What do you get when you spend $600,000 on a remodeling job? For starters, an addition that doubles the size of the existing home. This whole-house remodel in Linden Hills is one of nine spendy projects on Midwest Home magazine's first Luxury Remodeling Tour.

The concept was modeled after the magazine's Luxury Home Tour, which held its 14th event in June, said publisher Jamie Flaws. "For this new tour, we only include bigger projects that focus on upscale finishes, materials and craftsmanship and a minimum cost of $100,000."

And with a strengthening economy and consumer confidence, there are more homeowners pulling the trigger and spending big bucks on everything from two-level additions to knocking down walls and opening up floor plans in homes they want to stay in for a long time.

"Housing values are rising, and it's less of a risk to invest and improve," said K.C. Chermak, who designed a Tudor renovation, which is open for inspection.

Michael Anschel of Otogawa-Anschel Design+Build agreed. "In the last year, I've seen a massive swing, where folks want nice materials and craftsmanship and can pay for that now that the economy is back on its feet," said Anschel, whose $150,000 modernization of a 1960s split-level is also on the tour.

Homeowners contemplating dramatic changes in their interiors can find out what's hot, as well as some of the smart choices others are making in their transformations.

Green products and materials that are less harmful to air quality and health are on more people's radars than ever before. Spacious kitchens that double as entertaining zones, and spa-style bathrooms still top the must-have list. But well-equipped mudroom additions for organizing everyone's stuff are coming on strong, said remodelers.

"We move so fast all day that when we come home, we want to decompress, disconnect and be comfortable," said Chermak.

Highlights from two of the projects featured on the Midwest Home Luxury Remodeling Tour:

Tudor for the new century

The home: 1927 stucco English-style Tudor on Minnehaha Creek in Edina.

The starting point: Cally Chermak and Chris Lawler bought their home for its solid structure, architectural character and location on the creek. "The kitchen had been redone in the 1980s, so we really wanted to update it, but not look super-modern," said Cally, who is related to builder K.C. Chermak. Other items on the wish list: a half-bath on the main floor, mudroom, master-bathroom makeover and teenage bedroom suite in the unfinished attic.

Builder/designer: K.C. Chermak, owner of Pillar Homes Partner, Plymouth.

What they did: "We updated all the 'hot- button' rooms that affect function, productivity and everyday enjoyment," said K.C. The biggest alteration was tearing down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and opening both rooms up to views of the creek and more daylight. "We made two separate rooms into one large space, which is how families live today," said K.C. "When you're in the kitchen, you're part of the buzz of the rest of the house."

Kitchen that cooks: The new kitchen merges modern function with a vintage vibe. The white enameled flat-paneled cabinets and quartz countertop are surrounded by a looky patterned backsplash of inlaid Carrara marble. There are two furniture-style islands — one for food prep and the other for casual meals and entertaining.

Fashionable foyer: The couple replaced the white tile floor with oak that matched the hardwood floor in the original living room. The walls are covered in a textural metallic faux finish with vintage floral patterns, for a one-of-a-kind arty accent. "The faux wall finish enhances the historical character of the 1920s home," said K.C.

Basement party pub: K.C. took "free space" next to the family room and created a granite-topped wet bar with beer taps and dark, rift-sawn cabinets paired with a simulated distressed wood tile floor, for a masculine feel. The adjacent old fruit cellar was turned into a wine cellar.

Attic teen retreat: A rafter attic used for storage was converted into a bedroom suite for the couple's teenage daughter. Comfort is assured with spray-foam insulation, central air and heated floor. And with a bathroom, shower and TV room pullout sofa, the attic becomes a flex space that can double as a guest room.

Inviting master bath: K.C. gutted the timeworn bathroom and put in double sinks with two built-in medicine cabinets on each wall. "It's bigger and brighter, and the heated floor is nice in an older house," said Cally.

What you can learn: This project is an example of how high-tech steel beams can support the ceiling after the removal of a structural wall. "New engineered structural products allow us to do this to an old house," said K.C.

The result: These improvements marry modern-day functionality with 1920s Tudor architecture. "We did more than just fluff and buff," said K.C. "It changed the daily living experience for a family of five."

Open: Noon to 6 p.m. Aug. 16-17.

Retro reboot

The home: 1961 split-level in Victoria.

The starting point: The dark, cramped kitchen had a cooking center made of brick that disrupted the flow. The homeowners wanted an open contemporary clean design with unique organic elements.

Designer: Michael Anschel, owner and principal of Otogawa-Anschel Design+Build, Minneapolis.

First things first: Anschel removed the massive brick cooking station, gutted and reconfigured the entire space to create more kitchen cabinets and counters and make it open and airy. A long counter topped with Douglas fir doubles as a home office.

Art glass: In the kitchen, an orange curvy design swoops across the sea-green glass backsplash to "bring creativity and fun and keep it from being boring and sterile," said Anschel.

Smart and sustainable: Anschel used conservation-grade walnut floors in the kitchen, pantry and dining room. "It's small, cut scraps that have character and beauty — and it doesn't waste resources," he said. Reclaimed Douglas fir counters have a "flamed" finish done with a blowtorch for a unique texture, which contrasts with the sleek enameled cabinets.

Living room face-lift: New wool carpet and a recess in the wall to hold TV and audio components give the living room a modern vibe.

The result: "By reconfiguring the space and bringing in contrasting finishes, we were able to triple the function of the kitchen and give it a contemporary aesthetic that matches the homeowner's style," said Anschel. "It breathes new life into the house."

Open: Noon to 6 p.m. today.

Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619