DESIGN TEAM: Eric Hansen, AIA; Jim Kuipers, Assoc. AIA
PROJECT TYPE: Remodel/Addition
E.J. Hansen, AIA
Home Sponsors: Hagstrom Builder, Pella Windows and Doors

Project Address: 17500 St. Croix Trail North, Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047
Driving Directions: Travel north on I-35E to Main St in Lino Lakes. Take Exit 123A for Cty Hwy 14. Right onto Main St (0.4 mi). Continue onto Frenchman Rd (1.4 mi). Left onto Forest Blvd N (2.8 mi). At the traffic circle take the first exit onto 170th St N (8.2 mi). Continue onto Ostrum Trl N (2.8 mi). Left onto Broadway St. Continue onto Maple St. Left onto St. Croix Trl N (0.2 mi). Destination is on the left.

Asa Parker built his original Greek Revival house, which has been renovated by the current homeowners, in 1856. The Marine Sawmill and Lumber businesses were the first industrial enterprises in what would eventually become Minnesota. The current homeowners wished to respect the legacy of the 163-year-old home while renovating it into a fun and welcoming family home for modern Marine on St. Croix living.

Special attention was given to all new HVAC systems, spray-foam insulation, vapor barriers, roof ventilation and new Pella divided lite windows and doors in this historic renovation. Existing crawl space limestone was reused to clad the exposed new stone/foundation, south stone patio, and east stone stair landing. Existing dormer details were replicated for the new (6) dormers, and the new internal gutters were fabricated and installed much like the 163-year-old wood timber ones but with soldered metal and rubber membranes! The new thoughtful addition includes a lower level media area, matching wood rear stairs, rear foyer, see-through fireplace, huge kitchen, laundry, powder room, wine room, twin porches, and twin bedrooms, kids’ bathroom, and lounge area in the upper level. The new exterior cornice includes matching all existing mouldings, which are simple and very large.

The interior details include loving care for the existing curved wood staircase, newels and pocket doors, original east upper-level porch doors, and reusing decorative dormer sashes at new bathrooms. New interior millwork, interior doors, black hardware, marble tile and inset face frame cabinetry where all designed to blend into and honor the existing conditions of 1856 while seamlessly blending into a user-friendly home of 2019. Original materials/lumber not kept in the home were carefully dismantled and donated to the nonprofit Better Futures of MN, Inc. The result is a remodel with the best of modern improvements that preserves the heritage of this important Minnesota home.


What were the priorities for your home?

The house was badly neglected when we purchased it in 2015. Everything from the roof to the foundation needed to be repaired or rebuilt, so our first priority was making the house structurally sound so it would be around for another 160 years. We also wanted to make the house appealing to the modern family while retaining some of the period details, and add modern systems and enhanced energy efficiency.

What problems did your architect help you solve?

I think the better question is: what problems didn’t our architect help us solve? That would be a much shorter list! Eric is a integral member of our team and was involved in all the decisions. He guided us through the design and build process and his knowledge of historic homes and building techniques was a huge value-add.

We wanted to convert a Greek Revival house built in 1856 that was being used as a bed and breakfast back to a single-family dwelling. The house was broken up in small guest suites, each with a 1980s-era bathroom and a huge gas fireplace, so it was completely unusable as a family home. The house also had an addition built in the early 1900s that was out of scale with the original structure. The basement was a hodgepodge of scary spaces and crawl spaces with “fall down” stairs, leaving no good space for modern mechanicals and clean storage.

Eric helped design an new open floor plan with all the modern amenities. The house has excellent flow and is now very family-friendly! The kitchen has a huge island with wonderful work space opening to the family room and south stone patio. At first we wanted the family and dining room to be one open space, but Eric helped us understand that the open-sided fireplace would provide definition to both spaces.

A new addition in keeping with the scale of the existing house and all the details contains two new upper level bedrooms, a bathroom, and kids’ lounge area. The new main level includes the big kitchen, family/dining room, powder room, rear foyer, and a laundry room.  The finished basement includes a media area, large comfy new stairs and the all-important mechanical room. No more scary basement or crawl spaces!

The character of the home is retained through the use of matching original moldings, window trim design, door, hardware, hinges and reusing existing interior widows and some doors. The rooms in the existing house retain their original scale. Exterior cornices around an internal gutter system (all rebuilt and improved) give the house its frosting.
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