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"Visual connection is as important as physical connection," Rehkamp Larson said. "You need to have a sequence of spaces. If there are thresholds that are open but defined, your eye can see the stopping point. It feels bigger because you think it's three rooms away."
Upstairs, the house has a new master suite with a walk-in closet and private bathroom -- amenities it didn't have before. There's a laundry room, two bedrooms and an office, as well.
With all of the changes and the cost of renting a house while the project was under construction, it would have been less expensive to buy a lot in the suburbs and build a new house. The Andersons knew that going into the project, but they didn't want to leave their neighborhood, which is just a block from Lake Harriet and five miles from Rick's downtown Minneapolis office.
Also, the values in their area had increased so significantly that the neighborhood was able to support the increased value of the house.
But it's not an approach that will work for everyone.
"It can be a slippery slope, and you can see why people end up doing tear-downs in the end," said Mark Larson. "But in this case the house was usable."
Jim Buchta • 612-673-7376