Barbara Burgum wanted to make sure her expansive kitchen remodeling project was just right. So she hosted a “mocktail party” for a group of friends inside an empty warehouse. The staff from David Heide Design Studio taped down a full-scale mock-up of the floor plan David Heide had designed for her.
“Cooking is important to me. It’s how I entertain and socialize with friends,” said Burgum, who often has a dozen people over to prepare Sunday supper. By working in the space, she could count how many steps to the refrigerator and find out how easy it was for several people to prep a dessert, salad and appetizer and, finally, clean up.
The pretend party was a success. “I felt like we had arrived at a good plan that had a good flow,” she said. “It achieved all my goals beautifully.”
The new kitchen, combining modern appliances with Arts and Crafts-inspired wood cabinets and other period features, was just one part of the vast restoration and renovation of Burgum’s 1905 Craftsman on Lake Minnetonka.
When she first stepped inside the sprawling home, which was for sale in 1999, she never dreamed that she would undertake such an ambitious transformation. Burgum was drawn to the gracious wraparound porches, floor-to-ceiling Rookwood glazed-tile fireplace, handsome woodwork and views of a quiet Lake Minnetonka bay in Deephaven. But the kitchen had been “modernized” in the 1980s, the ceiling had moisture damage, and the electrical and plumbing systems needed updating.
“I didn’t want to take it on,” recalled Burgum, a retired landscape architect. “And the porches alone had more square footage than my house.”
But a sense of responsibility to preserve the grand historic lake home kicked in. “I feared that it might become a teardown because of all the work it needed,” she said. “It would be a great loss, because the gorgeous craftsmanship and woodwork weren’t replaceable.”
Before long, she could envision herself gardening on the vast grounds and entertaining friends and family in the sweeping porches.
The former James Flett Cargill House was designed by Chicago architect Hugh Garden and was featured in the book “Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka” by Bette Hammel. Heide surmised that it was a lake retreat where the wife and kids would spend the summer, and the husband, who worked in the city, would travel on weekends.
Back in 1905, the lake side was considered the home’s front door. “The trolley boat would drop you off there,” Burgum said.
She connected with Heide after seeing his portfolio at the Twin Cities Arts and Crafts Show. When she gave friends tours of the home’s interior, several encouraged her to talk to Heide because he’s known for meticulous historic restoration.
“I knew David would understand this house and bring out its beauty without changing the character — and make it livable,” she said.
Heide and architect Mark Nelson designed a plan that combined thoughtful restoration on the home’s lake side with a two-story addition and tuck-under garage built on the driveway entry side.
“From the lake, Barbara wanted to retain as much of the original architecture and appearance as possible,” Heide said. “But a house has to change to accommodate modern sensibilities. It has a better chance to survive.”
Restoration included reglazing porch windows and refinishing all the quartersawn oak woodwork in the interior, as well as replacing damaged rafter tails and siding and adding a fresh coat of deep brown paint on the weatherworn exterior.
The biggest projects were replacing the crumbling concrete with new brick floors in the three enclosed porches and installing a geothermal heating-cooling system so that the porch floors — and the entire house — are cozy and comfortable.
“The porches are so special to the house,” said Burgum, whose favorite one is the aptly named sunset porch. “They flow from the living spaces, and you can enjoy the landscape and lake even in stormy weather.”
Burgum decided to invest in the addition — which turned out to be 1,850 square feet — because she often has friends and relatives stay for extended periods and needed the extra space for sleeping, socializing and dining.
Designer Brad Belka took cues from the original parts of the house to re-create Arts and Crafts details, such as the eight-spoke design in the upper panes of custom windows, quartersawn oak built-ins and the simple shapes of the chunky woodwork. Period light fixtures and Mission-style furnishings also help make the addition feel like it’s always been a piece of a big old Craftsman house standing still in time.
In fact, when you step inside the new front foyer, it’s easy to assume it was part of the 1905 structure, thanks to details that re-create the warmth and spirit of a classic Craftsman. Belka designed a wood frame to hold an antique stained-glass window that Burgum had bought years earlier. A period-style ceiling light fixture design matches the rug. A big coat closet, and a bench to sit on while slipping on shoes, update the foyer for today.
The decorative arts from the Arts and Crafts period are alive and well throughout the Burgum home, Heide said.
“There’s an exuberance of decorative arts,” he said. “Rarely do we have the opportunity to design lighting, carpets, carved woodwork, tile and art glass and wood built-ins to the level and degree that met Barbara’s interests and … the original architect’s vision.”
The renovation took five years from design to completion. Burgum now has warm and welcoming spaces to share with her family and friends — which was the mission of early 1900s Craftsman-style architecture.
She even had an elevator installed so she can remain in her home a long time.
“I’m not leaving,” she said. “When I reach old age, we can turn it into a nursing home, and my friends can live with me.”