A Manor of Speaking
Words by Andrea Darr | Photos by Matthew Anderson
Timeless European influences and modern craftsmanship define the character of this 2022 Artisan Home..
or his 40th birthday, Joe Christensen and his wife went on a bike tour through Europe. Besides the incredible trip, what Joe got was inspired. “I’m definitely inspired by travel—the settings, the things people do,” he says. As the co-owner of Cardinal Crest Homes, Joe is constantly on the lookout for fresh ideas, methods and materials to use on new builds and home remodeling projects. A style preference kept resurfacing from his trip: English Cottage. “Typically when you think of an English cottage, you think of smaller, quainter homes,” Joe says. But when the opportunity arose to be part of the Artisan Home Tour last summer, Joe knew this would be an ideal time to lean into the intricate, craftsman details of the style. And he knew just the place to showcase this particular home—in the Northland. Shoal Creek isn’t exactly the English countryside, but the golf course greens and gently rolling hills of Eagle Pointe are quite beautiful. “Both Adam Shaeffer, my business partner, and I live in the area,” Joe says. “People see it as miles away, so this felt like an opportunity to show that it isn’t.”
The home’s historically useful parapet walls are strikingly different from anything in the near surroundings—even distinguishable from Route 152.
“We wanted to place it in that historical timeframe, with updated modern features, of course,” Joe says. “It feels timeless and familiar, but built for today.”
At 7,500 square feet—and with a six-car suspended garage—its size fits the American Dream, while its extensive details place it outside of the usual. The front entry is highlighted by a limestone surround, vertical cypress siding and dormered windows. The back elevation continues to impress with its own attentive detailing. “It’s just as good looking,” Joe says, adding, “It isn’t always done that way.”
The flat walkout lot is ideal for a pool—an element Cardinal Crest didn’t build for the tour yet envisioned for the future homeowner.
“For the size of the home, we anticipate a family perhaps on their way to being empty-nesters but always hosting family and friends,” Joe says.
The 1.5-story floor plan is conducive to a range of lifestyles with its open-living concept, wide entry with a steel- and glass-enclosed home office and main-level primary suite.
Vaulted ceilings and special ceiling treatments volumize and incentivize you to look up in nearly every room.
“We incorporated a ton of woodwork, beams and details on the ceilings,” Joe says. “We leaned into that experience of looking up. It adds a certain draw in any space.”
But small touches are equally striking. Vintage paintings and rustic furnishings make that cottage character shine through. For instance, in the laundry room, an antique chair placed against an emerald green wall next to a window stages a scene.
“It’s wild how the right interior design takes you to another place,” Joe says.
The walk-in pantry, featuring the same deep green color, is another crowd favorite, with a ceramic pendant softly lighting a farmhouse sink. A connecting larder (aka pantry) features a rolling ladder for reaching high-up items. Cute as it all is, it also encompasses the luxury of a wine fridge.
“It’s a balance of the modern finishes we want today while paying homage to the old,” Joe says.
Older textures are also featured throughout the home, including lime plaster, over-grouted limestone and a stone wall behind the bed in the primary bedroom.
Even paired with newer materials—such as steel handrails and white oak cabinetry and floors—the finishes are natural and even raw looking when viewed up close.
“In modern buildings today, people are looking for perfection,” Joe says. “They don’t appreciate the handcrafted work, but we like that part. There’s something poetic about it.”
The kitchen, meanwhile, is a functional work of art. Natural quartzite countertops with an integrated sink serve many purposes and are easy to clean. A bridge faucet befits the cottage theme, while a large-scale light fixture accents the space in trendy grandmillennial style.
For those of us who predate the digital age, something as simple as a light switch can be fascinating. While the electrical outlets are purposefully concealed away in this house, all the switches stand out. Textured brass knobs bring a satisfactory click that delights every visitor.
These details and more came to fruition through the collaborative effort of Cardinal Crest’s in-house team who worked two years to get this house ready for its debut. Though the home tour it was built for lasted only a short time, this house will long stay impressive.
“We love when people go back and say, ‘I didn’t see this the first time,’” Joe says. “My favorite thing is when a homeowner notices a detail six months after they’ve moved in. Those small details tell a story, and the story is that we are thinking of lots of things, both big and little. It’s like leaving Easter eggs behind.”
Architect/Interior Designer/Contractor: Cardinal Crest Homes
Engineer: HD Engineering
Landscaper: Hermes Landscaping
New Home Community: Eagle Point
Real Estate Agent: Tom Johnson
Appliances: Factory Direct Appliance
Antiques: Bella Patina, Prime Antiques, Painted Sofa
Cabinets: Precision Woods Inc.
Closet: Scott Swift Custom Trim
Electronics: Bravas KC
Flooring: Kenny’s Tile & Floor Covering
Rugs: Amber Interiors, Golden & Pine, McGee & Co.
Hardware: Locks & Pulls, Rejuvenation, Anthropologie, West Elm
Plumbing Fixtures: Hampton Plumbing
Paint: Millennium Painting
Siding: Legacy Pre Finishing
Roofing: Royal Roofscapes
Window Coverings: Home Goods