From the front, the century-old brick Craftsman was a beauty. But from the back, it looked like a 1970s afterthought.

Katie and Tony Severt had lived in the home for 10 years and planned a major renovation to improve flow and expand living spaces. They also hoped to gain an updated modern kitchen in the process.

The couple weren’t sure about the exact steps to accomplish their transformation. But they were certain that the homely three-season porch on the back would have to go.

“It wasn’t heated, had weird crank-out windows, and the flat roof leaked,” said Katie. “It was a junk storage.”

Architect Hamid Kashani of Habitat Architecture designed a modified floor plan that included removal of several walls to open up spaces for a remodeled kitchen and family room.

As for that ramshackle leaky porch? It was demolished, and in its place, Kashani added 170 square feet to the back of the home. The addition holds a multifunctional mudroom, as well as a casual eating spot inside the new kitchen. Kashani’s final improvement was a rear sheltered entry porch that opens to the new mudroom.

“We needed a place for the kids to drop their stuff when they came in,” said Katie. “And the big eat-in area can seat eight.”

The addition smoothly merges the new with the old, with gabled brick on the outside and vintage design details inside, maintaining the home’s early 1900s character.

But the new mudroom was the key to the overall success of the renovation, said Kashani. “It played a unifying role in the design, in terms of creating an access point from the outside to the kitchen — and rest of the house.”

The challenge: Katie and Tom Severt were renovating their century-old Craftsman and requested a new rear entry, facing the detached garage and opening to a mudroom. They also wanted to carve out a spacious casual eating area for their family of six within a new remodeled kitchen.

The designer: Hamid Kashani, Habitat Architecture, Mpls., 952-946-9700, The contractor was Otogawa-Anschel Design Build, Mpls.

Solution: A three-season porch, which had been added to the back of the home in the 1970s, had a leaky roof, was “poorly conceived, and isolated from the rest of the house,” said Kashani. The porch was torn down and replaced with a 170-square-foot addition to create space for a mudroom, which flows into a breakfast nook in the remodeled kitchen. The addition, which was part of an extensive renovation project, also results in a more unified and better-flowing main floor.

Sheltered transition: The family walks from their backyard detached garage up four steps to the new rear entry in order for it to be level with the mudroom addition. The gabled covered entry makes it easy to “get your keys out and not get wet,” said Katie.

Must-have mudroom: The addition created a handy drop zone equipped with a mail/wine-storage area, electronic charging station, cabinets, hooks for backpacks and a coat closet. “In our climate, it’s critical to have some kind of transitional space from the outside to the inside of the home,” said Kashani.

Recycled art glass: As part of the renovation, the contractor had to take out an original Arts & Crafts stained-glass window on the stair landing. “It’s a beautiful nature scene with a windmill by Witte Brothers [St. Paul artisans],” said Katie. Now the three-paneled stained glass-window graces the new eat-in area, letting in light, while providing privacy from a neighboring house.

Seamless style: The Severts repeated many of the home’s original design elements in the new remodeled rooms, including quartersawn oak woodwork and vintage floor tile, to create a cohesive feel. “Clay Squared [to Infinity] was able to match the exact pattern of the 100-year-old tile in the entryway,” said Katie. “It was a splurge — but worth it.” The small covered rear entry mimics design details, such as brick and gables, from the rest of the early 1900s home.‘“We didn’t want it to feel like an addition,” she said. “You can’t tell what’s old and new.”

The result: Daily life is a lot easier for the Severt family. “The kitchen is a wonderful gathering spot for our family,” said Katie. “Now the kids hang up their backpacks, and the mudroom keeps clutter at bay.”