Look Back into Luxury
Custom homes evolve with trends and technology, as seen through Midwest Home's Luxury Home Tour.
Take a look back into time and explore homes from the past 15 years by lifestyle and relive the luxury.
A Look Back into the Luxury Home Tour
Above: This Lake Minnetonka home features a cantilevered roof extending 20 feet over the rear deck.
Denali Custom Homes, Inc., Minnetrista, 2010
Since the early days of Midwest Home magazine’s Luxury Home Tour in the 2000s, much about custom homes has changed: the floor plans, the preferred materials, and the features most in demand.
But perhaps the greatest change in the last 15 years is smart-home technology. Thanks to advances in wireless networking and cloud computing, technology has changed the way we live inside our homes. “You can be sitting in your vacation home in Florida, and be turning on your lights and setting your security system on your Minnesota home right from your phone,” says John Kraemer of John Kraemer & Sons Inc. in Edina. “All of the homes we are building nowadays can be completely controlled with home automation.”The progression of technology has also influenced sustainable practices, allowing for more energy-efficient building techniques and materials, geothermal heating and cooling, rainwater-collection methods, and more. As a result, homebuilders’ creativity has become intricately linked with technological advances.
Like dial-up Internet, compartmentalized floor plans seem to be a thing of the past. Homeowners more often opt for an informal great room in which kitchen, dining and living rooms flow together in one continuous space—the back wall often nothing but floor-to-ceiling windows—rather than discrete rooms dedicated to a single purpose.
Entertaining plays a much larger role in homeowners’ preferences than it has in the past, and today’s welcoming open floor plans fit a lifestyle that values gathering family and friends. Instead of having to navigate hallways, owners and guests alike are treated to enhanced sightlines and a more open-air feel. Beautiful, unobstructed views of shimmering bays, outdoor kitchens, and expansive yards create relaxing environments.
Style preferences have evolved as well—though classic Tudors, English cottages, rustic lodges, and Old World details remain popular. More modern and contemporary looks with clean lines, light colors, and enameled woodwork have gained momentum in recent years.
And then there’s the kitchen. Once thought to be the exclusively for cooking and meal prep, the kitchen has become the heart of the home. Open to other main-floor living spaces, the room is headquarters for eating, working, socializing, and congregating.
Luxury kitchen countertops evolved from granite to quartz composite to marble—and back again. Stainless steel appliances remain a popular choice, exemplifying a more streamlined feel. High-end commercial-grade stoves and refrigerators have become must-haves for gourmet cooks.
The centerpiece of luxury kitchens remains the island, however. Not only is it a useful boundary for the cook’s working area, it also serves as a jack-of-all-trades. The island is not only an informal dining surface, it also adds space for prep, stovetop, sink, or storage.
Bathrooms have changed as well. As more homeowners plan to age in place in their dream homes, comfort and accessibility become more important than resale value. Walk-in showers are often fanciful works of art with built-in seating, multiple showerheads, body sprayers, and steam. These days, most homeowners avoid whirlpools and fiberglass in favor of freestanding sculptural pedestals or vintage-style claw-foot tubs that add a lavish spa feel.
Through the years, luxury homes have changed with the trends and technology. Below, join us for a stroll through a few of our favorite features in homes that appeared in the Luxury Home Tour over the past 15 years.
A Look Back at Design Trends of Past Luxury Home Tours
Save The Date for Midwest Home’s Luxury Home Tour 2017
June 2 – 4, 9 – 11 & 16 – 18, 2017
By Kyle Smelter
Photos by Todd Buchanan (1,5), Spacecrafting (2,3,4,7), Landmark Photography (6), Landmark Photography LLC (8)