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The 13 Best Custom Home Builders in Orono, Minnesota

11 Min Read

Orono offers a tranquil residential life where families enjoy the peace and quiet provided by a beautiful landscape. Helping residents and homeowners find their place in this scenic Hennepin County town are the best custom home builders in Orono.

These multi-awarded, highly-featured professionals have built some of the most iconic homes in the region over the past few decades. Many of these builders help project owners translate their ideas into reality through traditional, modern, contemporary, and European-inspired custom homes. 

John Kraemer & Sons, Inc.

4906 Lincoln Drive, Edina, MN 55436

John Kraemer & Sons built a luxury home inspired by the straightforward elegance of French architecture and the grand presence of Mediterranean design. The resulting French-Mediterranean residence features a large, symmetrical façade set in thick walls of white stucco. Tall, rectangular windows, double chimneys, and low-pitched shingle roofing complete the home’s soft, approachable exterior. The harmony between the two European inspirations can be seen throughout open-space exteriors that highlight the wood, stone, and metal. Custom fixtures, cabinetry, and contrasting neutral and saturated color palettes add character to the home’s main areas. The work was a collaboration with architectural firm Murphy & Co. Design and Twist Interior Design. 

The company’s building practice has helped it complete a portfolio of work with similar complexity and sophistication. Many of these projects have been featured in Edina Magazine, Artful Living Magazine, and Southwest Metro Magazine.

Hendel Homes

15250 Wayzata Boulevard, Wayzata, MN 55391

For almost 25 years, Hendel Home has delivered some of the most stunning residences in the region. The firm, for instance, built a residential luxury home that put a lot of emphasis on natural materials and old-world craftsmanship. The residence’s design derived its inspiration from the sturdy natural wood and stone materials of European Tudor architecture. True to its style origins, the home features steeply pitched roofing, decorative half-timbering, and portions of its siding in tile brick tapestry and tall masonry chimney. The home’s tall, full-glass window groupings introduce a modern twist to the design. Unifying the whole architecture are the consistent warm tones and red tints throughout the home’s exterior and interior spaces. 

Homes celebrating the harmony of classic and modern designs can be found in the firm’s impressive portfolio. These projects consistently catch the eye of the building and design community. Artful Living and Traditional Home Magazine, for instance, have highlighted some of the firm’s projects.

Swanson Homes

1360 Hamel Road, Medina, MN 55340

Swanson Homes’s profound understanding of architecture has helped it deliver homes inspired by a wide spectrum of styles. For a French-inspired home in Lake Minnetonka, for instance, the company stayed faithful to the style’s signature mansard roofing that features a four-sided, gambrel-style form. Primary dormers puncture the central façade that highlights a columned, arched entryway to the main door. The home’s neutral palette balances out the imposing presence of its thick, beige walls. Large windows and floor-to-ceiling walls across the home bring in plenty of natural light and connect the interiors to the surrounding landscape. 

The firm’s 55-year-old residential construction portfolio showcases custom homes inspired by a combination of nostalgia and the practicality of traditional and modern designs. Contemporary-farmhouse, modern-transitional, and industrial-European, are just some of the featured fusions that they have delivered through the years. Dwell, Artful Living, and Housing First Minnesota Digest have featured many of the firm’s projects.

Gordon James Construction

5159 Main St. East, Suite #200, PO Box 306, Maple Plain, MN 55359 

One of Gordon James Construction’s most iconic projects in Orono is a luxury custom home that puts emphasis on the bright and open characteristics of traditional architecture. The home’s design is a nod to the surrounding architectural context, dominated by historic homes in the area. The home exudes a vibrant coastal feel. The residence’s modern elements bring in the functional and structural connection of the interiors to the surrounding landscape. The natural light that comes from large and multiple window groupings flows freely throughout the home. 

Enjoying the best of what modern functionality and traditional design sensibility can offer is the common denominator in the firm’s over 15-year-old portfolio. The same projects have delivered many recent accolades, including NARI’s 2020 Contractor of the Year Silver Award, the 2020 Housing First Minnesota Builder of the Year, and the ROMA Award.

Denali Custom Homes

18352 Minnetonka Boulevard, Wayzata, MN 55391 

Denali Custom Homes’s 23 years of construction practice are marked with project milestones that exemplify its quality and efficiency when it comes to custom home construction. The Breezy Point Estate project, for instance, is a good example of the firm’s profound understanding of old-style craftsmanship and modern-day practicality that combines wood, metal, and natural stone. The home combines rustic elements with contemporary features found across the interior and exterior spaces. Some of the highlights of the home are the tall windows that provide an unobstructed view of the nearby lake. These windows are set in various areas of the home to bring in ample daylight. 

Renowned industry publications such as Midwest Homes Magazine and Star Tribune featured similarly iconic projects completed by the firm in recent years. The Builders Association of the Twin Cities also recognized the firm’s projects through the organization’s annual Reggie Award of Excellence and People’s Choice Award.

Mark D. Williams Custom Homes Inc.

332 2nd Street, Excelsior, MN 5533

Since Mar D. Williams Custom Homes’s founding in 2004, the firm has helped homeowners redefine their spaces, helping them stay functionally relevant for years through custom home construction, remodeling, and renovation. In Orono’s Lake Minnetonka, for instance, the company led the upgrade of a 50-year-old home. The home’s modernization had two goals. One was to redefine the home’s structure so it answers the needs of the residents’ present-day lifestyle. The firm and the homeowner also wanted to make sure they retained the spirit of the original home. The resulting work features a refreshing and cool palette of blue and white for its interior and exterior spaces, as well as layout redesign to provide a more airy and expansive atmosphere.  Elements of wood and custom craftsman cabinetry, flooring, and furniture, revived the home’s traditional ambiance. 

The featured project was included in the Artisan Home Tour in 2019. Many other projects completed by the firm in recent years have been featured in the annual Parade of Homes tour. The firm’s most recent recognition came in 2020 when a custom home project earned the Reggie Award in the under $2 million category. 

BohLand Homes

815 Wayzata Boulevard East, Wayzata, MN 55391

BohLand Homes was chosen to build a transitional Linden Lakeside cottage home that features textiles and patterns of classic and timeless design. The custom home’s façade is a combination of wood siding and natural stone tapestry. The home’s steeply pitched roofing and asymmetrical, L-shaped form allow the interiors to enjoy a more optimized layout. One of the most noticeable features of the home is its different sets of window groupings, chosen for their specific function and how each type provides different indoor-outdoor interaction and daylight accessibility. 

In order to complete this project as well as its long list of custom homes, the firm relies on its team of architects, builders, interior designers, and subcontractors to deliver highly unique spaces. These projects have caught the attention of the design and building community since the firm’s inception in 1987. Finance & Commerce, Minneapolis/Saint Paul Business Journal, and Artisan Home Tour have highlighted many of the firm’s milestones.

Pillar Homes

1700 Niagara Lane, Plymouth, MN 55447

Pillar Homes constructed a custom home inspired by the eclectic and unpredictable elements of Queen Anne architecture. As a sub-style of the late-Victorian era, this design inspiration is known for its cross-gabled roofing, inventive and multi-story structure, and a decorative light-house-shaped tower that adds personality to the home. Modern incorporations that include full-glass window groupings and light fixtures introduce a more ergonomic design to increase natural lighting and create an open, airy environment. The overall palette of cool gray and white is a nod to a more traditional color theme.

Through the firm’s 25 years of practice, the industry’s design and building community has constantly celebrated the firm’s homes that highlight a unique brand of elegance. Some of these homes helped the firm secure the Builders Association of Minnesota’s and Plymouth Magazine’s best builders awards in recent years.

ADŌR Bespoke Homes

350 Highway 7, #218 Excelsior, MN 55331

ADOR Bespoke Homes collaborated with leading architect Charlie & Co. and Interior Designer Lenox House Design to produce the Lake Minnetonka Equestrian Home. The luxury residence’s design reproduces nostalgic farmhouse elements through wood material and warm hues. These are combined with the airy and expansive structures of contemporary architecture by establishing a connection between the interiors and the home’s landscape. Glass entryways, windows, and full-glass walls frame the surrounding environment. 

Photo by Spacecrafting

As an emerging custom home builder, the firm is establishing itself as one of the champions of incorporating the old and the new, modern and traditional. Since its inception, the company has earned many Reggie Awards, Trillium Awards, and other industry accolades from the Twin Cities Builders Association.

Creek Hill Custom Homes

4100 Berkshire Lane, Plymouth, MN 55446

Creek Hill Custom Homes’s portfolio is dominated by homes inspired by a wide spectrum of old-world and modern architectures. One example of the firm’s work is a two-story traditional home that hints at its craftsman origins through its wide, and columned porch. Minimalist in design, the façade is set in contrasting white and dark palettes. Its shingle roofing is steeply pitched and cross-gabled, a feature faithful to its style origin. The same wood-dominated structures and color themes extend to the home’s interiors. 

Focusing on the specific needs of its clients is one of the qualities that made the three-decade-old firm a preferred builder for the mid-range and high-end sectors. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) includes the firm as one of its highest-rated contractors. The company is also a constant winner of The Osseo-Maple Grove Press Readers’ Choice Award.

Worth Custom Homes

11112 Park Drive, Rogers, MN 55374

Worth Custom Homes redefined traditional craftsman architecture when it produced one of its most unforgettable projects. The two-story home features familiar elements: a wide front porch, pedestal-like tapered columns, and overhanging eaves. However, unlike its style inspiration, the home features contemporary geometries and materials. These include multiple-story living spaces, tall windows, and steep, shingle roofing. As a custom home designed to answer present-day lifestyles, every space in the home is optimized to provide functionality and spatial congruence. 

Homes of the same depth in terms of style and structure can be found in the firm’s impressive portfolio, four decades in the making. These projects are award-winning and recognized throughout the region via Reggie Awards and Trillium Awards.

Wooddale Builders

6117 Blue Circle Drive, Suite #101, Minnetonka, MN 55343

Custom homes and speculative properties can be found in Wooddale Builders’s residential portfolio. One custom home project that exemplifies its quality as a builder is the Indian Hills Edina residence. The home, set in the contrasting color of a white façade and dark shingle roofing, is set in a lush landscape. Its dominant wood elements allow it to blend with its natural surroundings. Large windows bring in generous daylight and entryways that structurally blur the line between the indoor and the outdoor represent its contemporary design influences. The home’s interiors feature luxury finishes and custom details that embody the lifestyle and stylistic preferences of its inhabitants.

Since 1875, the firm has been known to deliver the outstanding quality and efficiency that its work embodies. It’s not surprising that the firm has earned multiple awards for decades, including several Reggie Awards for various single-family home categories. The firm is also a certified member of the BBB, a testament to its stellar practice as a service provider and as an ethical business organization.

Erotas Custom Building

21930 Minnetonka Boulevard, Excelsior, MN 55331

Erotas Custom Building is one of the contractors that have helped shape the region’s residential landscape. One of the firm’s major projects was for a luxury home that presents the grand appeal of French country architecture. The brick wall siding, double chimney, and mansard roofing are reminiscent of its European inspiration. The façade’s neutral tones represent its strong and enduring structure while its interiors’ warm palettes embody the comfort and homey atmosphere it is known for. The home also highlights custom woodwork and metalwork, elegant fixtures, and expansive living areas.

The firm’s familiarity with classic architecture as well as many other styles found in its portfolio can be attributed to its decades of practice. Established in 1992, many of the firm’s projects have been recognized in the region. Housing First Minnesota, for instance, consistently highlights the firm’s milestones. 


  • Jake Gustafson

    Jake has served as a brings a wealth of experience rooted in his passion for building. Holding a degree in Construction Engineering Management from Oregon State University, he actively engaged in industry-related activities, including membership in the Associated General Contractors of America student chapter and participation in the Associated Schools in Construction student competition. Previously, Jake served as a project engineer for a prominent general contractor in Portland, where he played a pivotal role in various aspects of construction projects, from pre-construction to subcontractor management. His expertise extends to working on innovative projects, such as North America's largest CLT commercial building. Expertise: Commercial Construction, Commercial Remodeling, Home Design and Build Key Highlights: Editor at HomeBuilderDigest, Project Engineer for Portland-based general contractor, Field Engineer for the largest CLT commercial building in North America Education: Oregon State University - Degree in Construction Engineering Management