McMinn open house: it just felt good

Lawrence Modern held its first residential gathering in four years at the Countryside Lane home of Dan & Lori McMinn on May 21st. (It was also Lawrence Modern’s 20th anniversary.) More than 100 guests enjoyed nearly perfect spring weather and a fabulously cool house that has been remodeled period-correct, landscaped for living, and furnished appropriately but also daringly, with an off-kilter pro style that is both playful and unaffected. In other words, an inspiration for homeowners thinking about a remodel or redecoration of their midcentury home. During the presentation portion of the event the McMinns explained their philosophy on remodeling: 1) when you remodel, give a nod to the era; 2) before remodeling, live in the space to get a feel for how you use it; and 3) find a good building partner to work with. This led them to hire Daniel Hoyt of Hoyt House, a former KU architecture grad, who made significant enhancements to the kitchen, deck, screened porch and other areas of the house that were updated. In lesser hands the sum would have negated the parts but here everything comes together beautifully.

In his summary talk, Dennis Domer was inspired by the form-follows-function aspects of the house and elaborated the philosophical ideas that underpinned it. He reminded everyone how the McMinn house was built during a heady time when a lot of modern-minded students were pouring out of the KU Architecture Department and new ideas for modern residential living were streaming in from the outside. “Lawrence was a great place to receive modern architecture,” Domer said. “And I think when you come into this building, doesn’t it just make you feel good? Doesn’t it make you feel young and new, and inspires you to enjoy life to the fullest, in a very modern and a very humanistic way? This is not a machine for living as much as it is a machine for a home to be built. For anyone living here it’s a great pleasure to come to this place. This kind of place makes it worthwhile to live in Lawrence.”

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