Limitless Construction’s Matt Wagoner knows first-hand how local zoning regulations and grandfather clauses can impose significant limits and create opportunities when remodeling or rebuilding older homes. He specializes in raising neglected houses in up-trending neighborhoods and building new homes that make the most of the old foundations. He tackles these teardown projects both for clients and for his own property investments.
Photos by Dan Graves Photography
While acknowledging that some people prefer preservation at any cost, Matt says Limitless projects demonstrate how starting over can produce homes with superior space planning, energy efficiency and finishes and still suit the neighborhood.
“If the existing foundation is sound, we know it is done settling. And retaining the original footprint usually means we can build to existing setbacks, which may be less stringent than for new construction,” Matt began.
Designing a home on an existing foundation doesn’t provide quite the freedom of all-new construction, yet it is much more flexible than adapting the original framing.
“We can remove walls, add dormers and reposition stairways during traditional remodeling, but you typically end up with an even better structure if we rebuild everything above the foundation,” he said. “With our approach you start with 2×6 walls with up to R-21 insulation, windows right where you want them, the best possible traffic flow and the maximum usable space.“
Limitless recently sold a home it rebuilt in Shorewood near Lake Minnetonka. The original house had been abandoned and condemned. The city allowed Limitless to retain the original circular driveway on the corner lot with the modest setback. However, the new home had to mirror the footprint and height of the old home. Replacing the outdated split-level with a more popular two-story design within the 26-foot height limit would have resulted in a shallow pitch roof and boxy elevation. To achieve spacious 9-foot ceilings inside and an appealing exterior, Matt incorporated four dormers to preserve the scale with proper gable ends. He took the opposite approach at a St. Louis Park home where he excavated a portion of the basement floor to create headroom for a home theater with stadium seating and twin NASCAR racing simulators. That home is currently on the market.
“We start with a desirable location. Then we create the best possible home for the residents and the community after considering all of the limitations and opportunities,” Matt said.
House flipper calculus usually is based on spending the least to make the biggest financial gain at resale. Matt says his Limitless approach is different. “When we find ourselves limited by a small lot, we invest more in features, surfaces and finishes to make up what we lack in land,” he explained. “It’s about attention to detail more than the amount of overall space.“
The quality craftsmen’s touch is evident in the custom millwork, barn doors, gorgeous tile patterns, rich flooring and attractive lighting common to Limitless projects.
“When the location is right it would be shortsighted to cut corners on the house itself,” Matt remarked. Done right, the possibilities are, well, limitless. To see the St. Louis Park home or discuss your own tear-down opportunity, call Matt at (612) 240-9364.