NEIGHBORHOOD NOTES | 2011 Home Tour wants your home

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Are you remodeling your home? Better yet, are you done? Is anyone ever completely done, and does it matter?

It’s the week of the first nomination deadline (Jan. 15) for the spring Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour, and as the Tour Coordinator, I’m sitting with a healthy list of pretty good maybes, but rejoicing every time a new application hits my in-box, or someone calls and says their neighbor told them to call. It’s like the nervousness that hits when waiting for the first party guest to arrive.

The Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour (April 30-May 1, this year) is a “celebration of city living and home improvement inspiration.” For 24 years, various government and private sponsors have come together to put on a free, self-guided experience in which people get ideas for remodeling or expanding so they can stay in the part of town they love.

It also serves as a way to show off neighborhoods. Those looking to buy houses can have candid discussions with homeowners about what it’s like to live there. Those who might want to buy a home to renovate can get pointers on what that’s like, too. This tour is focused on the homeowners, who are home during the tour and talking with visitors. At several of the homes, professionals are also available.

If you are thinking about nominating your home for the tour, or if you’re a home improvement professional involved in a project that you think would be of interest, now’s the time to get in touch. After January 15, we view the homes and see where there might be gaps in geography or the types of projects featured. Until mid-February we still take calls, letters and emails for nominations. You might have just the project to strengthen a cluster or cover a category of remodeling, so don’t hesitate to contact me. The worst that could happen is we’d have a good start on the next year.

I’m often asked whether the whole house has to have been remodeled. The answer: The visitors in general prefer to see whole houses, but we have also had good luck with single rooms like kitchen or bath, or “just the first floor.” New second stories, attic or basement finishing are also popular. The printed Guide and website will tell what parts of the house are featured, so visitors can plan their route.

Of special interest, too, are homes that feature green remodeling or solar. New this year, we’re looking for homes with Universal Design that allows graceful aging in place. Often, we include homes that have been restored to their historic character, even some that are listed as landmarks. Also popular: décor on a budget.

What matters most is your enthusiasm for home improvement and for living in Minneapolis or Saint Paul, because you’ll be meeting the public, and you’ll recruit volunteers to help staff the home. By the way, for couples with children we do understand if one begs off in order to mind the kids. One of many details which I’ll discuss when viewing the homes.

For more information and to download the application, see www.MSPHomeTour.com or call me, Margo Ashmore, at 612-673-5103 or 612-867-4874.  The Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour is managed by the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program, NRP.