Be it a remodeling, addition or new build, architects are constantly coming up with creative design solutions to meet homeowners' needs.

And each year, when those blueprints become a reality, several of those residential projects take the spotlight during the popular Homes by Architects tour. This year's self-guided tour, set for Sept. 17-18, highlights eight residences in a range of sizes, budgets and neighborhoods.

Ann Mayhew, AIA Minnesota public outreach manager, said in addition to in-person tours, the annual event continues to expand its online presence. Tourgoers can log in and check out photo galleries of the eight homes and interviews with the architects. In addition, 3-D virtual tours will be offered at select homes.

"Having this hybrid tour format allows us to do virtual tours of homes outside of the Twin Cities metro, and that means we can start showcasing projects like cabins and retreats, which is exciting because it's something we couldn't do in the past" because they were farther away, she said. "And as we know, living in the Midwest, cabins are very popular."

All-access tickets are $15 in advance, $20 during the tour weekend. Single home tickets will be available at the door for $10. Virtual options ($5) are available on select homes.

If you're looking to check out some of the latest works by local architects, here's a guide to the homes that will roll out the welcome mat for the tour. For full details on each home as well as additional tour information, visit

Cottagewood Gables

Rehkamp Larson Architects: Jean Rehkamp Larson, AIA; Angela Taffe Wingate, Assoc., AIA; and John Kirk.

Like historic houses more than a century old, this new Deephaven home used traditional, simple forms and classic, natural materials built to last. At the same time, modern details such as walls of glass that surround a courtyard between the garage and house as well as a flat-roofed green garden can be found. Reclaimed timbers and wood ceilings add to the house's European country sensibility.

Blue Bird

CityDeskStudio Architecture + Design: Ben Awes, AIA; Perri Kinsman.

After an attic fire that caused substantial damage to a family's St. Louis Park home, they were forced to rebuild their single-story ranch. Working with the design team, they were able to use the same foundation and add a partial second-floor addition for a new primary suite and an office. Careful craftsmanship as well as organic, rich materials and soaring rooflines were incorporated into the design. Inside, windows wrap around to bring in natural light, complementing the family's love for art and vibrant plant collections.

Lake of the Isles residence

PKA Architecture: Ryan Fish, AIA; Gabriel Keller, Assoc. AIA; Chad Healy, Assoc. AIA; Peter Atkins, Assoc. AIA; Jared Nurnberger, Assoc. AIA; Cynthia Burns, AIA; David Swan, Assoc. AIA.

With their children grown, a couple swapped suburban living for an urban lifestyle. They landed on a small lot overlooking Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis and built a "right-sized" home with modern and European design influences. The result: classic, bold and sculptural design elements while maximizing lake views — from the covered front porch and the roof deck to the backyard patio and bay windows.

Dutch delight

SALA Architects: Bryan Anderson, AIA; Brittany Roberts; Jessica Wilder; Caitlin Dippo; Rod Varh.

Described by the homeowners as "a house of small spaces," this Dutch Revival in Minneapolis' Whittier neighborhood was subtly expanded and revamped to add a little space to its 28-by-28 footprint. The remodeling and addition included replacing the front and back porches with full-conditioned spaces while expanding the 800-square-foot main level by almost 40%. In the kitchen, the floor plan was opened up and floor-to-ceiling windows added to provide views of the new landscaped patio. Upstairs, an owners' suite was gained by using the space above the new expansion.

Prairie prospect

Imprint Architecture: Jeremy Imhoff, AIA; Sara Imhoff, AIA; Jordan Magistad.

The homeowners wanted a new modern abode for large family gatherings that could accommodate their growing household as well as family visiting from Nepal. They found an ideal tranquil setting amid prairies in the city of Grant's new White Oaks Savanna development. Now complete, the place offers spaces for sizable gatherings while connecting the indoors and outdoors through details such as a 21-foot-long sliding door between the kitchen and poolside screen porch. Additional glide doors, nestled between the two main wings of the four-bedroom, three-bathroom house, open to the pool. The design also keeps the future in mind, with the option of adding a main floor in-law suite.

Butterfly on the prairie (virtual option also available)

HW2 Design & Architecture: Andrea Hammel Wollak, AIA; Jon Wollak.

Wanting to downsize and build a home that would allow them to age in place, a couple landed on the White Oaks Savanna development in Grant. Design-wise, the husband wanted a factory feel with exposed bar joists while his wife wanted midcentury modern with wood elements. The duo also love to entertain, so they wanted a kitchen and public spaces where groups could gather. The result is a low-maintenance, sustainable, well insulated and ADA-compliant house that accommodates the family's current and future needs — complete with exposed steel and wood features.

Cloud Forest house

Imprint Architecture: Jeremy Imhoff, AIA; Sara Imhoff, AIA; Jordan Magistad.

A family of five needed a reset on the house they had lived in for 10 years in order to accommodate their changing needs, and a remodeling and addition was just the ticket. It was also a chance to open up spaces to their Marine on St. Croix property and other outdoor surroundings. Using the existing bedroom wing on both the lower and upper floors reduced the need for new site work, foundations and framing materials. In addition, durable materials were used for the four-bedroom, three-bathroom home that now also includes a great room.

Hazelhurst retreat (virtual only)

Albertsson Hansen Architecture: Todd Hansen, AIA; Mark Tambornino, AIA; Abigail Merlis, Assoc. AIA; Emily Pressprich, Assoc. AIA.

After renting a cabin in the area for several seasons, a couple decided to build a rustic Wisconsin retreat for their family of four as well as a place for family and friends to visit. They landed on a wooded two-acre site with over 500 feet of lakefront in which two sides face the lake. In building the cabin, the exterior was deliberately kept low-key. Inside, the cabin was organized around the lodge room, aligned with an outdoor flat lawn area for yard games, firepit and eastern views of the lake. A wraparound porch, a walkout with a playroom as well as bedrooms offer lake views to the north.