“You can tell a house is someone’s dream home when there’s a beautiful, functional component to every space,” shares Kate O’Hara, CEO and creative director of Martha O’Hara Interiors. Perhaps no abode exudes this dreaminess more deftly than the firm’s recent project: a modern residence that celebrates unique design details and keeps fun front and center.
Situated in the heart of Wayzata, this sprawling two-story was designed to give everyone a reason to be home — and to encourage hosting throughout its 15,500 square feet. The entire family shares a love of entertaining, whether that’s an executive party or a cool kiddo hangout. Fittingly, the property’s flow and function are guaranteed to make every event a memorable one.
“Multiple gatherings can happen at once, and everyone has what they need exactly where they need it,” says O’Hara. That level of intention is on full display throughout. Designer Elizabeth Darth’s attention to detail is apparent the moment you step through the threshold. The entryway is quite open and visible from the second floor, so every element needed to have a wow factor right from the get-go.
The kitchen was intentionally crafted to give everyone the best seat in the house. Its lengthy, linear layout makes it perfect for two islands. One acts as a prep and washing station, while the other is devoted less to fuss and more to fun. It’s a great spot to grab breakfast or chat with the cooks as they’re putting the finishing touches on a meal. A cozy booth was a must, so Darth tucked it into a nook to maximize seating. The beamed ceiling and rattan-wrapped pendant above make it feel like a room within a room.
The dining room exudes a bit more formality, but not at the expense of functionality. One benefit of bringing in the design team early is that they were able to proactively make decisions and offer options that could’ve otherwise become stressful afterthoughts. For example, the O’Hara team designed wall-to-wall built-ins so that the clients wouldn’t have to worry about selecting storage pieces later.
The dining room was also the perfect place to play with wallpaper, Darth explains. It’s more of a closed-off space with a distinctive start and stop point for the floral pattern. Complemented by a tray ceiling with dimmable lighting, the result is an elegant yet inviting area, while upholstered chairs and a funky chandelier ensure it feels cohesive with the rest of the interiors.
“The clients wanted to keep everything clean and streamlined, but warm,” says Darth, who chose a predominantly neutral color palette. Each step through the house reveals an artistic use of white oak. Flooring, ceiling beams and cabinetry are all crafted from the hardy wood, but a mix of materials and patterns keeps it from becoming overpowering.
In the kitchen, for example, white cabinetry and stone backsplash break up the oak. The quartzite was an important selection because it’s such a focal point — almost acting like artwork — but also needed to be functional. Darth opted for a full-height backsplash to suit both needs, gravitating toward a piece with “lots of movement and variation” to give it the drama it deserves.
In the family room, a wall of quartzite serves as a stunning canvas for the fireplace and is flecked with gray and black tones to balance the warmth of the wood. Down the hallway, chevron flooring paves a playful path to the office. “Part of our job is giving clients only beautiful options, so they can feel confident in every selection,” O’Hara notes.
In this project, basement vibes came upstairs. The kids have what Darth dubs the ultimate hangout space: a built-in study/work area and a luxurious loft with multiple screens for movie nights and video games. A 12-foot viewing bar accommodates prime-time seating, but you can also stretch your legs in the golf simulator just around the corner or in the sport court downstairs.
Given how much activity the abode sees, the primary bedroom is a total retreat, replete with a serene sitting area and a private deck. It features unique details like an angled shiplap ceiling, built-in dressers, and an en-suite bath with a vanity, a steam closet and a soothing yet sophisticated gray palette.
Involving the designers from the literal ground floor set the clients up to enjoy every corner of this home — not just in terms of styling, but in true livability. “That’s what made this project so exciting and successful: being able to bring these clients the full picture,” says O’Hara.