Return to Home of the monthHome of the month

Creating a cottage

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 1, 2009 - 2:22 PM

A well-planned redesign transforms a blah bungalow into a charming cottage with room for a family of five.

CHRIS AND JULIE BEUTZ wanted to turn their ugly-duckling home into a swan but weren't sure exactly how to do it.

In 2001, the couple bought the boxy 1940s bungalow for its location, location, location on the tree-lined streets of Edina's South Harriet Park neighborhood, not for its plain Jane looks. In fact, the exterior had so little character that they considered the home an eyesore compared with the quaint Cotswold cottages around it.

The interior wasn't much better. Chris called it a conglomeration of "strange spaces," including an inexplicable double hallway and an enclosed staircase that blocked the front entry. The living room was dark and closed in, and there was no easy way to get to the back yard.

Still, they saw "the possibilities to improve the home," said Chris, who had some experience remodeling another house. So, after spending two years living in their lowly bungalow, the Beutzes enlisted architect Dan Nepp of TEA2 Architects in Minneapolis to reinvent it. He did so by integrating cottage-style details that made the home fit better with the neighborhood and by redesigning the rooms to function better for the family of five.

Going for gables

Topping the Beutzes' wish list was improving the attic. That's where the family's bedrooms were and they were tired of maneuvering around the rooms' slanted walls. They wanted bigger bedrooms and bathrooms. Nepp came up with a design to solve the space problem and change the home's flat facade.

"I wanted to do something that was transformational rather than just doing an addition and adding trim and detail," Nepp said.

That transformation included a complete facelift, tearing off the roof and doubling the square footage of the second floor by raising the roof 5 feet and adding two gables, which accommodate three generously scaled dormers.

The former attic now includes two bigger, better bedrooms, two bathrooms, ample closets and an "owners' suite" with a sitting area and fireplace, which has become a favorite morning hangout for the kids. One of Julie's favorite design details is the old-fashioned window seat in every bedroom. "The kids read and play there and it's also storage space for toys," she said.

On the exterior, the shake-shingled dormers are tucked inside the steeped pitched roof to diminish their scale and appear proportioned to the rest of the house, said Nepp. He "swept out" the front eaves to add depth and provide shelter. A custom-built canopy over a gracefully arched doorway is much more welcoming than the former entrance.

"The canopy is like something you might see on an old Craftsman home," said Chris. "And we like the look of the flared roof."

Connecting inside and out

Nepp's challenge on the main floor was to design a functional, durable and attractive staircase that led from the foyer to the second-floor bedrooms. To do that, he had to tear down the old staircase. The new, open one boasts contrasting mahogany-stained treads, white oak newel posts and Craftsman-inspired detailing on the oak balusters. "It's inviting and open and connects the main floor to the upstairs more elegantly," Chris said.

The Beutzes also wanted an unimpeded view from the dining and living rooms to their back yard. Chris, president of Green Horizons, a St. Louis Park lawn care company, had planted trees and gardens bordered by terraced stone walls and a gurgling fountain.

"With Chris' landscaping, we could put in a wall of glass without worrying about privacy issues," Nepp said. He chose four-panel, sliding French doors for the long wall facing the yard to connect the indoors to the outdoors.

Initially, Chris and Julie had wanted the renovation to include a family room, but an addition would swallow up the treasured back yard. Instead of adding on, Nepp converted a main-floor master bedroom into a family room.

From the beginning, the Beutzes had planned to renovate the home and retain its 1940s flavor instead of starting from scratch.

"What they did can be a great blueprint for others," said Nepp. "They didn't tear it down but figured out how to make it better and live in what was there."

The project turned out so well that it's going to be featured in the Oct./Nov. issue of Better Homes and Gardens Remodel magazine.

"It's easy to live in," said Chris, whose favorite spot is by the living room fireplace, where he can see the gardens.

As for the kids?

"They really like the easy access to the back yard," said Julie. "They run in and out with the dog all day long."

Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619

  • 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

  • ABOUT THIS PROJECT

    Saturday August 1, 2009

    What: Renovated 1940s cottage-style home in Edina.

  • AFTER

  • more from this series

  • A contemporary Deephaven house is reimagined

    A renovation of a 1980s contemporary ranch home mixes a modern spirit with family-friendly comfort in the AIA Minnesota Home of...

  • Home of the Month: Camping inspired Eagan house design

    A challenging, hilly site didn’t deter an Eagan couple from building a house inspired by gathering around the campfire.

  • Outdated 1960s home gets a makeover

    AIA Home of the Month: An outdated 1960s two-story house in St. Louis Park gets a modern reboot to maximize light...

  • Vintage St. Paul home is remodeled in character

    A St. Paul couple took cues from the past to repurpose and update existing spaces in their nearly century-old home.

  • Home of the Month: Rambler redux in Edina

    An Edina couple bucked the teardown trend, using a neglected rambler as a template for their updated home.

  • North Woods nest is a sweet retreat

    A family getaway home near Grand Marais combines sustainability, “industrial chic” materials and tranquil wilderness vistas.

  • A sunroom addition on a Minneapolis home lets in the light

    A seamless sunroom addition mixes a modern aesthetic with Mediterranean style and satisfies a Minneapolis family's need for light.

  • A rural retreat lives large

    A Minneapolis couple's weekend country home in Black River Falls, Wis., makes the most of its minimal square footage.

  • A family creates a modern urban retreat

    An architect, his sister and his son formed a dream team to create a modern urban retreat -- the AIA Home...

  • Pepin retreat showcases beauty of bluffs

    For years, a city-dwelling couple had a favorite small-town getaway destination. Now, with a new weekend retreat there, they can escape...

  • AIA Home of the Month: Organic modern in Golden Valley

    An outdated 1980s “builder home” in Golden Valley gets a dramatic do-over. It's the AIA Home of the Month for May.

  • Modern Edina home is graphic by design

    A family’s sensibly sized modern home combines concrete, glass and comfortable spaces.

  • AIA Home of the Month: New England colonial in Warroad

    A new family home brings the spirit of colonial Vermont to northern Minnesota.

  • AIA Home of the Month: A reinvented rambler in Golden Valley

    A couple reinvent their 1960s rambler, infusing it with character and color, after it was destroyed by a fallen tree.

  • AIA Home of the Month: Simple dream

    A Ralph Rapson-inspired home embodies streamlined modern design but doesn't skimp on amenities.

  • House of green gables

    An eco-friendly home marries energy-efficient features with down-to-earth design in the latest AIA Home of the Month.

  • Retro refreshed

    A midcentury modern home, originally designed for a widow and her maid, was updated while staying true to its '60s sensibility.

  • La Crosse home is simply modern

    A not-so-big home is inspired by an architectural icon - the Barcelona Pavilion.

  • Home on the Ridge

    Instead of kicking back at a lakeside or woodsy retreat, a hobby farming couple chose to build a functional farmhouse, designed...

  • An island idyll on Lake Minnetonka

    On an island where time stands still, a local couple built a new lake home in keeping with the unique, closely...

  • Cutting-edge home is simply serene

    A graphic designer in Golden Valley collaborated on a big, cutting-edge project -- his own home.

  • Best of both worlds

    A new foursquare combines old-house character with modern functionality.

  • Creating a modern lakeside landmark

    A sleek Art Moderne survivor is updated for its 21st-century future.

  • AIA Home of the Month: River retreat

    A new getaway cabin echoes an older cabin's look, updated with the latest green technology.

  • Past perfect

    Homeowners loved their vintage city house but not its 1980s addition -- until they reinvented it with Craftsman character and modern...

  • All-American makeover

    A European family, transplanted to the United States, transformed a traditional Cape Cod into a spacious, modern home.

  • Minneapolis family open to change

    A growing family was ready to remodel their bungalow. But building a new home with energy-smart features and an open floor...

  • AIA Home of the Month: A farmhouse refreshed

    A rural family homestead gets updated for the next generation while staying true to its roots.

  • 1930s bungalow is reborn in Mpls.

    A Minneapolis couple reinvented their modest vintage home with a modern-style addition that blends the old with the new -- and...

  • St. Paul condo stays in character

    A condo in a Summit Avenue Tudor gets a renovation that maintains modern sensibilities while lovingly restoring the past.

  • Zen on the Zumbro

    A family's modern house near the Zumbro River in Rochester melds Asian elements, green features and universal design. It will be...

  • Rustic reimagined

    AIA Home of the Month: A Wisconsin lakeside retreat intermingles the rustic architecture of national park buildings with comfortable cottage-style character.

  • Living it up in a loft

    The desire for a rooftop retreat drove a unique remodeling project that combined two condo units in a historic Minneapolis loft.

  • A Superior setting

    A year-round home on Lake Superior captures the feeling of a woodsy getaway, but has all the amenities a busy family...

  • Modern family home

    A couple make a fresh start by building a contemporary-style house that capitalizes on a park-like setting in an older Minneapolis...

  • A better bungalow

    Minneapolis couple turned a 1970s tower addition into a family-friendly kitchen and bedroom retreat.

  • East meets Midwest

    A couple's yen for zen drove the design of their modern Asian-inspired St. Paul home.

  • A small house that lives large

    The renovation of a Cape Cod preserves the period charm but ramps up functionality.

  • Phases of the room

    Patience and perseverance drove the reinvention of a mid-century ranch house that now combines 1960s architecture with Asian influences.

  • Tradition with a twist

    A century-old Colonial Revival is transformed into a functional family home that's also a good fit for entertaining.

  • Eco-friendly escape

    A green-minded couple built an Up North getawaythat marries the look of a timeless European cottage with the latest environmentally friendly...

  • Clean and green

    An Orono couple's whole-house renovation is in harmony with their eco-friendly lifestyle and modern sensibilities. See it for yourself at the...

  • Rustic redefined

    A timber-frame weekend retreat breaks the mold by combining classic Douglas fir with contemporary walls of glass and cool steel accents.

  • Updated A-frame cabin

    Architect Andrea Peschel Swan designed an updated cabin on Lake Mille Lacs where her family can get away and do what...

  • Coming home

    A three-story renovation retools a Deephaven Colonial for the second-generation homeowners.

  • Urban farmstead at home in Linden Hills

    A Minneapolis architect's Dutch Colonial renovation captures the simplicity of farm life in the middle of the city.

  • Mixed metals

    A St. Paul architect's one-of-a-kind bungalow renovation is an amalgamation of warm wood and shiny steel that preserves the home's character...

  • New home evokes character of vintage homes

    A Minneapolis couple's family-style home evokes the finely crafted character of Grandma's house but with today's functionality.

  • Sky-high style

    A St. Paul architect's second-story addition captures the connected-to-nature feeling of a rooftop patio but with a distinctly modern edge.

  • 'Daring option' becomes reality

    Husband-and-wife architects took a novel approach to the modern addition on their traditional creekside home.

  • Hybrid cabin

    Architect Christian Dean's modern interpretation of a traditional log cabin features a high-tech green roof, rusted steel accents and glass walls.

  • Bigger, better, greener

    A St. Paul couple redesigned a traditional home for their family to make it more modern, more livable and more energy-efficient.

  • Farmhouse revival

    Rural retreat captures the simple spirit of the farm with an eye on modern sustainability.

  • Back to nature

    When they were kids, Jennifer and Pascal Dalseth spent lazy days canoeing, fishing and building bonfires on separate lakes in the...

  • A+ CABIN

    Architect Marcelo Valdes' compact cabin melds an efficient use of space and resources with finely crafted interior details.

  • Streamlined design within reach

    A European couple brings their love for functional modernism to Minnetonka.

  • Prairie restoration

    Design professionals David Heide and Michael Crull updated their Prairie-style home for the future while keeping an eye on the past.

  • Island time

    A unique Madeline Island getaway becomes a full-time retreat.

  • "Just right"

    A back-of-the-house bump-out created enough space to give this St. Paul family a new bathroom, kitchen and bedroom.

  • Curved appeal

    A shapely screened porch connects the two halves of this breezy weekend house in Wisconsin.

  • January 2009: The not-so-wee House

    Architect Geoffrey Warner hopes to make factory-built housing more popular by focusing on sustainability and smart design with his modular weeHouses.

  • Barn meets loft

    Emmet Klocker wanted an edgy, urban space, but didn't want to leave his rural roots. The solution? A 2,300-square-foot house with...

  • Empty nest, open arms

    This riverside residence was built for empty-nesters, but it was designed with family members and friends in mind.

  • A divine design

    This month's Home of the Month selection is a study in simple forms and creative design solutions.

  • Towering achievement

    Architect Wayne Branum faced a difficult challenge: Designing a house for himself that connects him to the land and his art.

  • Modern love

    Minneapolis architect Mark Larson's clients were smitten withthis unusual North Oaks house, rumored to be built for a bachelordoctor who was...

  • Urban edge in the country

    Leanne Stremcha s roots in Northfield, Minn., run deep. Her great-grandparents homesteaded there, she s lived there most of her life...

  • Attic inspiration

    Outgrown your house, but don't want to move? This month's Home of the Month selection shows you how to revamp a...

  • A new angle

    How do you build a house that doesn't turn its back on the landscape? The latest Home of the Month selection...

  • Milled for retirees

    This riverfront condominium with a bird's-eye view is a lesson in universal design.

  • New room for living

    The facade of Frank Zink and Katie Resch's 11-year-old St. Paul house blended into its centenarian neighborhood, but the floor...

  • Like-new house fits an old block in Minneapolis

    A Minneapolis family faced a familiar problem: Reinvest in their cramped and boring house, or move to a bigger, better house.

  • 'Superior Split lives up to name

    Cracked down the middle and twisted about by a Lake Superior squall? No, built by a father for his daughter and...

  • A roomier rambler

    After a first-time home buyer yearned for more light in his 1960s St. Paul rambler, a whole-house transformation gave him that...

  • Updating the dated

    Our latest Home of the Month selection demonstrates how a new center island can carry an outdated St. Paul house into...

  • Up on the farm

    Architect Wayne Branum's instructions were to design an economical house for a 155-acre site in rural Wisconsin, one sympathetic to its...

  • The transformation

    The Transformation: How architect Mark Larson improved the function of this boxy, multi-level house without adding an inch of space to...

  • Updated A-frame cabin

    Architect Andrea Peschel Swan designed an updated cabin on Lake Mille Lacs where her family can get away and do what...

  • See the full series pageFull story

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you avoid restaurants because they’re too noisy?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close