Minnetonka Kitchen Remodel

Revisiting a Remodel: A Life-changing Mudroom & Kitchen

This Minnetonka kitchen remodel features a hidden smoothy station, walnut-topped island, quartz countertops, and floating shelves made by the homeowner.

Making more space in Minnetonka

With three pets, two growing kids, and seven sports activities between them, Matt and Megan had wondered if their Minnetonka home would last them much longer.

“We were living a 2020 lifestyle in a 1979 house,” says Matt.

And it was bursting at the seams. So they partnered with White Crane to transform every square inch of their first floor into usable space. They swapped an unused dining room for a spacious mudroom. They updated, enlarged, and streamlined the kitchen. And they added a third stall to the garage for Matt’s woodworking. That was a few years ago, and the couple recently sat down to talk about how they’ve liked living with the results.

Pleasant surprises

The third stall isn’t actually a woodworking studio—it’s a locker room.
Matt’s woodworking studio lasted for about 10 months. Until COVID hit. Then it turned into a synthetic ice rink where the kids could play hockey while the rinks were closed. Now it’s the landing zone for the mountain of sweaty sports gear that used to bang up the walls and smell up the house. One day the woodworking studio may be back, but for now the locker room has been an unexpected bonus.

The mudroom is life-changing.
“The mudroom has changed our lives more than the kitchen,” says Matt. Before the remodel, Matt and Megan assumed they wouldn’t be able to live in their home for much longer. Squeezing in and out of the door with the kids, the hockey equipment, the school bags, and the winter coats and boots was a cramped and chaotic mess. Now they have plenty of space to get in the door, store their gear, and transition into the house—something they weren’t sure was possible in that home. “The mudroom turned our house into something that could be our forever home.”

The pocket door is a gift.
“We were super resistant when White Crane suggested adding a pocket door to the mudroom,” says Megan. “I didn’t think it was necessary. But now we love it.” The family has really appreciated being able to close the door when there’s a mess—especially with a dog who steals shoes.

Valuable tips

Don’t underestimate the value of a good designer.
“I never look back and wonder about the value of having a design/build contractor,” says Matt. “And I would never do another project without one.” Matt and Megan are quick to point out all the little details that a contractor alone might have missed, and all ways their project could have gone wrong. “It’s a price vs. cost measurement,” says Matt. “Having an experienced designer meant we basically got to leverage everything they’ve learned on other projects. They know how to avoid the mistakes that we might have made ourselves.”

Get out of the way.
Once you have a good designer, Matt recommends you let them do their work and come back with their ideas. “Dial in on one or two things you really want—and then get out of the way,” he says. For Megan and Matt, their original two goals were adding a mudroom and making space for a “gigantic fridge”—Matt makes himself fresh smoothies for almost every meal of the day, and the family needed a much larger fridge to accommodate his ingredients. From there, White Crane asked “a million questions” and recommended additional solutions the couple hadn’t even thought of. For example, their designers created a dedicated smoothie station that tucks away neatly while still staying accessible.

What we’d do differently next time:

Megan and Matt both say they’re thrilled with the project. “I like everything about it,” says Matt.

This renovation has given Megan and Matt a home that fits their life. “I’m really happy we stayed where we are,” says Megan. “We love our neighborhood.”

Matt agrees. “We never wanted a big monster house—so we took the space we had and made it our own.”