The challenge: Upgrade an existing breakfast nook, as part of a whole kitchen renovation in a Minneapolis Georgian Colonial home.


The design team: Architect Jean Rehkamp Larson and Amanda Kay of Rehkamp Larson Architects, Minneapolis, 612-285-7275, The contractor was Choice Wood Co., St. Louis Park. Interior design by Alecia Stevens.


The solution: “The homeowners wanted to keep the breakfast nook for the light and connection to the street,” said Rehkamp Larson. “It was just a fine-tuning of a space they loved.” She replaced drafty windows to keep the nook comfortably warm and added several design enhancements.


Roomy relocation: Rehkamp Larson shifted the doorway, which opens to the dining room, to the center of the breakfast nook. This created more space for a built-in bench around the table.


Smart built-ins: She replaced cabinets and a counter with new bookcases flanking the eating area. The bookcases hold art supplies, cookbooks and school-related materials for the family’s children. An upholstered curved bench has storage compartments. “We wrapped the bench around an old oak table they wanted to keep,” she said.


Ceiling definition: A vintage-style beadboard ceiling makes the nook feel like its own little room within the new open kitchen.


Blank canvas: The painted white millwork and paneling, which fit with the architecture of the home, make it easy to add splashes of color to the space, such as in the bench cushion and pillows.


Design trick: Two roll-down maps — one of the world and one of the United States — were integrated into the window’s wood trim. “When the family talks about world events and geography, they can roll down the map old-school style,” said Rehkamp Larson.



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everyday solutions

Everyday Solutions appears once a month in the Homes section as a showcase for projects, by AIA Minnesota member architects, that solve a homeowner’s everyday design challenge. The program is a partnership between the Star Tribune and the Minnesota chapter of the American Institute of Architects.



To submit a project for consideration, please send uncompressed JPEG images of the element or space, before and after photos if available, and a brief description of the story behind the project to Angie McKinley: