“I’ve gone to almost every Home Tour since it started. I always try to see the houses in North Minneapolis, because I want to show support,” Katie Sandstedt of Northeast Minneapolis said to her fellow homeowners. “My only regret this year is I won’t be able to see other houses because I’ll be holding my own house open. But I’m glad to do it because my designer has a small business and I’d like to promote her.”
Sandstedt is one of the real people on the Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour who’ve remodeled their homes bit by bit, using ideas and contacts gleaned from past tours, and now are giving back by inspiring others. The tour is this coming weekend, Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, April 25, 1-5 p.m. The tour is free and self-guided. To figure out where to start, a visitor can pick up a Guide to the 53 homes at any metro library or go online to www.MSPHomeTour.com.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Margo Ashmore coordinates the Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour
The Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) has managed the tour for the past 8 years of its 23-year run. “Encouraging people to renew existing housing stock by showing what is possible – that’s a perfect fit with our mission of making Minneapolis Neighborhoods better places to live, work, learn and play,” said NRP director Bob Miller.
While two-thirds of the people who come to the tour are looking for remodeling ideas and about 20 percent are looking at expansions, some are checking out neighborhoods where they might want to buy a home. Each year, neighborhood groups step forward to call attention to their assets by identifying a cluster of homes.
This year, Minneapolis’ Victory neighborhood organizers identified 4218 and 4254 Washburn Avenue N., the homes of Matt Massman and Chris Solheid, Randy and Mary Klauk. The Klauks offer rain garden talks at 1:00 and 3:00 each tour day. Architect Bob Roscoe, fascinated with the unusual concentration of “storybook” homes there (turrets, unusual chimneys, stone decoration around doors and windows), he will guide walking tours at 1:30 on both April 24 and 25 leaving from 4254 Washburn Avenue N.
In the Minneapolis Central neighborhood, three homeowners in the 3200 block of Portland stepped forward, perhaps because other active neighbors on Park had remodels still in progress. The tour visitor will see a large Victorian completely done (with a “groovy 70s kitchen remodel”); a 1910 beauty with a lovely side yard; and next door, another home with all the original woodwork, period colors and the homeowner starting to plan for a kitchen remodel.
A “not quite ready in 2009” crop is ready this year. Ryan Walker, a carpenter, teased that his wife Kristen puts up with a lot. When a major job fell through, he tore into their own house at 4509 45th Ave. S. Minneapolis to add space in the kitchen and a master suite upstairs (another common theme on this year’s tour). “She was pregnant, and we lived in our basement with our son and the dog. We got through it. My mom said I should put the home on the tour last year. There’s no way we could have done it. Here it is, almost the tour time and you’ll think it’s finished, but I know where the little things are that need to be done.”
David and Julia Sollien, with their second story addition and total remodel of their first floor at 628 Upton Ave. S. also thought about being on the tour last year as they started their job. Mumtaz Anwar, a designer who reworked his own condo at the Pinnacle, 20 NE 2nd St., Minneapolis, said he was just about finished when he inquired in 2009. He explained recently that at the end he realized he needed a work space, and could do what he wanted by removing one remaining wall…the wall that contained all the electrical conduit. “Rerouting that cost several thousand dollars and some time, but it was worth it.” He also said the experience made him more appreciative of what homeowners go through during remodeling.
On the flip side, each year’s tour also shows the work of some contractors who call at the beginning of a job, on the January deadline for nominating homes, and promise to be done in time for the tour. Go to Bryn Mawr to see the results of this challenge at homes #4 and #5, 1925 Drew Ave. S. and 625 Cedar Lake Road S., Minneapolis.
This is a year of cross-town connections. Independently, two sets of households (one each in Minneapolis and St. Paul) found out that their friends are also on the tour. The most remarkable connection: A St. Paul tour fan who thought about offering his own home for the tour (“not ready, lots more we need to do”). Later, he was looking for a way to raise awareness about brain injuries on behalf of Hennepin County Medical Center. This blossomed into the entertaining and informative home- and remodeling safety displays that will be at 525 Logan Ave. N.
Minneapolis Harrison Neighborhood Association, an NRP-funded group, worked with non-profit PRG to renovate the 525 Logan house, now for sale to an owner occupant. In Southeast Como, 1022 16th Ave. SE, Minneapolis, encourages owner occupants in an area that now has many student rental properties, and the home demonstrates many green remodeling principles and materials.
Homeowners Kurt Kimber and Angela Wyatt’s mission is reducing their carbon footprint, and they’ll be on hand at 4811 35th Ave. S. Minneapolis and have a handout listing everything from the green technicalities of their compact kitchen addition to their favorite vegan blogs.
New this year, there will be workshops for one hour before the tour opens, before the tour opens each day, one topic in each city, to give more in-depth information on popular topics: The Art and Science of the Open Plan, Historic Homes for Everyday People, How to Select and Work with a Professional Remodeler, and Is a Green Certification Right for Your Remodel Project? Details on these and other time-certain features are in the guide and on the website.
Minneapolis Community Education offers a bus tour narrated by Steve Brandt of the Star Tribune on Saturday, visiting some of the more historic-character homes and areas. Details at www.minneapoliscommunityed.com.
Homeowners interested in getting started on remodeling will have a chance at free consultations with design professionals. Ten will be given away to those who complete the surveys on their passports.The tour website is www.msphometour.com, copies of the guide are at metro public libraries, and phone at NRP is 612-673-5140.