Architecture + Design

The New Luxury

As the economy begins to show signs of new life, local design professionals are welcoming the return of a wiser and more thoughtful luxury.

luxury home

Now that the home industry is showing signs of new life, local design pros are welcoming the return of a wiser and more thoughtful luxury. We asked local architects, builders, remodelers, interior designers, and landscape designers for their perspective on luxury.

luxury home

Hallmarks of the New Luxury

We asked local architects, builders, remodelers, interior designers, and landscape designers for their perspective on luxury.


"Our clients feel that the time is now. They're seeing a recovery to the recession, and they're realizing that there are good buys in the finest locations." Bob Carlson, president Jyland Construction Management


"People want to be good stewards of their money and not waste money on things that are only for show or will rarely get used. But once they commit to a project, they're not afraid of quality, even if it's sometimes at a higher price." Rick Hendel, owner Hendel Homes

Charles Stinson


"More than ever, luxury is the desire and the time to be thoughtful about how and where you want to live." Charles Stinson, AIA Charles R. Stinson Architects


"I think that people are nesting deeper and more profoundly than they did before. More than ever, I find that our clients are looking at their outdoor environment as a way to spend time with family and close friends and enjoy our amazing seasons, all of which feeds the soul in a very real way." Jim Sweeney, founder and senior designer Mom's Landscaping & Design


"Instead of expensive exterior materials and details, our clients are asking for low-cost, low-maintenance materials such as James Hardie fiber cement siding and heavy asphalt shingles." Bruce Knutson, AIA, president, Bruce Knutson Architects


"When our clients know that they are getting a good, fair value, they are more comfortable about spending money on things they want. They are not being excessive, but they still want nice things." Tony Sonnen, managing partner Gonyea Homes

Home by Charles Stinson, AIA, Charles R. Stinson Architects; built by Streeter & Associates; Interiors by CRS Interiors; Photos by Paul Crosby

luxury home

What Architects are Seeing


“Our clients aren’t house jumping. They’re thinking about where they want to live in 10 and 20 years or even for the rest of their lives. One couple is happily giving up their cabin up north in order to design a ‘home resort’ so that they can see their kids and grandkids more often.” Charles Stinson, AIA Charles R. Stinson Architects 

Styled by Sharon Seitz. Furnishings from HISTORIC Studio.


“The most money is being spent on kitchens, followed by master bathrooms. Instead of media rooms, computer rooms, exercise rooms, and basement entertainment rooms with separate bar rooms, clients are looking for fewer, smaller, and better-quality multiuse spaces for entertaining, doing homework, and watching TV.” Bruce Knutson, AIA, president Bruce Knutson Architects


“Our clients are thinking further into the future than ever before. We have clients in Germany who want to know exactly how many BTUs per square foot it will take to heat and cool their house. They’re willing to ‘pay it forward’ with geothermal, green roofs, and other solutions to keep energy costs down in the future.” Charles Stinson, AIA Charles R. Stinson Architects

Andrea Peschel Swan


“Clients are more discreet about how they’re spending their money. They’re willing to invest more time into planning and exploring their options in order to obtain the best value in terms of quality and cost.” Andrea Peschel Swan, AIA Swan Architecture

Shingle-style home in Edina designed by Andrea Peschel Swan and built by Elevation Homes; sketch courtesy of Swan Architecture; Home photos by Steve Henke; Andrea Peschel Swan photo by Melinda Nelson

luxury home

What Builders and Remodelers are Saying

Jyland home in Indian Hills, Edina. Rendering courtesy of Jyland.


“The days of the 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot house are gone. Most of our clients want a home in a good location with 3,700 to 4,000 square feet of space. They’re looking for smart design without a lot of wasted space, energy efficiency, and a nice level of finish.” Eric Nelson, owner/principal REFINED


“Many of our clients are ‘move-up’ buyers. Although they may be selling their current home at less than what it was worth a few years ago, they are saving more than that on their new home, because new homes cost much less than they used to.” Tony Sonnen, managing partner Gonyea Homes


“During the early to mid-2000s, clients were willing to pay almost anything for green attributes. Our clients are still interested in having a ‘green’ home, but they want see a return on their investment in energy savings.” Tony Sonnen, managing partner Gonyea Homes

Brian Jones


“Luxury is less about opulence and indulgence and more about personal enjoyment. Our clients are less concerned about resale. Instead, they’re refining, repurposing, and enhancing their living spaces for themselves.” Brian Jones, President Jones Design Build

Ed Roskowinski

“Our clients want quality windows and doors and spray foam insulation to create a ‘tight envelope,’ in-floor heat throughout the home, traditional solid wood floors (not laminate), chef-level kitchens, and brighter, more colorful palettes.” Ed Roskowinski, Owner/General Manager Vujovich Design Build


“More people are looking to build because there’s a lack of inventory in certain neighborhoods, and what you can buy for around a million isn’t nearly what you can get for a newly constructed home.” Eric Nelson, owner/principal REFINED

Bob Carlson


“Our clients are looking for tailored space planning with an overall smaller scale. They want comfortable and cozy living spaces with some ‘flex’ space for themselves and also for resale attraction.” Bob Carlson, president Jyland Construction Management

Brian Jones collaborated with interior designer Jaque Bethke on this Lake Minnetonka home. Photo by Rat Race Studios.

What Interior Designers are Saying

Maureen Haggerty


“Luxury is no longer about abundance, opulence, and how much money you can spend. Today, luxury is about making smart, purposeful decisions about the way you want to live.” Maureen Haggerty, Allied ASID Mint, Inc.

Maureen Haggerty designed a wealth of display space for her client's collections.


“Overall, I find that people are much more cautious about spending money. At the same time, my clients understand the value of quality design and recognize that it actually saves money over time.”


“My clients are asking for ‘command central’—drop zones for iPhones, iPads, and iPods—plus in-floor heating, low-VOC paints, natural textiles, and other sustainable products.”


“I’m working with clients on Summit Avenue in St. Paul, Interlachen Boulevard in Edina, Bearpath in Eden Prairie, as well as in North Oaks and Turtle Lake and Chetek, Wisconsin.”


“I continue to use timeless, tried-and-true materials such as natural stone, Venetian plaster, saturated paint colors, and classic tiles. I also love statement textiles with lush trimmings and tailored window treatments, distinctive wall coverings, and elegant rugs.”


“Whether my clients want a single room or an entire home, they’re asking for interiors that make them feel refreshed, renewed, and replenished. This is the new luxury.”

Lucy Penfield


“For me, luxury is quieter, softer, and less showy than ever before. It’s about the luxury of time and balance in life. It’s also about gathering with friends and family to laugh and share life through story. It’s not about what we have, but how we feel.” Lucy Penfield, Allied ASID Lucy Interior Design


“Whether our clients are building a new house or remodeling an older home, they’re patient, disciplined, and committed to good design, which requires thoughtful consideration and discussion among the architect, builder, client, and designer.”


“Most of our clients want beautiful furniture and luxurious fabrics that stand the test of time. They’re willing to wait 12 to 16 weeks for custom higher-end furniture, because they know it’s so worth the wait. Other clients who just want a design pick-me-up are fine with ready-to-order furniture at a good price, even if they know that they may have to replace it later.”


“We love the purity of linens from Italy or Belgium, wools from Scotland, and fresh, crisp cotton prints. For a little glam, we love a luxurious Trevira for drapery and the plushness and authenticity of a rich mohair for a sofa.”


“Our clients want comfortable, pretty gathering rooms that can be moved around, changed, and repurposed, as well as new bedrooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.”

Andréa Dixon and Jen Ziemer


“More and bigger is no longer what people are aspiring to. Our clients are choosing to spend their money on high-end quality pieces that they truly love and that mean something to them. They’re thinking of furniture as heirlooms to pass down to their children.” Andréa Dixon, CKD and Jen Ziemer, Allied ASID Fiddlehead Design Group

Andréa Dixon and Jen Ziemer designed the small but chic powder room.


“Between the Internet, design books, and magazines, our clients are more educated than ever. Most of them have already done their research before they meet with us. They’re using Pinterest and Houzz to organize their thoughts and build a wish list. Their tear-sheet files are huge!”


“What’s exciting about all our clients is that they value design and understand the impact it has on their lives. As a result, they’re much more involved in the design process than they used to be. Instead of ‘here’s my budget, now go do it,’ they’re collaborating with us at every step of the way.”

Jaque Bethke


“The refreshing part of this ‘new economy,’ to coin a Wall Street phrase, is that people are just more thoughtful about spending and how their choices affect others.” Jaque Bethke, Allied ASID Pure Design Environments


“The luxury mindset has changed. It’s not about how much you spend on any one thing, it’s about how thoughtful you are in your spending. If a service or product is unique, innovative, and has an inherent value that will enhance your life, the price is less important.”


“Our clients are looking for rooms as individual as they are. As long as the environment is right, the cost per square foot is less of a priority than the enjoyment of the space.”


“Our clients want solutions that are efficient, easy to use, and portable. They love being able to use technology to communicate, manage their schedules, and control their homes from wherever they are.”


“Technology allows consumers to interface with architects, designers, and suppliers globally. As a result of Houzz and other design sites, we’re working nationwide in places we’ve never directly marketed to.”

What Landscape Designers are Saying

Andrew Kruger and his team of artisans transformed a plain wall into a French-inspired work of art.


“Our new Encanto Orange trailing begonia is an easy way to add a dash of color to the garden, and it’s right on trend with Tangerine Tango, the Pantone Color of the Year!” Nola Wagner, president Wagner's Greenhouse


“Things are so tenuous right now that people are looking for ways to feel as though they have some control over their lives. Spending money on their home is both practical and empowering. Landscaping allows people to restore and maintain value in their homes, and that feels really good for everyone involved.” Adam Newton, MLA The Corduroy Studio, Inc.

Andrew Kruger


“Our clients understand the architectural essence of their homes, and they want landscaping, gardens, and outdoor rooms that reflect the authenticity of the style, whether that’s French, Italian, English, or classic American.” Andrew Kruger, owner and designer Gray's Landscaping


“Many of our clients are replacing their traditional lawn with a prairie garden or other native landscape because they want to do the right thing for the environment by conserving water and creating a home for birds, butterflies, and other wildlife. Other clients have realized that they don’t need or want to spend five hours on the lawnmower every weekend. Whatever the motivation for choosing a native landscape, the benefits all go hand in hand!” Mike Evenocheck, director of sales and marketing,  Prairie Restorations, Inc.

Dee Larson and Tim Winters designed this dramatic transformation.
Dee Larson


“Twenty years ago, our clients traveled to a lake home or cabin, but now they want that retreat or gathering space in their own backyard. When time is so precious, it makes sense to bring the luxuries home.” Dee Larson, MNLA certified professional Dee Larson Landscape & Design


“Especially in our hectic world, flowers and plants are an easy way to create the luxury of calm and serenity. I think that we should all surround ourselves with roses, orchids, and other forms of nature’s beauty on a daily basis, indoors and out!” Judy Hohmann, marketing and public relations manager, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Home photos courtesy of Winco Landscape & Design