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Throwback: One unique renovation

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From the front, this Minneapolis home looks like your average midcentury-built home. It has an interesting history though: originally published in “The Small House” magazine in 1931, this house was designed by an architect for a property overlooking Minnehaha Creek. The client was a writer who frequently contributed to the era’s shelter magazines. In his articles he discussed the connection of the house to its site, and the great pleasure of living in a place so connected to nature.

At only 1,100 square feet, it needed to be expanded to work with a modern lifestyle. The homeowners wanted to keep the house’s advantage of its beautiful location, while modernizing and expanding it to fit their family. The resulting addition brings together the elements of a small, New England saltbox (the original house) with the red board and batten siding of a Swedish Stuga.

Unlike many renovations, the architects chose not to design something that was indistinguishable from the original house. Instead, they chose to design an addition that boldly contrasts. The addition controls views to the neighbors and creates privacy but remains open to the park and creek below. The kitchen space is highly functional for food preparation and cooking while being conducive to social gatherings and family life. The integrity of the original cottage is maintained, while the new addition does not shy away from its modern sensibility.

We love the way these two disparate elements flow together. And we’re not the only ones: the Architects Challenge judges were so impressed with it, they awarded Albertsson Hansen Architecture as a winner in the 2010 Architects Challenge program.

To see more images of this project, please visit our Architects Challenge Hall of Fame. And don’t forget–if this type of project gets you excited, you will want to keep an eye on this year’s Architects Challenge Showdown to vote for your favorite of this year’s entries. Voting begins June 1!