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Building a Perfect Fit

Architecture That Embraces Beauty and Function in an Understated, Timeless Fashion

Thoughtful Design. Delightful Living. This is not just the tagline of A&H Architecture in Minneapolis, but a credo they follow with every structure they create, whether it's from the ground up or when remodeling what’s already there. 

The firm was founded over 20 years ago by Christine Albertsson and officially became Albertsson Hansen Architecture in 2002 when Todd Hansen joined as partner. Later, Mark Tambornino and Ian McLellan also joined in leadership, and now the four partners are assisted by a team who share their dedication to enhancing the lives of their clients.

“All of our strengths come into play in different projects, depending on how they're needed,” says Ian. “I think the key though is that we all have a passion for residential architecture and design, and for bringing beauty to people's everyday lives.”

"The goal has always been to design homes that resonate on many levels," explains Todd. “These can be part of the history of American residential architecture or cabin architecture. The stories that people bring from their own memories carry a lot of connotation and existing vocabularies to engage with, so the idea is to bring together a very large number of variables into a unified whole that serves the client's lives beautifully.” 

Instead of creating structures that are showy and ostentatious, the team focuses on understated, timeless beauty in harmony with the natural surroundings, whether that is an urban, suburban or rural environment. One of their projects that exemplifies this type of vision is a cabin on Katherine Lake in Wisconsin built for a family living in Los Angeles.   

“The wife has Wisconsin roots, and their extended family has rented a house on this lake for several years, and they found this property to build on,” says Todd. “They hired us to help them create a retreat home that would replace their summer rentals and be a place that's truly theirs. Many of the homes on this lake are somewhat recessive, so this cabin is low key and set back behind the trees. We tried to be faithful to that and make it feel like it was at home in its community.”

The property has two lake frontages, and A&H Architecture took full advantage of those gorgeous views by situating the rooms and windows to show them at maximum capacity. “There's a large lodge room with a fireplace at one end, a dining table at the other end, and then an adjacent kitchen that looks across the living room to a long window wall,” says Todd. 

The main floor of the home was organized, he says, around a casual living area where everyone could gather, but could also get away and enjoy separate activities. The bedroom wing allows homeowners and guests to have some private space away from this main family area. “One of the best bedrooms is a bunk room with six separate sleeping nooks,” says Todd. “One of the goals of the client was to make it a very fun place for children, and they had a vision of a bunk room where each bed was in a niche of some kind.”

There's also a porch that wraps around a good portion of the cabin, a screened-in porch in one corner overlooking the lake and a large lawn area for kids to play. “The family loves the home and feels like it matches their and their extended family’s needs,” he says. 

From beginning to end, the clients had a say in what was happening. “We work collaboratively with the clients throughout,” says Ian. “There's a lot of ongoing communication through that initial design process and after the contractors on board. We're still often collaborating with the client on some decisions and opportunities that arise throughout construction.”

A&H Architecture also offers interior design services. “The lighting, hardware, furniture and paint colors - we see it all as a continuum from the overall site down to a doorknob or a color that's used in a rug,” says Todd. “But that's not to say that we're trying to dictate how people live in the home. We want it to feel like theirs and really enjoy our collaborations with our clients as the primary source of inspiration.”

They’re also very open to working with other industry professionals. “Some clients already have a relationship with an interior designer or landscape architect, and we love collaborating with other skilled people,” says Ian. “We all speak the same language and as long as it’s in the client's best interest, it's so much fun.” For the Katherine Lake project, they worked with the owner’s prior interior designer from Los Angeles. 

“As a team, our ultimate goal is to really meet our clients where they are, try to understand them and try to translate their vision into a built form that's going to be timeless, site appropriate and super functional for their daily lives,” says Todd. 

Adds Ian, “I think the best feedback I've heard is when a client, at the end of the project, says ‘You built the house exactly as I wanted for my family.’” 

A&H Architecture has several architects who are members of the Minnesota chapter of American Society of Interior Designers and has won many awards for their projects. To find out more, go to

"I think the key is that we all have a passion for residential architecture and for bringing beauty to people's everyday lives."