When Blair Haider first saw the lot overlooking Little Birch Lake she was entranced.
“She ran across the lot saying ‘Happy place! Happy place! Happy place!’” said grandparents, Brian and Dar Haider.
It was a look into the future by the 2-year-old daughter of Kiara Haider.
Now, a year later, Brian and Dar and daughter, Alexis, are happy in the home they built on the lot in a whirlwind chain of events starting Labor Day weekend 2017.
The acre lot was located between land owned by Brian’s parents and a house that had been owned by his brother, known as the Sand Hill.
“We knew the area,” Brian said. “We kept coming back up here because of the view.”
They made an offer on the lot, and in two weeks they owned it, planning to build in a couple of years. Each had been studying house plans. When they compared notes, the plans were almost identical.
Three days after the lot purchase, two parties approached them wanting to buy their house in Melrose. That set off a chain of events that ended with spending every weekend building their new house, and moving in on Good Friday.
Brian is a building contractor, having worked for his father in Butch Haider Construction for 30 years. Not only had he helped with the construction of five or six houses a year in the business, he had built seven houses he had lived in.
When Butch retired, Brian worked for Breitbach Construction, and since March of 2017 has been working for Arnzen Construction of Freeport. Naturally they used Arnzen Construction for their own building project.
In an interesting twist of fate, the night before Brian took the construction sketches in to be drawn up, Alexis got out her pen and sketched in a walk-in closet and a window seat in the space that would be her bedroom.
The plans had to be adjusted to allow for the closet, making the living room bigger and adding square footage to the project, increasing it to about 1,700 square feet.
“She didn’t get her window seat, though,” Dar said.
The house is set on a hill facing northwest overlooking Little Birch Lake, with 152 feet of lakeshore, about 75 steps down the hill.
The home is a two bedroom with two baths, master suite with a whirlpool tub in the full bath, living room, open kitchen with pantry, laundry room on the main level, and an unfinished basement.
Little Blair calls the house “Papa’s Castle,” and when she visits she wakes up early to watch the sunrise on the lake.
“I wanted open views from everywhere in the house,” Brian said. In one direction they can see the deer in the yard through the glass doors, and in the other direction, the lake. And when the windows are open they can hear the loons calling.
While the kitchen is state of the art, with its center island and soft close drawers and doors, the family is enjoying eating out on the poured cement covered patio just off the kitchen/living room through the sliding glass doors. The patio has a covered 12-foot by 12-foot cemented area, flanked by 16-foot by 20-foot and 12-foot by 12-foot cemented areas for additional seating and grills. The patio enclosure features rough sawn lumber from Sand Hill Saw Mill custom log sawing in Nimrod. The lumber was finished with a black grain-enhancing stain.
The kitchen cabinets are made of knotty elder with a stained Canyon finish.
Several pocket doors were used in the construction of the closets.
A favorite feature of the main level is the barn door which opens to the laundry room, and which can be seen down the short hall from the kitchen/pantry area.
“I love the look of it,” said Dar, which includes black stainless steel appliances.
There are a lot of projects in the works, which will eventually include finishing the basement with a gathering area, a bedroom and bath.
Their family includes Alexis, 16, a junior at Melrose High School; Dillon, 19, attending St. Cloud Technical College; Amyia and her husband, Nick Gerads; Kiara and her daughter, Blair age 3; and Joshua, 30.
The basement is on the same level as the two-car garage. Steps lead up from the garage into the main level.
“I wanted to walk straight out to see the lake from the main level,” Brian said.
Future plans include adding a fireplace in the living room,
“When you are married to a construction worker there’s always a project,” said Dar. “We are extremely grateful for the help of family and friends throughout the building process, especially Nick and the crew that help lay down 42 pallets of sod in a 24 hour time frame,” they said.
Contractors included St. Rosa Lumber for the construction materials; Jesse LeClair of New Munich for electrical; Jesse James Plumbing from Grey Eagle; Melrose Plumbing and Heating; Mike Nathe of Spanier-Nathe Cabinets of Melrose, Hennen Floor Covering of Freeport, and Colorful Concepts for the painting.
Outside, Wheels Water of Melrose sunk the well; J’s Irrigation of Freeport installed the irrigation, Spaeth Landscaping of Melrose did the rock and prepping for the sodding, and Mayers Excavating the earthwork.