With safe indoor interactions limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, opportunities for outdoor living are more important than ever. Homes 5 and 13 on this year’s virtual Homes by Architects Tour are just two of the tour homes that were designed with outdoor activities and connection to their site’s natural surroundings in mind.

PLAAD, which designed Home 5 “Mahtomedi Modern,” observed that many of the lake homes in the region were just that: a home on a lake. In other words, indistinguishable from nonlake homes. Their goal was to design a home with the lake—not just another home that happens to be on a lake.

To succeed in this approach, the architect considered light, materiality, and scale to constantly provide the occupants an intimate connection to the lake with every step within and outside the house. The client also desired flexibility to enhance indoor/outdoor living. The use of multiple stacking sliders, retractable screens, and carefully positioned living areas encourages the use of both the indoor and outdoor living spaces throughout the year, including a pool area, bocce court, and fire pit—all of which contribute to visitors’ unique experience of truly unimpeded lake living.

The homeowners of Home 13 “Modern Tudor Sunroom” were feeling cut off from the outdoors in their classic Tudor home. The spaces they had did not invite them outside, provide views, or flow well together. Quartersawn Design Build came in to add on a four-season porch and help redesign exterior spaces.

The resultant sunroom is a glass box exposed on three sides, which is clean and minimal on the interior but seamlessly blends in with the homes Tudor exterior. The minimal interior details work to highlight the floor-to-ceiling windows—and their views. These same windows were carefully chosen to also ensure energy efficiency and comfortable year-round use.

Jutting out into the side yard, the sunroom also redefines outdoor spaces by creating a smaller, more private backyard and a larger, public space in the front. A new deck wall encloses a new grill station, replacing an ill-suited outdoor fireplace, grill, and fountain. Landscape features and lights were also redesigned to provide picturesque views from the sunroom during day and night while maintaining privacy from the street. This warm, energy efficient “glass box” sunroom maximizes natural light, maintains clean lines, and provides inspiring views—an ideal way to connect with the outdoors year-round in a state where you never know what the weather will be like tomorrow.

Get your tickets for the 13th annual Homes by Architects Tour now! Learn more at homesbyarchitects.org.

The 2020 Tour is supported by Pella Windows & Doors, White Oaks Savanna, SpacecraftingAndersen Windows, Brooke Voss Design, DOM InteriorsFritz Cabinetry, Frost Cabinets, Hagstrom Builder, InUnison Design, Kolbe Gallery Twin Cities, Martha Dayton Design, North ElevationOtto Painting Design, Redpath Constable Interior Design, Redstone Architectural Homes, Showcase Renovations, Streeter Custom Builder, Synergy Products, and Welch Forsman Associates.

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