Located near the Mississippi River, this late-1970s-era house failed to take advantage of its breathtaking views and southern exposure — quite a shortcoming given Minnesota's long, often dreary winters. So, the clients' top remodeling priority was to maximize the home's light.

Troy Gustafson

The existing kitchen was isolated between formal and informal dining rooms and located across the house from the garage, which lacked an interior entry. In relocating the kitchen next to the garage, the designer solved the entry problem while refocusing the living space. The larger kitchen now has a pantry and connects to a mudroom on one side and a three-season, rear porch on the other, with lots of light streaming through the windows and doors to the porch and deck. The new great room and larger, more open, single dining area reflect current lifestyles rather than those of three decades past.

Troy Gustafson

“The project addressed a classic problem a lot of Americans are facing,” said the judges in regard to renovating and updating the many homes built in the 1960s and 1970s. “[This project makes] great use of the existing structure,” as exemplified by the designer's ability to avoid tearing off the roof of the original, 1,850-square-foot house.

The additional 655-square-foot space includes a greenhouse and a front porch.

Category: Whole-house remodeling, over $500,000
Location: Champlin, Minn.
Contractor: Howard Theis, Wooden Dreams, New Brighton, Minn.
Designer: Terrence Scholz, Colonnade Design Group, Burnsville, Minn.