Inspiration comes in 19 different packages at AIA Minnesota’s 11th annual home tour. The popular, self-guided circuit of architect-designed houses spans the Twin Cities metro with design character for every taste, from cozy traditional to clean-lined midcentury to airy contemporary. Step into a refreshed 1901 Queen Anne mansion, for example—or an ultra-modern lakeside home equipped to produce more energy than it consumes. Expand your ideas of how life and style come together. 

Architecture MN previews three of the homes in the following pages.


10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets for the entire tour can be purchased for $15 online through September 14, or at any home during the tour for $20. Tickets for a single-home visit are $10.


New Construction
Rehkamp Larson Architects

“Details worthy of a grand manor were tuned to fit the scale of a cottage.”
—Mark Larson, AIA

Woodland Cottage, the guest house for a classic Lake Minnetonka home, has something for everyone: a charming living area and bedroom suites on the main level, a windowed tower with pullout beds for stylish sleepovers, and a “motor lounge” with a workshop, garage, and hangout space on the lower level.

The 2,140-square-foot dwelling takes its roof (cedar), siding (brick, shingle, and board and batten), and trim (copper) from the main house. But it establishes its own personality as well.

Or personalities. The open living area and the tower room feature crisp, colorful decor that speaks of lakeside living. The masculine lower level gleams with polished concrete floors, steel beams, and sleek automotive cabinetry.

There’s a play of space, as well. A snug screened porch opens to a generous terrace on one side and the long, gabled-ceiling living space on the other. The cottage has a public side, facing the road, and a private side, facing the main house.

Though the guest house is not on the lake, its tower offers a lake view. In fact, the guest house is so appealing that the owners sometimes use it as their own private getaway. —Linda Mack


Remodel, Addition
Peterssen/Keller Architecture

“You are just in nature.”
—Kristine Anderson, Assoc. AIA

Built as a cabin on Gleason Lake in 1948, this Long & Thorshov–designed house had been much remodeled over the years, but it always kept its classic midcentury look. And so it does today, even after Peterssen/Keller Architecture skillfully expanded the home and transformed its interior.

The latest layout didn’t take full advantage of the lake views, and rooms were dark, says designer Kristine Anderson, Assoc. AIA. The design team switched the locations of the living room and kitchen to maximize views, and it converted a heavy-feeling porch into a glass-walled dining room. Stacking lift-and-slide doors now open all three rooms to a generous new patio and outdoor views.

A 1,455-square-foot addition at the rear added space for a roomier master bath, walk-in closets, and a second garage for the car-collecting owner. Original clerestory windows help illuminate the wood-beamed kitchen, while four new skylights brighten other rooms. Seamless wood walls and a dramatic wood stairway match the existing wood floors in the two-story entryway.

Anderson says the clients loved the home’s original midcentury qualities, including the deep overhangs, tongue-and-groove cedar siding, and stone- and wood-lined interiors. “We just opened it up,” she says. —Linda Mack


HOUSE 19 (pictured above)
New Construction
SALA Architects

“The changes in floor level and ceiling height create a lively spatial variation.”
—Bryan Anderson, AIA

With its rambling form and mix of lap and board-and-batten siding, the house on a lake near Princeton looks like it grew over time. But the casual exterior belies a spatially sophisticated interior.

The plan is efficiency itself. A low-ceilinged entryway opens to free-flowing living spaces: dining area straight ahead, open kitchen to the left, and living room to the right. The living room leads to a screened porch. The master suite is past the kitchen, off the garage.

Yet within this compact, 15-foot-wide living zone, changes in ceiling height and floor level create a surprising spatial variety. Over the dining space and kitchen, the ceiling pops up to allow large dormer windows. The living room is sunken—and carpeted—for a fun 1960s feel.

Walnut cabinetry also lends a midcentury touch to the decor and a rich contrast to the white walls and oak floors. A banquette divides the dining and living areas.

Essentials—a bathroom, laundry room, and stairway to the walkout lower level—nestle under the low-pitched roof at the front of the house.

The finished footprint is only 1,300 square feet. Within it is everything the owners wanted in their “permanent cabin.” —Linda Mack