Above: Maple flooring warms up the new Marsh Room, named for the panorama of its surroundings.
In 1999, John and Keri Schricker built a contemporary home on a lot that backs up to a peaceful cattail marsh in Minnetonka. One mistake bothered them practically ever since. As Keri puts it, “We bought this property for the wetland and then gave the best views of it to our garage.”
The kitchen had two small, south-facing windows overlooking the marsh, but otherwise the wetland was visible only from an outdoor deck that opened off the kitchen to the east. The deck was rarely used because the Schrickers and their two children prefer an outdoor patio, complete with stone pizza oven, that sits beside the cattails at ground level.
Left: The pre-remodel kitchen.
An island that was too big for the U-shaped design of the room further hampered the kitchen; if either the dishwasher or the refrigerator doors were open, a person could not walk past. At the same time, the island could seat only two cramped people for casual eating.
The Schrickers’ neighbors, Rocky and Gigi DiGiacomo, happen to be principals at design-build firm DiGiacomo Homes & Renovation. Rocky says he tried for years to talk his friends out of remodeling: “I said, ‘You’ve got plenty of room in this house; you don’t need me.’” But last year the DiGiacomos finally agreed to take the matter in hand.
Above: The kitchen features improved traffic flow and tall windows.
What Keri now refers to as “my beautiful remodel” includes a completely refurbished kitchen, in the same footprint as the old one but now with a wall of tall windows overlooking the wetland. A curve in the new island corresponds to a matching curve in the countertop and lower cabinets on the east wall, allowing a vastly improved traffic pattern.
The enameled kitchen cabinets and the countertops of Coco Cohiba granite are beautifully offset by the glass-tile backsplash that is repeated, dramatically, above the high windows. For the sake of unity and an organic feel, the extensive maple woodwork in the rest of the house is echoed by a butcher-block breakfast bar of solid maple, with seating for four. Butcher-block accents also appear in two vertical columns in the kitchen.
Above: Enameled cubbies keep the remodeled mudroom tidy.
Butcher block is used again for a new standup desk in the remodeled mudroom and laundry just off the kitchen. A desk drawer serves as an out-of-sight charging station for cell phones and other electronic devices. Enameled cubbies and custom cabinets provide plenty of storage.
In the only expansion to the house’s original footprint, a new family room replaced the old deck off the kitchen. Dubbed the Marsh Room for its panoramic views of the wetlands, its warm maple flooring flows directly into the kitchen on one side and the living room on another.
With its improved flow, livability, and vistas, Keri says she wouldn’t change a thing about her newly remodeled home.
By Jack Gordon
Photos by Paul Markert
Designer & Builder: DiGiacomo Homes & Renovation, Inc.