After several years of living abroad in Switzerland, Chris and Diahann Potter began plans to move back to the Twin Cities. Having lived around Lake Minnetonka before, the couple knew they would like to have a place to stay during their extended summer holidays in Minnesota. This began the process of an international house hunt.
Diahann logged many hours, days and flights looking at plenty of houses on Lake Minnetonka before they decided upon and purchased their current property near Grandview Point in Deephaven. While the house didn’t suit their needs in terms of size and amenities, the property was home to the iconic Grandview boathouse that would serve as a lakeside entertainment space for the Potters. Current housing codes do not allow for boathouses to be constructed, so having one already built on the property was a real selling point for the family.
Having worked with Mark Warren and Warren Home Restorations in the past, the decision of who to hire for this project was easy. Diahann and Chris trusted Warren and his team to work with them on the design, and make the right decisions that would complement their style and aesthetic. Warren’s group is experienced in handling the challenges and opportunities you find on lakeside homes, whether that’s access to hard-to-reach properties, incorporating historic character into a new design or finding creative solutions to create something completely unique.
With an ideal plot of land on hand, then began work to solve some of the property’s challenges. The steeps slopes limited them to roughly staying within the existing footprint of the house, which happened to be fairly narrow. Ultimately, the Potters desired much more out of the space than the previous house could provide.
The design team began thinking of ways to modify the three-bedroom, two-bath home into the current four-bedroom, five-bath house they desired. This became even more challenging when they realized city codes would not permit them to increase the height of the house. No worries for Warren and his team, though, as they were able to erase headaches for Chris and Diahann by streamlining the construction process, working as a cohesive team, and coordinating the city process to obtain all the necessary permits and variances necessary to keep the project moving.
In the end, they succeeded by maximizing the space they had and streamlining the interior. The Potters’ architect included some unique design elements into the final construction plans including a suspended garage floor with an exercise room below. On top of the aforementioned bedrooms and baths, the house now contains a sauna, an upstairs and downstairs office, as well as a wine cellar.
To enjoy the lake, the new design included a screened-in porch and a patio as well as improvements to the historic boathouse. There is no shortage of space to entertain in and enjoy the serene surroundings. In total, the architect designed a house that nearly doubled the square footage of the original lakeside home. A few sacrifices were made, though: Since Chris and Diahann went with a great room concept for the main living area, they needed to trim down the size of some of the other rooms.
Diahann drew from their experiences overseas to influence their new home’s interior design. The Potters took design cues from all over Europe, especially boutique hotels in France and Italy. The stairway, which goes from the foyer to the second-floor hallway, was designed as an homage to a staircase they saw in Italy, while Chris’s office includes an all-black bold motif seen in a boutique hotel entryway—“simple yet striking,” says Diahann.
Because their tastes were so global, many products were difficult to source in the United States. They found creative solutions around this fact by contracting local artists to complete their vision. They used a local furniture maker out of Minneapolis to create a custom dining table and rolling bar cart, and an Edina-based artist who specializes in stone carving to create a custom fireplace surround. Union Place out of Excelsior helped them with re-upholstery and customized new pieces just for them.