The challenge: The homeowners wanted to infuse Arts and Crafts character into a bland 1970s split-level in Mound. The original front entry opened to uninterrupted views of the kitchen and living room. Although the owners preferred an open floor plan, they also wanted to create some privacy from the entrance and a sense of discovery as you walk through the house.


The designers: Joseph Metz­ler and Steven Buetow, SALA Architects, Minneapolis,, 612-379-3037,


The solution: Metzler and Buetow designed a row of seven piers or rectangular columns with decorative detailing that continues the remodeled home’s Arts and Crafts motif. The piers are more than 7 feet tall, defining the living room and kitchen spaces, as well as screening the view from the front door.

“The columns act like a louver or Venetian blinds,” said Metzler. “They hide the view in one direction and open up the view in another direction.”


Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired: “In Prairie-style homes, the columns on the interior and exterior aren’t skimpy, they’re massive,” said Metzler. “The decorative effect comes from taking something simple and repeating it.” The column accents include rift-sawn oak trim and Arts and Crafts-style sconces with mica shades that emit a warm amber glow.


Multifunctional bench: Metzler designed a wood bench and screen between two piers in the foyer to make it more welcoming and provide a place to take off your shoes. The bench and pier structure also separates the entry from the staircase, eliminating the “split-level” look, said Metzler. “The piers on each end of the bench also mirror two of the piers that define the living spaces.”


Crafts character: The homeowners are big fans of the Arts and Crafts movement and have filled their transformed abode with Stickley furniture and vintage art pottery next to a fireplace clad with Arts and Crafts-style handmade tile. The columns, with prairie-themed wood trim, add a decorative architectural element.

“The interior spaces are comfortable and cozy and a fitting backdrop for the owners’ collection of Arts and Crafts furniture,” said Metzler.