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They showed Strom ideas from modern architecture books and magazines, but made it clear that they didn’t want a glass-walled solarium stuck onto their traditional home. Strom designed the 400-square-foot sunroom on the southwest corner of the house.
“By projecting it out 8 feet, we were able to get three sides of light,” he said. The floor-to-ceiling divided-light windows and full-height French doors blend with the home’s existing architecture.
Inside, a continuous “floating” soffit around the perimeter of the room screens the motorized privacy shades and houses built-in indirect lighting for a clean, uncluttered look. White painted woodwork offers a crisp contrast to the heated dark gray polished concrete floors.
“When they put in the new concrete floor, it cracked and I was upset at first,” said Ellermann. “But then it looked old like the rest of the house.”
The sunroom has column-like forms in every corner, which give the room “depth, dimension and strength,” said Strom.
At Ugurbil’s request, Strom added another source of natural light — a massive skylight.
“Chris said I would need sunglasses, it would be so bright,” said Ugurbil. “I said, ‘Give it to me!’ ”
Strom joined two standard-sized Velux skylights to create the large opening in the ceiling. A hackberry tree provides shade in the summer so the room doesn’t get too hot, and warmth in the winter when the tree drops its leaves.
The sunroom’s placement also offers unobstructed views of the front-yard gardens and the lagoon.
“When you’re sitting in the sunroom, you can appreciate the connection between the front and the back of the house,” said Strom. “It gives you a strong sense of place within the neighborhood.”
As part of the project, the couple requested a European-style basement wine room, which was built under the sunroom. A raw concrete wall, unearthed during excavation, was left in place to add ambience to the cellar. The far concrete wall holds a modern sculptural wine rack, which is always a topic of conversation at gatherings. The rack is made of steel rods suspended from the ceiling. Wine bottles rest on walnut wood blocks. “I like the wine rack design,” said Ugurbil. “It’s light and has a feeling of floating.”
Not surprisingly, Ugurbil wanted some light even in the basement wine room. So Strom came up with an innovative solution: a “light slot” made of thick glass installed in the floor of the sunroom and the ceiling of the wine room that draws diffused light into the basement.
Now that the renovated Minneapolis home has so much sun, Ugurbil says he misses the Mediterranean a little bit less.
Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619