Historic Cottage Renewed as Grandmother’s Home
It was a 100-year old house near the shores of Lake Minnetonka, owned by a family in the lumber business and marked by beautiful raised panel walls and millwork. But after decades of decay, the house and adjoining guest cottage were marked for destruction.
Had the heirs of that lumber family not saved the house from oblivion in the 1990s, Florence Gropel would not have stood in the great room of the guest cottage in 2015 and wondered how to turn an ancient catering galley into a modern kitchen. A few years earlier, her daughter’s family had purchased the property but had never fully used the guest house. Although the main residence had been updated, the guest house remained much as it did in 1940 when it was built.
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Wishing to be closer to her children and grandchildren, Florence accepted an invitation to move into the guesthouse in the spring. It had all the amenities she needed but only had a very tiny kitchenette that would not work with her love of cooking and entertaining. So in partnership with CliqStudios, Florence set out to create a gleaming modern kitchen in place of the old one.
CliqStudios designer Jayelynn Carlson worked with Florence throughout the transformation, grappling with architectural issues such as sloping ceilings, odd windows and an open stairwell to the basement. “Jayelynn was very warm and responsive,” says Florence. “She helped organize each elevation so the balance of cabinets and appliances was perfect.”
Jayelynn proved helpful in such requests from Florence as incorporating a Wolf cooktop brought from a previous home and adding storage space. “The Super Susan sits on a shelf on the bottom of the corner cabinet,” says Jayelynn, “so you get full access without having to work around a pole.” Also, since microwaves hinge on the left, Jayelynn switched walls with the TV, placing the appliance on the wall opposite from the one Florence suggested for easier access.
“I was amazed how quickly Jayelynn responded with the changes I gave to her plans,” says Florence. “Though there weren’t all that many changes!” Florence was also happy to hear corroboration from her contractors that the quality of the CliqStudios cabinets was as good or even better than the quality of custom cabinets from a nearby kitchen center.
Now the sloped ceiling is handled neatly with perfectly installed cove moldings, the stairwell is hidden cleverly behind the wall of the refrigerator, and Florence can entertain both friends and any of the grandchildren who live thirty feet away in the main house in a kitchen she describes with a single word: “Wow.”
A dream kitchen for the future in a guesthouse recaptured from history.
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