Minneapolis, MN — Ryan Hanson’s client loved the location of his urban home, nestled in the sought-after Linden Hills and Fulton neighborhoods in southwestern Minneapolis. However, the 1920s bungalow no longer suited his taste or daily living style, and the nearly 100-year-old house was no longer efficient, becoming particularly difficult to keep warm during brutal midwestern winters.
Rather than relocate and leave his beloved community, the bachelor opted to work with Ryan and his brother, Chad Hanson, owners of Sustainable 9, the brothers’ design+build firm, to create his dream home in collaboration with Studio Grey (interior design firm), David Charlez Designs (architectural firm) and Dwell44 (a modern design studio).
The process included a complete teardown of the existing structure to make way for a new home that showcases cutting-edge technologies and sustainable design inside and out. For example, solar panels on the roof aid in offsetting costs associated with electrical needs of the home and a ‘green’ garage roof features a deck and vegetation, which helps to make heating and cooling more efficient. On the inside, lighting, sound and security are all controlled by a smartphone, while material/product choices address environmental concerns while seeking to minimize maintenance.
Pushing the envelope
Another overriding theme of the home was to showcase a modern design style.
“He wanted something super modern…something that would push the envelope,” says Hanson. “This was his forever home and he wanted it to be cool! He entertains a lot and he wanted to include ‘talking-piece’ elements that visitors hadn’t seen before.”
In the kitchen, that objective was accomplished via the high-gloss Lustrolite thermoplastic panels that steal the spotlight as the backsplash and ceiling accent. Their vivid turquoise blue hue is not only the homeowner’s favorite color, but is also one of the colors for the All-Stars roller derby team within the Minnesota RollerGirls league, of which the client is a co-owner and referee. The blue tone makes additional appearances throughout the house, including as stringers for the staircase, while a deeper shade covers the walls of the master bathroom.
In addition to their aesthetic appeal, the brightly colored panels fulfill the client’s wish for low-maintenance products, since the 4’x8′ panels eliminate the need for grout. They also feature an advanced scratch- and chemical-resistant coating, which makes them an ideal choice for the hard-working backsplash.
“When he cooks, he wants everything to be easy to clean,” Hanson says.
Since the thermoplastic is combustible, Hanson incorporated a linear window directly above the KitchenAid gas cooktop, giving it the appropriate safety clearance. The window also allows natural light to flow into the room, while its shallow height provides some privacy from nearby neighbors when the homeowner cooks.
While the panels’ resemblance to backpainted glass gives them that coveted visual design appeal, they are much lighter in weight, making it possible to extend them onto the horizontal plane.
“Continuing them onto the ceiling makes the kitchen feel larger than it is, and it draws the eye into the dining room,” Hanson says, noting that the 9′ ceiling height adds to the drama. “Since the house is on a small, urban lot – there is only 9′ between him and his neighbor – the maximum width of the house is only 28′. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for the kitchen. It was definitely a challenge to get everything he wanted into the space, including a decently sized island.”
The 7′-plus island features Crystal Cabinet Works’ frameless cabinetry painted in Sherwin-Williams’ Alabaster. It is home to the KitchenAid dishwasher, double roll-out trash cabinet and Kohler undermount sink with Grohe faucet. Hanson topped it with a Vetrazzo Floating Blue recycled glass countertop and accented it with a series of stylish pendant lights with LED Edison bulbs, all of which fulfill the client’s desire for ‘green’ products.
Hanson contrasted the light-colored island with darker Crystal Cabinet Works perimeter cabinets painted in Sherwin-Williams’ Dovetail. The wall cabinets also feature integrated LED undercabinet lighting to illuminate the Cambria Templeton quartz countertops below. Handless doors on the upper cabinets along the cooking wall maintain a sleek visual.
“Our client wanted a modern design style…what we call ‘Minnesota Modern,’” he notes. “Instead of having everything white, we added some ‘warm’ elements, such as the gray cabinetry and stained white oak flooring.”
To accommodate storage considerations for the relatively small kitchen, Hanson included an abundance of cabinet organization accessories, such as a spice rack, tray divider, corner storage and plenty of drawers and roll-out shelves behind doors.
“He doesn’t have a walk-in pantry, so we added a lot of pull-outs to make his kitchen functional and efficient,” he points out.
Along the cooking wall, which also features a KitchenAid combo wall oven, Hanson created some display storage via tip-up, glass-front cabinets with stainless frames, one on each side of the Vent-A-Hood ventilation hood, that sit atop tip-up, solid-door cabinets. Square cubbies above the KitchenAid refrigerator and tall pantry-style cabinet provide open storage for special serving pieces, while circular cubbies, positioned vertically next to the pantry cabinet, can be used to store and display wine.
Directly across from the refrigerator wall, Hanson eliminated any cabinetry, choosing to highlight it as a feature wall that he sheathed floor to ceiling in Slate-ish tile in Earth.
“It looks just like stacked stone,” he states, noting that its inclusion is another material choice that satisfies his client’s wish for ‘green’ products, since the lightweight paper composite is made from recycled and reclaimed materials.
Hanson completed the wall by adding a deko markerboard, which provides at-a-glance access to his client’s busy schedule, and a TV, which is controlled via a smart phone since “he’s a complete ‘techy,’” according to the designer. ▪