Announcing the 12 winners of the AIA Star Tribune Home of the Month contest
When your home no longer works for you and your family, a remodel might be in order. Or you might choose to start from scratch and build new. Either way, it’s wise to enlist the help of pros to create your dream home.
For the annual AIA Star Tribune Home of the Month program, the Star Tribune teamed up with the Minnesota chapter of the American Institute of Architects to single out stellar remodeling projects and new-home designs.
Every month starting in June, we’ll zoom in on these 12 award-winning homes and get a behind-the-scenes look into the design process from the architects and homeowners.
Here are the 2023-2024 AIA Star Tribune Home of the Month winners:
A young family seeking to make their 1969 north suburban house their forever home needed a design that could accommodate infants as well as aging in place. In this remodel, redundant spaces, such as the formal living and dining rooms, were replaced with a main-level primary suite and a sunroom was converted into a nursery. A stairwell and the original brick fireplace were reimagined to offer more function and create grander spaces.
BLUEBIRD Design team: Ben Awes, Perri Kinsman, Sophie Olund, Sam Awes, CityDeskStudio
An attic fire resulted in the need for a nearly whole-house remodeling, but this St. Louis Park family with three teenagers wanted to keep a footprint similar to that of their original single-story, ranch-style house. They were game, however, to introduce bold designs and unique materials. Soaring rooflines and a band of transom windows refresh the exterior while keeping the modest vibe. And the natural light coming into the home allows the family to display its vast plant collection.
LAKE HARRIET RESIDENCE Design team: Brent Nelson, Ted Martin, Gabriel Keller, Sarah St. Louis, PKA Architecture
An empty-nester couple decided to trade in their suburban digs to build a smaller house within walking distance of Lake Harriet. But there was one problem: He liked modern, she preferred traditional. The design team was able to create a home that proved the two styles can come together beautifully. The variegated brick home has both gable and flat-roof forms, the latter with a rooftop sedum garden.
LONGHOUSE Design team: David Wagner, Roderick Vahr, SALA Architects
When locating this multigenerational retreat in western Wisconsin, the architects sited the home on the bluff edge of a small lake overlooking 140 acres of rolling woodlands and prairie. The house is designed not only to capture the views, but to preserve as much of the natural surroundings as possible, right down to a twist in the floor plan that saved two large oak trees. The sloped roofs direct one’s gaze toward the horizon and lake. Support beams and columns were intentionally located on the exterior to provide uninterrupted rows of windows. The house also boasts passive solar orientation and roof overhangs for shade.
This tiny cabin for two, which sits on a 48-acre site, is all about enjoying the solitude of the forest. Building on a sloping hill allowed the main level of the 780-square-foot cabin to be tucked into a canopy of maple trees, while the lower level is anchored into the hill. The custom-engineered wood frame fits within the narrow slivers of two free-standing walls, dividing spaces only where necessary.
POP THE TOP Design team: Christopher Strom, Eric Johnson, Christopher Strom Architects
A family in the Howe neighborhood of Minneapolis needed more room but wanted to stay in their home. They were able to do so thanks to a budget-conscious remodeling and addition to their modest one-story bungalow. A second level was added that allows for bedrooms and an inviting common space for shared activities. For the exterior, pops of blue cladding add design-savvy details without the added costs.
PRAIRIE PROSPECT Design team: Jeremy Imhoff, Sara Imhoff, Jordan Magistad, Imprint Architecture and Design
A newlywed couple set out to build a house that could accommodate their growing brood as well as spaces for family visiting from out of the country. Set in Grant, near Stillwater, the home incorporates varying roof heights and a long floor plan that sits low into the landscape, maximizing daylight and views from every room. Natural tight-knot cedar wood siding and a metal roof are made from recycled materials, while large overhangs and an abundance of doors and windows provide passive heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.
ST. ANTHONY MIDCENTURY REVIVAL Design team: Christine Albertsson, Mark Tambornino, Katie Loecken, Sarah Hughes, Albertsson Hansen Architecture
This St. Paul house’s signature midcentury sloped roof, high wood ceilings, clerestory windows and open floor plan remained, but the home underwent game-changing moves, including relocating the main entrance, adding a mudroom and pantry and updating the kitchen. In addition, the basement was converted into an Accessory Dwelling Unit, gaining the distinction of St. Paul’s first permit-issued ADU.
STEAMSHIP MODERNE Design team: Mark Nelson, David Heide, David Heide Design Studio
This Minneapolis condo got a major remodel, in streamline Moderne and Art Deco fashion. Nickel-silver inlaid mahogany, quartzite, marble and antique fixtures hark back to the Golden Age of travel. The project improved living spaces, brought in more natural light and created abundant storage, all while transporting anyone walking through the door to another place and time.
SUNFISH LAKE CONTEMPORARY Design team: Mark Stankey, Matt Byers, Peter Kluzak, Nicole Norris, PLAAD
Because they were building on a heavily wooded lot with a restored prairie on Sunfish Lake, the homeowners wanted to respect the natural environment and size their home to no more than their needs. That included two main-level suites for the owners and aging parents as well as a large entertaining space for gatherings. The result is a home that is a study in solar access and blurs the lines between indoors and out in a one-level walkout.
SUNFLOWER Design team: Christopher Strom, Eric Johnson, Isaiah Scharen, Christopher Strom Architects
Situated on a deep St. Paul lot, this Accessory Dwelling Unit built behind the primary residence was designed as a space for friends and family who shared the homeowner’s love for urban farming. The 715-square-foot unit, nicknamed “Sunflower” for its cheery yellow exterior, offers creative use of the two-story, free-standing structure.
TORCHED AND PORCHED Design team: Eric Odor, Nate Ehrlich, SALA Architects
A dated, inefficient home in northeast Minneapolis was replaced with a modern, energy-efficient one that retained a small footprint while meeting the needs of a family of five. A black, standing-seam metal roof and shou sugi ban siding serve as the backdrop to two natural cedar porches, while the interior is kept clean and simple with similarly durable materials. The 1 ½-story is a modest home that lives large.