River Residence


Architectural, Interiors, Residential


Afton, MN

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Completed Summer 2018

Bringing Light and Views to a Forever Home

Team: Shelter, Constructive Builders, Safe Haven

Photos: Farm Kid Studios

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city along the beautiful St. Croix River, the site of this residence is unparalleled. Having lived at this location for many years, the client was unwilling to move from this gorgeous site but needed updates to their space. Shelter was tasked with adding more life and light to the existing house as well as increasing its accessibility. By updating the floor plans and adding an elevator, Shelter created a home in which every room is accessible for all people within the existing footprint. A light and bright interior color palette and open staircase allowed for the maximization of natural daylighting on all levels of the house.

The next challenge was to design in a way that worked in harmony with the riverscape. The St. Croix River is protected by Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) through the Wild and Scenic Rivers program. These restrictions monitor the height, materials, and setbacks of buildings along the river in order to maintain natural landscapes usable for all. Using these guidelines and regulations, Shelter sought to clad the building with natural-looking materials whenever possible. The finished design preserved the original stone basement and deck structure. On the upper floors neutral, reserved colors were chosen for the cladding. The new design allowed for the couple to stay in what is now their forever home.