Home remodeling, three ways

Three creative remodeling solutions by Albertsson Hansen Architecture

In a city filled with aging homes and little space for new, squeaky clean developments like the suburbs, remodeling is a route that many families in Minneapolis choose.

Remodeling or adding an addition to a house is all about complementing the style of the house while sticking to the tastes of the owner.

That’s where Albertsson Hansen Architecture comes in. The company, with an office situated near Lyn-Lake, has been serving Southwest Minneapolis and the metro area with an eclectic variety of quality remodels for over a decade.

“Minneapolis has a great older housing stock that is well loved by the residents,” said Todd Hansen, who along with his wife owns the firm. “It’s fun to be part of continually renewing and updating it.”

Creek cottage modernized

Nestled in the Lynnhurst neighborhood with a stunning backyard view of the Minnehaha Creek, a 1923 colonial saltbox house was in need of additional space. The kitchen was a tiny 9 feet by 9 feet, the house lacked a master bedroom and the front entrance was neglected because it was hidden from view.

The homeowners — Christine Albertsson and Todd Hansen, the husband-wife team that owns the firm — knew they needed to change that.

Drawing together two separate styles, colonial and Swedish, they created a new house that remains true to the original American style, while commingling typical Scandinavian architecture.

“There’s a tradition in colonial architecture of having white houses and red barns eventually, through additions, touch,” Hansen said. “We were building off that [idea].” Albertsson’s Swedish roots also played into the style.

The results transformed the house.

The front door was repositioned and a long hallway was added between the door and the new addition, which houses the new, expansive kitchen on the first floor and the master suite above.

“We were going for a light, slightly more updated version of the original with a more modern sensibility,” Hansen said.

The new kitchen feels bright and simple with large, low windows to obstruct as little of the creek view as possible. To save money, the couple opted for Ikea cabinetry, but chose higher-quality finishes for the rest of the project. A large couch faces the island bar so guests can rest and converse while others prepare food.

Despite having a room-by-room setup, rather than an open floor plan, the house maintains a feeling of flow through large openings and connections.

Hansen said his family is excited for summer, as it brings kayakers and the ability to explore the creek valley — a drawing point for the home.

“I think the addition really will help us enjoy it,” he said.

A big house in Tangletown

Finding a house large enough for a family with four young children can be quite a challenge, especially in Minneapolis. So when the Brezonik family first walked into the big house in Tangletown, they knew they had to buy it.

“We walked in the door and loved it,” homeowner Nick Brezonik said. “It’s a very large house — about 4400 square feet — and in South Minneapolis that’s hard to find. Even though it’s a very large house, it feels cozy.”

It stuck to the art and crafts style throughout most of the house, but a kitchen addition done in the 1980s simply didn’t fit. It had a Mexican red and cream color scheme and tacky-looking cabinets.

“It wasn’t a bad color … it was very warm,” Brezonik said. “But the cabinets were bad. They looked like something you could get at Menards for [cheap].”

After about six years of owning the home and doing various other projects, the family decided to finally tackle the kitchen along with the dining room and family room.

The completed project took three rooms and opened them up, while allowing them to remain individual compartments. People can socialize between rooms if they choose to, but movie night for kids while the parents have a dinner party is possible because hidden doors can close off the space.

“It’s well defined, but open,” Hansen said.

The updated cabinetry in the kitchen spills into the living room, creating extra shelving. Two islands — one for informal eating and another for food preparation — were installed for a family that enjoys spending time in the kitchen. A large pantry provides extra space for food storage.

As meals are being prepared, kids can sit comfortably in the living room watching television while still socializing with the adults in the kitchen. It brings everyone closer, Brezonik said.

The project has improved the space and will provide a blueprint for future remodeling in the house, Brezonik said.

“What was nice was working with the architects is we told them how we like to live and what we do,” he said. “And they’re really good at learning how you want use something and what you like and putting it into a plan.”

Linden Hills ‘de-personalization’

What do you do when you’re ready to move into a house, but a previous owner decided to personalize it in an odd way? Call an architect to remodel.

When a family was looking at a home on Linden Hills Boulevard, they found a home that fit them — except for the giant, 1970s-built turret on the rear of the home. It was oddly shaped and lacking purpose, so the family sought out Albertsson Hansen to remedy the turret problem, remodel the interior space and improve the home’s curb appeal.

“It was very idiosyncratic,” Hansen said of the addition that added the octagonal, two-story tower.

The new homeowners and neighbors welcomed the changes. The large tower was reshaped into something that didn’t stick out quite as much, and its former footprint on the first floor became part of the kitchen and a dining nook.

The upper level of the tower was remodeled into a master suite, while another bedroom was changed into a second-story living room. To make the outside more attractive, the front facade was given greater detail, including an improved dormer.

“The goals were to meet the everyday needs of the family and create a kitchen that both felt up-to-date and yet keeping with the existing [style],” Hansen said.