Modest Mid-Century


Architectural, Interiors, Residential


North Oaks, MN

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Completed 2013

Team: Shelter, DeSchane Remodeling

Photos: Farm Kid Studios

Accolades: 2013 Homes by Architects Tour

In 2008 we were asked to advise on a house that some friends of ours were thinking of purchasing. It was a modest, mid-century modern home with a tree lined pond for a backyard. The home was charming but it had some quirks. The original kitchen was a tiny galley with the refrigerator in a nearby room. A second living room had been added to the main residence with no regard to circulation or views. The homeowners were keen to remodel immediately, but we advised them to live in the house for a year to see how it worked for them. One year stretched into two, and eventually into six. In that time, they had two kids and were ready to remake the house into their ideal home.

Elements of the Design

By relocating the kitchen into the second living room and removing the wall that separated it from the rest of the house, the entire living area gained views of the pond. We moved the master bedroom from the front of the house to the back, giving it a view to the pond, too.  The master bath was the only bathroom on the first level, so we added a powder room for guests where the kitchen originally located. Organization and storage was nearly nonexistent, so we designed cubbies and cabinets into the mud room, kitchen, and office. Oak flooring was gray washed and the walls and ceiling painted a perfect white to showcase our clients’ extensive art collection.

During demolition we discovered major water damage. Repairing it required most of the original construction budget. Did that stop efforts to see the design vision to the end? No. The home owners and Shelter dug our heels in and found resources that fit the diminished budget.  The resulting home respects it’s mid-century roots, takes advantage of it’s spectacular views, and offers a sense of delight and wellbeing to this young family.