2005 Watermark Awards
Best Kitchen Remodel In A Home 2,000 To 3,000 Square Feet
You never know what you're going to find when you remodel a house. Even a 1950s Contemporary, like this one in the Minneapolis suburbs, can hold a few surprises. The home's original builder was a bridge contractor, says designer Jeff Lindgren, “so the construction was not the conventional kind you see nowadays.” Among the surprises: a honeycomb concrete floor in the kitchen and a bomb shelter that partially impinged on the site of the planned kitchen extension.
Lindgren's task was to expand the kitchen and the adjacent living room; his challenge was to keep the spaces open and in keeping with the Contemporary Ranch aesthetic of the original house. His solution adds 6½ feet to the kitchen and gives it a band of windows that frame the golf course view. The hardest part of the scheme was keeping the kitchen column-free while tying the new roof into the old one. That required hanging three new heavy timber beams spanning the 14-foot length of the kitchen from an existing beam running the room's width.
The structural engineer must have worked overtime on this project, because below ground the bomb shelter cuts under the right side of the new island. “We had to strategically place point loads on either side of the shelter to make sure it wouldn't implode under the weight of the addition,” Lindgren explains.
Tying the new concrete slab floor to the old honeycomb floor also required some finessing. Side reinforcement between the slabs was installed to prevent stress fractures, and a thinset coat over both gives them a uniform finish. In-floor radiant heat in the new floor allows the heating system to exist in the thin plane above the bomb shelter below.
The renovated kitchen makes all these challenges look easy and is a great match for the house, the judges said. Recycled vinyl tile flooring reflects the light that fills the room from existing clerestory windows. Sleek neutral European cabinetry combines with stainless steel appliances and granite counters to create the clean, minimalist look the clients wanted for their Contemporary home.