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Continued: Secrets of successful remodeling

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Last update: January 7, 2014 - 10:00 AM

A: We were lucky enough to know her architect, her brother-in-law Oliver Freundlich, because we had featured his projects in Remodelista. We heard she was redoing her kitchen and found out she was an enthusiastic reader. We asked — and lo and behold — she said yes. It was a happy coming together of like minds.

Q: How have you renovated your “1970s builder’s special” in Mill Valley, Calif., which is in the book?

A: My grandparents were Swedish immigrants, so the Scandinavian aesthetic is in my DNA; I gravitate to natural materials and uncluttered environments. I wanted to make my house modern with Scandinavian undercurrents — white walls and maple-wood floors. Not a single inch isn’t used. My husband’s home office is also a guest bedroom with a pull-out couch. The laundry room is concealed behind pocket doors. Our home is just 1,900 square feet, but when it’s warm, I open the doors, and the house instantly feels bigger.

Q: You and many other homeowners featured in the book hired architects for remodeling projects. Do you recommend it?

A: It does add a chunk to the cost, and a lot of people try to cut that out. But having worked with an architect three times, I think it’s the best use of your funds, especially for any remodeling over $25,000. You want someone who is trained in proportion and spatial imaging or else you can end up with awkward spaces.

Q: What are your top three picks from the Remodelista 100?

A: I really love using the Muuto salad servers. They’re simple, sculptural and modern. I have two of the welded steel Circa 50 butterfly chairs. I use the Josef Hoffmann wine coaster next to my bed for a glass of water — since I will never be able to own a big Hoffmann piece; it’s a little moment in design history.

Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619

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