Homeowners from across the Twin Cities will soon show off their renovated, remodeled and newly constructed homes as part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour.
Now in its 30th year, the self-guided tour will showcase more than 50 homes around Minneapolis and St. Paul on April 29–30. From making room for all the needs of a growing family to finally satisfying a remodeler’s itch, the homes feature real projects with do-it-yourselfers and local professionals.
A staged renovation gets final act
Beth Harrington didn’t stop at just one remodel on her turn-of-the-century home.
The Wedge neighborhood resident recently put the finishing touches on the final phase of her renovations, which span three phases in just as many years. Harrington, a Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour veteran, almost didn’t move forward with her projects as developers continue to snatch up homes in her neighborhood — several neighbors have been approached, she said — and develop larger homes.
“That kind of stopped me in my tracks,” he said. “Finally, I just decided that I’m here now. I’m going to do this remodel.”
Harrington forged ahead anyway following several small projects such painting and adding color to the home. The first phase involved converting an original pantry to a mudroom, replacing windows and relocating an entrance. During phase two, Harrington, who has a large private backyard despite living in the bustling Lowry Hill East area, added a large covered porch to the back of her house.
Finally, this past year Harrington created an open entertainer’s kitchen with tiles from a local ceramicist and bold colors like red, gray and black.
“My kitchen is not a cookie-cutter kitchen,” she said.
Now that she has several renovation projects under her belt, Harrington recommends that those looking to do the same for their home wait a full year to learn how they live and what their needs are before embarking on a renovation, as someone told her during a previous tour — although she estimates working in stages likely ended up costing her more.
“You don’t have to achieve perfection. There are some things that I would do differently, but that’s how life is. It doesn’t always come out perfectly,” she said.
A classic home in Lynnhurst
Southwest Minneapolis residents Liz Buckingham and John Owens have preserved the style of their 1916 home while combining two previously separated spaces into a large kitchen.
The two Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour fans wanted to add function to their home but didn’t want to lose the Arts and Crafts style of the century-old home among modern touches and appliances, which could overshadow its wood trim and historic features.
“We really wanted ours to fit the original design,” Owens said.
Their project involved remodeling the kitchen, bathroom and breakfast nook. The new, integrated main kitchen now features zones for each of the home chefs.
“I’m the main cook and my wife likes to bake, so we tried to create zones so we could each do our thing so we wouldn’t have to cross over each other,” Owens said.
On top of the remodel, the two added custom oak cabinetry, hand-made tile, soapstone counters and period-inspired light switches. In order to not take away from the look of the home’s wood and Arts and Crafts style, the two added wood panels to kitchen appliances.
“I think if we had left the doors alone and the dishwasher door alone it would’ve looked like a lot steel,” he said.
To complete the renovation, Owens and Buckingham needed to do something with their breakfast nook, a unique space that couldn’t fit a traditional kitchen table. Working with their builder, Owens designed a table and added a custom booth to the nook.
A family gathering space
With three growing kids, Rachel Gueldner and her family recently moved to get more space in their home.
To create the living space they needed, the family pursued a full kitchen remodel, tearing down the walls between the kitchen and dining room to open up the space. Gueldner also added heat to the kitchen, which had been removed, and expanded a new garage with an attached mudroom. They also added a powder room to the main floor.
The kids can do their homework in the kitchen, now a “place to be in and connect and be together in the home,” she said.
Gueldner recommends homeowners listen to their designers, who can help bring ideas to fruition.
“They really can visualize a space that I can’t visualize,” she said.
Gueldner said it’s also helpful to decide what’s truly necessary and be flexible with everything else. For her family, she said, a bathroom on the main level was crucial so they could host elderly parents.
“Pick the one or two things that are non-negotiable,” she said.
Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour
Where: Twin Cities homes
When: Saturday, April 29 from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday, April 30 from 1 p.m.–5 p.m.