Inspirational Design Updates

Remodelers and designers can work miracles, saving you time and money in the long run. We highlight talented local professionals who regularly transform outdated, inefficient, or cramped rooms into beautiful new living spaces.

Twist Interior Design

Twist Interior Design


The ability to integrate existing materials into a thorough redesign was just one of many reasons these new homeowners hired Sandy LaMendola, ASID, owner/principal designer of Twist Interior Design, to update their residence.

In addition to saving her clients the time and money of a more extensive renovation, LaMendola understood how to overcome the home’s careful traditional aesthetic to reflect the upbeat personality of her clients while gently nudging them to embrace new ideas.

In the den, the clients leaned towards contemporary furnishings, but were willing to try the eclectic approach Twist recommended, and ended up loving it.  Design is a journey, and “it was fun for us to experience their expanding aesthetic tastes,” says this award-winning designer.

Another unique aspect of the project includes wool plaid upholstery on the media room walls—a great spark for an updated space, and another example of how Twist’s selections complemented existing materials to create a pleasing family environment.

“Had the clients been able to start from scratch, we may have taken a different path with certain materials,” says LaMendola, “but we would have reached the same destination”—a home infused with originality, character, and style.

Twist Interior Design

Twist Interior Design

Photos Twist Interior Design (before), Susan Gilmore Photography (3)


Eminent Interior Design


Not every impactful design makeover needs to be a major down-to-the-studs overhaul. Sometimes a room just needs a refresh, like this 1950s-era Wayzata living room.

“Let’s be honest. The ‘before’ images were not bad-looking,” says Brandi Hagen, principal designer, Eminent Interior Design. “The room just wasn’t personal, it didn’t reflect the family’s personalities and how they live in the space.”

The room had been staged to sell the house. Once the couple purchased the home, they hired Brandi to help them create a fun, energetic, airy space; one suitable for entertaining up to six people; one that is practical and durable for a young family, without looking practical and durable.

Brandi achieved this through incorporating pops of gold, mixing in fun, colorful furniture and accessories, adding molding to the walls, then painting over everything with a semi-gloss white enamel. “The bright white walls, large mirror, and iridescent window treatment make the space look more light and open,” she says.

This project is proof that small changes in a room can make a dramatic difference.

After photo by Eliesa Johnson


Hagstrom Builder


These homeowners wanted to modernize the space, increase storage, and creatively utilize the square footage in their North Oaks kitchen, last updated in 1994. They called Hagstrom Builder after they saw (and loved) the beautiful, high-quality work the talented Hagstrom team had done for their friends.   

The layout of the kitchen didn’t change dramatically, although there were a few design challenges, including special considerations to walkways and appliance features—solutions that required excellent technical skills, code knowledge, and ongoing communication. 

Regular communication is an essential component of how Hagstrom Builder works, whether in collaboration with clients or contractors. They aim to get it right the first time, and that’s been their guiding principle for 50 years. Whether a client wants a new build or innovative remodel, they listen thoughtfully and craft effectively.

The end result of this collaboration? A kitchen as functional as it is beautiful, complete with additional storage areas (lazy susans, roll-out shelves, deep cabinets, and even a little spice rack built into the center island), eye-catching light fixtures, marble countertops, subway tile, streamlined cabinetry, and a couple who spends a lot more time cooking and entertaining in their space.

After photos by Alyssa Lee Photography


Novare Renovation & Design


One of the advantages to hiring Novare Renovation & Design is receiving the undivided attention of co-owners Suzanne Pottinger and Tim Zilles. “Tim and Suzanne are there for every progress meeting, from the initial project pitch to the final walk-through and every meeting in-between,” says Courtney Stevens, marketing director. The Novare team not only has a reputation for being readily available, communicating openly, and operating with complete transparency, but also working with quality contractors. They take great pride in helping transform outdated, cramped, or inefficient spaces into beautiful, functional rooms.

In this case, the transformation included updating a 1990s kitchen and reworking the traffic flow. Oak cabinetry, pre-fabricated countertops, and old appliances were replaced with off-white cabinetry featuring rust-colored accent lines, elegant granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. A rich, dark-stained custom cabinet hutch in the dining area serves as a visual separation of the two spaces. Attention to detail can be seen in the pendant lights, intricate tile backsplash, elaborate range, and breakfast bar/center island. “This is definitely a kitchen that belongs in 2015,” Stevens says.

Before photo courtesy of Novare Renovation & Design, after photo: Troy Thies Photography


Schrader & Companies


Too many walls and too few windows gave this Edina rambler a confined feeling, with a less-than-ideal layout and outdated cabinetry, millwork, insulation, and mechanicals. Tired of their dark and divided main level, the homeowners contacted Schrader & Companies president Andy Schrader to see if he could breathe new life into their home. 

“They needed a professional who had the ability to see past the structural walls,” Schrader says.

With a background in the technical side of building (framing homes), a creative eye for design, and an appreciation for high-end custom details, Schrader was up for the challenge.

In order to open the floor plan, he strategically placed beams on bearing points hidden in the walls and ceiling. Other creative solutions and custom touches can be seen in the quarter-sawn and riftcut oak wide plank wood floors, transitional contemporary cabinetry, expansive Marvin windows overlooking Minnehaha Creek, exotic tile and marble countertops, steel range hood, and expansive center island (with plenty of leg room). Contemporary lines and transitional finishes round out the modern look, creating a seamless integration between new and old.

After photo by James Michael Kruger, before photo courtesy of Schrader & Companies


White Crane Construction


There’s distinct architectural beauty in industrial-style lofts, with their exposed brick walls, tall ceilings, large windows, and open floor plans. How, though, do you add warmth, personality, and a distinct separation of rooms to what can be an “industrial-feeling” space?

The owners of this vertical loft hired White Crane for a major renovation. The goal was to update and expand the kitchen, create a separate and private office space, and distinguish the various spaces with architectural components. This was achieved through delineating the foyer from the kitchen, and adding a long, linear peninsula fireplace, complete with a “floating” overhead mantle, to separate the living and dining room areas. Space was further creatively utilized when an existing iron staircase was moved to allow for an office on a new mezzanine level.

Sleek modern finishes complement the original brick walls and exposed ductwork for a naturally textured look; while the fireplace, hanging pendant lights, and staircase provide a dramatic flair. It’s the perfect merging of two worlds: a stylish, contemporary loft home in a historic warehouse building.

Photos by Jill Greer

By Chrissy Sarinske, special sections editor

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