At Long Last

After more than 20 years, Linda and Larry Berger were finally able to turn their Medicine Lake house into a dream home.
Top left: Exterior shot, before remodel. Top right: After the remodel. Bottom: A view of the lake from the Bergers’ new living space.

Linda and Larry Berger’s home on Medicine Lake is just about perfect. Its
spacious living areas, picturesque views and practical features take advantage
of the lakeshore property and make the house an optimal place to entertain.

It hasn’t always been this way. After buying the property 27 years ago, the
Bergers were owners of an outstanding plot, but an old and poorly designed

So in 1992, after a few months of consulting, Linda and Larry decided to
start fresh. The local volunteer fire department set controlled practice fires
to the house, then bulldozed the remains. At the time a young family with three
boys and a limited budget, the Bergers decided to build a model home—an
inexpensive option that still gave them the large square footage they desired.
But this still wasn’t ideal.

“We knew we were giving up lake views and high-end finishes,” Linda says,
“but someday we would remodel and it would be all we had hoped for ... Larry had
been sketching ideas and revised main floor plans for years, just waiting for
the day when we could afford to move ahead with the remodeling project we were
longing to do.”

“I’m kind of a thinker, so I put so much time into remodeling this house,”
Larry adds. “We had to figure out some way to bring the lake into the

After 18 years in the model home, the Bergers decided the time was finally
right to remodel their stock house into the home they long desired—a lake home
that was tailored to a new stage of life that included grandchildren and an
active social life.

Armed with Larry’s sketches, the Bergers approached C.R.E. Construction in
fall 2011. With the help of project manager Chad Lati, they were able to
finalize their plans for a new main floor, including a kitchen, piano room,
mudroom, bathroom and two seating areas: one traditional living room and another
living room facing the lake. The new space was set to emphasize their lakeside
property and make it easy to entertain friends and family, two things important
to the Bergers that had been neglected in their model home’s design.

During the remodeling period, they lived on the second floor of the home, but
moved next door to stay with Linda’s brother as needed. Six months of
construction later, the Berger home was complete.

The Bergers say the result they moved into in April 2012 is all they’d
dreamed of—and more. Among the most impressive changes are the home’s new
windows, all of which are designed to create a more open feel and show off
beautiful Medicine Lake. One living room’s floor-to-ceiling bay window, hugged
by a unique half-circle couch, has become a particular focal point in the home.

“We wake up every morning marveling at the things we notice outside our
windows, but never really saw before,” Linda says. The expansion also boasts
custom-crafted walnut floors that appeal to what Lati describes as Larry’s
“Craftsmen style sensibilities,” as well as a 5-foot ribbon fireplace,
energy-efficient LED lighting and a composite backyard deck with glass railings.
The Bergers’ youngest son, Erik, even added his own touch by personally wiring
the home’s new wireless electronic and sound system.

In addition to the large-scale changes, the Bergers and C.R.E. ensured that
no small detail would be left out. Pantry shelves, mudroom toy benches, sheet
music organization (Linda is a professional musician) and more were all taken
into consideration to ensure the house was truly ready for grandchildren and
dinner guests alike.

Since its completion, the Bergers have hosted a number of parties, from
sizzling lakeside barbecues to comfy winter lefse-fests to neighborhood
progressive parties and Sunday night dinners for family. They’ve even been
dubbed the new “storm house,” the place where everyone can cozy up together to
socialize in safety below ground while waiting out a storm.

By all accounts, the Bergers’ new home was definitely worth the wait.


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