Great room built in custom home in Minneapolis, MN

Matching Materials To Your Custom Home's Aesthetic

After creating a unique home that represents the lifestyle and priorities of your family, it is important to consider the specific materials needed in order to enhance the aura of your home. Each item - big or small - can either detract from or add value to the presence and strength of your house. In order to select the perfect materials for your home, you need to ensure that they have a clear purpose, add significant meaning to your home as a whole, and can highlight your home’s aesthetic in every season. Read on for advice on coordinating materials within your home to create visually-appealing spaces.


Great room in custom built in Twin Cities, MN

Purposeful Materials

Why are you choosing certain materials? Do each of them have a specific purpose, or are you just filling empty space? Make sure your intent for each piece is clear, and that every item is necessary and meaningful to your home. Evaluate the design of each room and only consider materials that will enhance your house's aesthetic. In addition to adding physical appeal, ensure that the materials chosen are consistent with the ambiance and personality of each room. The mood your items exude is just as essential as their attractiveness..



Consistently Adding Value

How do you ensure your materials add value to your home? You want materials that are unique, high-quality, and suit your home’s personality. In other words, it is important to make sure your materials are distinct from other pieces, have proven durability, and are relevant to your home’s style. Adding consistent value in this way will raise your home’s significance because your thought and care will be evident within each material.


 Kitchen and dining room built in custom home in Twin Cities, MNVersatility that Accentuates Your Home

Materials should stand strong throughout the different seasons of life - both physical and familial. That is, you should choose materials that enhance the beauty and warmth of your home year-round, as well as comfort throughout your family’s highs and lows. Items that are functional and simultaneously accentuate the most important features of your home are clear winners. Aspects such as complementary colors, consistent shapes and structures, and pieces that communicate quality as well as family values are all essential considerations. Ensure that the chosen materials can play many different roles and suit your home’s specific personality.


Master bedroom built in custom home in Twin Cities, MN


A material’s intangible elements are just as important as its visual components; the feelings an item evokes determines its value to the home just as much as the physical features. Every item contributes something - positive or negative - to the room’s intended ambiance. Remember: when evaluating materials to place in your home, consider whether the materials enhance or devalue the mood of a room. Choose items that stand the test of time, offer a charming presence throughout life changes, add value to your home, and serve their intended purpose. If you would like more advice on matching materials, contact us at or call (763) 479-3117.

One-story custom home builder in Wayzata, MN by Gordon James

The Open Flow of a Single-Story Rambler

Although a single-story rambler, also known as “ranch homes,” were superseded in popularity by more grandiose homes after the 1990s, this style is increasing in demand today. A single-story rambler offers homeowners a number of advantages compared to larger houses. Despite their one-story feature, ramblers offer accessibility and seamlessness that bigger homes cannot. In addition, the structure of the rambler creates a unique aesthetic that brings beauty to even a small and humble abode. Lastly, the single floor plan of ramblers is perfect for future upgrades, remodels, and additions.

Custom ranch home built in Minnetonka, MN


Smooth Navigation

Though not immediately obvious, a one-floor home can provide several important benefits. These ranch homes offer ease of navigation and accessibility. This can be especially helpful for those with impaired mobility or people with small children or pets. Additionally, ramblers are optimal for outdoor patios, pools, and large backyards. The transition from interior to exterior is seamless with a one-floor house and results in a more unified home.


Great room in  custom home builder in Minneapolis, MN

Spacious and Bright

The rambler layout incentivizes large windows in its open spaces. As a result, single-story ramblers often facilitate substantial natural light, giving the home an airy and organic atmosphere. Similarly, rambler ceilings are usually high and vaulted, creating a sense of space and openness. Therefore, although single-story ramblers have a reputation for being smaller and more compact than multi-floor homes, in reality, they offer lots of access to sunlight and space, establishing an energetic and freeing home environment.

Kitchen and great room built in custom home in Twin Cities, MN

Flexible Design

Ramblers offer yet another benefit despite their size. The foundation of a typical rambler is simple yet stable; the one-floor plan offers significant room for growth. Remodeling, restructuring, and renovating are all relatively easy procedures for a rambler homeowner. The setup of a rambler allows for effortless additions and upgrades.

Master bedroom in custom home in Orono, MN    Bathroom in custom home builder in Wayzata, MN

Increase Complexity with Simplicity

Ramblers are relatively straightforward with similar structures across the board. However, there is significant room for improvements and increased design details. These homes allow for easy accessibility to various home features and create a desirable flow inside and out. In addition, space and light are key features of ramblers because of their unique structures. Finally, ramblers allow for extensive homeowner creativity. With a simple foundation, these homes are extremely malleable regarding size, structure, and atmosphere. If you would like to learn more about ramblers, contact us at or call (763) 479-3117.

Cozy candles to cozy up your custom home in Orono, MN by Gordon James

How To Cozy Up Your Home For The Holidays

As winter approaches, the feel and functionality of your home become more integral to scaring off the winter blues. Here are some easy ways to cozy up your space for the holidays as you prepare to entertain, relax, and hibernate.

Great room in custom home in Minneapolis, MN  Bar in basement in custom home built in Orono, MN

Keep It Light

Playing with illumination can imbue any space with a festive, cozy aura. As the days darken, artificial light plays a larger role in your home. Adjust the ambiance of any space by adding dimmers on existing lamps and light fixtures to create different levels of light. This provides versatility to the room, allowing for festive parties at full brightness and cozy movies at a lower setting.

Mixing and matching your light sources creates warm, comforting layers. A reading lamp or a well-placed accent fixture provide pools of focused light, while the dimmer controls the aesthetic of the rest of the room. But don’t simply run out for new lamps this winter: three-way bulbs provide multiple illumination options and adding the warm glow of tea lights, you can turn a 3-story into a storybook.


Festive fabrics for custom home built in Minneapolis, MN

Festive Fabrics

Winter is the perfect time to showcase custom needlework and hand-made quilts. Throw one over the back of your couch to give it a festive, yet functional, flair. As the snow piles up to the windows outside, ditch the airy cotton drapes for heavy velvet or flannels. This gives depth and tone while providing inherent warmth and a snugger feeling.

Rugs, throw pillows and bedding are other areas that enhance your aesthetic in the winter. Fiber arts are especially stylish, and thick, shaggy carpet in your bathroom warms the space, physically and aesthetically. Rich velvets and thick comforters transform your guest bedrooms from summer home to private chalet in minutes.


Holiday Hearth

Christmas decorations in custom home built in Orono, MNUsing your wood-burning fireplace warms your home while inviting those in it to draw near. The roaring flames in the hearth and the faint smell of woodsmoke add a north-woods note to any gathering space. If you don’t have a functioning fireplace, decorating with clean split logs or pine boughs creates a centered, hearty feeling.

Arranging your furniture so your guests can gather together, giving a more centralized focus on the fireplace, creates an idyllic winter-lodge tone. A cozy atmosphere for guests and family to spend time interacting, or to observe the falling snow, is the most important decoration this holiday season.


Happy Holidays From GJ

From the obvious decorations that surround the holidays to the subtlety of changing your color scheme, Gordon James is here to help. Our luxury home building team knows a thing or two about how to design the inside and outside of a house. For any questions you have about making your home cozy for the holidays, contact us at 763.479.3117. Gordon James wishes you and your family a very happy holiday season!

Large windows and hardwood floors maximize natural light in this Gordon James custom home in Orono, MN

How To Maximize Natural Light In Your Home

Do you wish you had larger windows, bigger rooms, or more opportunities in your home to let the sunlight in? There are simple tricks to maximize natural light in your home. Continue reading to learn about how you can transform your home from gloom and doom to bright and light!

Large windows in a modern luxury home bedroom maximizes natural light with large windows.  Hardwood floors maximize natural light in the main room of this luxury custom home.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Limited to one or two small windows per room? Have no fear, mirrors are here to maximize natural light! Not only can mirrors imitate the appearance of a window, but they also can reflect sunlight and create a brighter environment. Besides, if you have a beautiful view from your window, you can place the mirrors to reflect the aesthetically-pleasing perspective into your home. For instance, if your window overlooks a lovely flower garden, position a mirror so it consistently displays the vibrant floral colors into the room. 

Light fabrics in this master bedroom maximize natural light from the large windows on the wall.  

Bright Ceilings

Another simple solution to opening up the space in your home is to use brighter paints for the room ceilings. If you have mostly dark walls within your home, opt for lighter colors on the ceiling, as this can reflect light and make the room feel less tight and claustrophobic. 

Large windows and reflective ceilings maximize natural light in this bedroom.  This light-colored room with reflective surfaces is maximizing natural light.

Light Fabrics

Aside from colors, fabric materials can make all the difference in setting the mood of any room. For example, instead of using heavy fabrics, like velvet or dark wool, consider linen and cotton to give your home a more summery vibe. This is the perfect solution if you don’t have many windows and you still want to create a bright atmosphere.

This skylight can tilt to maximize natural light that it lets in.  A 3-story luxury custom home from Gordon James that maximizes natural light.


If your walls are covered in all rooms and you don’t have space to install extra windows, look up! The ceiling could be the optimal space to place a window, especially if you want to maximize natural light in your home. Although skylights can be expensive, if you have the funds and you can’t afford to add more windows to every room, consider installing a skylight in the most important room of your house. 

Large windows over a reading bench maximize natural light in this bedroom.

Keep It Clean

Although this may go without saying, maintaining a pristine home can aid in maximize natural light within your home. Regularly dust your light bulbs, fixtures, and windows. By keeping your space clean, natural light will be reflected off clean surfaces and your home will feel bright and well-kept. 


Even if you don’t have the opportunity to install extra windows in your home, there are several easy methods by which you can create a brighter and more open home interior. No matter if it’s a few mirrors here and there or simply upgrading your decor fabrics to lighter materials, there are countless ways to maximize natural lighting in your home. For more information,  Contact us today at 763-479-3117, or email us at


Fall designs in dream home by Gordon James in Twin Cities, MN

2019 Fall Home Design Trends

Whether you are going for a full remodel or just looking for something different this fall, it's important to know this year’s home design trends. Fall is an exciting time to switch from airy summer tones to cozy winter vibes. Here are some trends this fall to make your house feel warm and look fantastic. 

A living room utilizing the home design trends for the fall in a Gordon James custom home.   A bed showing the home design trends of using natural accents and pops of jew-toned color in a Gordon James home.

Velvets, Plaids, and Leather, Oh My!

Texture is everything when it comes to designing and decorating your home. Heavier-looking fabrics add a touch of warmth and coziness to your home, which is perfect for the transition of summer into fall. The simple addition of a velvet, plaid, or leather pillow can be just the right amount of chic fall decor.

Home design trends being used in a bathroom in a custom luxury home.  Home design trends being used in the kitchen of a custom luxury home.

Back in Black

While black hasn’t necessarily gone anywhere, for the past couple years a brighter and shinier tone has dominated. This minimalist, Hygge-inspired trend has run its course, and more homeowners and designers are making statements with dark colors. 

This trend is especially prevalent in bathrooms and kitchens. Choosing a darker color for the bathroom promotes a luxurious tone. Matte black or dark finishes on fixtures and appliances are what gives a space a new feel without having to renovate the whole room. 

Back splash taking advice from home design trends for 2019 in a luxury custom home.

Backlash on Backsplash

Backsplash tile has been a wallflower for so long, you barely notice it’s there. Why waste an opportunity with boring tile? Designers are going with bold, patterned backsplash to give the stove area character. Drawing the eye to where food is prepared brings home the warm, family-style feeling of the kitchen, and with dark accents, patterned tile makes a statement. This has been one of the hot home design trends of fall 2019. 

A golden table surrounded by jewel-tone couches with natural decorations on top showcases home design trends of 2019.   A bathroom with a natural theme following home design trends for 2019.  A full living room with accent cushions and a dark chandelier showcasing home design trends for 2019.

Jewel Tones and Doing the Most

Although autumn is full of orange and yellow, the trend in 2019 moves towards bold colors. Jewel tones such as emerald, sapphire, and amethyst have seen a comeback, especially on white or black backgrounds. Accent pieces and bold artwork can bring an otherwise droll room to life. 

Another trend that is on the rise is maximalism. The “more is more” philosophy is the pendulum swinging back from minimalism. Colorful wallpapers and mixing fabrics and patterns are now accepted and encouraged. Be bold! Hang more wild paintings on your walls, you will be in style this fall. 

A bouquet of natural plants following home design trends for 2019.   A basket of colorful gourds, accenting home design trends for 2019 with a natural touch.  Natural elements adorning a ladder following home design trends for 2019.

Home Design Trends that Act Natural

Incorporating nature into the home has been gaining momentum. This can look like opening up a kitchen to your yard, having a window wall, or focusing on plants as accents. Regardless, natural elements like wood beams, plant-based materials, and areas inspired by nature are on the rise. Accent the room with houseplants to add a wild feel to the room while also giving it a comforting familiarity. Succulents are a thing of the past. Now, full-fledged foliage, fig plants, and olive stems replace their small brethren to help set the tone in your home. 

  A luxury custom home with a patio, showcasing home design trends for 2019.

Pumpkin Spice Up Your Home

Last but not least, decorate your home with pumpkins, gourds, and squash! These are perfect elements of nature that are the easiest way to bring in the fall spirit.  The best part about it is that they transition perfectly into November and will never go out of style in the fall season.

Styles come and go, but choosing something you enjoy that matches what you are looking for is important. Gordon James can help you sit down and pick what styles you are interested in, and what ones you can live without. Contact us today at 763-479-3117, or email us at