When Mahendra and Asha Nath were looking to build their home, they were lured by the north metro suburb of North Oaks, built on the former farm of railroad magnate James J. Hill.
“It’s a countryside environment and not too far from downtown,” Mahendra said. “The vision was we wanted a big house, an open house, a contemporary house that at the same time has a warm feeling.”
The husband and wife team decided on a property and brought in luxury home builder Smuckler Architectural Custom Homes, interior designer Jim Snustad and landscape architecture firm Southview Design.
“It’s 1.6 acres, but it feels bigger. It’s all surrounded by trees,” Mahendra said. “All three of them worked together to coordinate the outside and inside. It was all about inviting nature into both of those spaces.”
To do so, most of the rooms in the home have high ceilings, large windows and skylights. Outdoor spaces — including three patios — were designed to maximize views of nature from every angle.
“Sitting in our kitchen, sitting in our sunroom, sitting in our living room, sitting in the bedroom, the house has great views of the different seasons,” Mahendra said. “I can see the leaves on the trees. I can see the snow on the trees. I can see the flowers outside.”
Built in 1989, the home is an example of contemporary design that still resonates today, with clean lines, an open concept and high-end finishes elevated by exquisite details.
The foyer features six Bellagio-style water fountains. Common areas are spacious, including a two-story living room, gourmet kitchen and a light-filled, atrium-like sunroom with a domed glass ceiling. There’s also a main level family room with a movie screen and wet bar.
The lower level features a second kitchen, a recreation/exercise room and a game/club room with a full bar, billiards and a nightclub-style dance floor with studio lighting and a DJ station.
The primary bedroom boasts double-height ceilings, and all of the bedrooms have sitting areas and en suites. Ambient lighting and high-end technology have been installed throughout the home and all three levels are accessible by elevator.
“There’s a fireplace in almost every room. We have a sauna. We have a steam shower. We have bars on each level,” Mahendra added. “There’s a lot of modern conveniences. The whole idea and the objective was to have a contemporary big house that at the same time gave a warm feeling. We are very pleased with all of the work that went into it.”
The Naths, who own the restaurant, hotel and real estate outfit Nath Cos., are ready to move now that their adult children are involved in overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company.
“We’re at a point where we want to be advisers,” Mahendra said. “And that next phase in life is six months in a condo in Florida, six months in a condo in Minnesota.”
After living there for almost 33 years, they’ve put the five-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 11,000-square-foot home on the market.
Mahendra said living in the private community of North Oaks comes with perks. That includes easy access to the North Oaks Golf Club, tennis courts, a playground and several lakes with walking paths. The home is a block away from Pleasant Lake with a trail system that spans 5 ½ miles.
“It’s really unique from an amenities standpoint,” he said.
Listing agent Sonia Kohli said the home is one of the iconic houses in North Oaks in terms of architecture and size. She added that the location – 12 minutes to downtown St. Paul and 20 minutes to downtown Minneapolis, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the Mall of America – is also convenient.
“On the main floor alone, it has almost 6,500 square feet. It’s an entertainer’s dream with multiple seating and entertaining areas, which is very unique,” Kohli said. “The beauty is you can feel like you’re up north with the terrain and setting, but you are minutes away from all the primary things you want access to.”
For Mahendra, being at one with nature — whether indoors or outdoors — can’t be beat.
“Sometimes we’ll be sitting in the sunroom and we see the full moon over the top of our heads,” he said. “How many people can see a full moon inside their home? It’s just beautiful.”