Net zero home. Multigenerational life. Prairie and lake retreats.

If you want to see the latest trends in home design and projects designed by architects, the Homes by Architects Tour is just the ticket.

Local architects and homeowner clients will roll out the welcome mat for a self-guided tour Sept. 23-24 and a virtual tour Sept. 23-October. 8. The tour will include remodeled and new homes in different sizes, styles and budgets. This year, 10 homes across the metro area will be available for in-person visits, while four others across the state can be virtually toured.

This year’s lineup spans a broader geographic area, said Sherri Hansen of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Minnesota, which is hosting the tour. “We have virtual homes this year (that allow us) to cover huge areas of Minnesota that wouldn’t normally be covered, including lakefront homes and Northwoods homes,” she said.

Hansen added that tour leaders will find an increased focus on educating the public about ways to design with the environment in mind.

“I think architects have always been sensitive to site and environmental impact, but more and more homeowners seem to be asking for it, so they are highlighting it and telling us more about it in their projects,” she said. “The result is still these architecturally beautiful homes, but with less impact on the site overall.”

For more information about the tour, visit Here’s a quick look at the featured homes:

Analog House
When a pair of architects/homeowners found an open plot of land on Lake of the Isles, they decided to build. They balanced their contemporary tastes with the historic nature of the neighborhood and came up with a U-shaped brick house covered in lime. The house is oriented so that the main living spaces face south to maximize lake views and natural light. The Analog House isn’t just a clever name: the architects designed the house without the use of computers, instead hand-drawing construction drawings and creating physical models.
Architects John Cook and Joan Sorano: John Cook, FAIA; Joan Sorano, FAIA; Travis Van Leer; Brett Erenler; Tony Steiger; Eric Hansen; Alex Miller; Adam Barnstorff.

bohemian rhapsody
A growing family sought a home that reflected their vibrant lifestyle while drawing inspiration from a modern farmhouse the architect had recently completed. The result is a house with simple forms and a stark black-and-white exterior. In contrast, the interior is colorful and decorated with personal and quirky memorabilia – including paintings by Freddie Mercury, which inspired the project’s name. Edina’s home, which includes four-bedroom suites, also incorporates natural materials.
Swan architecture: Andrea Bichel Swan, AIA.

Cypress and bluestone
The father-daughter duo searched for a modern, efficient and appropriately sized home on their steep lot in Minneapolis. Both are outdoor enthusiasts, they looked for a design that would enhance their active lifestyle. As a result, the spaces are designed to operate efficiently. Double-story windows and two-story stairs expose you to natural light while mineral wool insulation reduces outside noise from the street. Blue brick is featured throughout the house, as is the stucco, adding warmth and a nod to the neighborhood’s traditional stucco homes. A cross-country ski wax room, rowboat storage area and exercise room are also part of the lineup.
Christopher Strom Architects: Christopher Strom, AIA; Eric Johnson, AIA; Rachel Alexander, Assistant. AIA; Brett Buer, Asst. AIA.

Grant again
After a devastating fire destroyed their late 19th-century home in Stillwater, the owners decided to rebuild on a smaller footprint while taking advantage of the rural setting overlooking the swamp. The design team created a compact design that maximizes everything from daylight to cross-ventilation. The mix of wood, metal and concrete combined with a range of ceiling heights is designed to suit the homeowners’ style. What’s more, their self-described “quirky” collection of contemporary and vintage furnishings feels right at home with the new home’s modern yet rustic vibe.
McMonigal Architects: Rosemary McMonigal, LEED AP Project Creator, CID; Kyle Thrapp, AIA; Nick Dillow; Phil Hofstad.

Logan’s modern addition
The Richfield homeowners sought a modern intervention that would expand their kitchen, improve the main level layout, and add a bedroom/guest room and bathroom. Their new addition — 8 feet by 30 feet with a full basement — intersects the existing house while doubling the size of the kitchen and creating a greater connection to the outdoors. The addition also adds height and natural light with casement windows and a green roof with skylights.
Air Architecture: Edward R. Eichten, AIA; Ryan Fager, AIA; Rebecca Pena; Cody Peterson, Asst. AIA.

Net zero and perfect pond
When building this net-zero home, minimizing the home’s footprint while creating modern, open-floor-plan spaces was our top priority. The architects scrapped initial plans for a single floor and opted for a more compact two-story building with a two-story dining and living area. Contemporary design touches include a kitchen with an oversized sink, a large island with a bamboo countertop, and industrial pantry. Views of the nearby pond come from almost every room in the house as well as two large balconies.
Sala Architects: Eric Odor, AIA; Alyssa Jagfeld, CPHC.

Nokomis House and ADU
A growing family loved their neighborhood in south Minneapolis near Lake Nokomis. So, when a plot of land came up for sale, it was the perfect place for a multi-generational approach. The main house plus an attached residential unit with a three-car garage below provide all the space a family needs – all while maintaining a similar scale to the rest of the neighborhood.
Nguyen Architects: Tan Nguyen, AIA; Agun Pasha.

Prairie retreat
Set on a restored meadow, this home was designed to maximize the landscape on a small lake north of the Twin Cities. The house and barn were sited to create shared outdoor living spaces with lake views and paths leading to the mountainous forest land beyond. There is also a greenhouse and wood shop. The house is designed for high energy efficiency and thermal performance.
Albertson Hansen Architecture: Christine Albertson: AIA, CID, NCARB; Mark Tamburrino AIA, CID, NCARB; Meg Lundquist, Asst. AIA; Oliver Pazzelli; Sarah Hughes, Allied ACID.

Modern River Bluff
Built on a bluff on the Minnesota River, this new southern metro offers uninterrupted water views while providing privacy from neighboring properties. One of the most important design elements is the presence of a main kitchen and an indoor and outdoor living area. It also features a modern carved staircase, one of many features that bring natural light into the home.
Recamp Larsson Architects: Mark Larson, AIA; Corey Pederson.

Valdres in White Oaks Savannah
A Minnesota native who had been living in Alaska as a geologist wanted to return to his roots and build a retirement home on the prairie. On his wish list was a modern home with a minimal, “industrial Zen” aesthetic, abundant natural light, and spaces to display art. The home features clerestory and corner windows throughout, as well as trapezoidal windows in the living room and master suite. Low-maintenance materials, innovative building techniques and refined uses of metal, glass and wood also make the home unique.

Christopher Strom Architects: Christopher Strom, AIA; Elizabeth Ackerman, Asst. AIA; Sydney Swift.

Virtual tours only

The new cabin at Iron Range promotes the principles of yoga, inner peace and relaxation. The simple design with easy flow and compact components allows for a clutter-free space. Windows have been carefully placed to welcome views of the elevated lake and natural surroundings. The materials – thermally modified wood, steel and concrete – are inspired by the property’s natural resources. Aging-in-place features were incorporated into the design.

Kiel Architects: Megan Kell, AIA; Dan Wallace, AIA, CID.

Lakeside retreated
A young, active family’s former home away from home—a cabin located on an idyllic lake property in Cold Spring, Minnesota—has been converted into a year-round residence. The wood-built house features a design that suits entertaining and private spaces. Notable features include a spacious lakeside balcony that opens to the living area via a 12-foot-wide roll-up door that can be used as a breezeway.
Shelter engineering: Greg Elsner, AIA; Beth Halstenson, AIA; Jackie Colbert, Allied ASID; Jennifer Wojtysiak, Asst. AIA; David Jensen, Asst. AIA.

Shrewd retreat
One Edina homeowner wanted to redesign her 1950s estate to fit her newest chapter in life — an empty nester who ran a law firm out of a home office. She also wanted to showcase her extensive art collection. The architects created a colorful, modern home. Highlights include a revised main floor that highlights artwork and features a whimsical style, while bumping allows for a new, full-floor second floor.
Al Farah Architecture, Interior and Design: Joey Martin, AIA, LEED AP BD+C; Allison Landers; Laura Kyrie King, assistant. AIA; Kayla Holzhauer.

Valley of Flowers Farm
When an empty nester family decided to move back to their childhood home in the Red Wing area, they searched for comfortable and practical spaces for extended family accommodation and live-in – all while maximizing views of the picturesque valley beyond. While the home is modest in size, the built-in beds, shared kitchen design and garage that can be converted into a hangout space easily accommodate large gatherings. Personal touches tie into the family history, including mossy trees from the property used for the fireplace mantel, kitchen island top, and porch framing.
Shelter engineering: Beth Halstenson, AIA; Jackie Colbert, Allied ASID; Jane Wojtysiak, Asst. AIA; Lisa Antenucci, Allied ASID; Curt Gough, Asst. AIA.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: