Karen Melvin

“Simplicity,” as the judges noted, “can be difficult to execute and still be interesting.” But that didn't happen here. The owners of this large contemporary Twin Cities home wanted to update the living room and give it a more current look while making it more functional and inviting. The original fireplace was tucked in the corner of the room, with no mantel and a haphazardly placed stone surround. Alongside it was an outdated entertainment center. The solution: streamline and unify the two elements by centering the fireplace on the wall and designing sleek maple cabinetry to hide a flat-panel TV, surround-sound stereo system, and media storage space. “There's a great contrast of materials and tones,” the judges said, noting how the tile color picks up the color in the wood. “There's a huge change from before, but the designers and builders did a good job of restraining themselves.”

Karen Melvin

Category: Small project/details, under $25,000


Orno, Minn.


Loren Gardner, Gardner & Associates, Minneapolis


David Heide, David Heide Design Studio, Minneapolis