Dating from the early 1900s, fourteen summer cottages surround a central green and ring historic Crane Island in Lake Minnetonka. The same families have owned the homes for generations. The client’s plan to build a new home on the island, located on the site of a demolished cottage, presented the challenge of delicately fitting it into the historic context and respecting the Midwestern architectural character cherished by the residents.
Designed to celebrate casual summer living, the new house accommodates frequent guests, as well as spaces for retreat. The project also entailed relocating a small historic shed on the property and converting it into a guest house. The design breaks down the scale of the house by creating two linked gabled structures to better match the scale of the other island homes. Each gabled part has slightly different detailing to convey the sense of accretion over time. The ensemble of structures on the site (including the main house, guest house, and existing water tower) provides an ideal relaxed environment for the activities of the family and their guests.