Wes Glenna

Built in the 1950s on a block of 19th-century mansions, Mount Curve Modern marked a striking departure from its venerable neighbors. The house’s program, however, reflected a lifestyle that hadn’t changed quite so much. Architect Tom Meyer, who piloted the house’s renovation, notes that the original plan included not only a maid’s quarters, but also “something called the man’s room, which was for the chauffeur.” Meyer appropriated those obsolete spaces to adapt the house for its new owners, a couple of 21st-century empty-nesters—who do their own cooking and driving, thank you very much.

“The main objective boiled down to a kitchen that they could sort of live in, rather than a servant’s kitchen,” says Meyer, who combined the maid’s room and kitchen into a single room for cooking, casual dining, and sitting. Once discreetly hidden, the room now opens to the living and dining areas via a wide sliding door. A thickened wall accommodates appliances, storage, and an entertainment center in the sitting area. White oak paneling wraps into the kitchen from the living/dining room, further integrating the two zones.

The remaining palette of materials follows the house’s grayscale color scheme. Stainless steel and soapstone counters top gray steel cabinets. The ceramic tile floor echoes the terrazzo in the entry corridor, while a wall of painted paneling borrows its color from the exposed glazed brick exterior walls. A large skylight over the workspace “serves as a centering device,” Meyer says. Along with the new refinements of material and space, the light pouring in from above announces a room suited more for pleasure than for toil.

Project: Mount Curve Modern, Minneapolis; Builder: Welch Forsman Associates, Minneapolis; Architect: Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Minneapolis; Interior designer: Jodi Gillespie Interior Design, Minneapolis; Photographer: Wes Glenna. / Resources:Cabinets: Valcucine; Plumbing fittings: Kohler; Plumbing fixtures: Elkay