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Continued: Vintage St. Paul home is remodeled in character

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 30, 2013 - 4:21 PM

After two years, they were ready to tackle the kitchen, as well as create a mudroom and casual eating area. “The goal was to enlarge the kitchen to a size and caliber appropriate to grand old St. Paul houses, but to do so with details and materials original to the era,” said Larson.

That century-old butler’s pantry and design details from the rest of the house became a blueprint for the new kitchen. Larson combined wood countertops with beadboard-covered walls. The glass-front cabinets with exposed hinges mimic the original ones. Calcutta marble tops an island built of dark-stained walnut for an antiqued look. “Marble was used at the turn of the century,” said Susie. “It gives it a splash of elegance.”

Another way that Larson retained the old house aesthetic was by not opening the kitchen to the living and dining areas, although it was tempting, he admitted.

“Today, the more common approach to a new kitchen in an old house is to turn it into a modern open floor plan,” he said. “We kept small doorways for a dignified old-school separation from the public spaces.”

Larson then repurposed space already in the home for the rest of the renovation. He removed a back-yard staircase leading to a tiny entry that held an icebox to make room for a generous mudroom off the kitchen. It’s cozy, with heated stone floors, maple cubbies and a bench for removing shoes. The mudroom offers enough storage for a busy family with soccer equipment.

Larson also put in two daylight transom windows and a glass door to allow light to flow into the kitchen. The mudroom “keeps the mess out of the rest of the house and is a great place to drop stuff,” said Mark.

Larson also transformed a covered porch into a light-filled casual dining area by enclosing it and adding seven windows on two sides and wood floors. “Tongue-and-groove paneling on the walls and a beadboard ceiling are a nod to the past,” he said. “We loved the original porch, so we wanted to maintain that feeling,” added Susie.

With the renovation complete, the Williamsons weren’t able to preserve the century-old butler’s pantry. But they’re pleased with the way Larson modernized the home while staying true to its early 1900s spirit.

“We appreciate those old features, but we wanted to make it livable,” said Susie.

“The kids drop their backpacks in the mudroom and then have a snack and talk at the island.”


Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619


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  • Photo gallery: Dec. AIA Home of the Month: Staying in Character

    Thursday November 28, 2013

    A vintage St. Paul home is renovated using cues from the past.

  • The remodeled kitchen’s cabinets, wood countertops and overall vintage vibe were inspired by an original butler’s pantry inside the 1915 shingle-style home.


    What: A new kitchen, eating area and mudroom updates a 1915 shingle-style home for modern living.

    Size: Remodeled space is 624 square feet.

    Design team: Mark Larson and Amanda Kay, Rehkamp Larson Architects, Minneapolis, 612-285-7275,

    Interior design: Maria Hanft, Minneapolis.

    Contractor: Joel Johnson, JS Johnson & Associates, Hopkins.

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