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Continued: New room for living

  • Article by: JIM BUCHTA , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 15, 2006 - 11:10 AM

Built-in cabinets surround the sitting area around the fireplace, and Hansen extended the depth of the kitchen wall to accommodate more built-in storage and display cabinets in the dining area and kitchen.

"In a way, the whole room is a cabinet lined with storage elements and multipurpose pieces," he said. "If we tried to accommodate an equal amount of storage in furniture pieces it would look like a furniture show room because there would be so many individual pieces."

Increase natural light. The house had plenty of windows along the south side of the house, but not much light made it into the house because the rooms were closed off from one another. By opening up the old dining room into the family area, Hansen was able to double the amount of light coming into the family's primary living space. On the back of the house, along the kitchen wall, he made the windows bigger and installed new patio doors. Blue paint and white trim, rather than the natural wood that's used at the front of the house, help maximize the feeling of lightness and brightness.

Create a hierarchy of spaces using the size and scale of each room to convey its importance in the layout. In the old floor plan the combined size of the office and formal dining room was twice the size of the family area. Hansen shifted the emphasis to the family area by doubling its size, creating a feeling that's "generous and comforting."

Jim Buchta is at

  • about this series

  • The Home of the Month program is a partnership between the Star Tribune and the Minnesota chapter of the American Institute of Architects. It features architect-designed houses selected by a jury of experts. The houses represent a range of prices, styles and locations.
  • related content

  • Gallery: Before and after photos

    Wednesday April 12, 2006

  • A glance at the project

    Friday September 30, 2005

    Project goal: Transform a traditional floor plan into a more modern, open living space.Architect: Todd Hansen, Albertsson Hansen Architecture,

  • Newer house renewed


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