Detail Design & Build Brings a Mod Tudor to Crocus Hill


Above: The Tudor gable is carved away to reveal the jewel of the exterior: the glass-enclosed stair tower. 

Gently bumping along one of St. Paul’s few remaining cobblestone streets beneath the canopy of mature trees, you won’t find it as easy to pick out this new house as you might expect. The exterior of this updated Tudor blends nicely with its century-old neighbors.

Which is exactly what the builder and designer had in mind. “The best compliment I’ve gotten is that people think this is the original house,” says Chris Van Klei, principal of Detail Design + Build. Like the old house on this site, this one has a tuck-under garage and sits close to the French Tudor-style house next door designed by Clarence Johnston. But here, the Tudor DNA has been reengineered to create a striking statement of its own. “I like to think of it as a mod Tudor,” says designer Charlie Simmons, principal of Charlie & Co. Design, Ltd.

While the steeply pitched gable, stucco exterior, and arched, covered doorway say Tudor—albeit cleaned up stylistically—one glimpse inside makes it clear this isn’t your grandma’s dark, heavy 20th-century version. Inside that crisp Tudor door is a modern, light-filled entry hall that opens to a formal dining room, an airy office, and a view of the free-floating staircase. That three-story stair tower, wrapped by windows, glows top to basement come evening.

The wonderful melding of historic notes within a modern space continues throughout. The black window frames, so striking against the white walls, suggest vintage steel frames, but are semi-gloss instead. The thick flare of interior walls, visible in the dining room, is characteristic of old Tudor architecture. The kitchen wall with its 48-inch range and statuary marble backsplash framed by riffed and quartered white oak is reminiscent of an ancient hearth. All these details, carefully designed and rendered, give the living spaces their gracious feel and comfortable, informal elegance.

The open kitchen and adjoining living room will make a wonderfully functional space for two or a family or for entertaining a gathering of dozens. A secondary entry and mudroom off the kitchen (there’s another on the lower level accessed through the garage) is a kid-friendly feature, as is the unique island, framed in raw powder-coated steel and topped by honed Ceasarstone. The light-flooded breakfast room is a cantilevered bay that looks out at the backyard and charming patio.

Three bedrooms up, as well as a master suite with its own small deck, and a lower-level family room give this urban home every modern convenience, wrapped in sly nods to architectural history.

The master bedroom boasts a small deck amid the treetops.

The dual vanity in the master bathroom echoes the shape of the arch between the kitchen and living room.

The living room’s simple fireplace and open shelving of riffed white oak reinforce the clean-lined aesthetic.

The breakfast nook is a cantilevered bay.

The island of raw, coated steel is designed to feel like an old metal worktable.

The floating staircase is flooded with light from top to basement.

The crisp Tudor door opens to a bright, broad foyer. Unlike a true Tudor, the rest of the windows and spaces are horizontal.

The black semi-gloss of the windows adds high contrast drama in the dining room.

By Chris Lee
Photos by Spacecrafting


Architectural Designer: Charlie & Co. Design, Ltd.
Sponsors: Admit One Home Systems, ALL, Inc., Brush Masters, Creative Lighting, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Granite-Tops Stone Countertop Outlet, Hedberg Supply, Landscape & Masonry, Scherer Bros. Lumber Co., Southview Design

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