by Elizabeth Stotts & Matt Schmidt

Around the time of Y2K, when the 90's turned into the 2000's, newly constructed homes in the Brainerd Lakes Area (BLA) were confined to the familiar look of the Northwoods, a style commonly and rightly called "rustic." The consensus at that time was if it wasn't rustic, it didn't belong in this area. Maybe it was true, maybe it still is... but there has sure been a distinct turn from that train of thought. While rustic is still a common sight around BLA and always and rightfully will be, there is another vernacular slowly but surely introducing itself to the party.

It started with the economic downturn in 2007-08. Money wasn't as freely available or spent so people were looking for ways to reduce cost without giving up the dream of a family home on the water. There were a lot of cost cutting measures but one that stuck was less use of wood and dark stain throughout the structure. Instead, sheetrock was increasingly used and with it came the realization that it was not only more cost effective but made what wood was still in the house pop even more. The decorative trim and beams that once were somewhat lost in the sea of similar material/stain could now stand out and shine upon a painted sheetrock backdrop. This was the beginning of a design trend that is booming in the area today.

People today are increasingly looking for clean lines, simplicity, and order. Lake houses are beginning to look more like beach houses and with the right client and vision, beyond. Moving away from complete wood finish has opened opportunities to the integration of other materials such as metal, stone, and tile. This creates a more contemporary or modern aesthetic depending on the form and application. Something which was once unheard of, is now sought after... and we couldn't be happier.

Inside this home the large, black framed, floor to ceiling picture windows capture striking views of the water and woods. The contrast created by a clean and modern space looking out upon the rustic landscape is breathtaking. Instead of rustic within rustic, there is contrast; modern within rustic. Like the wood details finding their true beauty upon a sheetrock background, the modern house has rooted itself in the beauty of the landscape. All the while paying special homage to the outdoors, almost as if it were the artwork the house was meant to display.