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Living in the upper story of duplex, the owner of this Northeast Minneapolis home was feeling hemmed in. He and his fiancé were planning their future together and felt that they needed more space to make room for their family. The attic of this century old duplex seemed ripe for development with its vaulting roofline, large gables and dormers. However, access was limited by the pre existing stair; a common dilemma for older homes. So, a new stair was built in the footprint of the existing stair to the second floor. Though the new stair nearly fit within the existing roofline, it was just shy of the required 6'-8" minimum headroom for stairwells. A small shed dormer opened up the space and enabled the stair to be built into the space and therefore the whole project could be realized.
To see the Star & Tribune article in the "Homes" section, "Before and After" go to...
Professional photography of the finished project was provided by "Perfect Pics by Floyd Photography".
Interior of Attic
Chimney stands in the middle of the space; exposed.
Attic; before renovation
The original attic space was quite large with two existing dormers. It presented a lot of potential for use as living space, master bedroom, bathroom or guest room space.
Existing Roof; dormer structure
Small shed added to existing dormer
The shed dormer was the key. It enabled the construction of a new stair run which in turn allowed optimal use of floor space for new functions.
Furring existing roof structure; allows more insulation to be installed.
Abundant natural light permeates newly reclaimed space due to generous use of skylights.
Located above an existing stair run, access to the new space meets existing codes for stairs and enables attic space to be fully utilized.
New family room space is taking shape.
Lots of space in this bathroom yet occupants can enjoy the character of being "under the roof" with sloped elements of roof form expressed within the space.
Finished master bathroom is flooded with natural light through the use of skylights and windows.
Spacious master bath accommodates laundry area and space to store bathroom products and laundry soaps.
Vaulted ceilings lend an open airiness to the new master bedroom.
Rolling barn doors add a touch of character while serving the important function of saving space.
High skylight accentuate the high space and brings natural light deep into the heart of the home.
The brick of the existing chimney brings warmth, texture and character to the finished space.
Openness of the new stair adds to the airy feeling of the new living space
The small windows at the stair provide a glimpse to the outdoors and provide additional daylight to the landing.
Built by the homeowner, these book shelves are both functional and create a beautiful focal point to this sculptural space.
The new living room has a light airy feel that is unique within this existing home; it has a connection with the original style of the home while at the same time lending it a feeling of openness that is more desirable in residential architecture today.
Expanded Living Room View
Well-lit hallway leads from the Master Bedroom to Living Room.
The existing brick chimney was left exposed to retain a bit of the character of the unfinished space.
Guest Bedroom / Office
Skylights and sloping ceilings lend charm and light to this cozy space.
Diamond in the Rough
This home had suffered under the weight of years of accumulated detritus. The buyer saw the potential for the house and the neighborhood and was able to see beyond the piles of books, magazines and clothing.
With a clean slate, we were able to create an open, modern floor plan within this traditional facade; a floor plan that also accommodates the single-level living that many people are looking for in new construction. In this case however, we marry that modern lifestyle to a home that has the character of an older, traditional past.
Surgical removal of key walls in the front entry, kitchen and dining room areas allowed for easier and more contemporary use of the space. Contemporary home buyers are interested in seeing more openness and interconnections between the public functions of prospective purchases. In its original state this house consisted of distinctly separate spaces to contain individual functions such as cooking, dining and entertaining. In it's newly revitalized form the home now allows those functions to flow together and blur as needed for today's living.
Construction completed by Charlie Browning of "Charlies Angles": www.charliesanglesllc.com
With the removal of some key interior walls the traditional plan was transformed into the open plan type demanded by today's residential marketplace.
The transformed floor plan permits an open, inviting flow from the living room, through the dining room to the kitchen.
The existing brick was stripped of paint to bring out the warmth and character of the original brick.
Small addition at existing bump-out enabled an expanded function at the back entry to the house; mud room and laundry room are more fully accommodated.
Clutter masked the potential for this space to be a great, light-filled bedroom once again.
Some space was borrowed from this large bedroom to create a powder room; a space that most homes of this era lack.
Once virtually impassable, it was difficult to visualize where to start.
Welcome home; content discouraged entry.
Note the closed in feel of the framed opening to the left; it's now open to the kitchen and dining spaces.
The transformation is dramatic.
Hallway; in progress
Hallway: Finished Product
New finishes and lighting can make a major impact on a space.
Opening to the new powder room can be seen on the left.
This small space was carved out of a large bedroom; it increases the functionality of the whole house.
Newly opened to the dinning room and kitchen, the living room has a comfortable openness that is more typical of new construction.
Spaciousness of dinning room enables this room to expand as needed for family events and holidays.
Dinning Room & Kitchen
Horseshoe shaped kitchen with seating at peninsula lends openness to the space and great functionality for events and parties.
New mudroom space can be seen beyond through the framed opening.
Backside of peninsula provides seating for informal dining, a quick breakfast or serving appetizers to guests.
Horseshoe layout provides an efficient layout for cooking and keeps the work triangle out of the path of circulation through the room.
Openness of Kitchen and Living Room can be better appreciated from within the Kitchen space.
Though compact, the layout of this space maintains the ideal work triangle of sink, stove and refrigerator, all of which are also close in proximity. Thus, working in this Kitchen is very efficient.
Though this space is not as large as is standard in new construction, the ample windows and vaulted space enable this space to take on a larger feel than it's relatively small footprint suggests.
Symmetrical windows frame the bed and allow amble natural light to flood the space.
Furniture-like vanity and sconce lighting lend an elegant feel to this cozy master bath.
Luxury in a Small Package
This century-old Northeast Minneapolis home had an existing second floor bathroom; that alone was a little uncommon. However, it was not functional when the home-owner acquired it. Water was leaking through the kitchen ceiling after just the first few uses.
Though constrained, we were able to reallocate the distribution of the fixtures in the room and relocate the door from the hallway. Though these were small adjustments they enabled the relatively large space of this existing bathroom to be used more effectively.
The use of high-end fixtures such as the wall-mounted toilet and the furniture-like vanity lends a light, airy quality to the finished space and adds to the luxurious feeling of the room. Additionally, the deep soaker tub provides additional functionality to the bathroom beyond that which was possible with original tub.
Additional features that add to the luxurious feel of this room include the generous recessed lighting and in-mirror sconce lighting, consistent use of polished stainless steel fixtures and in-floor radiant heat; a virtual necessity for an older home especially in the winter and given the diminutive size of this bathroom, a relatively inexpensive indulgence.
Construction completed by Bruce Johnson of "Branson Builders": http://www.bransonbuilders.com/
Floor Finish Plan
Wet Wall: Elevation
Close-Up of Vanity and Toilet
View from Hallway
Close-Up of Tub and Wall Tile
Virtually abandoned for what we believe to be about 7 years, this house was owned by the City of Minneapolis as a result of property tax non-payment. Acquired through a City program that seeks to return city-owned housing to private hands, this house was in relatively good condition for a house that had sat unoccupied for so many years. This nearly 100 year old home had been neglected during this protracted period of abandonment, but had also not seen much change since at least the 1950's. It made this house ripe for a top to bottom renovation; it was full of charm and great interior trim, built-ins and hardwood floors that simply needed to be refinished and updated.
The transformation began with the abatement of asbestos flooring in the kitchen and the asbestos wrapped furnace and ductwork in the basement. The abatement revealed hardwood in the kitchen that, with a little elbow grease, proved to be salvageable.
The use of high-efficiency mechanical systems enabled the removal of the brick chimney thus allowing the unfinished attic space to be converted into a master bedroom suite seldom seen in a house of this age complete with a walk-in closet. As an added bonus, it enabled the more efficient use of space within the kitchen where cabinets could be located on two facing walls without the waste at the corner where the chimney is typically located. This further allow us to open the wall adjoining the dinning room therefore enhancing the feeling of openness between the existing dinning room and kitchen.
Further surgical changes were made to extra-deep closets that flanked the main floor bathroom. Stealing a little depth from the existing closets and increasing the size of the doors accessing those closets in the bedrooms allowed for the expansion of the bathroom which previously had been so small that the door could only be opened part way before it was stopped by the sink.
All of these subtle interventions, coupled with the repair of the salvageable windows, the careful refinishing of interior woodwork and floors and the reuse of existing doors and hardware made for a home that looks new but has the charm and feel of a much older home.
To see the Star & Tribune article in the "Homes" section, "Before and After" go to...
Aside from the slightly overgrown yard it's hard to tell that this little house had gone unoccupied for so long.
New and Improved
New windows, roof, gutter, windows and lighting improve curb appeal.
Wall that created the pantry and "mud room" was removed to enlarge the kitchen and improve natural lighting.
With mud room beyond this space seemed wholly unneccessary.
Removal of pantry enhances the feel and functionality of the space.
Openness from Dinning Room to Kitchen enhances access to natural light.
Living Room / Dinning Room
Though small, the living and dinning rooms feel open and spacious, but the kitchen is closed off and the buffet inhibited opening spaces to each other.
Bright, light and open
Refinished wood lends a greater brightness and openness to the space.
Notice the buffet is in its original location...
Notice the door is restricted by the sink...
Small but luxurious
Liberal use of marble (floor) and tile gives this small space a spa-like quality.
Small closet door defies the true size of the closet.
Double Doors at Closet
Doors enhance access to closet.
One of two original bedrooms
Lay-in ceiling masked the true ceiling height.
Borrowed light from porch and full-height ceiling give this space an airy feel.
The attic was ripe with potential!
The chimney represented a major obstacle to development of this space.
New, larger windows
Small window was replaced with new, larger windows for egress, light and air.
Original Guardrail at Stair Opening
Guardrail suggests that the attic was always meant to be finished.
Multi-purpose space at the top of the stair
Perfect space for children, office or hang-out for teens.
Not good for much more than storage in this condition!
Bathroom faces W.I. Closet
Mater Suite created using existing dormer space.
Garage / Squirrel House
Slightly larger than a single car garage, this little detached garage housed little more than tree nuts (some very industrious squirrels had a heyday!) and dirt.
Apparently designed originally to burn coal and retrofit for natural gas, this behemoth finally outlived its usefulness.
New door, windows and lighting
With the replacement of rotten board and new paint, the garage looks like a dollhouse.
With a smaller window, we were able to add a bathroom to existing dormer area.
Sun Room / Porch
Years spent unoccupied was hard on plaster.
Sun room was in sad repair but it was heated.
Beautiful sunny space speaks for itself...
Though my client referred to her new townhouse as a “dump” when she bought it, she wisely saw its potential through the veil of outdated fixtures, old appliances and tired finishes. However, she felt a little overwhelmed by the task of re-imagining how the space would be used and how to make the existing space into a new, modern, open space with the kinds of amenities that people look for in new construction.
The original, two-story town house had two bedrooms on the upper level with one on the lower level, two modest full bathrooms and a master bathroom that was large but oddly proportioned. The upper level layout however didn’t quite support how she wished to live; she hoped to have a master bedroom with a sitting area and en-suite master bathroom with a window (the original master bathroom was interior to the townhouse and didn’t have access to an exterior wall). The over-sized space of the master bathroom was re-allocated to create a walk-in closet and powder room, while the adjacent 3/4 bathroom space was enlarged and connected to the master bedroom via the second upper level bedroom to create a luxurious 4 piece master bath with an exterior window thus making it a much more inviting and soothing space.
The living room, dining room and kitchen in the upper level of the townhouse, in spite of the high ceiling that follows the slope of the roof, felt segmented and the spaces a little cramped. The use of partial height walls to define the kitchen and the broom closet that was hanging in the space at the top of the stair only served to further break the space into smaller pieces. Removing the partial height walls at the kitchen and taking the “eat in” space within the kitchen to enlarge the work space enabled the focal direction of the kitchen to rotate 180 degrees. The removal of the broom closet (it was relocated) enabled more openness at the top of the stair and better flow around the new, large island in the kitchen; enables the island to function better as a serving area when entertaining.
The homeowner, using her keen eye for interior design, selected finishes, fixtures and appliances on her own. She creatively re-purposed furniture and other items for an interior that is airy and inviting. The overall result is contemporary and modern with a patina of time to give it a warm and welcoming feel.
Main Living Room
Partial height wall separates kitchen from living and dining room; closet protrudes from wall at stair.
With walls removed, kitchen become the hub of living space.
Top of Stair
Interior is broken up with partition walls and closet.
Dinning room is open to living room and kitchen.
Partial height wall is backdrop to appliances but sacrifices openness.
Kitchen: New Layou
Reusing eat-in area for kitchen work space enables “L” shaped work area along the exterior wall allowing the subsequent removal of partial-height wall.
Original View Toward Bedrooms
Closet appears tacked on…
Stair / Main Entry
Main level entry is hampered by closet at stair.
New Guardrail / Handrail
Modern style enhances feeling of openness at stair.
Main living space feels more open and inviting.
Original Master Bathroom
Master bathroom was large but oddly proportioned.
New powder room and closet carved out of one end of old master bathroom.
New Master Bathroom
Warm finishes, dimmable lighting and frosted glazing offer warmth and privacy.
Free Standing Tub
Careful use of space enabled bathroom to be equipped with separate shower and tub.
Shower Space & Tub
Generous shower with separate tub offers spa-like experience.
Original Master Bedroom
Original master was large but didn’t accommodate sitting area.
New Master Bedroom
Better lighting and newly painted woodwork give space a lighter more open feel.
Walk-in occupies part of space that was previously bathroom while original closet remained.
Original Second Bedroom
Owner didn’t see a need for a second bedroom on upper level; part of this space became sitting room.
Opening Between Master and Sitting Area
The original bedrooms were connected to create sitting area and enlarge bathroom.
Perfect space for doing projects, reading, or relaxing.