Historic ambience, modern comfort – Midwest Home

Photos by Troy Thies

There are some rooms where creativity can be seen while others are quiet Hide innovative details in a traditional, timeless setting. The latter is the bathroom by Ben Quie & Sons, which specializes in remodeling, renovating and restoring vintage and historic homes. Built in 1921, the home is bursting with original architectural touches, but lacked a modern amenity – a private master bath.

When building this bathroom over the existing winter garden, the priority was not to detract from the charm of the house. As a supporter of a historic home, it wasn’t convincing that Ben Quie designer Amy Rynerson Markus was fully on board. In fact, their commitment to the project, which was built for homeowners Bob and Mary Beck, resulted in a well-deserved 2020 NARI-MN CotY Award and a 2021 NARI Regional CotY Award for the St. Paul Remodeler and General Contractor. Mary says, “They really understood how to build a modern bathroom while respecting our older, classic home.”

Stunning floor tile

To emulate the marble in the other bathroom in the house, the room features polished porcelain tiles that create a calm feeling of continuity. A carpet of tiles under the bathtub serves as an anchor with a black marble border and a herringbone field tile. And although the floor looks traditional, it hides a modern secret: the floor
Heating, something Rynerson Markus believes makes the space a lot more comfortable, especially during cold Minnesota winters. (Bob confirms the underfloor heating exceeded expectations.)

Relaxing bathtub

A freestanding bathtub is a luxurious element in any bathroom. In this case, however, it’s more than just a pampering locale – it’s a great example of how this master bath is subtly enhanced with features that age on-site.

“Aside from honoring the time of the house, one of the main goals was aging in place,” says Rynerson Markus. “This bathroom is a great example of how designing an on-site aging room doesn’t have to be clinical. It can be modern and beautiful. “

Though the tub is deep, it’s still one that “is easier for the elderly to get in and out of,” says Bob. The bathroom is equipped with similar features such as grab bars, a hand shower and a fold-down shower bench. “A good bath is always a pleasure,” he adds.

Calming prospects and beautiful light

As with most historical additions and remodeling, Rynerson Markus said it was important that the extension look like it was being built with the house. In order to make the room appear coherent inside and outside, six double-hanging windows that match the existing windows in the winter garden below were integrated into the main bathroom. Another touch is the large mirror above the sink that maximizes natural light. “The bathroom is a quiet, calming space that feels like an escape into the trees,” muses Mary. “All windows give the illusion of a treehouse escape.”

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