In 2006 we bought a 1916 bungalow in Union Park, Saint Paul. The home needed updates including demolition of a ‘70s addition, a kitchen and bathroom remodel and main floor reconfiguration. But the wonderfully appealing part of this home was that it was on one half of a double lot. This meant there was plenty of space for a new home. An empty lot for an architect is similar to a blank canvas for an artist.
I carefully considered the site: I spent time walking around it, figuring out the new home’s potential layout and taking measurements. We did need to get a 1’ variance which took some time. In the meantime I tore down the time-worn three car garage on the otherwise empty lot, and built a new insulated garage with a work/office space above it right behind the existing bungalow.
The new garage included a covered patio area, skylights in the second floor workspace and a green roof: live plants growing on the flat roof patio covering. I considered this a green roof test run and a way to learn about them before doing one over an entire house
I designed the new home to have a fully finished basement with a TV room, workout studio, storage and mechanical room, office and a bedroom and bathroom (a guest suite). The main floor offers an open floor plan with kitchen, dining, living room and powder room. I put in a small balcony on the front of the home and a small porch and outdoor storage closet off the back. The main floor also has an office which can easily be converted into a bedroom. Upstairs are three bedrooms, a bath, laundry room and owner’s suite.
Double doors open to the owner’s suite. To the left is a light-filled spa bathroom featuring a jacuzzi tub (my wife insisted) separate toilet with pocket door and a large shower. Across from the bathroom is an ample walk-in closet. In the bedroom are floor to ceiling windows.
The third floor is a small bar area with sink and wine fridge and then a sliding glass door that allows you to walk out to the terrace which covers the entire rooftop. Areas of the roof grow sedum, which help with runoff and provide a “greener” option. The rooftop is suitable for container gardens as there are no vegetable predators (squirrels, rabbits, etc.). We also noticed that up at this level there were hardly any bugs, allowing us to be able to entertain (quite a bit) and sleep under the stars (on occasion).