Twin Cities homeowners will once again open their doors during the Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour, showing off transformative renovations, historic reuse and unique design tips.
This year, in the open tour’s 29th year, it will showcase more than 50 homes across Minneapolis and St. Paul on April 30 and May 1.
From whole-house overhauls to historic preservation, the tour’s homemakers all have stories to tell about their home.
Entertaining in Bryn Mawr
Anoushka Haas and Robert Greene transformed their aging duplex into the entertainment home of their dreams.
When Haas moved into the Bryn Mawr home it was a duplex that she owned and rented to friends downstairs. She theorizes the 1912 home started as a one-room house that’s been slowly added onto over the years.
“It might’ve been a stable for all we know,” she laughed. “I don’t think anyone who was doing the work was a professional.”
The wife-husband team decided to completely makeover the home so they could have a contemporary design — a rarity in Bryn Mawr, Haas said.
“The best option was to renovate so we could stay in the neighborhood and keep our neighbors, but get the look and the life that we wanted,” she said.
They only kept a few windows and a guest bathroom that they had added themselves, though that had to go when sewage started to flood out from under the new marble floors.
The new, three-bedroom home features an entertainer’s kitchen with a six-burner stove, double gas ovens, a pullout pantry and a wine fridge. It’s perfect for Haas and Greene so they don’t have to fight for cooking space when they host Thanksgiving each year.
The entertainment area, handled by Partners 4 Design, also features in-ceiling speakers and LED lighting. Because the house sits atop a hill, the two and their guests get views of the downtown skyline during the cold months and of a full tree canopy during warmer months.
“In the summer it’s like living in a tree house,” she said.
The two finished the renovation in 2014 and have gotten through two Thanksgivings without fighting over the stove, Haas said.
New life in historic mill
Aldo Moroni calls his home a “magical place.”
The sculptor moved into the new A-Mill Artist Lofts in the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood last year. Plymouth-based Dominium rehabilitated the 19th-century milling complex to have more than 250 affordable lofts for artists and shared studio spaces for just about any medium.
For Moroni, who has lived in warehouses for several decades, the traditional apartment setup and ability to work and sell out of his two-bedroom loft is life changing.
“It’s a big step for me,” he said. “It’s a chance to have a normal life.”
Moroni’s unit is one of three A-Mill lofts in the tour this year. Community manager David Lepak will be running tours of the preserved spaces.
Moroni said the A-Mill has several unique advantages, including an upcoming hydroelectric project that will power a portion of the community’s energy. And with so many other artists in the building, naturally their art covers the walls of common areas.
The A-Mill is also located in Marcy-Holmes, the first neighborhood in Minneapolis, and has views of charming Main Street, the Stone Arch Bridge and the downtown skyline. The mill’s history isn’t lost on Moroni either, who appreciates the community’s reused milling artifacts and reclaimed materials.
“It was really important to what makes Minneapolis and the history of our city,” he said. “It’s a very much a magical place.”
Building up in Linden Hills
For Julie Ramsland and husband Mike Mason, their Scandinavian-style home in Linden Hills is far from the small house that originally sat on the lot.
When Ramsland moved into the original home in 2001, she loved it, but its studio-like setup was a hindrance to starting a family.
“We didn’t want to raise a family in a one-bedroom with an open floor plan,” she said.
The two decided to keep the narrow urban lot and build up. Their new home, designed by Dale Mulfinger of SALA Architects — one of their neighbors — and built by Ridge Construction last year, now has three bedrooms and a study.
“He did a really good job of making it feel open, spacious,” Ramsland said.
The two decided to go with a Scandinavian theme with a bright blue exterior, light woods throughout the house and even a Scandinavian stove.
To bring down the project’s cost, they used creative materials like plywood for the floors upstairs. The two did their own tiling, saved appliances and reused furniture so they could splurge on other things to make the home easier to maintain. They’re also still finishing up their basement.
The new home as made it easier to interact with their neighbors in Linden Hills thanks to its open floor plan and windows strategically placed for daylight.
“We can seem them outside in the front yard,” she said. “We have a lot of really nice people.”
Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour
Where: Twin Cities homes
When: Saturday April 30 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, May 1 from 1-5 p.m.