The challenge: In the summer, Nancy Brenny and Jim Lund could sit on their deck and look out at the marsh in the back yard of their 1980s-built home in Tonka Bay. When the weather turned cold, they moved inside, but the only sitting spot facing the marsh was a breakfast area, and the adjacent deck blocked the view. “The marsh was the reason we bought the house, and we couldn’t see it from inside,” said Brenny.
The design team: Architect Steven Mooney, Luna Architecture, Minneapolis, 612-827-8988, www.luna-architecture.com. The builder was Andy Turner, Master’s Hand Construction, Victoria.
The solution: For panoramic all-season views, Mooney designed a new “marsh room” off the back of the house. “We opened up the entire back and took down the wall between the breakfast area and the formal dining room to create a four-season room,” said Mooney. City regulations limited the new room to the same size — 800 square feet — as the existing deck. As a result, the kitchen and living room now open to the new great room and marsh views.
Kitchen connection: Mooney moved the kitchen’s existing peninsula at an angle to add more open working space. “Once we pushed out the wall, we could rethink the kitchen area, too,” said Brenny.
Ceiling treatment: Mooney designed light shelves in the vaulted ceiling for indirect ambient lighting. “The wood panel finishes it off,” he said.
Windows on the world: Mooney described the back wall as a “modified prow,” designed to provide sweeping marsh views. “In the center, there’s a pyramid of rectangular transom windows,” he said. The second tier of windows reaches all the way to the floor.
Needed some support: The back wall was a supporting wall, so they consulted with a structural engineer. “There’s a steel beam under the wood paneling that holds up the second floor,” said Brenny. “But it still has an open feeling.”
TV wall: Mooney created a multicolored slate tiled wall to hold the TV and gas fireplace, as well as provide privacy from neighboring homes.
Warm woods: Brenny and Lund went to an Amish supplier near Eau Claire, Wis., and picked out the rich hickory flooring.
Surrounded by nature: “We have this blessed marsh that is part of our home all year long,” said Brenny. “We see deer running, and can watch the sunsets.”
Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619