Thompson + Pollari

Lewis Residence | Sunfish Lake, Minnesota

L. Pollari was the design architect for the project while working with another firm

The property for this house was purchased primarily for its scenic quality, not for the existing house which was a split-level based on a “deck house” catalogue design. A total interior and exterior renovation and 1900sf of additions were requested by the Owners, along with a new pool located in a meadow on the 6.5 acre property.

The new family room became the programmatic focus of the house, with a quarter of the existing footprint of the house being dedicated to this new space. The family room space includes the kitchen, casual dining/entertainment areas and was designed to have direct physical and visual access to a new pool and patio area on the meadow side of the house.  A new curving, cherry-wood window wall system encloses the family room, and complements a finish-matched two-story window-wall system on the pond side of the house that frames the upper level living room and lower level family room.

Two new “wood wall” systems were added to the house to create additional SF, and to contrast against the formal stucco “spine wall” that separates the formal front of the house, from the informal family room side of the house. The combined wall systems evoke a vernacular quality befitting this rural Minnesota location.


January  – 1993

Key Design Concepts

  • Transformation of a “split-level” design to become a custom home
  • Family room as primary new volume with curving plan form
  • Wood wall systems to frame space and create new square footage
  • Warm stucco spine wall to separate formal and informal zones of the house
  • Split level entry becomes the formal entry to upper level living room