Everyday solutions: Redesigned living room

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 15, 2013 - 1:14 PM

A new wall helps transform a large living room into an elegant music room and multi-functional mudroom.


Part of the living room was converted into a music room where the family’s stringed instruments are stored in lighted cabinets with built-in humidifiers to regulate the moisture level.

Photo: Photos by Troy Thies,

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The challenge: Jeff and Janna Northrup didn’t have enough space for the shoes, sports equipment and musical instruments their four kids have. So they wanted to add a new foyer, a mudroom with storage and a designated place where the kids could practice their music. The catch? They didn’t want to expand the footprint of their 1939 Cape Cod in Edina. “We wanted more useful space,” said Janna, “not more square footage.”

The team: Architect Paul Hannan, SALA Architects, www.salaarc.com, 612-767-4135 and Steven Cabinets, Minneapolis.

The solution: Hannan renovated the existing large living room. A third of the room was converted into a foyer and mudroom, while the remainder was redesigned as a music room.

Workhorse wall: Hannan erected a new wall to divide the newly created spaces. In the foyer/mudroom, the wall contains built-in cabinets for sports equipment and pegs to hang coats and hats. In the music room, the wall has built-in shelving.

Window to door: To create a new front entry, Hannan inserted a custom door where the living room’s bay window had been. The front entry opens to the foyer and mudroom. “It feels much more welcoming,” said Janna.

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