SALA Architects Preserves Historic Aesthetic Using LP® SmartSide® Lap Siding


SALA Architects, a Minneapolis-based architectural design firm, began developing artfully crafted, energy-efficient designs in 1983. Since then, they’ve built their reputation on translating their clients’ dreams into uniquely designed structures that sit lightly on the land upon which they are built.

In Fall 2014, they started the design of a net-zero Victorian era home remodeling project in Minneapolis. Homeowners Stewart and Linda Herman purchased the 1907 home with the intent to remodel it in a way that would maintain its original, historic beauty while conserving energy through a net-zero build.

To build the home with zero net energy consumption (meaning the total amount of energy used by the building roughly equals the amount of renewable energy created on the site), the team would need to rip off the existing siding in order to replace the insulation with a more efficient system of materials resulting in a tighter, more insulated home. The resulting re-side would need to be both durable in harsh Minnesota winters and also match the look of the home’s original siding. SALA Architects chose LP® SmartSide® Smooth Texture Lap Siding to preserve the home’s historic aesthetic, while assuring the durability needed to resist hail and extreme weather conditions. 


When the Hermans purchased the Victorian, their goal was to build a net-zero home that would preserve the exterior beauty and serve as a place to comfortably spend their retirement years. Stewart says, “We are fully invested in tradition. We wanted the traditional look and feel, but we didn’t want to have to pay the price that comes with older homes, like poor circulation, cold spots and high energy bills.” With this, the Hermans looked to SALA Architects Senior Associate Marc Sloot for guidance on how to achieve their vision.

Prior to using LP SmartSide siding products, Sloot used fiber cement siding. But with the Hermans’ goal in mind, Sloot sought an alternative. He says, “I looked around to find a good way to preserve the traditional look that would be both durable and economical.” Sloot explored the idea of engineered wood siding at a local Home & Gardener Show. “I saw LP SmartSide siding and asked the industry professionals’ opinions on it,” he explains. “They were all really positive in the things they had to say about LP SmartSide.”

After proposing LP SmartSide siding “as a good solution for the project” and ensuring the Hermans that he had confidence in the aesthetics and durability of LP SmartSide siding products, Sloot decided to use the LP SmartSide Smooth Texture Lap Siding, Trim and Fascia for the project. With the beauty they desired and the durability backed by an industry-leading warranty, the LP SmartSide clad home should help the Hermans enjoy their home well into retirement. 


SALA Architects started designing the remodel of the 1907 Minneapolis Victorian in Fall 2014 with two primary goals in mind—achieve net-zero energy consumption and maintain a traditional aesthetic. One of the ways they wanted to strive for net-zero energy was through better insulation. In order to increase the insulation when construction of the home started in Summer 2015, the entire outer “skin” of the home was removed. Once they increased the insulation in the home, SALA needed to re-side the entire home. For architects like SALA interested in environmentally friendly builds, LP SmartSide products are a responsible choice since they are sustainably sourced from SFI® certified forests, or obtained using SFI certified fiber sourcing programs. They are also designed to help reduce jobsite waste and engineered using only low-emitting, safe resins and free from added urea-formaldehyde.

In addition to its sustainability qualities, LP SmartSide products delivered a sought-after look that would embrace the historical look of the home. SALA selected LP SmartSide Smooth Texture Lap Siding as well as LP SmartSide Trim and Fascia for the home’s corner boards.

According to Sloot, “By using LP SmartSide siding, we could embrace and enhance the beauty that was already there.” With the classic, traditional Victorian style, he explains that they designed the home so that the “high performance aspects wouldn’t jump out,” but be incorporated in a seamless way to maintain the traditional look of the home. 


The Minneapolis Net-Zero Victorian was completed in Spring 2017. The Hermans say that their remodeled home has gone beyond their expectations in reviving the original beauty and increasing its livability, in part through the use of LP SmartSide engineered wood siding products. Stewart says, “What we achieved is a 100 percent traditional look. It looks like a brand new 1907 house.”

Likewise, Sloot was pleased with the result and plans to use LP SmartSide siding products on future projects. He says, “LP SmartSide products are nice to work with, look great, are durable, and hold the paint well.”

In the end, Sloot summed it up: “The Minneapolis Net-Zero Victorian is an incredibly beautiful house and contribution to the neighborhood with phenomenal performance.”