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Building More than Homes

How luxury home builder Black Dog Homes builds lifelong relationships through trust, transparency, and excellence

Hanging on the wall at the Black Dog Homes office is a framed photo of a black lab named
Marley. “We call him our CEO,” laughs owner Dan Vanderheyden. “Marley was not only the
inspiration behind the Black Dog Homes name but was a big influence in how we decided we
wanted to position ourselves as a company.” Black Dog Homes is a luxury home builder and
remodeler run by Dan and his two sons, Nick, the General Manager, and Ben, head of Sales
and Marketing. Based in Wayzata, the award-winning organization has garnered industry
recognition in recent years including three Dream Homes that were featured in the Parade of
Homes in 2022, 2021, and 2018.  
Marley came to the family through Helping Paws, an organization that provides assistance dogs
for people with physical disabilities, veterans, and first responders. “Growing up, our mom
trained black labs for Helping Paws,” explains Ben. “It was funny…the dogs were obviously food
motivated, so I’d be eating cereal, getting ready for high school at Wayzata and Marley would
just be flipping the light switch on and off, hoping to get a treat. It is pretty amazing how smart
these service dogs are and how skilled they become after they graduate from the Helping Paws
program.”
Alyssa Golob, Executive Director at Helping Paws, shares, “From when Dan and his family first
trained Marley, we’ve created an amazing partnership with Black Dog Homes. We look at many
corporate sponsors and want to work with companies who give back and have that philanthropic
spirit. I’ve gotten to know the family, and they’re certainly more than just a company that builds
gorgeous homes. We love everything they stand for and are proud of our partnership.”
It’s easy to see the values Black Dog Homes carries with them extend to everyone, from their
customers and their team to the entire community.
Dan shares, “As we reflected on the industry, we know remodeling and building homes can be
very stressful. We wanted to change that. We wanted it to be a fun and relaxed experience. The
values, relationship, and lessons learned from Marley translate to the type of experience and
relationship we build with our customers and how we show up each day for our clients.”
Nick adds, “For us, it’s not a transactional relationship with our clients. We go the extra mile to
create lifelong relationships rooted in transparency and trust. It’s not uncommon as a customer
of Black Dog Homes for your children to receive Christmas gifts from the company, for us to be
at a Timberwolves game, or to be out to dinner with our customers. It’s a big reason why we
love what we do.”
“The majority of our business has come directly from our personal networks and referrals,”
reflects Ben. “As a company, we are fortunate to have incredible clients that trust us to partner
with them on some very large projects.”
Not only do customers return because of the beautiful work Black Dog Homes does to make
their home vision a reality, but the three know the critical piece of the puzzle for clients is
transparency.  
Nick says, “As a transparency-focused builder, we spend significant efforts throughout the
design phase to maximize our customers’ investment and knowledge of the available options.
It’s a team effort where we devote time to take them on the journey with us and show them
everything we see. A big part of that is with finances. From the scope of the work to the
individual bids we get from our subcontractors, we use an anytime, anywhere, digital platform to

share all the project and financial information with our customers in real-time. So, there are no
surprises at the end of a project with extra charges or changes.”
“Over the last decade, our focus has been on craftsmanship, quality, and custom work,” says
Dan. “Everything we build is unique. We’ve prided ourselves along the journey to be great
listeners and to embrace our customer’s vision, whatever that is, improving the space that they
live in to create the quality of life they have with their family and love their home.”
 
Black Dog Homes will be on the Midwest Home Luxury Tour in late July, showcasing a
stunning, modern tudor project in Minnetrista. A true labor of love, the home is a collaboration
between Black Dog Homes, Haus of Rowe Interiors, Windmiller Design Studio, and the
homeowners, resulting in a modern masterpiece and perfect representation of Black Dog’s
building approach and passion for bringing visions to life. 
Visit blackdoghomes.com to learn more and get started on your home project. For more
information on how to get involved with Helping Paws go to: helpingpaws.org

  • Ben with a black lab from Helping Paws

For us, it’s not a transactional relationship. We go the extra mile to create lifelong relationships based on trust, honesty, and transparency.