Is a quote from one of our timber frame homeowners who were featured in the June/ July 2012 issue of Lake and Home Magazine.
Here is the whole article.
Reflections of perfection on Ten Mile Lake
By Nancy Leasman
What could be more fun for two young boys than spending a summer watching the construction of their family’s timber frame home?
Evan and Ryan Aanerud, now 13 and 9, did just that two years ago. Their parents, Jerry and Melissa Aanerud, had spent three years scrutinizing photos and architectural magazines, discussing options with Ben Miller of Blue Ox Timber Frames in Alexandria and planning the perfect home for the almost-an-acre lot on the west shore of Ten Mile Lake southeast of Fergus Falls. The boys heard the discussions and were pretty excited when the building started to take shape in the spring of 2010.
“We dug the hole on May 14, Evan’s birthday,” remembers Melissa. “We were at the construction site almost every day.” During November, the home was finished and the family moved in.
The house perches on a bluff overlooking the lake, a site that the couple spent nearly two years to find.
“We wanted the boys to go to school in Fergus Falls, and we were looking for a lake site that wasn’t too far from the farm,” says Jerry, who plants corn and soy beans on 1,600 acres in Grant and Wilkin counties.
The lot on Ten Mile Lake fit the bill but required thoughtful layout for the house to fit. “We couldn’t do a conventional two-story house but wanted a timber frame in the main living space; we were comfortable with a conventional structure for the bedrooms and office,” he explains. The timber frame portion, constructed with structural insulated panels, has 10-foot side walls soaring to 16 feet at the peak.
The Aaneruds couldn’t be more satisfied with the result of their careful planning, Miller’s design and the meticulous construction of general contractor Jay Paulson of HighPoint Homes Inc. in Alexandria.
“We wouldn’t change anything,” says Jerry. The home has 2,500 square feet on the main floor and 2,500 in the lower level, which has nine-foot ceilings. Though not a walkout, the windows look out on the lake and, with the tall ceilings, it doesn’t seem like a basement. The lower level has three bedrooms, a bathroom, a family room and storage space.
“We carefully considered what we needed and what we could live without,” says Melissa. Tops on her list was a main-floor office. She works two part-time jobs from home: children’s ministry coordinator for CrossRoads Church in Fergus Falls and unit leader with Creative Memories.
While her office is where she spends much of her time, the timber frame part of the home is her favorite. “It’s so beautiful. Ben (Miller) is more artist than construction manager. It’s perfect,” she says, referring to the sculptural architecture of the exposed timbers.
A close second for Melissa is the mudroom where four custom-made lockers collect boots, shoes and backpacks that would otherwise add clutter to the living space.
Jerry is enamored by the extra-large custom windows of the timber frame rooms and the view of the lake from the front door.
“I love it when we come home late at night and there’s a full moon reflected in the water,” he says. They may not have thought of the moon when they planned the layout, but seeing the lake from the foyer was on the must-do list.
Two of the rooms were designed with their contents in mind. The couple had a large dining table and chairs from the formal dining room in their previous home, a big old Victorian in Elbow Lake. The dimensions of their new dining room were figured with that dining set in mind. A special alcove was also made to accommodate the family’s grand piano. Jerry had 11 years of piano lessons, and both boys are also learning to play. Evan also plays the cello and trumpet.
The floor-to-ceiling stone block fireplace acts as a divider but does not obstruct the view of the lake. It makes for cozy winter evenings on the leather sofas that have both visual appeal and durability. The furniture is eclectic and appropriate for the European rustic look that both Jerry and Melissa aimed for.
The tongue-and-groove ceilings and dark timbers are lightened by cream-colored floor tile and cream glazed kitchen cabinetry. They opted against wood floors to avoid the feeling of being surrounded by wood. “Jerry has a good eye for interior design. It was a lot of fun. He’s good at visualizing, and all I had to do was approve it,” laughs Melissa.
They also did all of the interior painting, although it was right at harvest time. “We’d get up early and paint in the mornings. Then Jerry would go work in the fields all day,” she recalls. It made for some very long days but also gave them ownership after watching most of the work being done by others.
Jerry and Melissa are happy with their life and home in rural Minnesota, though neither could have dreamed that’s where they’d be when they met in Washington, D.C., in 1993. Jerry had studied political science at the University of Minnesota Morris and went on to graduate school at George Washington University while also serving an internship on Capitol Hill. Melissa had grown up in western New York, graduated from Houghton College with a degree in international studies and was working in international relations. Both were looking for a church family and found each other at a singles group. Though Jerry “came back” to Minnesota, Melissa had never visited the Midwest and admits it was culture shock to see the wide-open fields and grain elevators dotting the landscape.
While it took some time to adjust to life in Minnesota, the Aaneruds are pleased with where they are, both literally and figuratively. If for any reason they would need to build another home, they say they would go with the same team. Why mess with perfection?
Nancy Leasman is a writer from Long Prairie.