Case Studies

CUSTOM HOMES

Architectural New Construction

CUSTOM HOMES

Rebuilding on a different lot proved wiser than remodeling a newly purchased home.

These clients lived in the Minikahda Vista neighborhood in St. Louis Park, where they had recently purchased a traditional Colonial home which they desired to remodel.

They learned of our work through friends who were clients and contacted us about their project. Their original plan was to add on to the St. Louis Park home, including a new kitchen, family room, master suite, bath, mudroom, laundry room, and garage.


As always, our first step was to meet with the clients to learn more about their particular needs and desires. We then conducted a detailed feasibility analysis, including projected costs and the immediate neighborhood’s ability to support them.

 

Challenge: 

Our analysis quickly demonstrated that the clients’ projected improvements would lift their “all-in” costs far above the price ceiling for comparable properties in the area. This meant that if the clients had to sell their home quickly due to unforeseen circumstances, they would suffer a potentially severe equity loss. However, our analysis also revealed that the clients could in fact sell their existing home without a loss if they chose to relocate to a more advantageous community and neighborhood.

 

Strategy:

To assist the clients in their decision-making process, we provided detailed information on tax rates, community appreciation, neighborhood appreciation, schools, and services.

They were familiar with our work in Edina’s Todd Park neighborhood and considered building a new home there that would better suit their long-term needs.

Meanwhile, we had previously been contacted by a Todd Park homeowner who wished to sell and we secured an option on this potential teardown site. We had conducted a preliminary assessment of the site and begun designs for a home that would fit into the existing neighborhood while meeting the lifestyle needs of today’s busy families.

This design fit our clients in terms of size, scale, and budget, and they made the decision to proceed. The existing design was then carefully tailored to meet their unique needs, tastes, and desires.

 

Result:

The result is a classic Colonial home with four bedrooms, four baths, open staircases, hardwood floors, stone and ceramic tiling, custom cabinetry, granite countertops, and precisely detailed built-ins, beams, coving, and paneling. The home also includes top-of-the-line structural elements including a L-600 floor truss system, while the three-zoned Lenox heating system combined with insulation between floors provide exceptional energy efficiency. The exterior features egress windows with concrete wells, James Hardie siding and trim, Marvin windows, IDC custom garage doors, brick accents, and a thoughtful landscape design that integrates a patio and driveway.


To further leverage their budget, our clients allowed us to enter the home in the BATC Parade of Homes. This enabled us to obtain additional price concessions from vendors and suppliers for marketing purposes. We are proud to say that the home, after being judged by our peers in the building industry, won the prestigious Reggie Award for Building Excellence, beating the competition in its price category for quality, workmanship, and value.

CUSTOM HOMES

Buying the right lot at the right price made this couple’s dream home feasible.

Challenge: 

The clients had recently sold their remodeled home and wanted to buy a new one. They were looking for a neighborhood and site that had the look and feel of East Edina, without the lot size and price constraints of that area. They had evaluated a number of East Edina sites but wanted a larger lot that could accommodate a three-car garage and plenty of play area for their growing family. They also felt the sites were too expensive and would force them to compromise on the function, liveability, and budget for their new home.


The clients loved the quality and detail of our homes and also appreciated our “open book” approach. (One was the child of a major builder; the other, a financial services entrepreneur.)

 

Strategy:

The clients decided on a Full Replacement Strategy. Because of our previous work in the Rutledge neighborhood, we knew of a site that the owner was willing to sell. (The owner had contacted us directly after seeing our work in the area.)

We brought the seller and clients together and facilitated the sale without fee.

Purchasing the 80’ x 200’ site at the price they did gave the clients the financial room and budgetary freedom to build the house they desired. They envisioned an Investment Grade Home with four bedrooms, five baths, and upscale finishes, featuring the same charm, scale, and design of the previous homes we had built in the area. Our architectural, interior, and landscape design teams developed comprehensive plans for the new house, which provided the ease of living the clients desired and the features and amenities they required while staying within the budget they prescribed.

 

Result:

The new home’s clean, classic design seamlessly melds vintage charm and modern liveability. The house features an open and flowing floor plan, four bedrooms, five bathrooms, a second floor laundry, and a patio walkout with daylight windows in a fully finished lower level. The house also boasts custom cabinetry and countertops throughout, plus ceramic tile and custom millwork, paneling, beams, and coving. Other amenities include state-of-the-art mechanical and AV systems, closed cell foam insulation in the walls, and insulation between the floors. The exterior utilizes James Hardie fascia, soffits, and Shaker siding as well as Marvin windows. The landscaping includes stone terracing and irrigation, and it comes complete with a heated garage with floor drains and a utility sink with hot and cold running water.

Best of all, the home fits the evolving character and price range of the neighborhood and is a building block for further revitalization of the area.

CUSTOM HOMES

Skillful negotiating and inventive design produced the ideal home in a coveted neighborhood.

See more Case Studies at our full website

Our clients moved to Edina because of a job transfer and purchased a home in the South Harriet Park neighborhood. While recently remodeled, the home did not have the sophisticated design they wanted, nor the high level of quality they desired in materials, construction, or craftsmanship. However, they enjoyed the neighborhood and wished to stay, if possible.


The clients became familiar with some of our houses around Edina, and in particular, our home at 4517 Rutledge. They saw in our work the overall quality, attention to detail, structural integrity, and architecture/design harmony they were seeking. Most of all, they loved the look and feel of permanence our homes conveyed. When an opportunity presented itself in the form of a tear-down site in their immediate neighborhood, they contacted us about the possibility of a Replacement home.

Challenge:

The site was a difficult corner lot with topographical issues, and the existing rear tuck-under garage and overall structure were dilapidated and damaged. The site had been overlooked by others because of its grading issues, as well as Edina’s more restrictive corner setback requirements.

Faced with these constraints, most builders assumed they would need to construct another tuck-under garage style house. These garage/driveway configurations are undesirable not only because of maintenance issues such as snow shoveling, but because they force homeowners to park on a lower level and then carry children, groceries, etc. up a flight of stairs to the main floor living areas and kitchen.

Strategy:

We assisted the clients with a preliminary site evaluation and design, then assessed pricing and helped them negotiate a purchase of the site at an extremely favorable price. This enabled them to absorb an initial loss on the resale of their existing home and also allowed them to devote more of their budget to the new house construction and detailing they envisioned.

We solved the garage/driveway challenge by completely re-orienting the front of the house to the north. This allowed us to put the garage on the main level, with a driveway on Park Place for easy accessibility and best of all, no stairs to climb! We then re-used the previous garage location, creating a lower level walkout design with sunlight to the south, which in turn provided true lower level living space. The design also allowed us to better access and utilize the back yard for outdoor living and entertaining, which included and connected an upper porch and deck with an outdoor fireplace and patio area.

 

Result:

Even when working within the more restrictive setbacks required for a corner lot, we were able to maximize the site’s overall functionality and liveability, while minimizing the footprint through design efficiency and ingenuity, thus avoiding a poorly conceived house that wouldn’t fit the existing neighborhood.

The new living space now includes four bedrooms, five baths, a dining room, and two offices, with a lower level family room and attached outdoor storage space. The thoughtful design also incorporates extensive built-ins and cabinetry for additional storage and functionality.

Structurally, the home includes an L-600 floor truss system, premium lumber, engineered studs and support members, and closed-cell foam insulation, while the interior is finished with superior craftsmanship and materials, including premium doors, trim, coving, beams, and paneling. Its mechanicals include a three-zoned Lenox heating system with Honeywell controls, a water filtration system, and an extensive, state-of-the-art AV system.

The exterior boasts James Hardie architectural siding, shakes, and trim, custom shutters and window boxes, and wrought-iron railings. Because of the topography, the landscape design makes extensive use of custom stonework for retainage, augmented with numerous plantings and an irrigation system, while the outdoor patio area seamlessly blends interior and exterior for year-round entertaining.

By thinking “outside the box” in our design, we were able to transform a difficult site into a classic home with the character, integrity, and permanence our clients desired, providing them with a home of superior value that will become increasingly valuable in the future.

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MasterWerks LLC is a trade and assumed name of The Replacement Housing Services Consortium, a Minnesota corporation.

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