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Stately traditional home made from solid stone with multi-gabled slate roof

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Traditional European architecture is referenced in the design of this stately home, which is built from solid stone

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The true character of a traditional home is best revealed in the materials, and whether or not they will they stand the test of time.

There can be no doubt this house was built to endure for generations – the walls are made from solid stone and the roof is slate and copper. But it's also the architecture that sets this house apart from other new builds.

The house, which was designed by architect Mike Sharratt of Sharratt Design & Company, references traditional European architecture – there are English and Italian influences that can be seen in the roofline, windows and soffits.

Builder David Erotas of Erotas Building Corporation says the exterior features a Chilton blend of stone from Wisconsin.

"This is a heavily textured stone that conveys substance and permanence – you can see at a glance how solid this house is. And like traditional homes from centuries past, it was built with the patience and care required to achieve this level of craftsmanship and longevity."


The park-like setting also enhances the character. The house is set on several acres, with formal landscaping leading the eye to the main entry. This features a symmetrical arched portico supported by large stone columns.

Inside, a lowered ceiling immediately beside the front door creates a sense of intimacy and welcome. Beyond this is a large rotunda vestibule with a marble floor and an ornate domed, hand-painted ceiling that features a shell-like fan pattern with a bright blue border.

Interior designer Laura Ramsey Engler says the owners wanted the house to have a very enduring, classical look.

"They are a young family, but they didn't want everything in a hurry. They recognize that some things take time when they are crafted by hand. At the same time, however, I believed it was important that the interior offer a youthful, fresh take on tradition. Because the owners are young, I felt the design and furnishings shouldn't be too stuffy or formulaic.

"For example, the domed ceiling, with its radiating pattern is a classical derivation. But the bright blue accents break away from the tone-on-tone neutral palette that defines most of the interior. Because this is a circulation area that you pass through, it's easy to be a little more adventurous with the design."

A coffered ceiling in the formal living room is another distinctive feature of the interior. This incorporates extra-large beams with a circular centerpiece and a large chandelier. Silvery taupe walls and antique accessories are complemented by a custom handmade area rug in silk and wool that ties together the various tones.

Arched windows echo the form of the wide arched openings between the various living and dining areas. These openings provide sightlines through the house and ensure there is an easy, relaxed flow to the circulation areas, in keeping with modern lifestyles.

"A lot of attention was also given to the white oak flooring," says Erotas. "It includes parquet in the hallway, and a 3ft square Versailles pattern in the formal living room, which creates a variety of textures."

Other key rooms on the first floor include a gentleman's study, which features stained wood beams, alder millwork and wainscoting.

"This room has a deeper, richer palette of materials, and a look influenced by menswear suiting," says Engler. "A suede fabric was used to upholster the walls."

The large kitchen is visually anchored by a long island that has raised upstands at either end. These bring a sense of scale to the cabinetry.

"They also add character, and serve to hide the main work area from the family room on one side, and formal living room," says Engler.

The cabinetry has an off-white glazed finish, with moulded bead doors and traditional pulls that enhance the old-world look. Other features include a French Provincial-style hood and a tall black cabinet with antique gold detailing concealing the refrigerator and freezer.

Much of the entertaining in the house takes place on the lower level, however, where there is a catering kitchen, large bar area, separate home theater and mini basketball court.

"We chose to made a feature of the massive stone structural columns on this level," says Erotas. "To introduce a rough, textural element the mortar was spread thickly over the stone and later treated with a blow torch to give them an aged look. The arched stone vestibule behind the bar has doors on either side leading to two climate-controlled wine cellars – one for red wine and one for white."

The owners can also entertain outdoors. The house has an outdoor kitchen area with built-in grille, and a shaded alfresco dining area.

First published date: 08 August 2014

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Credit List

Architect Mike Sharratt, Sharratt Design & Co (Excelsior, MN)
Interior designer Laura Ramsey Engler, Ramsey Engler Ltd
Landscape designer Topo, LLC
Builder David Erotas, Erotas Building Corporation
Cabinet company Steven Cabinets
Stonemason Stonewerk
Exterior stone Random Chilton; Fond du Lac Squire blend with weathered edge and semi-racked mortar
Roofing Slate in 70% Mottled Gray Black and 15% Royal Purple and 15% unfaded Mottled Green Purple; copper; both from All-Star Roofing
Doors and windows Loewen Tuscan Brown aluminum-clad from Tonka Building Supply
Flooring Rift-cut quarter-sawn oak in herringbone and Fontainebleu patterns by Anderson-Ladd
Paints and varnishes Sherwin-Williams; Pratt & Lambert
Exterior lighting Hinkley Chateau series in Museum Bronze with ornately embossed light amber glass
Heating SR Mechanical
Home theater and audiovisual equipment Appollo from Domus Vita Group
Blinds Phantom screens on exterior; Conrad woven shades in kitchen
Kitchen cabinets Enameled with hand-glazed finish
Countertops Geriba granite from Minnesota Tile & Stone; walnut butcher block
Backsplash Stellar Madox ceramic tile from Sonoma Tilemakers
Sink Rohl; Shaws original fireclay apron
Faucets Rohl; Perrin & Rowe
Range and ventilation Wolf
Steam oven Miele
Refrigeration Sub-Zero
Dishwashers Asko; Miele Story by Colleen Hawkes Exterior photography by Jamie Cobel Interior photography by Susan Gilmore