A Traditional Edina Colonial Receives an Upgrade

A refined family-friendly remodel of a classic Edina Colonial

Photos by Spacecrafting || Styling by Paula Bjerketvedt

This classic 1941 Colonial-style home in the heart of Edina’s Rolling Green neighborhood was the find of a lifetime for the Lockhart family of six.

Homeowner Ali Lockhart makes it exceptionally clear she wasn’t interested in moving, despite her husband’s persistent efforts. “Jamie kept showing me properties online, and I kept saying ‘no,’” she says. “Until this one. Then we never looked at another house.” The game changer was a 1941 Colonial set on nearly an acre in the Rolling Green neighborhood of Edina. Ali was drawn in by the home’s traditional architecture and verdant setting, but the real clincher was five bedrooms on the second floor—enough for her and Jamie, plus each of their four children—Ava, 14; Elle, 11; Grace, 8; and Happ, 5. There was also a bit of serendipity. “The previous owners lived in this house for almost 50 years and raised four kids here,” Ali says. “It felt right.”

The sunken living room steps up into the hardworking kitchen with a casual breakfast nook.

After four remodels in different decades, updates were needed. Moreover, the Lockharts wanted to tweak the floor plan to improve function and flow, keep as much of the home’s original DNA that remained, and update the ’70s and ’80s remodels to fit with the rest of the house. They perused the online portfolios of various architectural firms and ultimately chose Charlie & Co. Design, impressed with the firm’s range of projects, attention to detail, and, as Ali put it, lack of a “trademark look.”

One of the Lockharts’ priorities was creating a central hallway on the ground floor—a wide, light-filled space connecting the front and back of the house. They envisioned it as both a welcoming entryway and the home’s main artery. “There were quite a lot of structural gymnastics we went through to create the central stair hall without eliminating any rooms,” says Principal/Designer Colby Mattson, adding that he and Project Manager/Designer Brooke Dorman were able to do it by shifting the front entrance more to the center of the house and borrowing a little space from the living and dining rooms.

The foyer features a chinoiserie cabinet and hidden jib door.

The area is not only spacious and bright, but it also has an architectural presence all its own thanks to walls of recessed paneling and leaded glass windows framing the foyer.
In fact, Ali has a fondness for paneling, and it shows up throughout the house. “My parents’ last two houses feature a lot of millwork,” she says. “They would be proud.”

The powder bath packs a punch with vintage charm.

A delightful detail in this space is a hidden jib door that leads to a powder room. The flush door maintains the unbroken appearance of the paneled wall and is a surprising touch that exponentially bumps the charm factor of the home. The cherry on top is the playful Harlem Toile de Jouy wallpaper inside. “Sheila Bridges’ beautiful and thought-provoking take on toile really resonated with me,” Ali says. “I knew a room would have to have it.”

Ali had a clear vision of what she wanted throughout the house, gleaned from her experience living in older homes and time spent combing through Instagram. In addition to Mattson and Dorman, L. Cramer Builders + Remodelers and Kelly Perry of Martha Dayton Design both helped her get there. “Ali’s taste is very traditional,” Perry says. “However, she did not want to have the typical traditional Colonial.”

Perry helped thread this needle between classic and unconventional—sourcing furniture and lighting that she explains “aren’t all over Pinterest.” Perry also found  spots for a few special family pieces, including Ali’s mother’s chinoiserie cabinet and a sideboard from her grandmother. Other antiques were sourced from local stores and dealers, particularly Andrew Schultz at Loft Antiques.

Another important goal was finding a way to connect the kitchen and family room—dated spaces separated by a back staircase. “That staircase is where the house ended before previous owners converted the attached garage to a family room in the 1970s,” says Mattson. “That’s also why the family room is a few steps down from the kitchen.” The Lockharts wanted to open them up to brighten both spaces and create a better area for entertaining.

A commonplace solution would have been to tear out the secondary flight of stairs and rely on the home’s main staircase near the front door, and Charlie & Co. drew up options both with and without it. But Ali and Jamie went with their gut feeling that a back staircase would provide daily efficiency for the family and chose the design that moved it off to the side of the kitchen. Ultimately, they’re glad they did. “We use it 85% of the time,” Ali says. “For example, when the kids are getting ready to leave the house and forget something from their bedroom, they don’t have to walk through the whole house to get to the main stairs and double back to their rooms.”

With the staircase relocated, the kitchen and family room now have a friendly dialogue—open, yet connected, with the family room sunken down a few steps. The floor couldn’t be raised without compromising the ceiling height, but Ali says she really doesn’t mind.
“I like that it’s a little unconventional,” she says.

A pyramid-shaped skylight illuminates a custom-made walnut and burled African walnut veneer island crafted by Modern Design.

In the kitchen, they replaced a dated skylight with a black metal pyramid version that transforms the mundane detail into more of an architectural feature. Ali wanted the center island to look like furniture and worked closely with local cabinet maker Modern Design to create an elegant version in walnut and burled African walnut veneer. “They nailed it,” she says. It not only sets the tone for the kitchen but also balances the more contemporary floating shelves and lighting.

Function is crucial in any kitchen, and the Lockharts are a big, busy family who like to entertain. Naturally, the kitchen needed lots of function and storage, but here, much of it is hidden. Examples include a large pantry wall, an extra oven in the island, and an appliance garage tucked away in a built-in mirrored cabinet that resembles a pretty linen press.

The refined cadence of the house continues in the family room, where Ali and Perry eschewed a wall of built-ins in favor of a matched set of sideboards and antique mirrors.
A coffered ceiling is another timeless touch that also conceals a new steel beam necessitated by removing the wall. Kids’ art on walls and shelves signals this is a family-friendly space, but it’s not a free-for-all. Ali points out that the kids know where they can be rowdy and where there are antique things that require them to be a little more careful.

Jamie secured one feature he has always longed for upstairs: a golf simulator (another is a short-game green outside), so he can work on his handicap all year long. Tucked under the eaves in a man-and-kid cave above the garage, the room is easily accessed from an upstairs hallway along which are all five bedrooms, plus a new laundry room and kids’ bathroom.

A golf simulator, shuffleboard, and a TV area make an above-the-garage bonus room a family-friendly space for Friday night fun.

The completed renovation reflects the Lockharts’ lifestyle and aesthetic, as well as their desire to be good stewards of the home. Ali puts it simply, “We love how it works for us.”

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