“The client is what makes the home,” shares Mark Williams, founder/owner of Excelsior-based Mark D. Williams Custom Homes. This cornerstone guided his team in creating a classic-style abode that conjures as much warmth and openness as radiated by the clients themselves. They were eager to create a comfortable house with well-defined spaces that could flex for entertaining, both indoors and out, all wrapped within the privacy and tranquility of Deephaven.
This 7,500-square-foot family home channels Cape Cod architecture across its three stories thanks to classic gray cedar shakes, elegant curvature and intricate white trim. Steeply pitched gables are met with a sweeping rooftop that covers the generous front porch, where double doors beckon you inside. “It’s classic, yet bold and daring,” says David Charlez Designs Principal David Zweber, the architectural designer on the project.
First, a quaint foyer. Then an “explosive” opening into the great room, revealing vaulted ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows. The floor plan is the opposite of open-concept, but that doesn’t mean it feels closed off. Rather, intricate cabinetry provides visual breaks between open spaces while allowing flow from room to room. A well-considered palette also ties the floor plan together. The interiors notably utilize ample color without feeling chaotic.
“Everything has a sense of order and fun,” says interior designer Bridget Chirigos. She worked closely with the clients to determine an overall color story then flexed her expertise in selecting hues with just the right values — nothing too bright, stark or muted. Each color or pattern offers a hint of what’s to come in the next room. “It’s like you’re using crayons but sticking to one side of the box,” she adds.
Notes of sage, blush and beige round out the great room and travel to another highly trafficked part of the house: the pantry. It’s an atypical space for such a style statement, but that’s what the team and clients love about it. Sage green cabinetry is adorned with elegant gold hardware and complemented by white oak open shelving. Chirigos selected organic-feeling zellige tile for the backsplash (no two tiles are alike), which exudes familiar tones of blush and beige for a cohesive main floor feel. Adjoining the pantry is a pocket office, an ideal spot for Mom to work undisturbed while the kids grab an afterschool snack. Around the corner, the brood can head upstairs to their haven.
The upper level includes a loft/reading nook, a laundry room dually equipped as a craft room (featuring a monochromatic color palette Chirigos likens to “walking out into a blue-sky day”), and a space nicknamed “the ninja room” for its rock-climbing walls, designed by St. Paul–based Nicros. “It was important that every person had space for their experience,” notes Williams. This includes parents, as evidenced by an intimate yet elevated dining room, elegant office, story-high wine cellar, and main floor primary bedroom that boasts views of the pool, hot tub and heavily wooded backyard. It’s a beautiful backdrop for hosting everything from summertime pool parties to cozy autumnal gatherings. The covered porch includes a lounge area with TV and fireplace, as well as a dining area and kitchen, winterized with infrared heaters and retractable vinyl screens.
The team collaborated early and often to ensure no part of the project felt ancillary. “The house is absolutely on point in terms of exterior and interior marrying up,” Zweber affirms. Its solid, authentic feel is a direct reflection of the clients and their willingness to trust the trio of experts. “The real credit goes to them,” adds Williams. “When there’s trust, there’s freedom to create a home that feels more like you than you ever imagined.”