The site for this project was on a bluff overlooking the St. Croix River. The owners wanted a large open-planned space that connected the kitchen, living, and dining spaces. They also wanted this space to add some “wow” factor and provide better views to the river. In providing such a space we encountered a number of challenges. The living/dining and kitchen areas felt disconnected from one another and from the river. Its partially vaulted ceilings were too low to create any drama and it had no focal point. To solve these spatial challenges we removed the central structural wall separating living/dining from kitchen and replaced it with a colonnade, which allowed the rooms to flow together. We also added fully-vaulted ceilings and a full-width fireplace/cabinet in the living/dining area to add more drama and a focal point. The owners wanted to improve the space’s lighting levels and views to the river. To solve these environmental challenges we added 45 linear feet of windows and doors along the South and West walls, which provided access to light and river views for all areas. We also provided light-colored and reflective materials/surfaces to bounce light and a layered lighting scheme that offered greater lighting flexibility throughout the day. The owners wanted a more traditionally-styled space. We used consistently-detailed traditional millwork throughout the spaces (fireplace cabinets, columns, kitchen cabinets/island, door/window casing, etc.) and paired those with the owner’s classic rift sawn oak Amish furnishings.