Fall 2015 Parade of Homes’ Cover Family’s Home Building Experience

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Parade of Homes visitors can read about one young family’s home building experience and see photos (including the cover image) in the Guidebook. Here is their story:

The House that Art Built

An oversized tree branch, decorated by the kids and covered in colored yarn, hangs proudly in the family room of the Peterson’s house. There’s a collective excitement as the family talks about how much they love their new home, built last year by LDK Builders, Inc. under their LDK First Impressions brand.

The two-story family home in an established west metro neighborhood is Heather and Doug’s dream home. It’s the perfect place for daughters Azia and Zoe to grow up – making friends with the neighboring kids, playing in their scenic backyard, or creating art projects at the kitchen table (like that Technicolor tree branch).

Building a new home fits this creative family well. Doug is a user experience designer, and Heather is an environmental designer in an architecture firm as well as owner of a wall graphics design company, so creativity runs through their blood. “Our daughters share our passion for art and design, too,” Heather shares. “We are constantly drawing and painting together.”

Heather grew up in a house full of art; her parents and brother are architects, “so I have a deep love for architecture and grew up drawing under drafting tables and walking through some of the most amazing buildings and homes that my dad designed.”

Surprisingly though, despite their backgrounds the family never thought they would build. There are a lot of myths out there about new construction and, like most young couples, building your dream home can often feel like just that, a dream.

One common misassumption they had was that building a brand new, shiny, never-been-lived-in-before home wouldn’t be attainable in an already established neighborhood in a first-ring suburb. “We desired to be close to the center of things and, being more urban-minded, we had a negative connotation of living in a new development,” Doug thoughtfully explained.

In addition, they weren’t looking to build a McMansion or break their budget. Doug explained how they “wanted a proportionally smaller home that was still constructed and designed with a lot of customization.” Heather summed it up perfectly, adding, “We wanted a little jewel box.”

The family’s misgivings about the build process were quickly put to rest when they decided to go with LDK Builders. Heather and Doug were drawn to LDK because of the in-fill construction they saw them doing in some of the neighborhoods they had been considering. “We were also drawn to their design and craftsmanship, plus the proportions of their houses were appealing,” she explained.

When asked what their favorite feature of their new house was, the answer wasn’t surprising. “We love how LDK built us a beautiful house into an existing neighborhood.” Their girls said the same thing, but in their own way.

Azia and Zoe enthusiastically agreed that they loved “the birds and the deer best!” This is probably because the Peterson’s home is nestled into a hill and surrounded by mature trees and wooded landscape. From day one, LDK honored the family’s request to save every tree. Even a fallen tree branch was salvaged, creatively “yarn-bombed” and repurposed into lively wall art.

Saving the trees also won the hearts of their new neighbors, many of which have lived on the street for decades. “We didn’t want to interrupt the neighborhood nostalgia as many of our neighbors had fond memories of those trees,” Heather shared.

Today, the house is not just about beautiful walnut floors, modern finishes and great views of deer running through the yard, or even the convenience of being 20 minutes from downtown Minneapolis. For the Peterson family it’s about “the thrill of having a fully finished, brand new home and the beautiful feeling we get that we made this house for our kids to grow up in.”


The 2015 Fall Parade of Homes is sponsored by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage and Minnesota Homeowners Alliance.