At 2814 Aldrich Ave. N., various Urban Homeworks crews, and professionals who are donating their time, are scrambling to put the 1.5-story house back together and make it available affordably to a new owner.
Karen Soderberg and Steve Harvey, in Bryn Mawr, are wrapping up a couple of years of hard work finishing off their new second story. The contractor prepared the shell and an architect redesigned most of the home to get a new kitchen, bath and mud room on the first floor; in addition to a master suite and extra room on the top floor.
Tom and Sandy Walker, in Homewood (at top), had built an entirely new one-level house on a bet that they could meet a certain budget…and would have, if they hadn’t fallen in love with top-line kitchen appliances. It has expansion room in the raised basement, and the home fits in with the craftsman and early 1900s homes nearby.
These featured homes, and about 50 others throughout the two cities, will be open Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, April 28, 1-5 p.m. for the Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour. The tour encourages people to remodel or expand, and provides resource referrals, as real people in real homes share their real ideas with visitors.
It’s also billed as a celebration of city living and a chance to check out neighborhoods. That’s what Old Highland neighbors Will and Krista Stensrud (above), and Ryan and Terri LeGros (below) have in mind at their homes on Girard, 1815 and 1819.
The Stensruds, as have many Old Highlanders, have acquired duplex properties near their own, to renovate and rent out where they can keep a close eye. When a longtime neighbor aged and gave up her home, they bought and are now fixing it up as their first single-family project.
Meanwhile, PRG (Powderhorn Residents Group), a non-profit developer, had renovated and sold 1819 Girard to the LeGros who are very happy to have a perfect home in an active neighborhood. Next to 1815 Girard is a property being acquired for redevelopment, and Stensrud said there are some other changes coming on the block; stop by both homes for details.
Rounding out an Old Highland tour trio is a neighborhood icon, 1501 Dupont Ave. N. It’s the former home of Neighborhood Housing Service, another non-profit renovator and source of pre- and post-purchase homeowner classes, financing, and mortgage counseling. They recently moved to handicapped accessible quarters at the edge of downtown. The house is open for viewing for this brief opportunity before the four-level Victorian is sold as a single-family home, its original use.
Loren Woodman and Damon VanDuzen at 907 Morgan Ave. N. (below) have been adding character to a builder-grade 2000-built two-story that, from the outside, fits in with its neighborhood. They see the tour as a deadline to get projects done.
Two doors down from the Walkers in Homewood, artist Yolanda Clark welcomes visitors to see her themed rooms, including the woman cave, bright colors. Take an early spring peek at the art-filled gardens that make for delightful summer evenings. Talking to the Walkers and “Yo” together is all the tonic one needs to keep talking positive about the Northside.
Blake Zochert’s home at 3259 Vincent (below) in the Cleveland neighborhood may be the only Camden home on tour this year, but it’s “a perfect example of a classic home with great bones but victim to years of neglect and bad remodeling decisions,” Zochert wrote. “The second floor was falling apart, uninhabitable. The octopus gravity furnace, broken and inefficient, consumed the entire basement. The kitchen was unusable. But on the outside, the home had great appeal, with stucco and Tudor architectural features.”
He brought it back to life. “The second floor was remodeled into a spacious bedroom, with skylights, bamboo floors, plenty of storage, and spray foam insulation. A brand new designer gourmet kitchen fit into a modest space. And the basement is now a comfortable, warm and dry lower level with spa-like bathroom, full bedroom, and family room. The home now boasts in-floor radiant heat that’s 97-plus percent efficient,” and is compatible with solar and geo-thermal, if he or a future owner might convert to one of those heat sources.
Zochert, who also owns local rental properties, has been on the tour before, first with a home on Washburn (which later was damaged in the tornado), and last year a home on Upton which he lived in until the Vincent home was ready. The goal is to move back to Washburn when the tornado damage is repaired.
The tour is free and self-guided, pick up a passport and a printed Guide at any of the homes. Local libraries will also have the Guides available for pickup starting mid-April. The entire list of Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour homes will be posted at www.MSPHomeTour.com in mid-April.
To inquire about being included in next year’s tour, call 612-867-4874 or email margo @margoashmore.com. The tour is managed on behalf of the two cities and commercial sponsors by Pro Media, Inc., publishers of the NorthNews and Northeaster newspapers.