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Modern English Lakeside

Lake Minnetonka

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Kenwood Shingle Style Cottage

Minneapolis, MN

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Originally planning to buy an existing home, the homeowner found nothing designed or built well enough. He called TEA2.

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Designed in concert with the desert, the home is both centerpiece and backdrop, setting off a stunning landscape.

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Most desert homes are an expanse of white stucco ending in sky. We look at it more holistically: solid versus void, light versus mass.

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The palette of materials all draws from the Sonoran desert.

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The desert can be brutal on building materials. This pre-patina-ed copper cladding (we tested many finishes) proved resilient and beautiful.

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Instead of shutting out the light, the home skillfully embraces it. Millwork baffles control the sunshine that enters and animate beams of light.

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Curated “walls” define space, display the owner’s artwork collection, but leave the room feeling just a step from the desert.

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Magnet attachments under the display shelving allow easy access to LED lighting, ensure a tight fit and eliminate unsightly fasteners.

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The handmade, compound-curve, integrated ventilation register (bottom right) is itself a work of art—a marriage of function and beauty.

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Details, details. Minneapolis metal artist Peter Vanni brings to life our custom-designed light fixtures.

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Millwork baffle detail. The pattern play of light changes as sun crosses sky, creating an ever-changing experience with the desert sun.

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Sonoran Modern

Arizona

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Excelsior Bayside Cottage

Excelsior, MN

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Sited on a narrow ridge, we aligned kitchen, living and dining rooms to take advantage of lake and marsh views front and back. We kept supporting spaces narrow and to the side. And tucked a multi-car garage under and away from view.

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This spacious two-story home was designed and positioned to give the impression of a smaller, charming cottage on a knoll. A circular “lantern” room issues a welcome, day or night.

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The combination of teak and leaded glass is set in curves to echo other architectural curves and sweeps—creating a graceful and inviting entry.

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The bluestone base is “dry-stacked” using tight mortar—a complement to the lighter, glass-filled structure above. The dark foundation reduces perceived height and grounds the house to the land.

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Each story’s appearance reflects its purpose: The basement lends solidity and support (yet has abundant windows and sunlight). The glass-filled first floor provides light and sweeping views. And the master suite, tucked in the roof, affords spectacular vistas through gables and dormers.

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The terrace of our dreams: partly covered, with tall columns raising the lavish view, it combines the best of indoor environments and nature to create a magical place.

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Highly divided transom windows over more open-paned glass lend character while preserving the view.

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We designed the dining room around a beloved heirloom cabinet. Graceful stairs enhance the room’s character, as do hand-scraped floors.

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Not just a “cell within a box,” the sun-filled kitchen commands a 270-degree view from marsh to lake, and sightlines to living and dining spaces.

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Even the simple act of washing is enriched by abundant light spilling over the basin, stone and woodwork.

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We used inset tile in the master bath to create a mosaic tile “rug.” Built-in glass cabinets provide airiness and balance.

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We use features like this curving dormer to create little “moments” both in the home and on the roof line. Here it allowed us to gracefully “cut the corner” between rooms as well as roof gables.

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People long for homes that meet their size needs but feel like comfortable cottages, at home in their environment. It’s possible to have both.

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Minnetonka Shingle Style

Minnetonka, MN

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The tower hints that this is more than a conventional house: The design is from 15th Century English architecture, but made current with modern space, light and detailing.

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The long drive rounds a boulder outcropping, and this unique estate is revealed. Our design aligned windows to tantalize with a peek at impending vistas to the north.

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Wrapped in glass, the family room was intentionally sited to bring in spectacular views to the valley and lake on one side, and warm southern light from the other. Wood beams were spliced and wrapped with metal strapping to achieve the needed length.

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Thick, stone homes can feel like fortresses—but here, the blend of wood and plaster create both warmth and brightness, and floating stairs convey openness.

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The dining room is defined by its floor level and coffered ceiling. Cascading the rooms down the hillside allows each to have a spectacular view of the valley and lake beyond.

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The working office has sunny exposure to the front of the home, and a clear sightline—over stepped-down dining and living rooms—to the valley and lake.

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The great room faces north for the view, and receives morning sun through a myriad of windows to the east—with sunsets enjoyed from a terrace to the west.

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Sustainable resources were important to our client. All of the mahogany—thousands of board feet—was sourced from old-growth trees felled by hurricanes.

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A floating bridge unites bedroom suites and a one-of-a-kind “tower” office, up the stairs to the right.

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The master suite is immersed in light and views from north and south.

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The glass-walled room that rises above the roof? The ultimate office getaway, designed so our client would have a soaring treetop view—a place to “get in my canoe,” as he put it, and think. Soon, it will also look over a pool and landscaping.

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Modern English Manor

Lake Waramaug, Connecticut

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Equestrian Country House

Medina, MN

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Our client envisioned a contemporary row house on this long, narrow lot, but worried it wouldn’t fit the neighborhood. We were able to achieve both goals by combining modern lines with traditional elements in a scale appropriate to nearby homes.

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Old row houses are long and dark, all rooms lined up front to back. This open floor plan expands the space; a large skylight over the stair and variety of strategically placed high windows fill it with light.

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A floor plan this open requires serious stabilization. Custom wide columns conceal an anti-racking wood-and steel structure—and become integral to the design.

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The homeowner needed storage space, and a home for his art. We collaborated with the client in designing unobtrusive cabinetry along the wall, which allows art to be layered in front.

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Not the dark, back-hall stairway you’d find in a traditional row house; this north wall is splashed by light from a south-facing skylight at the top.

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The design takes advantage of every inch of the site: The wall of kitchen windows provides bright views of the raised garden terrace positioned over the lower-level garage, and a cozy TV room is up the steps beyond.

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The north side of the row house is the “support” side, housing powder room, entryway, and stairs—allowing living spaces to be in the southern, light-filled side. Clean lines and monochromatic stone provide a tranquil respite and expand the space.

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The stairs lead to a large, private rooftop space, with Jacuzzi and outdoor fireplace overlooking the city lake.

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The Bermuda-style roof was custom made in copper. Even the vents and small gutter were carefully designed to disappear into the horizontal lines. Can you find them?

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The narrow, deep-set window creates a little “moment”—bringing in light without a view of the neighbor’s home, and picking up the rhythm of the horizontal railing and other windows. It’s the kind of detail we love.

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Calhoun Contemporary

Minneapolis, MN

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Modern English Country House

Edina, MN

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The homeowners admired Mediterranean architecture and the grand arches and columns of the Italian renaissance. They wanted a classical home with exuberant style.

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The classical profiles/proportions were researched; every stone column, cornice and wall was delineated with detail down to the joint pattern. Integrating a stone façade with a wood-frame home was an unusual challenge.

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What looks like a sitting room is actually an outside loggia. This gracious entry space—where interior comforts meet fresh air— has a wonderfully inviting ambiance.

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The 40-foot, atrium-style grand salon is illuminated by a barrel-vaulted, metal-framed skylight inspired by Victorian railway stations. It required precision planning and engineering; a crane installed the frame as a single piece.

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The homeowners wanted a loft that “floated” between the grand salon and family room. By breaking the arched ceiling’s entablature and giving the room its own roof and distinct materials, we were able to create the effect.

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Suspended day beds further the sense of floating. The wall of windows looks out onto the arched skylight. Whimsical furnishings offset the classical architecture.

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The family room was designed around a Biltmore Estate-inspired triple fireplace and 18-foot back-to-back patterned sofa, typical of the homeowner’s bold style.

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A sun-filled bay adjoining the family room and kitchen provides a more intimate—yet dramatic—dining area for the family.

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The kitchen: elaborate, sculpted yet functional—the back, a pantry and space for caterers; the front for daily use. Our sketches created the sculptural elements, realized by old-world style woodcarver Konstantin Papadakis.

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Overlooking a picturesque, Italian garden-inspired landscape, the rear loggia features an outdoor fireplace. Tall arched openings provide full views into the grand salon. Each traditionally set keystone weighs over a ton.

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Vanity and dressing areas are uniquely combined in one beautifully detailed room for her. Like the rest of the house, the closer you get, the more delights are revealed. The shoe room can be seen in the back corner.

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The pavilion-style pool inspires the feeling of a Roman bath. The gabled skylight uses a spun-fiberglass core to temper natural light and insulate.

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The large courtyard follows the Italian tradition, harkening back to a time before cars. The home’s elegance springs from combining a simple, graceful, symmetrical form with richly textured, deeply profiled details.

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Italianate Villa

Edina, MN

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The homeowner wanted an architecture of substance and quality that didn’t feel flashy or ostentatious.

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Eyebrow windows and curved walls add a sensual fluidity and grace to the strong forms.

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Described simply, every great home is part “tree house” and part “cave,” providing both vistas and secure retreats.

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The wedge-shaped lot inspired a subtle curve in the design with “arms” that embrace the backyard.

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A flat roof zone with skylights—unnoticeable from the exterior— fills the interior with natural light and lifts the eye.

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The main floor was designed to showcase the homeowner’s large African art collection: Art to hold art.

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The art itself becomes part of the architecture—making walls from open air.

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Highly designed and detailed millwork by TEA2, beautifully executed by Siewert Cabinet.

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Creating detail and character without being slave to an old style can be a challenge. Here, cabinetry and vanities feel historical, yet fresh.

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The bar design maximizes seating and allows a view. Careful research and testing led to a natural looking, wineglass-resistant wood finish.

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A lower level that feels nothing like a lower level.

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The home was featured in Architectural Digest. Pleased with the end result, the homeowner requested we design a second home.

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Edina Arts & Crafts

Edina, MN

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Linden Hills Cottage

Minneapolis, MN

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