Taking Home the Win: Building Our Dream Home

In April 2014, my husband and I broke ground to begin building our dream home. By dream home, I mean a beautiful, functional space that would provide everything we need to raise six girls and two furry creatures, without sending this mom over the edge.   


At the end of the project, we accomplished 99 percent of what we set out do, within our budget. Today our finished house feels like home. In the fall of 2014 it took first place in the Rochester Area Builders, Inc. Fall Showcase of Homes—Division 2 (homes between $400,000 and $499,999). It was an honor for my husband’s company, Med City Builders of Rochester, LLC to win this award and be recognized.   

Building Your Own Home

Med City Builders has been in business over 11 years and built more than 200 custom homes in the Rochester area and surrounding communities, as well as the Twin Cities and Wisconsin. The owner, Andy Cummings, focuses on building 12 to 15 high-quality custom homes each year. By keeping it within this range, he is able to personally assist in all aspects of the building process, from design, selections and job coordination all the way to the one-year, post-completion walk-through.  

Andy says, “Every builder should have to build their own house at some point. Having a full understanding of how your clients feel and what they experience by experiencing it yourself gives you great insight and empathy. There are moments of give and take through the whole process with design, finishes and what works for your budget. What we wanted was a modest home that had style and distinguishing character but didn’t break the bank. The end product exceeds my expectations every day.” 

A Walk through the Main Floor

Our home is a walkout rambler best described as traditional mission style with splashes of modern. The main floor boasts 1,892 square feet, and the lower level is even bigger, with a built-in storage unit beneath the front stoop. 

The home is laid out to capture all of the natural features of the land. The great room overlooks a valley and includes a walk out to a deck. To keep the deck from obtruding the view, we utilized aluminum deck spindles that reflect, rather than block, light. Every morning, the room’s large bank of windows offers the perfect vantage point to watch the sun rise over the valley, field and tree line that make up our back yard. The ceilings in the great room reach 12 feet and open up the main floor of the home. A built-in fireplace with stone and floating shelving surrounds brings great height and warmth to this gathering place.

The great room shares an open space with the kitchen, which is unquestionably the command center of our home. Adjacent to the dining room, which features oversized windows, the kitchen is flooded with natural light. The large, one-tub sink faces the open great room. We utilized a combination of darker finishes on the knotty alder cabinets, installed by Higgins Custom Cabinets, and a black-stained island and oven hood. To accentuate these darker tones, we chose a contrasting Crema Pearl granite and a maple floor. The backsplash throughout the kitchen matches the stone on the fireplace, presenting a consistent look throughout the overall living space.  

The remainder of the main floor includes an essential mudroom with built-ins by Higgins, a laundry room with frontloading washer and dryer and an office with more beautiful built-ins. The master suite, located on the main level, features oversized windows and overlooks the same beautiful view as the great room. A spacious walk-in shower with multiple shower heads, shelving and vertical borders of tile are the showpiece of the master suite bathroom. 

Step Downstairs

The lower level was designed around our six girls, so maximizing space within our budget was a necessity. The floor plan features three bedrooms with walk-in closets, two bathrooms and a large family room perfectly equipped for movie nights. We incorporated two bonus rooms into the design, as well as extensive storage under the front stoop, and a playroom beneath the stairs (with carpeting and lighting) has become a Barbie haven.  

The family room is built to serve adults, too, with a wonderful wet bar featuring knotty alder cabinets, granite countertops, stone backsplash and a live-edge, walnut, high bar-top from Iowa. The footrest beneath the bar (very inexpensive, durable corrugated steel) infuses a pop of modern and industrial into the natural finishes. A very high-tech, but easy-to-navigate entertainment system is installed throughout the home. From your phone and other devices, you can stream music through four zones (kitchen, deck, wet bar and family room) and play surround sound for movie nights.   

His Heated Garage

My husband included his toy room. Our home features a nearly 1,200-square-foot garage—fully finished, heated and equipped with cable for game days and plenty of room for storage, kid toys, vehicles and big boy toys.

Jenee M. Cummings is a freelance writer.