What’s your vision of the perfect home?

For one family, it’s a house on a lake with plenty of space for kids and visiting grandparents. For a city homeowner, it’s a house with all of today’s in-demand updates that still blends in with the older homes in its neighborhood.

These homes and more are among this year’s Home of the Month selected projects. Twelve designs by AIA Minnesota (American Institute of Architects) professionals were chosen from nearly 50 submissions.

Starting in June, you’ll get an inside look at these dozen homes on the first Sunday of every month in the Homes section and at startribune.com. You’ll hear from the homeowners and architects involved, along with plenty of photos to inspire your own building or remodeling plans.

Here's a sneak preview of this year’s 12 homes.



Designed by Newland Architecture

Sisunkoto is Finnish for “the home of sisu,” which translates to strength of will and sustained courage. This new home is an attempt at creating a modest and responsible dwelling. Its form acknowledges the one- and two-story neighborhood around it, and its flat roof features a deck with a green roof. Inside, the house is designed for aging in place and maximizing sunlight. It’s also certified both LEED Silver and GreenStar Gold.



Designed by CityDeskStudio

Perched on a ridge 20 feet above a lake in Stillwater, this home fulfills the client’s desire for an age-in-place home influenced by its natural surroundings. The design is distinguished by a light-filled, vaulted living area, one-level living with a walkout lower level, and sustainable landscaping.


Granary House

Designed by Rehkamp Larson Architects

This farmstead’s owners envisioned transforming the timber-frame granary on their property into a living space. A galvanized grain bin was disassembled and moved to the site for the garage. The two granaries now sit on a new thermal-mass foundation linked by a mudroom. All interior wood is salvaged from the original building. The granaries are transformed, the site re-energized, and the family is settled for another generation.


A Crafted Addition

Designed by TEA2 Architects

Old and new spaces flow seamlessly in this remodel and addition of an older Arts & Crafts-style home with great character. Many of the original materials and detailing were salvaged and reused, and the entire addition worked carefully around a 46-inch-diameter bur oak and its root system, to preserve the tree.


Crystal Bay Retreat

Designed by SALA Architects

This North Shore retreat rests on a rock shelf nestled among outcroppings near a deep ravine. The site dictated a linear structure in which every space participates in the breathtaking view and captures the movements of the sun. The home’s form is straightforward, with simple but refined detailing using low-maintenance materials.


Single (Level) and Ready to Mingle

Designed by Christopher Strom Architects

Scale was paramount for this partial teardown and rebuilding of a single-story home. Its single-level design was strategically chosen as a counterpoint to the flood of two-story teardowns and rebuilds in a neighborhood that is losing its iconic postwar scale and style. A low-slope roof and large overhangs accentuate its single-story horizontal character.


Upton Revived

Designed by Rehkamp Larson Architects

This house endured several additions and remodels over the years, leaving awkward spaces, pinch points in the floor plan and not enough space for a growing family. After the old additions were removed and the original house extended, the house now has more space where it’s needed and less space where it’s not, as well as smoother connections between the interior and exterior. Old and new elements are carefully integrated in design, finish and skillful construction.


Shadow Box

Designed by SALA Architects

Designed for clients with a highly developed sense of design, this sculptural home set deeply into a hillside features charred-wood siding, cantilevered roof overhangs and a glass bridge that visually separates public and private spaces. Energy-efficient design and technology will allow the homeowner to eventually become energy-independent.



Designed by SALA Architects

This whole-house renovation of a vacation home was the third design exploration for the owner in as many decades. It re-imagined the entire layout of the original cabin by relocating the kitchen, living, dining and guest spaces to prioritize views of a nearby lake with minimal expansion. The result was a transformation from a cabin into an elegant year-round home.


North Hill House

Designed by Imprint Architecture and Design

North Hill House is a new home built on a narrow lot in historic Stillwater. The design is a nod to the homeowners’ love of modern architecture, as well as their desire to be surrounded by the beautiful 19th-century homes of their community. The house has a simple form that is modest, elegant, functional and fitting with its historic surroundings. Inside, light, volume and efficient space planning allow this small home to live large.


Calhoun Parkway Residence

Designed by Peterssen/Keller Architecture

This home has an innovative design solution by the way it responds to its long, narrow urban lot, while maintaining a connection to neighboring homes. Among its features is a highly efficient floor plan with various gathering spaces and an accessory dwelling unit in the backyard.


Woodland House

Designed by ALTUS Architecture & Design

Sited on a wooded plateau overlooking a wetland and lake, this new home seeks to quietly integrate into its surroundings, while capturing dramatic views and optimizing natural light. The exterior finish is intended to blend in with surrounding trees, and the interior is organized into three realms — a living/work wing, a master wing and a garage/workshop wing.