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Continued: Outdated 1960s home gets a makeover

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 4, 2014 - 7:14 PM

The kitchen is the hub of the new open spaces, which are tied together by white oak floors and light pine trim. “Now families spend more time cooking and socializing around the kitchen,” said Warner. “The 1960s houses were less formal than the 1940s houses. And houses today are even less formal than in the 1960s.”

Warner infused one-of-a-kind design elements into other outdated parts of the home. To dress up the oak entry closet, Warner suggested covering it with industrial gray felt inspired by the “Felt Suit” sculpture by Joseph Beuys at the Walker Art Center. “The industrial fabric plays off the color and texture of the rolled steel,” said Warner. Abear and Etzell agreed to try it, and Abear even sewed the closet’s gray felt sliding door.

Updated staircase

Warner also modernized the carpeted staircase and black wrought-iron railing by restyling it with white oak treads and steel cables strung from the second floor to the base of the staircase like a stringed instrument. Abear did the research on how to design the cables and found the hardware to fit it all together.

“It connects the two floors, is sculptural and practical and keeps it light and airy,” said Warner. But they did save the ’60s brown tile in the foyer, which was still in great condition, as a nod to the period of the house.

Part 2 of the renovation, completed this year, erased any remnants of the dark age. It involved gutting and rebuilding the second-floor master wing and drawing in more natural light. The new clean-lined contemporary bedroom is defined by white oak floors and sleek white wardrobe cabinets.

The vaulted white- and gray-tiled master bathroom features a space-saving door-less shower straight out of Dwell magazine, with the floor slightly sloped to drain water. Warner added a skylight in the hallway, and the bathroom doors have translucent glass to capture more light.

“The design is minimalist, but expressive with a warm, tactile quality,” said Warner. “No one wants to live in a white museum.”

Abear and Etzell both grew up in small towns surrounded by nature and are pleased that Warner’s renovation, above all, amplifies their view of the outdoors.

“When we were eating dinner, our son pointed to a great horned owl that had just landed in a tree 50 feet away,” said Abear. “We never would have seen it in the old kitchen.”


Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619


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