Case Studies

TRANSFORMED HOMES

Architectural Major Remodeling

TRANSFORMED HOMES

Transcending past issues, this home is now a hit with the owners, neighbors, and appraisers.

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These clients were referred to us by several past clients, including family members and co-workers. They initially approached us about repairing and refurbishing their basement, which had suffered extensive water damage and was the subject of an insurance claim.


After assessing the damage, we drew up plans, bid the work, and negotiated on their behalf with the insurance adjustor. In the meantime, however, the clients significantly rethought their project and greatly revised the scope of work.

Challenge: 

The clients had previously remodeled the second floor of their home with another contractor, creating three bedrooms, including a master suite and laundry room. However, the remodeled area did not heat or cool efficiently, and the insulation was sub-par. The exterior of the home was not remodeled and was an outdated 1960s “Colonial” vernacular design devoid of architectural detail, while the first floor still included the small kitchen and isolated den typical of that era. There was no modern convenience such as a mudroom, while the basement was dark, with under-utilized potential for natural light, and the inefficient HVAC system and undersized duct work caused additional heating and cooling issues.

Further complicating the situation was the fact that the owners had purchased the house at the top of the market, and with their already completed improvements, were “upside down.” They faced a potential loss if they couldn’t solve the existing problems and were forced to sell and move.

Strategy:

Keeping the clients’ budget and the market reality in mind, we began developing plans to rectify the home’s existing issues while adding square footage as needed on the main floor and lower level. We also redesigned the first floor plan to include a formal living room and entry, kitchen, dining room, family room, and mudroom with powder room. The topography of the site allowed us to flip and reconfigure the lower level area to include a family room, wet bar, exercise room, storage room, mechanical rooms, guest bedroom and ¾ bath. We also added windows to bring in more natural light, making the space a true lower level rather than a basement.

In the same way, our goal for the exterior was to make the home better fit the classic design of its neighbors without going beyond the neighborhood profile and price statistics. To achieve this goal, we added siding, fascia, soffits, trim details, and shutters while shortening the eves and building a porch to better exhibit the home’s new Colonial character. By maintaining the exterior size and scale of the neighboring homes, we added to rather than disrupted the visual harmony of the streetscape.

 

Result:

Our design transformed the home, both in appearance and liveability. We were able to solve the existing challenges while creating what was, for all practical purposes, a new home—one that better suited our clients’ active lifestyle and accommodated their energetic family, which includes four children and a dog. The home now blends seamlessly into the surrounding streetscape of one of Edina’s most picturesque neighborhoods. Although this was a major project, we received only compliments from the neighbors, in the very same block where previous outsized construction had initiated Edina’s “monster home” debate.

In addition, based upon its plans and specs, the home’s future value appraisal was high enough to allow the clients to secure the necessary funds for the improvements—no small feat in today’s world of extremely conservative home appraisals, and a testament to our ability to engineer value while staying within market parameters and normative ranges.

TRANSFORMED HOMES

An entirely new floor plan brought a limited ‘70s colonial into the twenty-first century.

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Challenge: 

Converting a cramped, pedestrian 1970s Colonial to a modern floor plan. This involved correcting floor height and traffic flow while integrating a previous porch addition. At the same time, we needed to work within the existing footprint to minimize added square footage.
 

Strategy:

The owners loved the location but had considered moving because the floor plan was dated and inadequate for their needs. Before we created a plan, we analyzed not just the home, but its neighborhood profile, which indicated it would be more cost effective to transform the present home than incur the costs of selling/buying. We worked with the owners to create a new, up-do-date floor plan that integrated the porch for year-round living. We also redesigned the existing spaces, adjusted floor height and windows, and added HVAC as needed. The floor plan allowed us to create a large foyer with open staircase; convert the existing living room into an office; realign the kitchen and combine it with a new living room; and redesign the mudroom to include a bath, laundry, and ample storage. We also converted the porch to a family room, adding windows, doors, a deck, and a patio. We re-trimmed the interior with custom millwork, beams, paneling, and doors; added custom cabinetry, new hardwood and stone floors and appliances to the kitchen; and improved heating/cooling efficiency. As a final touch, we rebuilt and added copper roofs to the front dormers.

 

Result:

A design that captured the existing charm and character of the exterior and location and enhanced it with complementary interior detailing and floor plan, thus making it a synthesized, sophisticated whole.

TRANSFORMED HOMES

Retaining the solid core and rethinking the rest resulted in this harmonious new home.

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This client was referred to us by one of our competitors who was familiar with our work in Transforming older homes. Primarily a new home builder, our competitor felt Transformation was a likely option for the client and was confident we had the skills, experience, and demonstrated track record to meet the specific challenges of the project.

 

Challenge: 

The house was in a prime location and was compatible in size and character with the surrounding homes. However, it had been damaged by a neaarby gas explosion. In addition, the house had been remodeled several times over the years, but the additions were poorly conceived and executed, which detracted rather than added to the overall value and liveability of the house.

The owner, a commercial real estate developer, was vacillating between repairing the house or tearing it down and rebuilding, and was trying to determine which option would offer the greatest return at the lowest cost. He had previously hired an architect, who developed a plan that didn’t create appropriate value or adequately address the core liveability issues.

 

Strategy:

We began by conducting a thorough assessment of the property and the surrounding neighborhood, carefully evaluating the various options to determine which would best meet the client’s goals and objectives. We determined that, because the home’s core structure was sound and re-usable, Transformation would be the least expensive option, rather than building a new house on the same site.

We then drew up new plans to meet the owner’s requirements. While these plans increased the square footage, special care was taken to maintain the mass, scale, and height compatible with that of the surrounding homes. Our goal was to enhance the home, not overpower the neighborhood.

 

Result:

In essence, this Transformation utilized the existing structure as a basis to create a completely new home, but one that looks like it has always been there. The exterior work included new windows, roof, fascia, soffits, trim, brickwork, and garage, all done in the original style of the house, while the interior boasts new Lenox zoned HVAC system, plumbing, wiring, sheetrock, insulation, counters, cabinetry, and trim. A combination of old and new, including a sizable addition, were seamlessly blended together for a harmonious effect.

The expanded home now includes three full levels with a master suite, two bedrooms, offices, living room, and dining room as well as modern amenities such as a mudroom, laundry room, entertainment room, wet bar, hockey room, exercise room, and large family-friendly kitchen. Outside, the tasteful landscaping includes a raised stone patio with an outdoor kitchen fireplace and seating for entertaining year-round.

By working within our client’s goals and expectations, we created a custom, tailored solution, one that greatly enhances the long-term value and appeal of the property, yet keeps it within scale and harmony with the surrounding homes.

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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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