The starting point: Beverly and Craig Claflin were ready to update the 1950s two-story in Edina where they had raised their children. "We had invested most of our time and effort on the outside," said Beverly, including their backyard and pool. When their daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren moved in across the street, the Claflins knew they would stay in their longtime home and decided to invest in its interior.
The goal: "What I was looking forward to was opening up the house," said Beverly. Removing three interior walls accomplished that. But the couple weren't sure what to do with their newly opened space.
New vision: The project was already underway when Beverly asked Wildenauer, who sings in the choir at a church where Beverly is director of music, to come look at her house and their preliminary plan for remodeling it. "The walls were gone when I came so I had no preconceived idea of the space," Wildenauer said. She thought the kitchen in particular needed to be reconfigured with a large island as its centerpiece, rather than replicating the existing angled countertop. "She had a vision for what it ended up being, and we fell in love with her concept," said Beverly.
Keeping scores: The Claflins had already decided to eliminate their formal dining room, which they rarely used. Wildenauer suggested turning that space into a library. "I knew she had tons of music, which is hard to store," said Wildenauer. Built-in alder wood cabinets keep music organized and out of sight so that the Claflins can also enjoy their library as a reading room.
Repurposing space: The Claflins were using their home's living room as their "piano room," anchored by a grand piano. There was also a small den, rarely used, at the back of the living room. Wildenaur suggested putting a wall between the piano room and the den and removing the wall between the den and the kitchen, so that the den's square footage could be incorporated into the new kitchen. A new custom cabinet in the piano room provides attractive storage. "They had seen [a piece of furniture] they liked in a catalog but couldn't find the right size," said Wildenauer. "I said, 'Let's have it built.' " The lower cabinets are used for storing dinnerware, while glass-front cabinets above display art objects, illuminated by tape lights.
Balancing the family room: The couple's family room was on the small side, and unlike the kitchen, it did not gain square footage as a result of the remodeling. "There was a fireplace, and she [Beverly] wanted a big mantel," said Wildenauer. To create better visual balance with the large fireplace, she removed one window and replaced it with a larger one.
Porch perfect: The home had a large screen porch that the couple used only in summer. Wildenauer proposed taking some space from the porch to create a first-floor laundry room and mudroom. The downsized porch was upgraded to a three-season room with insulation and a space heater mounted on the wall. Because the porch is the entry point from the backyard and the pool, it needed practical flooring. Wildenauer proposed Chilewich woven vinyl. "It's a commercial product with a nice texture. It's bullet-proof and easy to clean," she said. A raspberry accent wall adds a pop of "happy color" to the porch.
Striking a chord: Beverly had a vivid image of the wood flooring she wanted in their remodeled home. "I wanted it the color of a cello I used to have," she said. Wildenauer suggested laying the boards diagonally at a 45-degree angle, to complement the Claflins' floor plan. "It'll draw people into the home," she said. "It's a rich color and makes a statement."
Bold focal point: The Claflins were gravitating to an all-white kitchen, but Wildenauer thought it could use a bit of color. "Because of the way it was designed, I thought we have to do something special above the range," she said. "It needs a piece of artwork." The couple ultimately chose a vivid tile backsplash by local artisan tile company Mercury Mosaics. The pattern evokes a lake Up North at sunrise. "They [the Claflins] love Minnesota and Minnesota artists," said Wildenauer. "That became our theme — what are things made in Minnesota, and how can we showcase them?" The pendant lights above the center island are crafted from handblown recycled glass by Bicycle Glass, another local company. Beverly loves the bold backsplash and its contrast with the white cabinets and white engineered quartz countertops. "It's just a fun pop. I would never have thought of it. I would have picked out some subway tile."
Storage solutions: Storage was carefully thought out throughout the remodeled home. "I want to make things easy, with places to store things in proximity to where they will be used," said Wildenauer. In the kitchen, there's a cabinet for the vacuum cleaner, a big drawer for Tupperware containers, and corner drawers for spices, potholders and towels. A new built-in desk includes cabinets for a paper shredder and printer and a drawer for a charging station. Another new built-in provides storage for wine, glasses and cake plates. There's even a designated place for the grandchildren's toys under a window seat in the family room.
Tough furniture: Wildenauer also helped the couple select new furniture that enhanced their spaces yet was childproof. "The grandkids are little," said Wildenauer. "We chose a lot of commercial fabric. Everything has to be durable and easy to clean."
The result: The Claflins love the bright open spaces of their newly improved home. "I have actual light," said Beverly. "Before, I had to have lots of lamps. The house is open, and I can see where people are. It's easier to have everyone around." Pre-pandemic, the Claflins enjoyed hosting Craig's extended family, and they're looking forward to sharing their new spaces. "I'm really excited once we can do that again," Beverly said. "Annette made it beautiful."
Kim Palmer • 612-673-4784