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A Scandinavian wood-burning stove warms up the concrete gray and white spaces even when there is not a crackling fire. “I wanted to be able to see the fire from the kitchen when I was cooking,” said Balbach, who was involved in every aspect of the oversized galley-style kitchen’s design. “I mapped everything out — pots and pans to wine glasses. This is my domain.”
The kitchen’s multi-grained oak floor and walnut island are a pleasing juxtaposition to glossy white Ikea cabinets and polished nickel pulls. “We added lots of wood details, so it doesn’t feel like living in a concrete bunker,” said Dean.
A good-sized mudroom with plenty of storage was a high priority for Diem, a snowboarding coach. The family can come in from the detached garage and drop everything inside a big closet, then walk up a few steps to the kitchen.
The second floor houses the private sleeping quarters — two boys’ bedrooms and an owner’s suite facing the park with a “giant walk-in closet, which we never had in our old house,” said Balbach.
Dean is pleased with the way the compact house “lives large.” “It can feel intimate for a couple of people but also accommodate a large gathering — without overbuilding,” he said.
Balbach can’t wait for warm weather so she can slide open the big double doors between the dining room and enclosed deck. Dean expanded the living spaces by creating a smooth flow from the inside to the outside.
“There’s so much light, and we can feel the breeze,” she said. “It feels like we’re in Southern California.
Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619