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Continued: Homes by Architects tour features just-right designs

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 14, 2013 - 5:34 PM

The redwood island and Douglas fir ceilings “bring warmth to the cool bluestone floors and stone countertops,” said Heide. Off the kitchen is a new eating area — which the family can use year round.

Modern living: The 325-square-foot living-room addition “captures the feeling of the home’s original screen porch,” said Heide, referring to the large picture windows on two sides. “You’re in this glass box out in the woods.”

He elevated the wood-burning fireplace to make it visible from the kitchen and the porch. The textural Chilton surround, which soars to the ceiling, is a contrast to the smooth surface of the bluestone floor and stone hearth. “The fireplace design walks the line between modern and earthy,” said Heide.

Dinner-party central: Heide replaced the old screen porch with a new version that extends farther out to accommodate large dinner parties. He also added a grilling deck with a stairway down to the yard.

Multifunctional lower level: Below the living-room addition, they added a 325-square-foot TV room that can double as a guest bedroom, thanks to a Murphy bed.

Proudest of: The integration of the roofline from the old part to the new part. “The extended roof plane created this huge volume and makes the house seem bigger than it is,” said Heide.

Biggest splurge: Pricey wallpaper on an accent wall in the kitchen. “David found this incredible wallpaper made from wood veneer and I said no four or five times,” said Avery. “But it really adds a layer to the room.”

Glad they did: Put in heated bluestone stone floors, which are durable and low-maintenance, throughout the home. “It makes it possible to come in the winter and be comfortable,” said Avery.

Best part: “Now that our cabin has everything, we can grow old here,” she said.

contemporary cottage

The home: Newly built traditional cottage-style two-story in Excelsior.

The owners: Larry and Becky Lembrich.

Design team: Architect Jon Colliander and interior designer Krista Zobel, TreHus Architects+Interior Designers+Builders,, 612-729-2992.

The mission: The Lembriches always wanted to live in Excelsior for its small-town ambience. They finally bought a narrow, deep lot with a ramshackle cabin two blocks from Lake Minnetonka. Their plan was to build an old-fashioned, cottage-style home that would blend with the older traditional houses in the neighborhood — and would also fit the narrow lot. They were impressed by the design proposals of architect Jon Colliander.

“I had a preconceived notion not to hire an architect,” said Larry, who is in the pre-engineered, post-frame construction business. “But after we met with the team and learned about the process, I changed my mind.”

Old-style: Colliander’s design combines modern functionality with old-house character to complement Becky’s vast collection of antiques and vintage decor inside and outside. An old-fashioned front porch welcomes visitors and offers a place to sit and chat with neighbors. The exterior is part whitewashed cedar shakes and part low-maintenance fiber-cement siding,“to break up the facade and make it less monolithic,” said Colliander.

Vintage cottage character: The 9-foot ceilings are covered with white shiplap paneling to define spaces. Larry chose wide-plank hickory flooring and doors for the wood’s knotty appearance. “We kept everything else toned down,” said Colliander, “so that the natural materials like wood would pop.”

Center stairs: “Stairs are an element you can have fun with,” said Colliander, who kept the center staircase open with a partial wall on one side that lets in light and creates an office nook.

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