One Gardener's Sanctuary

Where: Morningside, Mpls. Designer: Meriwether Felt, AIA

  • Photo by Susan Gilmore
    To preserve natural light, Felt used a metal grate for the shelf above the potting bench that was powder coated to look like bronze.
  • Photo by Susan Gilmore
    Harper chose the Carrera and Connemara mosaic tile because it reminded her of Ireland and holds up to water—a must for the transitional space.
  • Photo by Susan Gilmore
    The custom patina counter by Raw Urth was cut to size in Colorado and then sent to Minneapolis in a crate. Fortunately, it fit!
  • Photo by Susan Gilmore
    The hardware is a mix of bronze and un-lacquered brass, which will take on a mottled patina to mimic the rest of the look and feel of the home.

Mollie Kennedy Harper loves getting her hands dirty. So much so that she decided to build a gardening room off the south side of her Minneapolis bungalow. Because the nearby kitchen was already filled with sunlight, Harper yearned for a room that would transition from her cozy and intimate interiors to her pool and gardens outside.

She started by contacting architect Meriwether Felt, who quickly understood that Harper craved a functional space that would handle wet feet and potting soil yet look like it was part of the original home. Together they went to work on designs that took into careful consideration how every detail would complement the 94-year-old home—a task that proved to be easier said than done.

To honor the homeowner’s love of light and nature and the fact that Harper had just spent eight years stripping her woodwork of paint, Felt included wood-slatted windows below the countertop, giving the space a screen-porch feeling even though it is completely enclosed. Felt also searched for a working trench drain that looked like it was 90 years old but was also up to code. She ultimately repurposed a bronze drain cover with an approved drain body, which matched the bronze and patina materials used throughout the rest of the room, resulting in the perfect sanctuary for whenever Harper feels like testing her green thumb and playing in the mud.