Kitchen remodels are often at the top of a homeowner’s to-do list. The American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey indicates that interest in the number and size of home kitchens and food storage and prep areas continues to grow.

If you are not your home’s first owner, chances are the previous owner also attempted a kitchen remodel—and that what was modern then is probably dated and possibly dangerous. (We’re looking at you, unsanitary, tiled late-1970s countertops.) And if the past resident didn’t hire an architect for their remodel, it’s definitely time for a change.

Multiple homes on this year’s Homes by Architects Tour demonstrate the ways an architect can remodel a kitchen for it to be contextually appropriate to the home as a whole, and designed to be both timeless and functional for today’s lifestyle. These are just a few of the homes featuring a kitchen remodel or design you will see on our virtual tour!

SALA Architects’ remodel of Home 10, “Midcentury Primary,” included designing a new kitchen and powder room, transforming a dining room into a library, and curating interior furnishings. An earlier kitchen remodel had significantly altered the 1963 home’s strong midcentury character and the open living spaces.

Each design decision was carefully considered in how it would both provide the owners with the function they needed while complementing the modern character of the home. This can be seen in the selection of a light gray wash to the kitchen cabinetry, which provides a brighter space while also visually connecting to the grain pattern of existing darker stained wood in the home.

The owners of Home 3, “Twenty-First Century Craftsman,” fell in love with the home’s exquisite original millwork that had survived the last century intact. A 1980s kitchen renovation was the outlier that detracted from the beauty of the rest of the home. The homeowners hired Mitlyng Design to redesign their kitchen into a period-style space that works for a this-century lifestyle, which includes a compact addition.

The new kitchen demonstrates how historic details can be matched in a way that feels contemporary and timeless; such details include millwork and casework that was matched to the original, a reclaimed sink, handmade Prairie-Style tile, and handcrafted trim around the existing stained-glass window. The remodel and modest addition meet all of the homeowners’ needs—a kitchen, mudroom, laundry, and powder room—without overpowering the original home. The project is a celebration of the massive impact of small details, when designed well.

David Heide Design tackled the kitchen in Home 2, “Praire Preservation,” a historic Prairie School-style home, which had been modified over its 100+-year lifetime in a way that was “opposed to its pedigree” and “problematic from aesthetic, functional, and historic standpoints.” Their remodel focused on the area that was originally the kitchen and butler’s pantry.

The new kitchen is not a copy or restoration of the original, but a synthesis of modern needs, historically sensitive details, and Prairie doctrine. Decisions regarding new casework, millwork, light fixtures, and finishes were carefully chosen based not just on the original physical appearance but also historical social context. For example, the architect selected a bright red birch wood to indicate that the kitchen, as a utilitarian space, is “back of house,” while also brightening the space and providing depth. Original plaster was preserved, and doors and window sashes were restored to their original dark color.

Tickets to the 13th annual Homes by Architects Tour go on sale August 10. Learn more at

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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