The market for freshly built homes is, overwhelmingly, a tedious wash of beige uniformity, cookie-cutter properties lazily slapped together with materials of suspect longevity.
Just look at this semi-popular tweet:
The stunning architectural diversity of new-construction homes pic.twitter.com/8DvDSBRUxQ— Jay Boller (@jaymboller) April 18, 2019
There is a $10 million exception in the Twin Cities.
It required 2 million regionally quarried stones and 75 tons of steel to craft 835 Hunt Farm Rd., a castle-like stunner that hit the market last week in Orono. Completed earlier this year, the four-bedroom, seven-bathroom, 8,702-square-footer is "incredibly unique, truly one-of-a-kind," says Coldwell Banker Burnet listing agent Drew Hueler.
The project, dubbed Huntington Manor, is a collaboration between architect James McNeal and builder Luke Busker, the latter of whom is a third-generation mason. Game of Thrones and steampunk were among their inspirations.
"They wanted to bring back architectural elements and design that haven't been seen in the Twin Cities in decades," Hueler says. "It’s not a spec in the sense of, it wasn't designed for a quick, easy sale: It’s designed to be experienced."
The potential experiences are bountiful: a walk-in fridge, three-season porch, balcony, full basement bar, 1,100-bottle wine cellar, "sport court," sauna, four fireplaces, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Unlike most mega-dollar estates in the west metro, this property isn't set on nearby Lake Minnetonka. Instead, it sits on 3.4 neighbor-free acres, surrounded by natural preserves and wetlands.
Huntington Manor has already received some nibbles, Hueler reports, but it's perched at an elite price tier; only four single-family homes listed for $10 million-plus are currently for sale in Minnesota.
Hueler predicts builders will lean more heavily into "true artisan homes," which remain something of a pricey novelty in a sea of new-construction monotony.
"This is probably the beginning," he says. "This is trying to show people what’s out there and what can be done with locally sourced materials."
Let's take a photo tour of 835 Hunt Farm Rd., courtesy of Coldwell Banker Burnet and Spacecrafting.