Blending the Old and the New

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Great design means fit and finish, not square footage. Get ideas on how to win consumers in the West - and the rest - with these elegant elevations and intricate interiors.

October 01, 2004

 

 
 
 
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In sharp contrast to the bland before, contemporary touches blend with classic architecture in the new dining, kitchen and living area. Photos: Susan Gilmore.
 
 
Dropping the basement foundation 16 inches to raise the ceiling allows for a more open, comfortable gathering space.
 

Remodeler, architect and interior designer: M/A/Peterson Designbuild Inc., Edina, Minn.

No matter how pretty the package, removing the wrapping can betray lackluster contents, like peeling away the paper on a Christmas gift only to discover an aging fruitcake.

This is, essentially, what these homeowners had. "Like many classic homes in picturesque neighborhoods, while beautiful from the street, the inside of this home left something to be desired," says Chris Elliott, M/A/Peterson's director of marketing. "The interior living space was not well suited for the way families live today; the rooms were broken up and disconnected, the basement ceilings were low, there were no modern conveniences and most everything was outdated."

What this project accomplishes above and beyond the standard is an outstanding appreciation for bridging old and new. Despite extensive structural work- relocating the staircase on the main level to create more open space, dropping the basement foundation 16 inches to raise the ceiling, and adding 125 square feet to the basement – M/A Peterson took care to preserve the timeless French Normandy architecture of the early 1930s home. Natural stone fireplaces, distressed wood finishes and old-time plaster wall finishes work together with contemporary touches such as cherry wood tray ceilings, mosaic tile, bold wall patterns or a hidden step-up drawer built into the base cabinets of the children's bathroom.

Elliott says this successful integration of modern into traditional is due largely to the research of the interior designers, who worked to incorporate antique and reproduction pieces, such as the lighting fixtures, throughout the project. But if design is the shiny wrapping on this project, inside the box you'll find superior construction. "One without the other," says Elliott, "is like a boat without a sail."

Doors and windows: Marvin. Fireplace: Heat-N-Glo. Lighting: Kichler. Millwork: Ferche.

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