The challenge: When Bruce and Terry Knutson bought their 1950s rambler in south Minneapolis, the cramped, enclosed two-season porch was “the first thing we decided we had to get rid of,” said Bruce. “We never used it because it was so dark and depressing.”

The porch, which was original to the house, faced the backyard and its swimming pool, so a re-imagined space could take advantage of the outdoor vistas.

The architect: Homeowner Bruce Knutson of Bruce Knutson Architects, Bloomington, 612-332-800,

The solution: Knutson’s new floor plan involved tearing down an exterior brick wall and a cold glass breezeway, linked to the garage, which enclosed the dark two-season porch.

He added a new expanded exterior wall and a new foundation to create the 196-square-foot sunroom within the existing footprint.

“They were non-bearing walls so it was not as complicated or costly,” he said. “And it was free square footage.”

The new sunroom’s vaulted ceiling and skylights draw in light all day long. “I added two skylights because the room faces north,” he said.

Indoor/outdoor connection: Full-width casement windows and a glass door were integrated into the new wall, offering views of the backyard patio and pool from the new sunroom and existing dining room.

For the windows, Bruce chose a geometric prairie-style design, which complements the home’s deep eaves, to accent the glass.

Open and airy: With the removal of the wall, the existing dining room and living room are now open to the new sunroom, creating better flow and visual connectivity. “The dining room appears bigger,” he said.

Warm and cozy: The sunroom floor is covered in porcelain tiles warmed by an electric in-floor heat system.

The result: The sunroom has become Knutson’s favorite getaway space. “We psychologically expanded the living area by making the remote porch bigger and brighter, and part of the house,” he said.



Everyday Solutions features projects by AIA Minnesota member architects that solve a homeowner’s everyday design challenge. To submit a project for consideration, please send uncompressed JPEG images of the element or space, before and after photos and a brief description of the story behind the project to Angie McKinley: mckinley@aia-mn-org