1. South Texas Ranch

    Located in southern Texas, this 20,000-acre ranch was once part of the famous King Ranch. For the reuse of this historic site, the client requested that the new buildings reflect the region, blend in with the existing aesthetic, and convey a sense of being 100 years old. The ranch now serves as a private hunting retreat. To support guests spending much of their time outdoors, the design integrates interior and exterior spaces and incorporates natural materials, such as Texas limestone, adobe, and mesquite, throughout. Traditional by-hand building practices include the use of chiseled stone, carved woodwork, and painted tile. Interiors reflect a Spanish colonial influence through details, ranging from the brick Boveda ceiling in the cantina to Fogon corner fireplaces and Banco adobe benches.

  2. The Rivers 5th Floor Condo

    This end-of-corridor unit features three exterior walls with exposures to the north, east, and west and views of the Mississippi River. This configuration allows natural light to flood the space and provides a continual visual connection to the landscape. Project success involved full engagement by the design team, contractor, and client.

  3. GAP School Page Street Houses

    This project is a collaboration with GAP School, a skills training program that teaches young adults construction trades by having them build actual construction projects. The structures are designed to accommodate the program by using simple construction techniques, modest roof slopes, and moderate framing spans, while creating homes that meet the highest design standards. These four new single-family homes for low-income families are designed to accommodate multiple generations living under the same roof. The homes have bedrooms, bathrooms, and commons spaces on the ground floor for elderly or disabled family members. The homes are oriented on the lot to accommodate two parked cars in the driveway, leaving the adjacent public sidewalk clear for pedestrians.

    Referencing Passive House design standards, passive systems include a solar chimney, window placement to promote cross ventilation, concrete mass flooring, and large south-facing windows. Since the homes themselves serve as teaching tools, the design prioritizes more labor-intensive processes over expensive materials to achieve performance efficiencies. For example, the exterior walls are a double wall with rigid insulation to illustrate construction technique, rather than using more expensive insulation materials. Simple, time-honored passive design strategies enable homeowners to easily and sustainably maintain their homes. The client is pursuing LEED v4.1 Residential Single Family Homes Platinum certification for the first home.



  4. Bush Lake Kitchen

    This couple’s desire to reconfigure their dated kitchen created an opportunity to make it function better as the primary social space and heart of their home. Inefficiently laid out, the existing kitchen restricted the number of people who could cook, bake, and can together in it. To address this constraint, the design team created an expansive open environment by removing a wall adding on an underutilized office space and the existing kitchen. This expansion not only increased the size of the kitchen, but also created new possibilities for collaboration and social gathering. Other limitations to the existing kitchen included wall ovens that were too small for larger cookie sheets and other items; tired looking maple cabinets, trim, and floors; and a layout that provided only uninspired views within the house.

    The new kitchen includes a 16′ x 5-1/2′ island that provides ample workspace for three to four people to cook harmoniously together as well as for friends and family to gather around. Positioned strategically, the island invites views out the windows and glass doors to Bush Lake and the nature preserve beyond. To further bring the outside inside, the once-isolated three-season porch is now seamlessly connected to the rest of the house through a wide, four-panel glass door system. The new kitchen design also includes an efficient storage system, tailored to the couple’s specific needs, that ensures a clutter-free and organized environment where everything has its proper place. The reconfigured kitchen supports more entertaining, accommodating larger groups in the eating area. Allowing family and guests to be present in the kitchen without being intrusive, the kitchen fosters a sense of togetherness as a true hub of social interaction.

    MSR Design served as architect for the project, with Fontaine Designs, LLC, providing interior design services.

  5. Humboldt Lofts Penthouse

    To take full advantage of the spectacular view of the theater and existing terrace, the redesigned space integrates the terrace as part of the main living area. A new 12′ high x 15′ wide sliding glass door can be kept open during spring, summer, and fall, making the transition from interior to exterior seamless. A roof/ceiling plane made of perforated stainless steel visually connects inside and out and helps keep the kitchen cool during the summer months. Poorly defined, the wide open living space was not used to its full capacity. The new layout has clearly defined areas for cooking, dining, and entertaining. Custom-designed millwork highlights the fireplace, a focal point for the living area. An oversized couch can be easily reconfigured for a range of activities, from enjoying a book by the fire to throwing parties.

  6. Four Seasons Private Residences

    Located on the top six floors of Minneapolis’s new Gateway Tower, these new condos complement the building’s hotel and office space. The Four Seasons Hotel is the first five-star hotel in Minnesota, and the residences are designed to match that standard of luxury. Condo design options include two palettes: the Nordic palette, a calming, refreshing take on modern Scandinavian design; and the Urban palette, a sensuous, glamorous, more urbane scheme. The design features local materials (selected within a 500-mile radius) and natural, healthy, sustainably sourced materials. MSR Design also designed and selected all furniture and art work used in the public spaces, sales center, and model home. We are also currently designing one of the three penthouse condos.

  7. Project for Pride in Living & Clare Housing Bloom Lake Flats

    Bloom Lake Flats is an affordable housing complex with 50% of the apartments dedicated to people living with HIV/AIDS. The project was developed through a partnership between Project for Pride in Living (PPL) and Clare Housing. Bloom Lake Flats provides 42 efficiency dwelling units for residents who earn 15% of the area median income and 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments for residents earning 30% of the area median income. The complex features spaces for supportive services, including a community room, a yoga room, onsite management and case worker office, and a nurse’s office. Also includes an outdoor green space and a play area.

  8. Washburn Lofts Condo

    This home in the Washburn Lofts renovation focused on making the home function well for entertaining. The new owners regularly entertain large groups; but like most homeowners they wanted the home to feel intimate and warm when it is just the two of them. The living room, dining room, guest suite, and media room were completely remodeled and the kitchen was relocated. The new owners also added a walk-in pantry, a wine room, a bar, and a laundry room. In the primary living areas, walnut paneling and cabinetry was chosen to continue the shelving kept in the library, while the concrete floors were ground down to change the luminescence of the concrete.

    Kitchen cabinets were salvaged from the previous primary and service kitchens for use in the laundry room and the new pantry. The media room and guest suite switched places to provide a direct connection from the guest bedroom to the guest bathroom. The former flour mill’s exterior walls were uncovered to let them become an important part of the home’s décor.

    MSR Design selected new furnishings, lighting, and rugs for the entire home, provided guidance on placement of art and where to place future artworks, and worked with a steel fabricator to design new large-scale art pieces for the entry.

  9. Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative Lydia Apartments

    This expansion and renovation to a 3-story affordable housing building adds 40 new dwelling units in a 6-story addition. The existing 40 dwelling units were remodeled as well as all the common spaces including a new integrated front entrance, reception desk, elevator, and bike storage area, as well as a larger, upgraded community kitchen. New staff office space and office space for the support services and property management providers were also added. Programs provided to residents living at Lydia support formerly homeless residents in finding work, building life skills, learning job skills, and managing substance use disorders and mental health issues.

    The 6-story addition builds on the building’s mid-century quality by composing a strongly vertical addition that compliments the horizontality of the original building. The addition was pushed back away from the street to provide a more gracious front yard buffer along a busy street. The ground floor contains a glass pavilion that allows visual transparency through the building. The parking court behind the building was sized to meet the needs of the staff, residents, and visitors by successfully appealing to the city to lower the required parking count to match real needs since almost all residents walk, bicycle or use public transit. The apartments come completely furnished with linens and personal care products, since many residents are transitioning from homelessness.

  10. Winslow House Condo Private Home

    The clients hired MSR Design to help them right size their current Minneapolis home. Creating space for regularly entertaining friends and family became a primary design driver. Completely gutted and reconfigured, the condominium offers a large master suite, contiguous entertainment spaces, and a home office that take advantage of beautiful views across the Mississippi River to downtown Minneapolis.

    The home includes a service kitchen for entertaining and a primary kitchen, which opens into a dining/living room for casual entertaining with the fireplace wall acting as a visually unifying agent for the more public spaces. Teak paneling and cabinets and a five foot long, white porcelain cantilevered peninsula complement the white-on-white kitchen.

    The design also incorporates the clients’ extensive art collection. Simplicity, careful choreography of spaces, feature lighting throughout the home, and timeless furniture selections characterize the design of this warm, modern home. Interior design was provided in collaboration with Jodi Gillespie Interior Design.