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Minnesota is lake country, so it’s not surprising that there are so many beautiful, sprawling lakeside mansions in the state. Particularly around Lake Minnetonka, and in Twin Cities suburbs such as Orono, Edina, Wayzata, and North Oaks, wonderful, custom-built estates proliferate. And with so many gorgeous, sprawling, high-end homes in Minnesota, the state has developed a world-class residential construction industry.
These 15 top-shelf firms, primarily located in the Twin Cities region, cater to an elite, upscale market. They have designed and built some of the most expensive, complex, and architecturally unique homes in the Midwest. These residential contractors are all highly skilled, design-forward firms. Many of these firms have won awards for their custom homes and remodel projects, and many have had their work featured in annual new-home showcase events, as well as in magazines and books. Most of the contractors have been building homes in Minnesota for more than 20 years, and quite a few are currently being led by second- and third-generation builders.
15) City Homes
3918 Sunnyside Road, Edina, MN 55424
Located in the upscale Minneapolis suburb of Edina, City Homes won the 2017 Reggie Award for best home over $1.2M from the Builders Association of the Twin Cities (BATC). The firm has been featured on the Midwest Home Magazine Luxury Home Tour and the BATC-sponsored Artisan Home Tour. City Home’s work has received accolades in Midwest Home, Artful Living, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The construction company builds in many styles, including modern farmhouse, traditional, transitional, contemporary, and English cottage. Their homes can be found in many of area’s most exclusive and upscale neighborhoods and communities, including Hawk Pointe, Minnetonka’s Smithtown Bay, and Sidell Trail in Edina’s Morningside neighborhood.
Principal Chris Malooly is a graduate of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and worked as a project manager for a luxury home builder before going out on his own. The company’s second principal and general manager is Rebecca Remick, who has a degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
14) Creek Hill Custom Homes
15235 65th Place N, Osseo, MN 55369
US Navy veteran Mike Hilleshiem, founder and owner of Creek Hill Custom Homes, worked as a carpenter for many years before starting his own design-build company some 30 years ago. The company has built high-end luxury estates throughout greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul, including in Edina, Minnetonka, Wayzata, and Maple Grove. The residential contractor’s homes, which typically start around $650k and range up to more than $2M, have been featured on the BATC’s Parade of Homes and Artisan Home Tour, as well as on the Midwest Magazine Luxury Home Tour.
Creek Hill Custom Homes has a highly skilled team of construction experts, many of whom have been working with Hilleshiem for more than two decades. The contractor is an Energy Star partner and has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The company has won multiple Trillium Awards and Reggie Awards from the BATC, and they were named “Best New Home Builder” by the readers of The Osseo-Maple Grove Press.
13) Elevation Homes
18312 Minnetonka Boulevard, Wayzata, MN 55391
A division of Streeter & Associates Architectural Builders, Elevation Homes builds beautiful traditional and modern homes designed by some the region’s best architects. Working in Minneapolis lake communities and established Twin Cities neighborhoods, Elevation has built some of the most eye-catching, jaw-dropping, modern-style structures in the city — wonderful clean-lined structures with window walls and indoor-outdoor floor plans. The company regularly works with top architecture firms, such as Peterssen|Keller Architecture, Swan Architecture, Charlie & Co. Design, and Christian Dean.
Principal and Managing Director Nate Wissink is a member of the BATC and the American Institute of Architecture in Minnesota (AIA). Bill Costello, Elevation’s division director, has more than 15 years of architectural experience and is an award-winning furniture designer. He is a member of the AIA and the Builders Association of Minnesota (BAM). The Minnesota custom home builder’s stunning modern homes start at around $1M and go up to more than $3M. The firm’s work has been featured in the Room & Board blog and in Midwest Home Magazine.
12) Carl M. Hansen Companies
4960 Lincoln Drive, Edina, MN 55410
This builder has been working in the greater Twin Cities for nearly 100 years. Now led by third-generation builder Carl Hansen, the residential construction company, founded in the 1920s, is one of the top luxury home contractors in the area. The company works with the award-winning Minneapolis design firm Rauscher & Associates on high-end homes located in some of the area’s most exclusive and upscale neighborhoods and developments, including Edina. There the company is currently developing a community called West Ridge Farm in Parkwood Knolls.
Building fewer than five luxury homes per year, the boutique firm’s homes have been featured in the BATC Parade of Homes, the Artisan Home Tour, and the Midwest Magazine Luxury Home Tour. The firm has won many awards for its homes, including Reggie Awards from the BATC in 2015 and 2016. The company was also named Best New Builder in the Edina Readers Choice Awards five years in a row. Their home building has been featured in Midwest Home Magazine, Artful Living, Builder|Architect, and Modern Home Builder Magazine.
11) Hendel Homes
15250 Wayzata Boulevard, Wayzata, MN 55391
This greater Twin Cities building company was founded by Rick Hendel in 1997. Named the 2014 BATC Builder of the Year, the firm constructs luxury residences in some of the region’s most sought-after communities and developments, including Wayzata, and Orono’s Shoreview, Fox Point, Mooney Lake, and Maxwell Bay.
Hendel almost became a doctor instead of a home builder. He graduated from Bethel University with a degree in biology and started his medical degree before realizing he wanted to build high-end homes instead. So he studied architecture and construction and worked as a laborer, carpenter, supervisor, and project manager before starting his own company. His wife, Amy Hendel, is the company’s head of marketing and a designer. She graduated from Bethel University with a degree in business.
The firm’s work has been featured in Traditional Home Magazine, Midwest Home, American Farmhouse, Artful Living, Country French Magazine, Design Bureau Magazine, Beautiful Kitchen and Baths, and Professional Builder, and on HGTV.
10) Sustainable Nine Design + Build
3302 W 44th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55410
Led by brothers and Minnesota natives Ryan and Chad Hanson, this residential construction company is a five-time winner of the BATC’s Artisan Dream Home Award. An eco-friendly green builder of high-end residences with modern designs, Sustainable Nine Design + Build works in Edina Morningside, Lake Minnetonka, Whispering Creek, Prior Lake, and elsewhere. The brothers grew up in western Minnesota and used to travel to the Twin Cities Parade of Homes with their parents. During these family trips, they developed a love for home design and construction, and they eventually decided to become custom home builders in Minnesota.
Their aesthetics are wonderfully modern and eclectic. The brothers describe their unique blend of Prairie style, midcentury modern, Craftsman, and mountain modern as “Minnesota Modern.” They say their designs are influenced by the fantastic modern structures they saw while traveling in Europe and in Central and South America. The firm won the 2017 Minnesota Green Path Leadership Award from the BATC. It is one of the only firms in the state to build homes that are Energy Star certified and Indoor AirPLUS certified by the US Department of Energy.
9) Charles Cudd Co.
15050 23rd Avenue N, Plymouth, MN 55447
This Minnesota custom home builder’s leaders have been in the Twin Cities residential construction industry for more than five decades. Charles Cudd, Rick Denman, and John Sonnek head up Charles Cudd Co., a full-service builder providing architectural design, interior design, and construction services in some of the area’s most sought-after neighborhoods and developments. These include Mooney Lake in Orno, The Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo, Woodland Cove In Minnetrista, Hawkes Point, and the Cove on Lake Minnetonka.
The firm has won many awards from the BATC and is one of the most highly decorated home builders in the state. Their honors include over 20 Reggie Awards since 1989, and more than 20 Trillium Awards over the past 15 years. The construction company’s homes have been featured multiple times in the BATC’s annual Parade of Homes. The firm also takes on remodeling projects, from kitchen and bathroom renovations to whole-house remodels.
153 East Lake Street, Wayzata, MN 55391
Sven Gustafson, founder and president of Stonewood, comes from four generations of Midwestern builders. This high-end luxury home builder serves the Twin Cities region. Gustafson grew up working summers for his father’s construction company and is a graduate of St. Olaf College. He founded Stonewood in 2000 and builds upscale homes in a variety of styles in exclusive communities, such as Edina, Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata, and Kenwood.
The company works with some of the area’s best architects and designers, including award-winning Peterssen Keller Architecture. They build million-dollar homes in the French, Tudor, transitional, contemporary, and cottage styles, among others. The firm’s homes typically start at $1M and go beyond $10M. Stonewood won a National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Best in American Living Award and has been featured on the Midwest Magazine Luxury Home Tour. The new-home builder’s work has appeared in Architectural Digest, Luxe Magazine’s Luxury of Home, Remodeling Magazine, and Professional Builder.
7) Nor-Son Custom Builders
7900 Hastings Road, Baxter MN 56425
The winner of the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) 2017 Builder of the Year Award, Nor-Son Custom Builders works throughout the upper Midwest and has offices in Wayzata, MN; Baxter, MN; and Fargo, ND. A boutique builder specializing in high-end, luxury homes, the company’s projects range from $400k to $10M. The firm provides high-quality design, construction, and remodelling services and builds large custom lakes houses, farm houses, cottages, and estates throughout the region. While they design many of the homes that they build, Nor-Son also works with some the area’s top architects, including the award-winning firm Albertsson Hansen Architects.
President and CEO Andy Anderson has a background in banking and real estate. He graduated from Regis University with a bachelor’s degree in business and from the University of Colorado Boulder with a master’s degree in banking. Vice president of residential construction, Matt Holston has more than 25 years of experience in new homes and home remodeling, and he began with the company as an apprentice carpenter.
6) John Kraemer & Sons
4906 Lincoln Drive, Edina, MN 55436
John Kraemer & Sons has been named Builder of the Year by the BATC four times, including in 2017 and 2013. The luxury home builder and remodeling firm was founded in 1978 by President Gary Kraemer and his late father, John Kraemer. Gary Kraemer is an NAHB Certified Graduate Builder and Certified Green Professional. The company builds luxury homes, estates, lake cabins, and remodel projects throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin, including in Edina and Lake Minnetonka.
The firm has won numerous awards for its homes and major renovation projects. They won Contractor of the Year (COtY) Awards from National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI MN), including awards in 2017 for Best Historic Renovation and Best Detached Structure. The company has won 16 COTY awards since 2013, and in 2015 they won Best of Show for a St. Paul historic renovation. The firm has also received several Remodeler of Merit Awards from the BATC Remodelers Council, including Best Bathroom unde $50,000, Best Addition over $350k, and Best Kitchen over $175k. They have also earned RAVE Awards from Minneapolis St. Paul Home & Design Magazine, including for best home over 3,500 square feet, which was in partnership with Rehkamp Larson Architects.
5) Highmark Builders
8720 Eagle Creek Parkway, Savage, MN 55378
Led by partners Terry Gaulrapp and Jim Moras, Highmark Builders constructs high-end luxury homes and remodeling projects in some of the area’s most exclusive neighborhoods and developments. It also develops its own upscale communities, including Harvest Bluffs in Prior Lake, where homes start at $950k, as well as the Reverence community in Lakeville. The company also builds in Edina Morningside and in Wayzata.
Gaulrapp has more than 20 years of experience in the building industry. Moras learned the business growing up under the tutelage of his father, an electrician and plumber. He has more than 20 years of experience working for residential construction companies in the Twin Cities and in California. Both Gaulrapp and Moras are graduates of Mankato State University, with degrees in construction management.
The firm is a three-time finalist for BATC Builder of the Year and won a national Chrysalis Award for remodeling, sponsored by Qualified Remodeler Magazine, in 2016. Their homes have been featured on the annual Twin City-area Parade of Homes, the Remodelers Showcase, the Artisan Home Tour, and the Midwest Homes Luxury Home Tour.
4) Denali Custom Homes
18352 Minnetonka Boulevard, Wayzata, MN 55391
Building exquisite upscale homes, from 2,200-square-foot cottages to 12,000-square-foot luxury estates, Denali Custom Homes is a well-known leader in Minnesota’s residential construction industry. The firm works on projects ranging from $500k to $5M. Its homes have been featured on the annual Twin Cities Artisan Home Tour and have won People’s Choice Awards from the BATC Parade of Homes. The company has also won the BATC’s prestigious Reggie Award.
President and General Manager David Bieker is a green builder and a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) professional who built a LEED Silver home in Minnesota. Bieker grew up in the industry. His interior designer mother and engineer father built custom homes in Indiana in the 1970s. Partner Chad Mayes has more than 15 years of high-end residence and remodeling experience. The firm is a member of the NAHB, BAM, and BATC. The company builds elite transitional, East Coast-style, modern, contemporary, modern mountain, and traditional homes in some of the best neighborhoods and developments in the Twin Cities area, including Excelsior Bay, Cooks Bay, Wayzata, and Palmer Pointe.
3) Streeter & Associates Architectural Builders
18312 Minnetonka Boulevard, Wayzata, MN 55391
This Minnesota custom home contractor works with the Midwest’s best architects to construct some of the most beautiful traditional and modern homes in the nation. For more than 25 years, Streeter & Associates has been building and renovating gorgeous, architecturally complex and significant homes. They work with design luminaries such as Charles R. Stinson Architects, Peterssen|Keller Architecture, David Salmela Architects, and KBA Architecture. The firm’s work has appeared in several books, including Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka, Legendary Homes of the Minneapolis Lakes, and the Master Architect Book Series volume Charles R. Stinson Architects: Composition in Nature.
Built in styles that include modern, contemporary, Tuscan, traditional, and Georgian, the firm’s homes can be found along the banks of Lake Minnetonka and Lake Harriet, as well as in the best suburban and urban neighborhoods throughout the Twin Cities. President Steven Streeter has more than 30 years of experience in building and is passionate about architecture and modern art. He is a member of BATC, AIA MN, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Kevin Streeter, the firm’s vice president, started out as a carpenter and has more than 40 years of experience in the construction industry.
2) Hage Homes
275 Market Street, Suite 567, Minneapolis, MN 55405
Longtime Minnesota builder Ken Hage started this construction company back in 1979, around the same time that his son, Kerry Hage, was born. The son took over the business in 2014, continuing the company’s tradition of working with the region’s top architects to build stylish, high-end homes throughout the state. A graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Kerry Hage grew up in the business and now works with more than 20 different architects on new homes and remodeling projects. Some of the company’s recent collaborators have included Charles R. Stinson, Peterssen Keller Architecture, and Ron Brenner Architects.
Hage Homes’ work has been featured on the AIA MN Homes By Architects Tour and the BATC Artisan Home Tour, as well as in Architectural Digest and Midwest Homes Magazine. The firm builds in many different styles, including modern and midcentury modern — a style in which they excel — and also in European, Cape Dutch, and contemporary. Frequent remodelers in some of Minneapolis’s historic and well-established neighborhoods, Hage Homes has twice won the city’s Blend Award, a program that encourages builders and architects to blend new-builds and renovations into the fabric of the neighborhood.
1) Smuckler Architectural Custom Homes
800 Gleason Acres Drive, Wayzata, MN 55391
Led by award-winning architect Jack Smuckler, this Minnesota custom home builder designs and builds some of the most beautiful and architecturally distinct homes in the Midwest. The firm has built more than 300 houses and commercial projects over the last 25 years, working throughout Minnesota and places as diverse as Scottsdale, Fargo, Palm Springs, and The Virgin Islands. The firm’s portfolio is crowded with stunning contemporary, Prairie, and traditional homes, many of them with gorgeous lakeside settings.
A graduate of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Smuckler has been widely honored for his designs. He won the Henry Adams AIA Award for Design Excellence, the Renaissance Design Award, and the Paris Peace Prize in Architecture. His work has appeared in several books, including Top 50 Residential Architects in America and Dream Homes of Minnesota, and in magazines such as Artful Living, Inspired Home, Builders Journal, Builder|Architect, Architectural Digest, and the New Yorker
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