Conway Whole House Remodel

A remodel is underway. Take a look inside.

Follow along as we remodel this Conway area home’s first floor and upper level.


Renderings point to a major exterior design shift with a darker, much richer curb appeal.

Design Motivation

St. Paul homeowners in the Conway neighborhood wondered how they could stay in their 1947 Cape Cod and age-in-place there. They decided that there was no better way to invest in their family than to invest in the home that would shelter them for decades to come. For our clients, an ideal remodel would respect the bones of the home, where room sizes would stay the same, but the entire home would be infused with their personal style with nods to family elders who had recently passed. The remodel is going to touch every room on the main level and upper level with a proposed front porch addition and back deck.

“We are not open-concept people at all.  There are reasons why there are walls.”

Existing Main Floor Plan: Finding Areas to Invest

When the clients said they wanted to invest in their home, it meant making changes that would benefit the home long-term, like increasing its value with improved building technology, from new windows to better roofing. Our clients’ appreciation for their existing home guided how we started to develop a proposed layout. We looked for missed opportunities instead of taking down every wall within a home they already loved. From areas A-G, larger changes will involve creating a new kitchen layout, front entry, and back porch, while other changes will be much more nuanced, like noting which fixtures to save.

Proposed Main level

In our initial design consultation, our clients believed that a major addition would be the best way to check off all their wishlist items. With some creative maneuvering, designers crafted a plan that met their needs, with one big exception – a solarium off of the back of the home. Though it isn’t off the table for a future project, our clients decided that diverting their budget to the inside of the home would mean they could completely transform both floors of their St. Paul house. Here are major changes you’ll see in the proposed plan:

  • A | A New Font Porch – This was a great way to add some charm to the exterior of the home and add daily value, especially on rainy or snowy Midwestern days.
  • B | The Entry – By removing a closet just to the right of the doorway, designers could open up the entry and provide a bench that would satisfy the need for a mudroom.
  • C | The Living Room – All new paint, all new windows, and a new ceiling fan
  • D | The Dining Room – All new paint, all new windows, a fireplace will be added, a stone hearth will be added as well as a new hanging light fixture
  • E | The Kitchen – With a total gut, the kitchen will gain all new cabinets, plumbing fixtures, appliances, flooring, a prep island, doors and windows, and upgraded selections from paint and wall coverings to vibrant tile.
  • F | The Back Deck – This is new to the home. A back deck will require new footings and steps but will provide a new outdoor space for the family to enjoy. It isn’t a solarium, but for people who love plants, an outdoor space is a nice addition to the home.
  • G | The Stair & Hall – With the old door to the backyard removed, the exterior wall will be patched. New wood treads, risers, and handrails will ornament the stair. The hall will get a lovely ceiling mounted light and will be more open to the living room beyond.
  • H | Bedroom One – To turn Bedroom One into an office, the clients elected to remove a closet, paint the room, and provide all new windows in the space.

“It was such a good design right off the top that it was everything we needed it to be.”

Design Follows an Understanding of the Client

Our clients wanted to see their home as a reflection of their family and their life together in a well-loved and well-cared-for home.  We helped them find selections that were reflective of several key interests: their family, the architecture of older homes, and nature’s rich, whimsical palette. The design team and clients met to look at samples, exchanged ideas on Pinterest, made changes when new selections were found, and dove into formulating a fearless design that had heart and spunk.

The Three Big Design Influences

  • Family First: Our clients wanted to honor generations of their family with intricate pieces that held special memories for them, like dragonfly hooks that were a gift from Mom, specially fabricated trim that matched a grandparent’s home, furniture made by Dad, or the dining room fixture reminiscent of something belonging to yet another grandparent. For our clients, investing in the property’s care was also a way to honor the previous owners, who had lovingly stayed and built a life in the home for many decades.
  • A Love of Older Homes: Elegant wood, stains, and millwork were selected out of our client’s love for older homes, a sentiment echoed in the way our clients chose to keep nearly all interior walls in the home instead of opting for an open plan.
  • Nature’s Palette: Designers also responded to our client’s appreciation of nature, where rich colors and textures would be celebrated.

“Probably the number one thing we wanted was for this house to feel like our home. I didn’t want it to feel like a flip. It’s really an interesting mishmash of our family history but also what we want and what the house already is.”

Existing Upper Level Plan: Big Changes Coming for the Bathroom

Like the existing main level plan, the existing upper level plan will maintain most existing walls that helped our homeowners fall in love with the property in the first place. The largest plan changes will involve a new bathroom layout. Designers also looked for new ways to utilize the hall closet and bedroom niches.

Proposed Upper Level Plan

Bedrooms occupy the upper level of this Conway neighborhood home in St. Paul.  In the proposed plan, our team will focus on making every room personalized to its occupants, upgrading the bathroom, and adding features that will help our clients age into the home more easily.

  • A | The Primary Room – The Primary bedroom will get new windows, two custom built-ins tucked into knee walls, new paint, and wallpaper.
  • B | The Bathroom –  The bathroom is a total gut and will be upgraded with a selection of lovely blue and white tiles, an impressive shower, and all-new plumbing fixtures.
  • C | The Second Bedroom – In the second bedroom, we’ll add new windows and closet doors as well as lively pink paint to a feature wall.
  • D | The Hall & Stair – To make laundry easier as the couple ages, we’ve planned for an additional washer and dyer to be added to the stair hall closet.

“The bathroom was probably our biggest challenge. We changed it two or three different times. And when we saw that sink, we were like, ‘That’s it. That’s the one. It has to go in the house.'”

Upgrades on the Exterior Will Make for an Efficient Home

Apart from big interior upgrades, we’ll install new siding, windows, a front porch, a back deck, stairs off the front and back of the home, and roofing. Since this is our clients forever home, major exterior upgrades like these will help the home age gracefully and efficiently. The same three design principles that guided them for the interior layout became the focus of choosing the best selections for the exterior of the home. Warm tones will replace bright whites. Where a front porch will add architectural interest as you approach the home, a back deck will provide the family with a new place to relax and enjoy the warm months.

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