Twin Cities homeowners tapped into local architects’ talent to re-imagine, refresh and reinvent the place they call home. The results, both new houses and remodeled ones, were represented at this year’s Home of the Month awards program, a partnership between the American Institute of Architects Minnesota and the Star Tribune. A panel scrutinized 53 submissions, designed by area architects, representing a range of prices, styles and locations, to choose 12 selected projects.

Starting in June, you’ll get an inside look at the dozen homes on the first Sunday of every month in the Homes section. The features will include interviews with the architects and homeowners, as well as lots of photos, to inspire you in your home-building or remodeling plans.

Here’s a preview of the 12 homes:


Project: The architects translated the best features of the family’s downtown loft into a new home in an established city neighborhood. The modern residence is defined by simple materials organized by clean, relaxed lines. The main living spaces, under a soaring folded ceiling, are raised to the uppermost level to exploit daylighting and views of the neighborhood and Minneapolis skyline.

Design team: Chris Schmitt and Michael Roehr, RoehrSchmitt Architecture.


Project: A couple wanted open, light-filled connected spaces after they married and combined their families into one household. They reinvented their 1990s Hastings rambler by knocking down walls, remodeling the kitchen and creating a new mudroom and powder room. The chiaro (lightness) of the white-tinted oak flooring is pulled into the white paneling and granite countertops. Each room includes a contrasting scuro (darkness) accent to draw the eye, such as a black counter in the kitchen, black fixtures in the dining room, and a mottled black steel face above the fireplace.

Design team: David O’Brien Wagner and Shawna Meyer, SALA Architects.



Project: A 1905 Craftsman-style lakefront retreat was restored to preserve its historic aesthetic while providing modern functionality. The transformation included additions to the basement, first and second floors for an open sensibility and connectedness between rooms. The remodeled kitchen can accommodate a dozen cooks for the owner’s Sunday suppers. The second floor, accessed by a new elevator, was designed with accessibility in mind.

Design team: Mark Nelson, David Heide, Brad Belka and Chris Christofferson, David Heide Design Studio.



Project: This 1958 split-level residence featured a kitchen typical of its era — tiny, with limited seating and cut off from the rest of the house. The transformed space is now open, airy and inviting and has become the family’s central gathering place. A new three-season screened back porch expands the home’s living space.

Design Team: Bob Ganser, Ben Awes and Nate Dodge, CityDeskStudio.




Project: This new house is a combination of practical materials and playful composition, with a focus on family lake living. A bridge leads to the front door, and the “moat” below allows the steep grade to handle runoff. Inside, the no-nonsense open floor plan includes a large wood-burning fireplace anchoring one end and a day-lit kitchen sink at the other. Industrial steel columns and cables grace inside and outside spaces.

Design Team: Jean Rehkamp Larson and Kari Nelson, Rehkamp Larson Architects.



Project: A seamless, 375-square-foot addition to a 1925 foursquare in St. Paul created better flow, more light-filled spaces and connections to the outdoors. The architects built a new bay in the dining room, and added a pair of arched openings that echo the home’s original character. The new gourmet kitchen flows into a raised terrace. The old kitchen area was turned into a mudroom and powder room, and a side entry that now connects to the basement. On the second floor, they redesigned two small bedrooms into a master bath and closet for a true master suite.

Design team: Dan Nepp and Janet Lederle, TEA2 Architects.



Project: This carefully scaled and sited project is the relaxed and approachable modern home the owners envisioned. An ample south side yard draws sunlight into the home’s interior and a sheltered patio. Design elements allow the clean-lined contemporary structure to fit in with the older homes in the urban neighborhood.

Design Team: Christian Dean, Nathan Van Wylen, Bob Ganser, Ben Awes and Nate Dodge, Christian Dean Architecture.




Project: A family cabin was renovated with a re-imagined layout of all three levels within the original footprint. The construction of a new, steeper-pitched roof turned the second-floor bunk room into new guest and master suites. In the master, windows with panoramic views of the river valley create a treehouse experience. Design details include fir timbers supported by hewn tree trunks and art-glass skylights. The result is a natural, cohesive cabin.

Design team: Mark Nelson, David Heide and Andrew Blaisdell, David Heide Design Studio.



Project: The owners wanted to build a retirement home that would recede into the natural setting overlooking Lake Superior. Cedar shingles, copper, hand-hewn timbers and rusticated stone were chosen to allow the Arts & Crafts-inspired exterior to blend into the wooded landscape. The architects also integrated the owners’ library of books and artwork with handcrafted wood art alcoves and bookcases. The great room, paneled in mahogany and Spanish cedar, opens onto an inglenook, screen porch and outdoor terraces.

Design team: Dan Nepp and Tom Van De Weghe, TEA2 Architects.



Project: This new house, with its open spaces, expanses of glass and strategically placed windows, provides vistas of the rolling prairie site in Lake Elmo. The clients’ passion for bird-watching, as well as a desire to age in place, drove the design of this one-level home. Warm, modern materials were chosen for their durability, sustainability and low-maintenance qualities. Exterior green features include clerestory windows, photovoltaic solar panels and elongated overhangs.

Design team: Mark Larson and Will Spencer, Rehkamp Larson Architects.



Project: A family wanted to open up and reconfigure spaces for more functionality in their dated 1970s North Oaks home. The architects turned the small galley kitchen into a major feature that supports family living and entertaining. They removed a fireplace that blocked views to a pond and replaced it with a wall of windows. Two small bedrooms and a bathroom were converted to a master suite and an office for the work-from-home couple to share. The exterior is accented with cedar siding on the garage door and around the front and rear patios.

Design team: Jackie Millea, Kurt Gough, John Barbour and Lisa Antenucci, Shelter Architecture.



Project: This loft makeover in a building near downtown Minneapolis presents soft textures set against the industrial frame of the space. The owner brought salvaged chicken-coop siding and board sheathing from his parents’ farm, which was planed for the cladding for a new curved wall of a guest room/office. Converting the existing peninsula into an island improved the flow between the kitchen and living room. The existing kitchen cabinets were repurposed and painted for this modest-budget remodeling.

Design team: Christine Albertsson and Mark Tambornino, Albertsson Hansen Architecture.