Lake home with lighthouse becomes a beacon on Minnetonka’s Enchanted Island

Audrey J. Powers

Living on Lake Minnetonka is all about the lake, of course. But a recent home remodeling project on Enchanted Island trumpets lakeshore living — complete with a lighthouse.

Bob and Karen Morgan recently transformed their outdated 1980s home, remaking it with a Nantucket-inspired look including porthole windows, a custom bar made from a hull of a boat and a stairwell-turned-lighthouse.

“People figured since we were on a lake that we’d want to do an Up North Minnesota theme,” Karen said. “But we just loved the seaside Nantucket vibe.”

Bob and Karen both grew up loving lake life, spending weekends visiting aunts, uncles and grandparents at their places on the water. (In case any Minnesota Golden Gophers football super fans are wondering: Yes, this is the same Bob Morgan who was a quarterback and team captain in the 1970s.)

About 45 years ago, they sought out their own slice of shoreline heaven.

“We wanted to see if we could put our lake home and our residence home in one package so we didn’t have two places to maintain,” Bob said. “We told a neighbor who was a Realtor and she said there was a place listed on Enchanted Island.”

The empty lot in Shorewood cost $44,500, a price that seemed out of line for the underdeveloped area at the time. It was more than the cost of the Morgans’ home in Golden Valley — and that property came with a house.

At just 26 years old, with a 2-year-old daughter, they were ready to say no to the purchase.

“Then we saw a sailboat go by. We could hear fishermen chattering,” Bob said.

That was all it took to persuade them to come up with the money and purchase the land in 1976.

Securing the lot was one thing. It would be several years before they could afford to build on the property. In the meantime, they docked a sailboat on the lake and came out on the weekends, sailing around the lake and camping on the boat.

Seven years after they bought the lot, they began construction on their lake home, with Bob playing the role of contractor. They moved in the spring of 1984.

All aboard

Three decades later, the Morgans’ affection for the lake has come full circle with the home’s recent nautical-themed renovation.

Initially, they didn’t plan to remodel. Their two grown daughters had moved out. And the Morgans were spending more time in a home they purchased in Tucson, Ariz. They decided to sell their Minnesota lake property.

“Then we thought, ‘We can’t sell this place,’ ” said Karen. “We decided to at least do a kitchen remodel. And that evolved into an entire home rebuild.”

To give the home a fresh update, they brought in Boyer Building, Magney Architecture and Lindy McClure Design.

Magney Architecture owner Tammy Magney said the Morgans wanted to incorporate a nautical lake look while enlarging the living spaces so they could host gatherings of family and friends.

“They had outgrown the style. Now that their kids were no longer living there, they were just looking for a place to entertain and have their kids come back home,” she said. “They love boating, they love the lake. I started looking at features that would make it feel more nautical, such as finishes.”

To open up the interior, Magney suggested adding lots of windows and rethinking the layout.

“I wanted to get as many rooms as I could to have a view of the lake,” she said.

On the first floor, walls were knocked down and the space was reconfigured.The living room and family room were combined and moved to the lakefront side of the home while the dining room moved to where the living room had been. The kitchen, which had been in the middle of the first floor, was moved to give it easy access to both the living and dining rooms.

Maritime time

To give the house a nautical nod, a 21-foot tower was built above the staircase. It not only is a statement piece, but it also functions as a skylight.

“It was taking the stairwell and making an element of it,” Magney said. “The topper really helped tie in that piece of the nautical theme.”

The lower level also got a makeover, with ship-shape wood ceilings, beams and floors and porthole-style windows. The finishing touch was a 7-foot bar made out of the hull of a boat, which Bob had commissioned from a craftsman in New Hampshire.

“It’s supposed to feel like you’re on a boat,” Magney said of the space.

Nautical touches can be found in rounded doorways, white shiplap, commissioned artwork, even a bathroom mirror that resembles a porthole.

On the exterior, a curved dormer, along with an expansive winding deck and a color scheme of blue, gray and white add to the Nantucket vibe.

“It looks really nautical and there are elements that resemble a sailboat on top,” Magney said.

Piece by piece

The Morgans didn’t want to take on such a major project all at once. So just like when they initially built their home, the renovation took place over time.

“We looked at it in terms of how we could phase it,” Magney said. “Part of the juggling of the project was figuring out what could happen when.”

For contractor and builder Bob Boyer, renovating the home in multiple phases was key, especially when it came to coordinating with the homeowners.

“They were gone half of the year and that’s when we would come in and work on the project,” Boyer said.

The project took place in five phases over a period of as many years. The Morgans would head to Arizona during the cold weather months and that’s when it was all-hands-on-deck with the home remodel.

The final phase of construction wrapped up this past spring, and the Morgans are enjoying their first full lake season in their fully renovated home.

“The project brought in so much more light with all of the windows. We have a view of the lake from every room in our house,” Karen said. “And with all these walls down, it just opens up everything and brings the lake right in.”

Now that the dust has settled, Karen, a retired occupational therapist and fitness club manager, and Bob, the owner of an internet software development company, are settling in nicely.

A daily ritual has become enjoying their morning coffee and reading the paper together at a table overlooking the lake. Later in the day, it’s where they reconvene for happy hour.

“We may not solve all of the world’s problems, but we can gather here and discuss it,” Bob said.

While their remodeled home lives larger than its predecessor, Bob remembers its humble beginnings — and points out that it’s still fairly humble in terms of Twin Cities area lake homes.

“Here you see all these jaw-dropping, large houses. But ours is not large comparatively,” he said. “I mean, it’s large for us at 3,400 square feet, but it works for our lives and we’re going to live here as long as we can.

“We consider ourselves blessed.”

About this project

What: Nautical themed lighthouse home on Enchanted Island in Shorewood

Size: Approximately 3,400 feet

Architect: Tammy Magney/Magney Architecture

Designer: Lindy McClure/Lindy McClure Design

Builder/general contractor: Boyer Building Corp.

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