Slideshow

Modern Family

Architect Christian Dean simplifies the American dream home.

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  • the Harr family's view from the living room onto Lotus Lake
    Photo by Chad Holder
    “Our favorite part in the morning is the living room, with the sun rising from behind and shining across the mirror-like lake,” says Dietrich Haar about his new home on Lotus Lake in Chanhassen.
  • The Harr family's kitchen and living room, looking out onto Lotus Lake
    Photo by Chad Holder
    Both the homeowners and architect embraced IKEA for nearly all the cabinetry and built-ins in the kitchen and baths.
  • The Haar family in their kitchen.
    Photo by Chad Holder
    The focus of the design is on the view; all of the bedrooms and living spaces face the lake.
  • The porch, complete with double-sided fireplace.
    Photo by Chad Holder
    The living room opens up to a porch and the two spaces share a double-sided fireplace.
  • The Haar family's Lotus Lake home in Chanhassen.
    Photo by Chad Holder
    A mix of Cyprus and commercial-grade glass on the windows gives this home a warm, rich look that feels natural in its lakeside setting.
  • Photo by Chad Holder
  • The Haar family's Lotus Lake home in Chanhassen.
    Photo by Chad Holder
  • Hidden storage in the living room for a sleek look inside the Haar family home
    Photo by Chad Holder
    Storage is maximized in bedrooms and living spaces yet hidden behind sleek shelving.
  • Haar family bathroom in Chanhassen
    Photo by Chad Holder
    All the materials—from James Hardie cement board siding to IKEA built-ins to wide-open spaces—are designed to be easy to maintain.
  • Haar family home's patio in Chanhassen on Lotus Lake
    Photo by Chad Holder
    The railings on the deck and the stairwell are an example of how most of the home’s materials and elements are echoed in both the interior and exterior.
  • A stairwell in the Haar family home in Chanhassen, on Lotus Lake
    Photo by Chad Holder
    The railings on the deck and the stairwell are an example of how most of the home’s materials and elements are echoed in both the interior and exterior.

Anna and Dietrich Haar dreamed for years of building their ideal family house for their busy family of five. The hope was to strike a balance: they wanted to have enough room, in and out, for their three school-age kids to play while also having the interior layout neat and orderly.

“With European heritage, and having spent time in Austria, Denmark, and Germany, we both have a deep appreciation for simplicity and utility in design,” Dietrich says. “It’s easy to design something striking simply to make a statement, but to craft an efficient, economic home for a family with three young, very active children is much harder."

When the couple found a spot on Lotus Lake in Chanhassen they enlisted Christian Dean, who was transitioning from CityDeskStudio to his own firm, Christian Dean Architecture, along with Elevation Homes, to make their dream come true. The lakefront site had a sloping terrain that Dean immediately worked to their advantage. He designed the 3,700-square-foot, two-story home with the grade, leveraging the topography to create a full lower level with a walkout instead of a traditional basement. This maximized their overall living space and views while saving money.

“With their budget it would have been hard to support a basement and two stories above. This is a good model if you have the right site,” Dean says.

The blueprint worked out that all living spaces—the kitchen, living room, and bedrooms—front the lake and only the mudroom and dressing rooms are landlocked. The master suite is upstairs, while three bedrooms are downstairs with more water views. “The kids are separate, but they’re not in a hole, they’re in a walkout,” Dean adds.

For materials, Dean used budget-friendly Hardie board, which he complemented with Cyprus on accent walls and ceilings. “Cyprus sounds more exotic than cedar but it’s less money and adds warmth and richness,” Dean says. To work within budget Dean says they all embraced IKEA for the cabinetry and built-ins in the kitchen and bath.

The biggest splurge was on glass for the large amount of windows used. Dean used commercial-grade windows on the elevated tall spaces that have a thin profile with aluminum frames to create “thin sight lines” and further cut down on any heaviness. A two-sided fireplace warms both the living room and the three-season porch, where the family loves to sit and enjoy the views of the water and cool breezes wafting through.

“We love the simplicity, the soaring ceilings, and of course the big windows overlooking the lake,” Dietrich says. “Just walking in and feeling the wide open space is uplifting and inspiring.”

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