Mike and Eileen Lindburg knew they wanted their 1939 Harter Heights home to be more open, more filled with natural light and more spacious. They hired Architect Bill Jackson and Martin Brothers Contracting to build a 1,500 square-foot addition that would do just that.
“It was a 1940s home designed for 1940s living,” according to Mike. “And we discovered that South Bend was a bit cloudier than we remembered.”
Mike and Eileen moved to South Bend from Albany, New York, with the ultimate goal of retiring here. They wanted to live within walking distance of the University of Notre Dame and in 2007, bought a home in the historic neighborhood just south of the university. He’s an ND grad and she graduated from Saint Mary’s College. Both sold their respective businesses, but Mike ended up here first, attending the Master’s Program at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Eileen joined him in 2013 after selling her commercial real estate business. They have a daughter (ND Class of 2006) who lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York with her husband and daughter, and a son who attends Princeton University.
Jackson started to work designing an addition to the two-story home that represents the Streamline Moderne architectural style (a stripped-down style that followed Art Deco) and reflects industrial trends, including long horizontal lines, curving forms and technology. The addition incorporates some elements of Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes with horizontal windows, a move to bring nature indoors, and long, open living spaces. Jackson faced the challenge of breaking up the home’s symmetry with such a large addition. The Lindburgs ended up buying the house next door and tearing it down—the result being a brand-new space with lots of glass, clerestory windows, overhangs to allow as much light as possible, and recessed patio doors on both sides of the new living area to blur the separation between inside and outside.
Construction began in October of 2013 and the home was completed in June of 2014. At one point in the process, a basement was dug and a steel frame was constructed that was not attached to the original home. “It kind of looked like a Jiffy Lube if you squinted your eyes,” Jackson says, noting that the unusual sight got a lot of attention from the neighbors. The homeowners and architect credit Martin Brothers with doing a very good job executing the design and the vision. Jeff Martin, owner of Martin Brothers, says it was a difficult but extremely rewarding process. “As with any remodel, we needed to make sure everything flowed well from a structural and aesthetic standpoint,” he adds. “Our goal is to look like the addition has always been there.” The original brick, which is the same color as the brick at ND (a beige, taupe mix) had to match the addition. Martin said Rose Brick brought in about six different colors for them to inspect and match despite the fact that the exact color of brick is not available anymore. As anyone who has undergone a major home construction project knows, it is not easy to live in the midst of organized chaos. “We had to cook on a hot plate in the living room and occasionally had no water on the first floor,” says Eileen. It was disruptive enough that at one point Jackson put them up in a condominium he owned.
A Few Details
The finished product is sleek yet comfortable, light and airy but also private, and full of customized, personal touches that make the addition so perfect for this transplanted family. While all the glass in the addition precludes a lot of art on the walls, a small darker gray-colored wall across from the kitchen accentuates a bright yellow painting by Peruvian artist Francesco Grippa. Mike and Eileen met him while on a boat trip down the Amazon River. Mike climbed into his Weasley-type Harry Potter-ish home and purchased two canvases, rolled them up and climbed back on the boat. The kitchen is one of those that screams “entertain, entertain!” A large island has a soapstone countertop and granite perimeter as well as a stovetop with six burners and lots of storage underneath (now used for family photo albums). The other countertops are stainless steel for heavy-duty food prep. A glass shelving unit in the kitchen was designed to open up the area between the kitchen and the hallway and incorporate some design trends of the Streamline Moderne style. The kitchen floor is Marmoleum, a product used often in commercial buildings, that is soft yet very durable. The Ayr Custom Cabinetry includes perimeter maple cabinets while the island is a stained cherry. Both the island and perimeter are inset in style. The limestone fireplace in the main room was custom made in Chicago to match a French 1930s Streamline Moderne design. Eileen said she picked a flat finish for the Hickory floors in the main room, but when the look wasn’t exactly what she had in mind, a more satin-y finish was applied. Her previous larger, more traditional home in New York had cherry floors, but she wanted this home to be different in style and décor. The light shelves constructed in the main room allow the natural light to bounce off the shelves up to the ceiling, which is a nod to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian homes. Other features of the addition: an office for Eileen, a large pantry and laundry room with lots of storage and a backup refrigerator. “We kept having them build more storage,” says Eileen.
The End Result
While the Lindburgs have a few more features in mind for the home, including a pergola on one of the patios, it “feels” the way they intended it to feel. “We had the best Christmas of our lives here,” says Eileen. “Everyone was so happy.”