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Brick Walls and Spiral Staircase Steal the Show at Foster Road Retreat

Turning an 1850’s farmhouse into a modern home often means a careful compromise between the old and the new. But the Foster Road Retreat in Iowa City seems nothing like a revamped farmhouse when you look at it from a distance. A fabulous makeover by Neumann Monson Architects gives this old and dreary structure a light-filled and cheerful new lease of life where the classic elements are toned down and modern minimalism takes over. The central focal point of the new interior is the spiral staircase that connects the living area on the lower level with the new master suite above.

Lush garden and lovely trees shape the landscape around the Foster Road Retreat

It is not just the spiral metallic staircase that grabs your attention here as the exposed brick walls all around remind us gently of the home’s cherished past. The attic level with cleverly placed windows and skylights holds the new master bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet. Balancing wood and brick with steel and glass, there is plenty of textural contrast inside this elegant home while polished modern finishes make their presence felt both in the living area and the bedrooms.

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Metallic spiral staircase and exposed brick walls steal the show on the lower level living room
Exposed brick walls and a spiral stairway shape the new interior
View of the new interior and the spiral stairway from the garden
Large windows bring ample light into the new attic level master suite
Sheltered walkways and a lovely garden create a wonderful outdoor escape

On the eco-friendly side of things, an 8.4 KW photovoltaic panel is used to provide electricity for the house even as top-notch insulation and passive heating techniques cut back on power consumption. Add to this LED lighting and EnergyStar appliances and you have a revitalized residence where life is both merry and green! [Photography: Integrated Studio]

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Revamped 1850’s rustic house with a modern appeal
View of the Foster Road Retreat from the retreat
Covered walkway connects the two units of the Foster Road Retreat
Look at the revitalized floor plan with new stairway
Floor plan of lower level of Foster Road Retreat

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