Everyday Solutions: A smarter back entry

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 28, 2012 - 4:21 PM

A gloomy 1980s addition is reinvented as a light-filled sunroom with a smarter back entry.

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AFTER: A view of the back-of-the home addition with new windows and a second-floor balcony.

The challenge: A Minneapolis Tudor had a dated 1980s family-room addition with low ceilings and a poorly located back door. Homeowner Steven Cutri wanted a new addition to house a sunroom, main-floor powder room and a coat room with a new back entry -- all within the existing foundation and footprint.

"The back entry was awkward," said Cutri. "You had to go up five steps to the kitchen and down two steps into the family room."

The team: Architect Todd Hansen with Ian McLellan, Albertsson Hansen Architecture, Minneapolis, www.aharchitecture.com, 612-823-0233.

The solution: Hansen tore down the old addition and designed a new one, dividing the 260-square-foot space into two sections. He kept the old ceiling height in the powder room and coat room but raised the ceiling two feet in the sunroom for a more open and spacious feeling.

Panel plus: The rich paneled wainscoting in the sunroom was modeled after the paneling in the dining room. "We used that detail to make it feel like it was original to the house," said Hansen.

Coat room: Just off the back entry, the coat room also serves as a mudroom. To create storage, Hansen built recessed shoe shelves into the back of the sunroom cabinetry. Local designer Tom Oliphant created the blackened steel hardware and coat rod.

Up on the roof: Hansen added a second-floor balcony on top of the new addition.

 

Modern touches: "The owner's sensibility is modern," said Hansen. "We wanted the addition to still feel like it was part of the old house but have a more contemporary backdrop." To make new and old spaces blend together, Hansen painted the original dark woodwork in other parts of the home a pale putty color to match the millwork in the new part.

 

Heated stone floor: The addition includes in-floor heat, which is "really toasty in the winter," said Cutri.

Better back door: Hansen created a new back entry, which opens to the sunroom with a direct route to the coat and powder rooms. He bricked up the old back door and put in a window.

 

The result: "The owner has a light-filled sunroom, a convenient rear entry, well-equipped mudroom and a powder room in a style sympathetic to the original Tudor style," said Hansen.

"It's consistent with the sensibility of the house," agreed Cutri. "But a little fresher and modern."

 

Best part: "I like to stretch out on the couch in the sunroom and read and watch 'True Blood,'" said Cutri. His dog, Walter, perches on top to peer out the window. "For Walter, it's the perfect squirrel-tracking spot."

Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619

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  • BEFORE The old family-room addition.

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    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 Stephanie Pelzer: pelzer@aia-mn.org.

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