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Lynn Underwood

Reporter | Homes
phone: 612-673-7619
Lynn Underwood writes about new home construction, remodeling, architecture, design, decorating and real estate for the Sunday Homes section. She also writes garden-related stories for the Variety Home + Garden section.
Recent content from Lynn Underwood
Nature-loving couple design a home for the birds in Lake Elmo

Nature-loving couple design a home for the birds in Lake Elmo

A Utah couple's passion for bird-watching, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing lured them to Minnesota to build the retirement home of their dreams. The result: a modern interpretation of Prairie-School style with Scandinavian influences. It's the AIA Minnesota Home of the Month.
Homegazing: 1920s brick home in St. Paul blends period character with modern amenities

Homegazing: 1920s brick home in St. Paul blends period character with modern amenities

A spacious Mac-Groveland home seamlessly blends 1920s character with up-to-date amenities. You can have it for $1.185 million.
TV to the rescue: 'Ask This Old House' pays a house call in Minneapolis

TV to the rescue: 'Ask This Old House' pays a house call in Minneapolis

A Minneapolis homeowner got hands-on help during a visit from the PBS series "Ask This Old House."
Obituary: Dr. Jacob Miller, biology teacher at Breck School, dies at 67

Obituary: Dr. Jacob Miller, biology teacher at Breck School, dies at 67

Jacob Miller was the kind of biology teacher who installed a hawk cam in a chapel bell tower, designed and planted a prairie plot in…
Everyday Solutions: Savvy storage enhances a Golden Valley rambler

Everyday Solutions: Savvy storage enhances a Golden Valley rambler

How could a Golden Valley couple solve storage problems within their limited square footage? Architect Carl Olson's solution was a 12-foot-long, two-sided "floating" cherry cabinet.
Modern treehouse inspired by downtown loft in Minneapolis

Modern treehouse inspired by downtown loft in Minneapolis

A couple infused the best qualities of their former downtown loft into their new family home near Lake of the Isles to re-create the euphoric feeling of viewing the urban landscape from the sky. It's the AIA Minnesota Home of the Month.
Minneapolis townhouse kitchen gets a facelift

Minneapolis townhouse kitchen gets a facelift

A 1990s cooking-dining area is revitalized with new finishes and eco-friendly materials.
Mitch Omer, chef at Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis, dies at 61

Mitch Omer, chef at Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis, dies at 61

Chef Mitch Omer was proud of the wild-rice porridge on the breakfast menu at his Minneapolis restaurant, Hell's Kitchen."It looked mushy, and people wouldn't try…
Bright ideas for holiday mood lighting

Bright ideas for holiday mood lighting

Holiday mood lighting ranges from battery-operated LED micro-lights to old-school wax candles. Here are ways to illuminate the dark December night.
Resale store in Mound sells donated furnishings – with proceeds given to donors' charities

Resale store in Mound sells donated furnishings – with proceeds given to donors' charities

Lacy's twist on traditional resale shops is that donors of the items get to choose the charity or organization that benefits from the sale.
North Loop condo makeover salvages old shed to bring the farm to the city

North Loop condo makeover salvages old shed to bring the farm to the city

A North Loop condo makeover balances raw industrial elements with warm rural charm – while staying within the homeowner's $60,000 budget.
Everyday Solutions: Adding a 'Staycation' retreat to a Minneapolis home

Everyday Solutions: Adding a 'Staycation' retreat to a Minneapolis home

Martha Ballard and Paul Chrenka decided that the best, budget-friendliest place to build a getaway was to attach it to their Minneapolis home.
Minnesota's midcentury modernism gets a little modern love

Minnesota's midcentury modernism gets a little modern love

Architectural historian Larry Millett's latest book sheds light on midcentury modernism in Minnesota – and how it shaped the Twin Cities we know today.
'Strange brew' was right recipe for creative Edina home makeover

'Strange brew' was right recipe for creative Edina home makeover

A home makeover mixes rustic distressed materials with sleek refined elements.
Water damage offered a chance to rebuild North Oaks home from the inside out

Water damage offered a chance to rebuild North Oaks home from the inside out

After living in their North Oaks home for six years, Brian and Mara Winke were ready to make some major changes. Built in 1971, their abode was like a car from that era. But the discovery of water damage and mold soon spoiled the couple's grand plans.
Just try keeping a squirrel from snacking on pumpkins

Just try keeping a squirrel from snacking on pumpkins

  Squirrels are skipping the turkey dinner and going straight for the pumpkin pie. On porches, patios and front stoops across the Twin Cities, the…
Repurposed Edina rambler is a win-win for three generations

Repurposed Edina rambler is a win-win for three generations

It's a win-win for a three-generation family sharing a repurposed rambler, with a custom "condo" downstairs.
Everyday Solutions: Stone fireplaces, wood accents add Craftsman charm to 1990s rambler

Everyday Solutions: Stone fireplaces, wood accents add Craftsman charm to 1990s rambler

The exterior of Ben and Brenda Marks' Minnetonka rambler evokes the look of Prairie-style architecture. But the interiors were stuck in the 1990s with basic maple woodwork, beige carpet and walled-in rooms.
Twin Cities 'Suburbia' exhibit offers nostalgic look at American dream

Twin Cities 'Suburbia' exhibit offers nostalgic look at American dream

From "Father Knows Best" to Southdale, take a nostalgic tour of Twin Cities suburban sprawl – and its cultural consequences.
Lake Minnetonka home juxtaposes down-to-earth features, modern design

Lake Minnetonka home juxtaposes down-to-earth features, modern design

AIA Minnesota Home of the Month: A newly built three-level home on a quiet Lake Minnetonka bay could be considered unconventional. Yet it was designed for a conventional family of five whose members do homework at the kitchen table, "camp out" in the screened porch and play in an upstairs loft.
Remodelers Showcase offers ideas and inspiration

Remodelers Showcase offers ideas and inspiration

Home makeovers big and small — from powder rooms to whole-house transformations — will be on display during the Remodelers Showcase.
Homegazing: Midcentury modern in Minnetonka was Life magazine star

Homegazing: Midcentury modern in Minnetonka was Life magazine star

Minnetonka architect's midcentury modern multi-level was spotlighted in a '50s magazine.
Revised Hastings rambler trades stuffy '90s vibe for modern flair

Revised Hastings rambler trades stuffy '90s vibe for modern flair

AIA Minnesota Home of the Month: A Hastings couple found the right home, but it was a 1990s time capsule steeped in stale golden-oak woodwork, tan carpet and popcorn ceilings. Their renovation juxtaposes easy-flow open spaces with unexpected materials.
Tangletown Gardens owner keeps exotic oasis in St. Paul

Tangletown Gardens owner keeps exotic oasis in St. Paul

Tangletown Gardens owner has created a junglelike landscape to complement the fanciful new porch on his Victorian home.
Homegazing: A pioneering green bungalow in north Minneapolis

Homegazing: A pioneering green bungalow in north Minneapolis

The eco-friendly remodeling of a north Minneapolis home was a pilot project for the Minnesota GreenStar program. You can have it for $265,000.
Designer Martha O'Hara's Mpls. home infused with Southern comfort

Designer Martha O'Hara's Mpls. home infused with Southern comfort

A Minneapolis interior designer's Georgian-style home makeover is among nine upscale remodeling projects open for tours.
Art drove the design of this Lake Superior retreat

Art drove the design of this Lake Superior retreat

The art-savvy owners of a meticulously crafted retreat in Bayfield, Wis., had one goal in mind: "We built the house for our paintings." And, of course, for the sweeping views of nature's ultimate work of art — Lake Superior.
Homegazing: Uptown condo offers views of Lake Calhoun

Homegazing: Uptown condo offers views of Lake Calhoun

A theater producer's Uptown condo delivers views of bustling Lake Calhoun corner. You can have it for $2 million.
Bloomington interior designer lives in home designed by her mother

Bloomington interior designer lives in home designed by her mother

A Bloomington interior designer treasures living in her childhood home, which was designed by her multitalented mother.
Glass and glitz freshen a Minneapolis home's dated entry

Glass and glitz freshen a Minneapolis home's dated entry

First impressions count, whether it's a blind date or welcoming guests into your home. But it's not easy to make a good first impression when the highlight of your foyer is a massive dated light-blocking staircase.
Urban 'beach house' perks up Minneapolis neighborhood

Urban 'beach house' perks up Minneapolis neighborhood

An airy, modern home is carefully scaled to fit comfortably into its established city neighborhood. It's the AIA Minnesota Home of the Month.
Before & After: Dated Edina home now has rooms to cure cabin fever

Before & After: Dated Edina home now has rooms to cure cabin fever

A dated Edina home transitions from 1980s "Miami Vice" to 21st-century smart design.
Midcentury modern house in Golden Valley now has sleek Scandinavian style

Midcentury modern house in Golden Valley now has sleek Scandinavian style

The 1958 Prairie-style brick dwelling, with a tuck-under garage, sits on a wooded half-acre lot abutting Wirth Park in the North Tyrol Hills neighborhood. You can have it for $799,000.
Everyday Solutions: Tiny powder room is expanded into full, accessible bath

Everyday Solutions: Tiny powder room is expanded into full, accessible bath

The challenge: Make a tiny powder room bigger, more accessible and easier to maneuver for a homeowner with limited mobility.
An Arts and Crafts revival on Lake Minnetonka

An Arts and Crafts revival on Lake Minnetonka

A turn-of-the-century home on Lake Minnetonka seamlessly blends the handcrafted beauty of yesterday with modern-day functionality. It's the AIA Minnesota Home of the Month.

Project: AIA Minnesota Home of the Month

The Home of the Month program is a partnership between the Star Tribune and the Minnesota chapter of the American Institute of Architects. It features architect-designed houses selected by a jury of experts. The houses represent a range of prices, styles and locations.
Tour highlights midcentury modern Rapson homes in University Grove

Tour highlights midcentury modern Rapson homes in University Grove

Architect Ralph Rapson's midcentury modern gems in University Grove will be showcased on upcoming tour, part of a national symposium.
Eden Prairie back-yard makeover: from ho-hum turf grass to inviting outdoor room

Eden Prairie back-yard makeover: from ho-hum turf grass to inviting outdoor room

A back yard of ho-hum turf grass is transformed into an inviting outdoor living room.
Modern retreat in northern Minnesota is one with nature

Modern retreat in northern Minnesota is one with nature

AIA Minnesota Home of the Month: Nature takes center stage inside a year-round modern retreat that merges with its northern Minnesota setting.
Lowry Hill mansion boasts vintage elegance, modern updates

Lowry Hill mansion boasts vintage elegance, modern updates

The turn-of-the-century house has abundant woodwork and a Minnehaha-themed stained-glass window, along with amenities today's buyers covet. You can have it for $2.395 million.
First peek at year's Home of the Month selections

First peek at year's Home of the Month selections

Home of the Month choices range from a remodeled industrial loft to a gracious Lake Superior retreat.
New and improved homes on display for urban tour

New and improved homes on display for urban tour

Urban residences on the Minneapolis & St. Paul Home Tour show how homeowners have injected eco-friendly features, along with re-used and recycled materials.
Ex-science teacher has formula for beautiful garden

Ex-science teacher has formula for beautiful garden

A retired high school teacher capitalized on her scientific curiosity, passion for arborvitae and summer breaks to make a barren lot beautiful.
Beautiful Gardens: Elysian couple create a path to tranquility

Beautiful Gardens: Elysian couple create a path to tranquility

Gardeners Dan and Nancy Engebretson regarded an unfinished, weed-infested walking path as an opportunity, not an eyesore. So they planted what has become a mini-arboretum that draws people from the neighborhood.
Beautiful Gardens: A fanciful landscape in a small lot

Beautiful Gardens: A fanciful landscape in a small lot

A Minneapolis couple didn't let a compact city yard stop them from creating a fanciful landscape of waterfalls, shade and sun beds, and even a hobbit house.
Beginner's luck for gardeners in Andover

Beginner's luck for gardeners in Andover

Self-taught gardeners transformed their suburban back yard from green turf into a colorful oasis to become winners of our Beautiful Gardens contest.
Beautiful Gardens: Two Plymouth gardeners create place of peace

Beautiful Gardens: Two Plymouth gardeners create place of peace

Two Plymouth gardeners combine their love for roses and waterfalls into a lavish landscape.
Beautiful gardens: A labor of love

Beautiful gardens: A labor of love

A Champlin couple transformed their back yard from a sandbox to the setting for their wedding reception.
Just like grandma used to grow

Just like grandma used to grow

A granddaughter's sprawling cottage gardens honor the two grandmothers who passed down their cherished plants and wisdom.
From novices to know-it-alls

From novices to know-it-alls

The Shannons of St. Paul scaled a steep learning curve to create their "collector's garden," which features specimens from around the world.
Back-yard bouquet

Back-yard bouquet

A Bloomington woman interweaves old-fashioned coneflowers, flowering shrubs and flagstone walkways to turn her turf-covered suburban back yard into a massive cutting garden.
Home of the Month: Camping inspired Eagan house design

Home of the Month: Camping inspired Eagan house design

A challenging, hilly site didn't deter an Eagan couple from building a house inspired by gathering around the campfire.
A contemporary Deephaven house is reimagined

A contemporary Deephaven house is reimagined

A renovation of a 1980s contemporary ranch home mixes a modern spirit with family-friendly comfort in the AIA Minnesota Home of the Month.
Modern, flat-roofed home breaks mold but still blends with Seward neighbors

Modern, flat-roofed home breaks mold but still blends with Seward neighbors

A modern flat-roofed home breaks the mold but still blends with its neighbors.
Reworking the floor plan of a Minneapolis Dutch Colonial

Reworking the floor plan of a Minneapolis Dutch Colonial

AIA MN Home of the Month: A few subtle shifts transform an "awkward" floor plan in an earlier addition, improving flow and function.
AIA MN Home of the Month: Reinventing a classic

AIA MN Home of the Month: Reinventing a classic

An early 1900s house – overlooking Lake of the Isles and designed by Harry Wild Jones – gets a worldly, modern makeover.
Home of the Month: Lodge-like lakeside retreat fits family

Home of the Month: Lodge-like lakeside retreat fits family

A large extended family shares a new lakeside cottage designed to feel as though it's been on the peninsula for the past 100 years.
Madeline Island cottage combines 'soul' with sustainability

Madeline Island cottage combines 'soul' with sustainability

A new cottage on Lake Superior's Madeline Island combines rustic interiors for the soul, and energy-saving strategies for sustainability.
Smart split: Transforming a 1990s tract home in NE Minneapolis

Smart split: Transforming a 1990s tract home in NE Minneapolis

Homeowners Mary Glas and Mark Larsen were close to giving up on finding the perfect home when a Realtor friend tipped them off about a house for sale in the quiet St. Anthony neighborhood of northeast Minneapolis.
Modern ingenuity produces a 1950s flashback home

Modern ingenuity produces a 1950s flashback home

A couple didn't let an odd-shaped lot stop them from building a retro-inspired rambler in Edina.
Kenwood cottage puts a modern spin on a tried-and-true tradition

Kenwood cottage puts a modern spin on a tried-and-true tradition

AIA Minnesota Home of the Month: A new Kenwood cottage puts a modern spin on a tried-and-true tradition, while blending into an older urban neighborhood.
New recipe for an Old World Minneapolis kitchen

New recipe for an Old World Minneapolis kitchen

AIA Minnesota Home of the Month: A reconfigured floor plan turns a dining room into a spacious kitchen at the hub of a 1920s home.
AIA MN Home of the Month: A Minneapolis Tudor for the 21st century

AIA MN Home of the Month: A Minneapolis Tudor for the 21st century

The renovation of a 1929 house facing Lake Harriet in south Minneapolis balances period charm with modern functionality for a family of five.
Minneapolis mom now has a home for the holidays

Minneapolis mom now has a home for the holidays

For the first time, a Minneapolis woman and her young son will celebrate the season in a home of their own.
Tried-and-true holiday decorating

Tried-and-true holiday decorating

Two design pros deck their halls in dramatically different styles, and share their tips for adding festive flair. John Hinschberger goes vintage.
A drab '60s great room updates its 'Mad Men' vibe

A drab '60s great room updates its 'Mad Men' vibe

A dark and drab 1960s great room is livened up with fresh materials and a modern "Mad Men"-style bar.
Fresh ideas for DIY holiday centerpieces

Fresh ideas for DIY holiday centerpieces

Do-it-yourself holiday centerpieces get a fresh look with fresh materials, from wine bottles to pears to long-stemmed white roses.
Midcentury modern gem on Lake Minnetonka is all about the water

Midcentury modern gem on Lake Minnetonka is all about the water

Freshwater Society co-founder Dick Gray's midcentury modern gem hugs the shoreline of Lake Minnetonka. You can have it for $1,299,900.
A white home, in color, in Minneapolis

A white home, in color, in Minneapolis

A creative Minneapolis mom infuses her white-on-white spaces with pops of bright hues, mod patterns and distinctive prints.
Lower levels go upscale

Lower levels go upscale

Today's remodeled lower levels boast stylish finishes and family-focused features.
Before & after: More room in the kitchen

Before & after: More room in the kitchen

Cooks have room to maneuver and easy-to-reach work spaces, thanks to a remodeled kitchen's universal design features.
New book showcases grand homes of Minnesota

New book showcases grand homes of Minnesota

A new coffee-table book by St. Paul architectural historian Larry Millett combines colorful tales with sumptuous photos.
Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Crocus Hill home is on the market

Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Crocus Hill home is on the market

Lynne Rossetto Kasper tested recipes, wrote her award-winning cookbooks and prepped for her radio broadcasts in the century-old Crocus Hill home in St. Paul. You can have it for … $748,500.
Strategic storage is just a built-in away

Strategic storage is just a built-in away

Today's new built-ins put everything at your fingertips in kitchens and baths. Here are some smart ideas on organizing and storing your stuff.
Owners reinvent their longtime homes

Owners reinvent their longtime homes

Architectural problem-solving — from maximizing natural light to floor plans that flow — will be on display in 16 Twin Cities residences open for touring next weekend.
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