A visionary homeowner was enthralled with examples of modern architecture at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. Inspired by the early modernist LeCorbusier, V. Mel Kaufmann returned to his home in Minneapolis determined to build a weekend home in the new International style. Kaufman hired a fresh graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Architecture named James Brunet, and they constructed a house in 1936 on Cedar Lake in the modern style. The avant-garde design, stripped of ornamentation and non-referential to earlier architectural styles, was groundbreaking in its time.
Almost 75 years later, the present owners came to Lars Peterssen of the architecture firm of Peterssen/Keller with a request to adapt the living space to the needs of their 21st-century family. They loved the modernist style, the Art Deco influences, and the lake views, and didn’t want the remodel to compromise any of these significant characteristics. Peterssen/Keller’s design included a third-floor addition for the master suite and another new bedroom on the first floor, as well as mechanical system improvements, window replacement, and interior upgrades. The project so successfully integrated the new additions that the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission approved the changes to the designated Minneapolis Historic Landmark.
The west elevation of the home, facing Cedar Lake, features walls of windows on all floors which invite natural light to fill the space and give the home a modern-day feel. Marvin® Ultimate Casements and Ultimate French Doors with contemporary architectural hardware add to the clean lines inside and out. “What we needed to do,” said Peterssen, “and what our client wanted us to do, was to work within the style and not do anything that would change the house dramatically. Both inside and outside, all floors of the house flow together seamlessly so that the major third-floor addition does not overwhelm the rest of the home and maintains the significant features of the landmark home.”