Cory Lepper builds houses not only from the ground up: as a connoisseur of open land, he also has a lot to say about the ground itself. After graduate school, he signed on here in Minnesota with one of the biggest builders in the country, focusing his attention on land development. Seven years ago, he was ready to strike out on his own, focusing on the boutique segment of the building trade by readying choice sites for home construction. Soon—why not? The opportunity was knocking—he undertook the entire project, developing, designing and building his clients’ dreams as well.
Uniting job skills and creative mindsets, he and his wife, Heather, formed Vine Hill Partners to take clients from start to finish. But no one-size-fits-all concept would do for this couple. Instead, the luxury market paved an avenue for full use of the couple’s talents. “I had a background in landscape architecture,” explains Cory, “and Heather is an interior designer, so the luxury niche was what we liked to do—to focus on the design of a home, and the quality behind that design.”
Vine Hill’s clients may bring their own architect to the project or work with Cory and his team from the very outset of their dream. “I’ll start by suggesting locations, or if they already have a lot, I’ll look at it to determine the very best position for exposure to sunlight, wind and grade of terrain. We start with the basic hand drawings and take it from there.”
Vine Hill isn’t sworn to one particular design style. “We look at it from a design perspective more than anything,” Cory explains. “People seem attracted to a timeless, traditional look today—a cottage style that’s popular around the lakes in Deephaven and Minnetonka.”
Heather and Cory work hand-in-hand with clients to distill each one’s unique visions. “Heather and I are the only ones working with them until the day we dig. Then, along with us, our project management team steps in, while Heather takes an active role in guiding the myriad of interior selections required, shepherding clients through many a showroom and discussing trends.”