Photos by Stephanie Rau
Dated was the best way to describe this ranch-style rambler in the Parkwood Knolls neighborhood of Edina. Jennifer Burton, designer at Quartersawn Design + Build, recalls, “The homeowners called on us because they needed better function throughout their home.” Their list of requests was a long one, with bullet points that included multiple spatial and aesthetic items needed to accommodate their family-centric lifestyle. “They knew they liked the square footage of their home, but there was a really large kitchen and no mudroom or powder room initially,” she continues. With two young boys to consider, adding a mudroom became a crucial aspect of the remodel to ensure there was a dedicated place for the kids to come in and drop their boots and backpacks. Considering the long, ranch-style layout, the clients also wanted to incorporate a powder room closer to their main entertainment spaces.
Besides a kitchen remodel by the previous owners, the home had been completely untouched. With a need for functional upgrades and a desire for overall finish updates, Burton took the lead on revamping the entire main level, as well as the upper level on the private side of the house—but the first order of business was an updated floor plan. Burton says, “We went through a number of iterations to add a mudroom and powder room to the house, [but] we landed with putting the mudroom and powder room right off the garage [while] taking some square footage away from the kitchen.”
Given the previous remodel, there were not many aesthetic updates that needed addressing. So, in a bid to optimize the clients’ budget, Burton retained two walls of original cabinets and maintained many of the original appliance locations. However, a creative maneuver involved relocating the refrigerator and introducing a new oak island—allowing for the integration of the adjacent mudroom and powder room.
Throughout the main level, Burton adhered to a transitional modern aesthetic, with a particular focus on brightening and modernizing the living spaces. The incorporation of 5-inch engineered white oak floors played a pivotal role in achieving this goal. This theme of continuity extends to the doors and baseboards as well, which were replaced with white oak to create a seamless flow and timelessness between all the spaces. She says, “The goal was just to make all [the spaces] appear as if they were done at one time.”
However, a challenge arose from trying to infuse interest into the otherwise predominately white and bright design. In the wet bar area, where the client initially contemplated a butler’s pantry, Burton encouraged the addition of something with a little more visual interest to stand out among the surrounding white elements. “I really convinced them that [the wet bar] was a place where we needed to make some design choices that made it seem more intentional,” Burton explains. The Motor City Circles backsplash, sourced from Fantasia Showroom at International Market Square, adds personality and makes for a statement piece overlooking the dining room.
In the family room, the deviation from the bright palette continues. As a space where the family spends the most time together, “we wanted to make sure that it felt like a more intimate space by bringing some distinction to the room,” Burton says. Painted in a dark blue hue, the room exudes vibrancy and uniqueness, perfectly encapsulating the essence of the remodel. The room’s fireplace (one of two in the home), which was once faced with red brick, is now covered with a new wall and tile surround. She says, “Since the fireplace was not in the center [of the wall], we extended the tile in that space so the fireplace appeared centered.” In the formal living room, the stacked stone fireplace was replaced with stucco for a more modern look.
With reconfigured spaces, increased visibility, and up-to-date styles, the feeling of the whole space was revitalized. “To really see how much the spaces changed is the big selling point,” Burton says. Through the home’s functional shift, the spaces now seamlessly meld together and completely align with the way the family lives.