Step Inside a Family’s New Swedish-Inspired Dream Home in Minnesota
The countryside haven looks effortless today, but it took years of careful, research-based collaboration to create.
When you hear “Swedish Country House,” a myriad of images might come to mind, ranging from calming Scandi minimalism to charming red Dala horses. For a young family imagining a new home in Minnesota, it was something entirely different.
He grew up in Sweden. She in Minnesota, a state known for its Scandinavian heritage. So, to them, the notion of “Swedish-inspired” ran deeper than one static aesthetic. They wanted something that evoked a feeling of familiarity. Of comfort. Of home. So, they bought land and decided to build their dream residence.
Pulling up the home’s winding drive now or wandering its soft, sunny, neutral halls punctuated with bold colors, it all appears so effortless. However, the new construction required years of relentless collaboration during COVID, so it was anything but easy-breezy for the passionate design team and determined homeowners. Despite the adversity, a delightful project of heritage and creativity unfolded.
“The most consistent element to successful projects is trust. It’s not budget,” said Bill Costello, CCO of Streeter Custom Builder, who built the home. “If you have trust, it always goes well.”
In addition to Costello, architect Charlie Simmons, founding principal of Charlie & Co. Design Ltd., and interior designer Linda Engler, founder of Engler Studio Interior Design, as well as the family themselves, trusted each other implicitly.
Two aspects were crucial to all from the start: Maximizing natural light and capturing serene views. Both principles are deeply connected to Swedish design sensibilities. “Scandinavians in general really appreciate natural light because half of the year it never gets dark, and the other half it never gets light,” Simmons said. “So, when you have the ability to create and sculpt environments that take advantage of light, you certainly want to do that.”
This home was no exception. Seeking the very best for such a critical element, they looked to premium window brand Marvin. Many designers will attest, Marvin is the first and only stop they make when sourcing the finest finishes for their luxury projects.
Since 1912, Marvin has never settled for off-the-shelf solutions. They’re committed to high-quality craftsmanship and custom making is all they do. With that in mind, the design team worked with the brand to order exactly what the couple needed based on how they saw themselves living every day in the home. As Simmons put it, “Marvin gives us the tools to create these wonderful spaces.”
The team also knew they wanted to make the Swedish-inspired style more personal to their clients. And, so began their research. Pouring over old family images helped to inform a few architectural details, like the roof. It ended up being sentimental, as well as practical. “We have a very steeply pitched roof, and it also slopes to help give it a little bit more of a soft feel,” Simmons said. “The steeper the pitch of the roof, the more the snow falls off and doesn’t sit and cause any kind of structural damage.”
Pondering further architectural and interior design choices from there, they walked a tightrope between modern and traditional. Ultimately, they arrived at an understated transitional style, which strikes a wholly unique tension through a mix of textures, hues, eras, and influences. A perfect example of this is the antique clock that mingles wonderfully alongside a plush, modern ottoman.
While the goal was to veer from the expected, the team arrived at a turning point midway through the project. “My gut was that we’re not pushing this enough into Scandinavian,” the interior expert Linda Engler reflects. “I thought, ‘the architecture needs a little push. And the interiors need a little push.’ I feel like we’re kind of tiptoeing with it.”
A weighty question emerged: “Are we going Swedish enough?”
Taking the home’s cornerstone vision seriously, they went back to the architectural renderings and mood boards to reassess. One easy yet impact move to enhance the Scandinavian feel was swapping the black window exteriors for Cadet Gray in the Marvin Ultimate product line. Gray is in the very fabric of Sweden’s terrain, from the moody bays in winter to the peaks of mountains.
“The homeowners shared that Sweden’s all about wonderful grays,” Engler said. “Cadet Gray gives us just some rough punch of outline with a window that makes a statement in a very subtle, diplomatic way.”
Ensuring a clear Scandinavian influence was threaded through all the right places, the team turned their attention to the staircase. Sitting opposite the entryway, it soars three stories with floor-to-ceiling windows as a backdrop to make a breathtaking first impression. To soften it slightly, they opted to ditch the black metal spindles in favor of delicate, white plating detailed with a sweet Swedish design.
All of this would be no matter if the land wasn’t highlighted impeccably. Indeed, the countryside family home officially became Swedish-inspired by embracing and framing the couple’s newfound land. “One of the things that was really important for our client was to feel at one with nature,” Simmons said. “There’s a reason why somebody buys a lot of land among rolling horse fields.”
From how the home was situated on the property, the landscaping that harkens back to Sweden with its hilly pastures, to the use of the stunning Marvin windows and glass doors throughout the house—the team never lost sight of the client’s desire to bring the outdoors in.
“There are views for days,” Engler said. “And I think that that connection to the out-of-doors, even if we’re not out in it…to have the light come in, it gives us that connection that I think really feeds our soul and makes us feel whole.”
So, how did the family feel upon walking into the space for the first time? “They really felt like they were home,” Simmons said.
For this new build project with horse barns and a countryside Minnesota setting, it may seem obvious that they would want to connect to the landscape, but this is a sweeping phenomenon no matter where people live. A study conducted by The Harris Poll on Marvin’s behalf found that nearly 9 out of 10 people say outdoor views are essential to making a home feel happy. Proof of this keeps rolling in as Marvin has seen panel sizes on doors increase by 10% since 2017.
If you’re invested in embracing the mood-boosting properties of natural light and outdoor connection, Marvin can help bring your dreams to life with their custom creations just as they did for this new yet nostalgic family home.
Visit their website to learn more or, if you’re able, stop by Marvin at 7 Tide. Located in Boston, this Marvin experience center helps you see products in real home-like settings, explore design options and connect with experts who are ready to work with you from A to Z.