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Continued: Architects share trends, tips to make your home a perfect fit

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 20, 2014 - 8:14 AM

Q: How can someone carve out space for a bathroom in an older house?

MS: In a 1940s Cape Cod, we took a small existing bathroom and expanded it into an adjacent closet. We took advantage of the shape, making a great big shower at the end with vertical glass subway tile, investing in color and materials to make an impact.


Q: What space has grown in size and importance over the years?

MS: Many remodelings create room for a mudroom — people need that landing spot and transition from work to home, where you can not only drop a backpack or briefcase but charge your phone in a charging station.

Q: How can you create more storage in the must-have mudroom?

GW: One solution is to remove the sliding door on a back-entry closet and build open storage lockers and shoe cubbies.


Q: What are ways to enhance an uninviting exterior?

MS: We gave a dated 1980s suburban home a welcoming contemporary entry by adding rich materials and details. We put a wood trellis over the front door, added textural siding and clerestory windows. By the entry, we created an outdoor room with a raised stone patio and garden wall for privacy.


Q: Everyone wants more space. How do you get it on a limited budget?

SN: First, look at rearranging what you have and possibly removing walls or moving doorways. As a last resort, add on — but don’t just build big. An addition should be functional and well-designed.

Q: How can you spend your remodeling dollars wisely?

MS: Get the basic shape and structure of the room right, then invest in quality materials, and lastly layer in color and texture. Invest in great lighting in key locations.

GW: Decide what’s most important now, and what you can do later. We renovated our house on the 10-year plan. Do the best infrastructure features you can within your budget. You can add custom cabinets later — but not insulation.

SN: In a kitchen remodel, we cut out a round recessed area in the ceiling of the eating area and put in a strip light around the perimeter. The circular glowing light, combined with the round table, define the space. It’s a timeless architectural element that’s cheaper than a chandelier.



    What: A panel discussion by local architects about home design and remodeling, and presentation of this year’s AIA Minnesota Home of the Month winning residential projects.

    When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thu.

    Where: International Market Square, 275 Market St., Mpls.

    Tickets: $18 in advance, $20 at the door, includes hors d’oeuvres buffet. Cash bar. Register by phone, 612-338-6763 or by e-mail (

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