Alissa Ochs has made her career seeking exceptional talent for retail app company Groupon. She and her husband, Pete (also in the tech industry), checked off burgeoning tech zip codes early in their careers before returning to Minnesota with their two young children to build the home they’d always wanted: a modern French-inspired retreat made for entertaining and relaxing.
“We always had dreams of homebuilding,” explains Alissa, who started her research phase while still living in California. “People couldn’t believe we were moving, having a baby and building a house.” But that early work and a connection to John Kraemer, vice president of John Kraemer & Sons, meant she and her family could get started from thousands of miles away.
The Ochs wanted everyone in their home to feel connected, so they elongated sightlines on the main level. Large expanses of glass windows in the great room flow to the kitchen and reach a double-sided bar that extends into the covered porch, making the indoor-outdoor transition seamless. The open floor plan is offset by a private guest suite on the lower level.
The main floor features an architectural element uncommon in Edina’s Arden Park neighborhood: a two-story great room. Typically on narrower lots like this one, square footage is maximized by utilizing all available space on all levels. “But they wanted to be different,” says Kraemer, “and the result is a gorgeous two-story space with beamed ceilings and natural light.”
It exudes warmth and nods to the French architecture Alissa and Pete came to love during their Parisian travels. This style is also represented in the detailed millwork, white oak flooring and limestone fireplace — a favorite spot for the couple to unwind and appreciate the backyard views.
“The yard is a huge benefit,” Alissa notes. “The kids feel like they’re on a Lewis and Clark journey.” And she’s able to spend a solid amount of time with them given her enviable work-from-home setup. Sliding doors reveal an inspired office with a perfectly framed view of intricately shaped steel staircase railings and light fixtures.
The interior design was a joint effort between the homeowners and John Kraemer & Sons’ Megan Monse. They balanced modern and rustic pieces — like the clean-lined sectional and rustic coffee table pairing in the great room — for an eclectic look and chose larger pieces that feel thoughtfully scaled to the 5,000-square-foot floor plan.
“The team went above and beyond to add personal touches,” Alissa recalls. Case in point: Monse helped her hand paint a letter to her daughter on the nursery wall shortly before their July 2018 move-in date following the home’s debut on the Artisan Home Tour. “If I could build a house with them every year, I would,” she adds.
Kraemer echoes that sentiment: “It’s special when you can build someone’s dream home and become friends along the way.”