MAK­ING IT ALL WORK

We were com­mit­ted to do­ing right by this Prairie School house.

Old House Journal - - Success! - By Su­san Smith and Brian Lewis

Our 1915 house in St. Paul, Min­nesota, is a sig­nif­i­cant ex­am­ple of Prairie School ar­chi­tec­ture in this re­gion. It is at­trib­uted to the lo­cal firm of Bent­ley & Hausler. The pre­vi­ous own­ers, here for 40 years, had taken great care of the house, but the in­te­rior was dated. In the front rooms, we sim­ply re­fin­ished floors, re­freshed wood­work, and painted. How­ever, the kitchen, re­mod­eled in the 1980s, had lim­ited workspace. Up­stairs, five small bed­rooms shared one bath. We needed up­grades, but we also wanted de­sign­ers with a his­toric-preser­va­tion ethic.

We’d known about David Heide De­sign Stu­dio since tak­ing the Ar­chi­tects’ Homes Tour years ago, and have fol­lowed their work ever since. When we bought this house, our first thought was to call David.

After ex­plor­ing the idea of an ad­di­tion and new back en­try, we kept the ba­sic lay­out due to cost. Heide’s de­sign gained space for the kitchen by re­con­fig­ur­ing the pow­der room be­hind it, al­low­ing for a built-in re­frig­er­a­tor that no longer juts into the room. The de­sign elim­i­nated wall ovens and added a penin­sula to pro­vide stor­age and counter space.

The kitchen is con­tem­po­rary, but Heide’s team ex­plained that they would base its de­sign on restora­tion prin­ci­ples. De­tails in the kitchen are taken from this house and from Prairie houses of the same era. The orig­i­nal ar­chi­tects de­signed light­ing with the square de­tail seen in the art-glass win­dows; the Heide Stu­dio did the same with new light­ing. Light­works fab­ri­cated the fix­tures—beau­ti­ful cus­tom work that didn’t cost any more than com­pa­ra­ble off-the-shelf light­ing.

Up­stairs, we con­verted three tiny rooms into a master suite: two bed­rooms be­came one larger bed­room, and the third be­came a new bath­room. There’s also a guest room and a home of­fice; the lat­ter has new pocket doors with glass panes to let light into the hall­way. The white bath­room, with Prairie de­tails ap­pro­pri­ate to

the house, is a look we’ve al­ways liked.

An im­prove­ment that ex­ceeded our ex­pec­ta­tions is the ad­di­tion of two So­latubes, dis­guised be­hind a wood and glass frame de­signed by DHD Stu­dio. Now nat­u­ral light floods the up­per hall, stair­way, and en­try hall.

We re­ally en­joyed the give-and-take with the Heide team. A pre­vi­ous Heide kitchen that we’d fallen in love with in­spired our kitchen’s slate-mo­saic floor­ing, gran­ite coun­ter­tops, and red birch cab­i­nets and trim. The Stu­dio was help­ful as we chose fi­nal hard­ware and paint col­ors. Our gen­eral con­trac­tor Tim Lemke was out­stand­ing, not only pro­vid­ing high­qual­ity work by his team and sub­con­trac­tors, but also help­ing us iden­tify where we could man­age costs with­out com­pro­mis­ing in­tegrity.

OP­PO­SITE Rich wood­work and Prairie de­tails are in­tact. TOP The 1915 house is a fine ex­am­ple of Prairie School res­i­den­tial ar­chi­tec­ture.

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