The eclectic 1960s home in Edina certainly had its quirks. The dining room was an oddly shaped trapezoid, for heaven's sake. But Casey and Carissa Holley were drawn to the vaulted and beamed living room's California vibe.

The couple had just moved from Lodi, Calif., back to the Twin Cities, due to Carissa's job transfer with General Mills.

The Holleys decided to buy the dwelling, which in some ways reminded them of a California aesthetic, but with plans to reinvent the dated interiors to fit their Minnesota suburban life with their two school-age children.

"It took great faith and imagination to buy this house," said architect Eric Odor, noting the crooked walls, different ceiling heights and nonsensical hallways and doorways.

While designing the remodeling plan, Odor of SALA Architects was inspired by the Holleys' raw and distressed artwork and furnishings. He decided to balance those elements with clean, modern lines throughout the 2,900-square-foot home.

"The eclectic blend of rustic and refined, coupled with the fact that Casey was in the middle of starting a brewery, makes this remodeling a strange brew," said Odor. Casey is co-founder of Able Seedhouse & Brewery, which just opened in northeast Minneapolis.

To visually connect the angular rooms, Odor's design included tearing down three strategic walls "so it's a more fluid space without interruption," he said. "Now the home lives as big as it actually is."

For the finishing touches, Odor juxtaposed a long charred-fir wall in the dining room with sleek Carrara marble and lacquered white cabinets in the updated kitchen. The Holleys also freshened up the living room by painting the brick fireplace surround and walls and refinishing the existing oak floors.

The lower-level walkout was the last space to get a makeover. The Holleys flipped and sanded the original 1960s pecky cypress paneling for a dramatic, budget-friendly improvement.

Casey and Carissa admit they miss California's climate and fun weekend trips, but would not trade it for Midwest living, especially in their uniquely re-imagined home.

"I love to watch the kids ice-skate on the pond when I'm doing the dishes," said Carissa.


Before: The walls were painted yellow, and the dated see-through fireplace was embellished with country-style corbels and Dutch blue tile. One plus: Light streamed in through high-end gable windows, and "it had a California vibe," said Casey.

After: Casey decided to take a hammer and tear off the dated blue floral tile. He discovered the original brick beneath it. To revive the room, they painted the brick, walls and beamed ceiling seashell white, installed a limestone hearth and a rustic charred-fir mantel. The Holleys have injected their colorful earthy style with a graphic cow painting above the fireplace, a wood wine rack turned into a coffee table and other mementos from places they've lived previously.

"In the morning we drink coffee, and in the evening we have fires," said Carissa. "Now it's a calm room where we can start and end our crazy day."


Before: The room boasted a see-through brick fireplace but its odd trapezoid shape made it functionally awkward.

After: Odor replaced a plain 20-foot-long wall with a new one made of charred fir, creating a textural showpiece. "The Japanese do it [char wood] to seal the wood and keep out the insects," he said. The Holleys bought a distressed harvest table to complete the tableau. "I like how the wall is unique, bold and a piece of art," said Casey.


Before: "It was like an awful dark cave," said Odor of the pecky cypress-paneled walls in the walkout lower level.

After: The Holleys wanted to make budget-conscious enhancements to the kids' hangout space, and recycling was a key to keeping costs down. When the contractor pulled down the cypress boards and piled them up, Casey noticed the clean back side embellished with irregular-shaped holes. Instead of discarding the boards, they had the contractor flip them over and install them horizontally across one accent wall. "It's an homage to the '60s paneled basement," said Casey.


Before: The kitchen had been remodeled by a previous owner in the late 1980s with vegetable-themed tile and white appliances. "It was closed off from the rest of the house, and there was nowhere to sit down," said Carissa.

After: To open it up, Odor knocked down a hallway wall. Since there wasn't enough room for an island, he designed a peninsula within the U-shaped space. The Holleys chose gray-veined marble for the countertops and oversized blue-tinted subway tile for the backsplash, flanked by clean-lined cabinets. They salvaged the chunky wood shelving from Bauer Brothers. "They are weird and wonky," said Casey, "yet cool and tactile."


Homeowners: Casey and Carissa Holley.
Design team: Architects Eric Odor and Chris Meyer, SALA Architects, Mpls.,, 612-379-3037
Contractor: Jay Stills, Urban Rebuilders, Mpls.
Structural engineer: Jerry Palms, Archistructures, Mpls.

Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619