area. So they focused on the living room, where three large picture windows highlight the glistening water, like framing a work of art. And then there’s the little magic trick built into the space. During the day, a long bench seat hugs the windows, making this the quintessential spot to read a book. But come evening, press a button and a large pop-up TV gently rises out of the bench, perfect for movie night.
It’s these nuanced, often hidden details that delight. In the main sitting area, for instance, a wall is clad in wood paneling painted a crisp white. But you’d never know it has a secret door that leads into the owner’s suite — a stylish surprise to be sure. There’s also a two-story tower with endless glass to maximize views. And in the dining room, a four-way vaulted ceiling boasts accent lighting with a golden glow. “It’s about clean details that are not overly embellished, creating understated shadowing with subtle drama,” notes MA Peterson Owner/Chief Designer Mark Peterson.
For four decades, the Edina firm has been designing, building and renewing houses that feel like private sanctuaries. Recognized both locally and nationally for its exacting detail, the company prides itself on creating forever homes that are tailored to each individual client. Collaboration is key, and MA Peterson is known for its seamless partnerships with craftspeople, interior designers and even outside architects.
For this latest project, the client had recently become an empty nester and was looking for a new residence to enjoy both on his own and when his two adult daughters visit. The team partnered with Katie Bassett Interiors, who added a quiet sense of coastal chic. Cream-colored furnishings ground the main sitting and dining areas, where a pair of blue-and-white striped chairs provides the pop — a restrained nod to all things nautical. Meanwhile in the airy kitchen, cane-backed stools capture the breezy feel of the beach.
While there’s plenty of panache, there’s also a savvy dose of Midwestern practicality built right in. That’s especially evident on the lower level, where a screened-in room can be converted to a cozy heated space come winter. Plus there’s no need to worry about the intense western sunlight; hidden motorized blinds take care of that. And although it’s not visible from the outside, a generous storage room offers easy access to the lake.
All of these special touches make this bespoke home a joy to live in. True to the mission, it’s a little bit of Cape Cod in Minnesota, a long-awaited chance for this empty nester to celebrate life along the water. “The only thing missing is the ocean,” the owner teases, “but the views of the lake are pretty spectacular.”