Archive for the ‘Exterior Details’ Category

Best Home of the Summit Hill House Tour

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

By far the best home on the 2012 Summit Hill House Tour in St. Paul was 7 Heather  Place. Of course, I will throw in 5 Heather Place too, as they both are attached. These two homes are amazing, not only for their unique exterior facade, but also for their beautifully decorated interiors.

Built by two Jewish brothers in 1905-1906, Benjamin and William Goodkind were the president and secretary treasurer of St. Paul’s Mannheimer Brothers Department Store. The architectural firm of Reed and Stem, who are well known for the St. Paul Hotel, Grand Central Terminal in New York, and several homes in St. Paul, were commissioned to design the Tudor Revival homes, connecting them via the “Passover” seen below.

While the two homes have been “separated” by building bedrooms in the once long hall, they still appear as one to the casual observer. The original stone staircase stretching down to Grand Avenue from this central area is still present and the grounds are beautifully landscaped. 

It is hard to pick a favorite room in 7 Heather Place. I loved the kitchen with its original icebox and old world feel. The home has extensive woodwork and wood paneling throughout, and has the best little spiral staircase to the lower level that I have seen.  While the home is stretched long to fit the space, it is perfectly situated on one of the most amazing bluff sites in St. Paul.

Photo of the twin homes under construction in 1906 and another in 1915.

Other homes designed by Reed and Stem are 489 Grand Hill, 530 Grand Hill, 340 Summit Avenue.

Hidden Italianate Home in Nokomis

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
5028 Hiawatha Ave, Minneapolis

This fantastic example of Italianate design his a hidden gem in the Nokomis area of Minneapolis. Built sometime around 1875, it is one of the oldest surviving historic homes in the area. In the recent past, the home has been restored, and the colors chosen really make the home stand out in the neighborhood. The home originally has a cupola on the roof, since removed, and evidence still exists on the roof with the square cap. Looking at the front of the home, I would guess it also had a front porch, as the lower windows do not have window hoods, and the siding is different where a roof line would have been.

Beautiful decorative window hoods still adorn the windows.

When Bad Things Happen to Good Houses

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

I don’t know what is going on with this old home, but it looks like a travesty is happening to the front porch. Not to mention the fact the new windows just don’t look right. Trying to turn it into a Tudor? I couldn’t find any original photos of the home, which is in Winona, so I am really curious of what this home looked like, as it was built somewhere around the 1890’s.

But this is a prime example of renovation gone a muck. Too many times I see people with the best intentions, try and tackle a historic home, only to destroy everything historic about it. Some people even go inside the home and rip out all the original woodwork, trim, doors, etc, just to make the home “brand new”.

Case in point, a home on Dupont Avenue in Minneapolis fell to such a fate last year, when a young “investor” went into a Minneapolis Tudor style bungalow and ripped out everything. And by everything, I mean the original built in buffet, handcrafted pillars and bookcases, all the trim and doors….he took the home down to the studs and threw the rest into a dumpster. Neighbors told me they were shocked to see all the historic elements laying in the trash…some even went into the dumpster to salvage out what they could. The investor added a second story and completely changed the exterior facade of the home (so now it looks silly in a neighborhood of one story bungalows). I guess fate is not without a sense of irony, as the payback for the sacrilege was the “flipper” going into foreclosure. Sadly, now a new investor must finish the home and make it as good as he can.

The fact is, bad things do happen to good houses. The only thing we can do to stop it is to watch what is going on and make our objections known. It is our responsibility as neighbors and historic preservationists to stop the destruction our historic treasures here in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and save what we can. Contact the Historic Preservation Committees and Groups if you have questions at some of the links I have provided on this website.

Unique Roofs in Minneapolis

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

I wrote this post about a year ago over on my Luxury Real Estate blog site and thought it might be useful here, as not many people see this type of roof in other parts of the country.

When driving around some of the historic neighborhoods of Minneapolis, you might notice a unique roof on some of the homes. Rolled roofs at the eave are seen mostly around the Lake of the Isle area. The style is known as Cotswold Cottage and is designed to replicate thatch. It is an expensive roof to apply to your home, as special eaves must be constructed to support the roll over the roof line. In my opinion, this roof option should only be used on a Tudor style home, however I have seen it pushed onto a newer home with French design and it didn’t look to good to me.

Two basic materials are used the most.

1) For a more authentic look, only cedar shakes should be used. The first home has cedar tiles and you can see by the closeup just how many tiles are placed on the roof. The pattern varies and is very time consuming, but the roof will last you a long time. The home really looks like a cottage out of Hansel and Gretel.

2) A cheaper way to employ the style is to use common place asphalt shingles. It gives the same affect from a distance, but to me is less pleasing to the eye closeup. It too will last you awhile, 20-40 years, and is cheaper to apply as the only real cost comes from the eave roll.

In a quick Google search, I found one local builder who advertises he does the replicated thatch roof, but I am sure there are others out there that also offer the style. If you are looking to replace your current roof with an architectural roof like thatch, make sure to call several roofing contractors and get detailed quotes, time to construct, etc. With it being more expensive to build, you want to make sure you get something that is priced well, but also high quality too!