How to Find Inspiration for Your Dream Home

All of us have a dream home. We all desire and dream of dwelling in a home that is more than just comfortable - it’s also well designed and beautiful. Our dream home allows us to do anything we want - from rest to recreation. But where do you start? While the process of designing a home is demanding and challenging, it’s the first step in turning your dream into a reality. Read some inspiration from Gordon James to start dreaming up your home:


1. A Grand Kitchen

You don’t have to be on Top-Chef to have a fabulous kitchen. Your kitchen can showcase the latest in finishes, design ideas, and amenities featuring marble countertops, detailed custom cabinets, double islands, and spacious floor plans. Pro-grade appliances, thoughtful layouts, gorgeous lighting, architectural elements, and other luxurious elements all elevate your kitchen. From the things that make a kitchen beautiful to the things that make it function beautifully, the attention to detail is what creates a gorgeous kitchen design. Be inspired to make your dream kitchen a reality with these beautiful kitchen designs.

   Laundry room in custom home in Minnetonka, MN by Gordon James

2. Stylish Laundry Room

While designing your dream house, it’s important not to forget the small details like your laundry room. Don’t be afraid to take style risks with colorful artwork, wallpaper, or furniture, and while designing the layout and place in your home, consider your family’s needs and lifestyle. Here are some tips from Gordon James so you can design a peaceful, stylish, and relaxing laundry room in your dream home.


3. An Outdoor Oasis

Let’s move away from the indoors to the great outdoors for a minute. Make your deck a destination this summer by defining different activity zones within the space. Consider multiple levels to carve out different spaces for amenities including; a stainless steel grill, pizza oven, and lounge seating. For long, relaxing soaks at the end of a hot summer day, a hot tub or spa on the deck is a must-have luxury. Your outdoor room will feel more like an oasis if it has a sense of privacy, use lattice, pergolas, and landscaping to define outdoor spaces and screen views of neighboring houses.


4. A Walk-In Closet or Dressing Room

Every dream home needs an elegant walk-in closet or dressing room that provides a relaxing and private escape for preparing for the day. An elegant custom closet begins with a thoughtful design and organization strategy. The design should serve your needs, maximize storage space, express your style, and showcase your wardrobe. Here’s the Gordon James guide to designing a walk-in closet or dressing room so you can experience joy whenever you open it.


5. Luxurious Bathroom

A great luxurious bathroom is a cheery and relaxing place start to your day and a soothing and serene place to end it. A single slipper chair, a spacious ottoman encourages you to treat the room like a luxurious day spa. Here, you can sit back and relax after the mundane routines of brushing your teeth or combing your hair. From large, show-stopping bathtubs, walk-in showers with seating, and sleek vanity units, your bathroom should be curated to your wants. If you’re looking for more inspiration, take a look at these beautiful bathrooms perfect for lounging.


6. A Custom Bar

From sleek to modern to traditional, a home bar is a perfect place for any gathering. If you really want to rival the coolest clubs, pubs, or lounges in your area add a pool table, darts, or arcade near your home bar. Now, the drinks are on the house! For a spacious home bar, design your basement with entertaining in mind, or if you have space, consider transforming a garage into a unique space. Find inspiration for your home bar in the most beautifully designed bars in each state.


7. Functional and Striking Home Office

A great home office should be functional and beautiful. Choose overall neutral colors like white, grey, tan, and ivory. These neutrals don’t distract the eye and can be easily paired with your favorite accent color (think yellow, red, or blue) to add in some energy. For more inspiration and ideas take a look at Architecture Digest’s list of luxury home offices. Creating a home office is an opportunity to connect with yourself and your work. It should be a place for focus, not distraction, that enhances the work you do.


Start Designing Your Dream Home with Gordon James

Our dream homes are architecturally exciting and structurally robust, with elegant interiors and refined exteriors. They are designed by architects to mirror each client’s personality and lifestyle needs. The Gordon James team orchestrates the intricate process through which a confluence of people, events, talents, and dreams will produce perfect results – your dream home!

Partner with the professionals at Gordon James in Minnesota to start designing and planning your dream home. For more information, contact us at or call us at 763-479-3117 today.

Designing a Functional and Stylish Dining Room

Whether you tend toward hosting intimate dinner-parties or going all-out for the holidays, a well-designed dining room is needed to help best entertain your guests while also serving as a daily communal space for your family. We at Gordon James have compiled a list of ideas to help you design a functional and stylish dining room that’s ready to fit the way your gather and entertain:

  Open-floor plan kitchen in custom home by Gordon James in Twin Cities, MN

Consider the Location and Aesthetic 

Your dining room is more than just a place to enjoy a meal: it serves an a representation of how your family serves others. For this reason, it is important to consider the location and aesthetic of your dining room when designing to account for space, functionality, and aesthetic as an extension of your home:

  1. Traditional Formal Dining Room: The traditional dining room typically has limited access, with only one entrance into an alcoved area off of the kitchen or living room. The closed access of the room creates a formal, yet cozy, feel to the room. This dining room location is wonderful for large families, groups of friends, or hosting for the holidays.
  2. Four-Season Dining Room: Consider building your dining room in a four-season room, with floor-to-ceiling windows. The extra-lighting of the room helps to make it more inviting and less stuffy than a traditional dining room. Because of this, the design is perfect for families with small children or who enjoy ‘vacation home’ dining with a view.
  3. Pass-Through Dining Room: A pass-through dining room with two entryways on either wall. Perfect for hosting luncheons, dinners, or cocktail parties, this set-up allows guests to easily pass from room to room, typically offering a great flow in transitioning guests from a living room happy hour, and allowing you as hosts to sneak away to the kitchen without disruption.
  4. Great Room Dining: Even if you have a separate area allotted for your dining room, a large great room can be an impressive and accessible multipurpose space dining space. Having a second dining table in your living room allows for convenient and casual dining. If you have small children you want to keep an eye on or want your dinner parties to allow people to mix their seating options, this location is ideal.


Create a Tone with Colors

Your dining room paint color sets the atmosphere for family gatherings and parties, so consider what tone you wish to strike. If you host evening parties and you’re going for drama, try a deep and dark shade, like Frédéric Malle’s black dining room in New York. If you hold family dinners frequently and you’re going for serene, try a pastel or neutral shade, such as these rooms. Adding choice color to your dining room makes every meal memorable.


Set the Ambiance with Lights

An eye-catching light fixture always elevates a room. The best dining room lighting plans are carefully designed with your meal patterns and aesthetic in mind. If you have a long, large table, install a chandelier above to balance the room proportionally; if you have a shorter table, try an arc floor lamp. Coordinate with your construction team to ensure that your lighting fixture is installed with a dimmer function; then, with a simple press of a lever or turning of a knob, you can adjust the light. This way, your chandelier or lamp can achieve that warm, dim glow that mimics candlelight and sets the perfect mood.


Entertain in Style

With these design tips, your dining room will make every meal a memorable one. Partner with the professionals at Gordon James in Minnesota to create your custom dining room in your dream home, and design every room to best serve your family, style, and function. For more information, contact us at or call us at 763-479-3117 today.


Custom's kid bedroom in Orono, MN by Gordon James

Tips for Designing a Kid-Friendly Home

A beautiful, magazine-worthy, child-friendly home design is within your grasp with Gordon James. If your family home requires functionality without sacrificing style, here are a few tips for designing each common area to create a home that is both sophisticated and family-friendly.

Kitchen Island in custom home in Maple Plain, Minnesota    Gordon James custom home builders in Maple Plain, Minnesota

The Great Room 

Positioning your Great Room adjacent to your kitchen not only gives a communal feel to the gathering spaces in your home, but also offers a great vantage point. Consider this type of open floor plan; this way, if you’re making dinner, you can keep an eye on your children playing or doing homework. This flow and functionality brings your family together in unexpected ways that matter most.

Multi-functional, multi-generational gathering spaces don’t tidy themselves, however; unless you have a separate playroom, you’ll need some creative solutions to keep this space looking presentable while housing the kid’s toys. Find furniture that’s stylish and storage-friendly, like an ottoman or sofa with hidden storage. Set aside a few bookshelves or cupboards for all books and toys. Invest in furniture that is sleek and easy to clean, and style it with cushions and throws to show that the kids aren’t the only ones running the house.

Kitchen in custom home in Orono, Minnesota    Custom home built in Orono, Minnesota

The Kitchen

You will never regret investing in a kitchen island. A walk-around island adds flow and functionality to your kitchen space, allowing your kids to both buoy up to the counter or circulate the space as meals are being prepped or dishes are being washed. A double-entry galley is an alternative option that helps control the flow of foot-traffic in the kitchen while adding a unique showpiece to your kitchen’s design.

When selecting a countertop, consider investing in composite stone, such as Caesarstone, Smartstone or Essastone, as they are a mix of quartz and resin, and extremely durable. A new matt-finish laminate, AbsoluteMatte by Laminex, has a stylish, sleek look and a scratch-resistant, smudge proof finish. If you prefer a sleek, marble finish, which easily hides spills, you’ll need to practice proper maintenance.

A mid-mount wall oven is a safe option to protect your children from hot surfaces and provides convenience by saving your back when checking on dinner. And consider installing push-to-open drawers and cupboards in your cabinets to keep any curious young children out of select areas.

Bathroom in custom home built in Wayzata, MN   Shower in custom home in Wayzata, MN   Custom bathroom built in Minnetonka, MN

The Bathroom

A smart bathroom layout is crucial for safety and convenience; designing a “wet zone” can contain all the water-based activities and prevent your feet getting wet. To achieve this, consider installing a separate shower and bath, as opposed to a combination of the two. Factor in a landing area to dry off after exiting either, to help encourage the water to remain confined to one area.

For flooring, large-format tiles do away with excessive dirt-attracting grout, and are easy to maintain. There are designs, both modern and classic, to choose from, so you won’t feel like you are sacrificing style

 Kid's bedroom built in custom home in Minneapolis, MN   Guest bedroom in custom home in Orono, MN   Custom mudroom in Minneapolis, MN

A Home Designed For Your Family

Designing a kid-friendly house is all about planning your choices based on function, and staying specific to your aesthetic when it comes to form. Partner with the professionals at Gordon James in Minnesota to create your custom dream home, and design every room to best serve your family. For more information, contact us at or call us at 763-479-3117 today.

Laundry room in custom home in Minnetonka, MN by Gordon James

Laundry Room Dos and Don’ts

While designing your dream house, it’s important not to forget the small details; your laundry room is the perfect example. Doing laundry is a daily routine, so you may as well wash and dry your clothes in a stylish space. Here are some dos and don’ts from Gordon James so you can create a peaceful, stylish, and relaxing oasis in your home.



Laundry room in custom home in Orono, MN   Laundry room in custom home in Wayzata, MN

  • DO think about how you’ll use the space each day. For example, you may want a laundry room that functions as a mudroom as well or has a doggy shower for your furry friend. There are many custom options available for your family needs or wants.


  • DON’T place your laundry room too close to bedrooms, the noise will keep you awake. Placing your laundry room on the main floor adjacent to the kitchen, mudroom, or garage is excellent for convenience.

   Laundry room in custom home in Orono, MN   Laundry room in custom home in Orono, MN

  • DO decide if you want a top or front loader. Top loaders are more common, but front loaders are more efficient, easier to clean and offer flexibility in placement. Especially if you’re trying to maximize your space, you should install a front loader.


  • DON’T think you have to have a traditional “laundry room” dedicated only to laundry. The laundry room is not just a space for cleaning, but also for purification and peace, so your design is important. If you enjoy minimalistic interior design, maybe you’d prefer to hide your dryer in a closet or cabinet for a streamlined look. If you want a space to relax while waiting for your laundry, maybe you’d like to create a reading nook or install a wall-mounted TV.



Laundry room in custom home in Wayzata, MN   Laundry room in custom home in Wayzata, MN

  • DO decorate with intention. Laundry rooms deserve design love too, no matter how big or small. You need a space that’s stylish and functional. Shelves, hooks, hangers can all be practical and decorative pieces. Organize your detergent, hampers, and cleaning supplies in labeled, fancy, baskets or boxes so everything is at your fingertips.


  • DON’T forget about lighting. Your laundry room may have a large, bright window, but you’ll want to add more lighting options. Too often laundry rooms have dim lighting, or worse, fluorescent lighting. Whether it’s a stylish pendant light, unique overhead lights, a retro mounted light, wall sconces, or chandelier, your lights can be functional and beautiful. Install a dimmer so you can adjust the lighting whenever you’re in the room to make it comfortable.

Laundry room in custom home in Orono, MN   Laundry room in custom home in Wayzata, MN

  • DO choose a durable type of flooring that makes a statement. Laundry rooms need flooring similar to a bathroom to protect from moisture, but that doesn’t mean the floor can’t be fashionable. Custom tiling or patterns offer a functional and stylish option, it’s a great way to liven up your laundry room and make a design statement.


  • DON’T be afraid to be creative. Your laundry room can be an elegant space bursting with personality. Consider adding colorful wallpaper, favorite artwork, painting your laundry room door a bright color, or adding a stylish chair for folding.

Laundry room in custom home in Minnetonka, MN   Laundry room in custom home in Minnetonka, MN   Laundry room in custom home in Minnetonka, MN

A Peaceful Oasis

Even though the laundry room is a small part of your dream home, it’s still important. So why not make it a peaceful escape? Partner with the professionals at Gordon James to create your custom dream home, and have every room in your house fit your personal aesthetic. For more information, contact us at or call us at 763-479-3117 today.

Closet in room built in a custom home in Minnetonka, MN by Gordon James

Custom Closet Design and Organization Tips

A luxurious and tidy closet space is within your reach, full of personality without all the clutter. With a custom design and a personalized organization strategy, you can fall in love with your closet all over again. Here’s the Gordon James guide to designing and organizing a chic closet so you can experience joy whenever you open it.

Closet design in custom home in Minnetonka, MN



An efficient and elegant custom closet begins with a thoughtful design. The design should serve your needs, maximize storage space, express your style, and showcase your wardrobe. Ponder the following questions during the design process:

  • What are your style needs?
  • How do you plan to use your closet?
  • What statement pieces do you want?
  • What storage solutions have you previously tried?
  • How much time do you spend dressing and doing your makeup?

These questions will help you determine if you want a walk-in, California, or hidden closet. If you want additional space for displaying your wardrobe and dressing, consider transforming an extra guest bedroom into a spacious and stylish closet. After you’ve worked out your initial design, you can move onto the personalization.




If you create places for each of your pieces, it makes it easier to clean your closet and creates a more sophisticated look. Separate out your accessories like jewelry, sunglasses, handbags to maintain an order to your closet. Try shelf dividers to keep your folded shirts from turning into a messy pile. Organize smaller pieces like jewelry on a jewelry tree to keep them from getting lost or damaged. Install a pegboard on the wall to display your handbags.

Custom closet in custom home in Minnetonka, MN   Custom closet by Gordon James custom home builders in Twin Cities, MN


Find a shoe rack, rail, or floating shelves that are adjustable to lift your shoes off the floor. This way the shallow space under your hanging clothes is used and your shoes are on display. Instead of placing your shoes side by side, place them heel to toe so more shoes are visible. If you don’t have the floor space, install racks on the back of your door. Love your stiletto collection? Consider hanging your stilettos outside of your closet to save closet space and showcase your style.

Closet in room built in a custom home in Minnetonka, MN



The easiest way to streamline your closet is to throw out your wire and plastic hangers and invest in ones that match. Velvet hangers help ensure your clothes don’t slip off the hangers and protect your clothes from rips. Having monotone hangers ties your closet together and makes your clothes more visible. This not only ties your closet together but also highlights your wardrobe. Organize your clothing left to right, light to dark, for a visual appealing trick. If you have certain pieces you wear together hang them close together so you aren’t searching around your closet for pieces every morning.

Closet in room built in a custom home in Minnetonka, MN



Your closet isn’t just a storage space. After your wardrobe is organized, consider the statement design elements you want to include. Upgrade your lighting with a stylish chandelier or lamp. Accent the room with ornate mirrors, inspiring pictures, individually painted walls, or fancy patterned wallpaper. Create a space in the center of the closet for fur stools, a loveseat, a vanity mirror, or an antique bench for extra comfort and elegance.



Designing your closet is an opportunity to express your style and personality. Find joy and peace in your closet, and partner with the professionals at Gordon James to create your ideal closet. For more information, contact us at or call us at 763-479-3117 today.