Stillwater couple prepares to landscape acreage surrounding their dream home.
Nancy and David Eike recently moved into a brand-new home in Stillwater. The house, built by Creative Homes, is approximately four miles northwest of downtown Stillwater but has a very real “in the country” vibe on almost six acres with great views of nearby woods, prairie grasses and the occasional wildlife. This is the seventh home the Eikes have built but Nancy says, it will be their last. So special care was taken to accommodate the Eikes’ currently active lifestyle along with incorporating particular design elements meant to allow the couple to age in place.
Nancy says, “I grew up on four acres and used to hang out in the woods as a child. I always wanted [a home with] space.” She and David looked everywhere for property but found many larger lots were too expensive. “We decided that if we could find a lot that was the right size, at the right price, we’d do it,” she says. As fate would have it, the Eikes found their dream lot not far from Little Carnelian Lake. So, they sold their home in Cottage Grove, put some of their belongings in storage and moved into a condo temporarily while their new home was being built.
“I knew I wanted a farmhouse design,” Nancy says.
“I have such fond memories of childhood days spent at my grandparents’ farmhouse.” Once, when she was a child, Nancy’s grandparents gifted her a chicken she named Mary. “I didn’t want to leave the farm that day,” she says.
It’s those cherished memories that have fueled her desire for a farmhouse feel in their new home. But that meant much of the furnishings from the Eikes’ previous home wouldn’t work in the new space. Much of it was sold while Nancy went on the hunt for new interior décor. She chatted once with Mary Weiher of W Blu Designs who offered some selection suggestions. For practicality and to keep costs down, Nancy scoured Facebook Marketplace and local antique shops for many of the pieces that now give their new home that cozy, farmhouse feel. “I’d lie awake at night envisioning what would go in each space and on each wall,” says Nancy who especially loves shopping at Reclaiming Beautiful in Stillwater where she found several vintage and upcycled items that coordinate perfectly in their new home to create a beautifully provincial interior.
The floorplan is smaller than their previous home but not so small that there isn’t room for visiting grandchildren or to host family/friend gatherings. The open concept main floor with a neutral color palette is perfect for entertaining and is awash in natural light from lots of oversized windows. On the couple’s “must-have” list were a large kitchen island with quartz countertops and a step-in pantry. An Elk River woodworker custom built a pine farm-style dining table that is a central showpiece on the main floor. Its rustic charm contrasts beautifully with the elegance of three crystal chandeliers aligned overhead. “I saw something similar on lizmarieblog.com and was inspired to recreate the look,” Nancy says.
There is also a main floor powder room and a private office for David who often works from home. The owners’ suite is located at the other end of the main level with a spacious bathroom and walk-in closet. Tucked in next to the bedroom is a perfectly situated smaller office space for Nancy—a writer and former editor of White Bear Lake Magazine—who also works from home.
There is no lower level due to a higher water table in the area. But a second level provides extra storage, a cozy media viewing space, a workout room, another bathroom and a “bunk room,” which is essentially a guest bedroom outfitted with two beautiful, full-size antique beds for company—mainly the grandkids.
Everywhere are reminders of the couple’s inspiration, like a collage of photographs featuring family farmhouses of the couple’s parents and grandparents, repurposed vintage sideboards and benches and all manner of retro odds and ends that give this new home an incredible sense of “lived in” character.
Their ambition doesn’t stop at the door. Nancy and David are also avid gardeners ready to take their vision outdoors. Nancy’s favorite flower is hydrangea and she plans to plant a sea of varieties sure to conjure even more good memories. The couple even refers to their property as “Mophead Farms” as an ode to the gardening glory to come.
Living on the outer edge of town sometimes means less convenience, like only one bar in the reception display of a cell phone or satellite internet service. But Nancy says the view and the feeling of space they have is worth it. “I can hear cows when I walk the dog,” she says. It’s like living close to convenience but still feeling like you can get away from everything.