Saint Paul Art Crawl: April 23-25

Add Art to Your Walls

and Inspiration and Color to Your Life

This weekend is the Saint Paul Art Crawl. Hundreds of artists and galleries are selling art this weekend. Here’s more information:

Friday, 6-10 p.m.
Saturday, 12-8 p.m.
Sunday, 12-5 p.m.

www.stpaulartcrawl.org

And here’s the catalog, complete with maps and full details that you can print and take with you.

Saint Paul Art Crawl Catalog: catalog-s-2010

Minneapolis-St. Paul Real Estate Market: April 2010

Here’s the Monthly Skinny for April 2010, which is produced by the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS.

Where has the Twin Cities real estate market been and where is it heading? This monthly summary provides an overview of current trends and projections for future activity. Narrated by Brad Fisher (2010 President of the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®), audio recorded by Zach Foty and video produced by Chelsie Foty.
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The Idea Farm Strikes Green Gold with Beauty and Affordability

A Natural Gas Bill of $40.40 in January—in Minnesota

Peter Vujovich and his wife, Jill Lucas, built a farmhouse that earned gold certification—the highest possible— from Minnesota Green Star, the state green building standard. Imagine having a home with these natural gas bills ($40.40 for a January and $21.34 for a February). Pretty nice, eh? One of the green features incorporated to attain such low costs is the geothermal system that heats and cools the 2,800-square-foot house.

Peter is the founder and co-owner of Vujovich Design Build of Minneapolis and Afton and he brought his many years of experience to this property he named “The Idea Farm”. Other green features of the property include:

  • 12,000-gallon tank that collects rainwater.
  • Metal roofing on the main house, carriage house, and bar.
  • Engineered passive solar and passive ventilation systems.
  • Reclaimed wood flooring.
  • LED and CFL alternative lighting systems.
  • Cement Siding and exterior trim.
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Read the whole story about this energy-efficient and sustainable home:

Farm Fresh – Midwest Home – October 2009 – Minneapolis, St. Paul, Minnesota.

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“Real Homes, Real People, Real Ideas”

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour

Saturday, April 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 25 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

It’s the 23rd Annual Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour, a free, self-guided event in celebration of city living and home improvement inspiration. A total of 27 neighborhoods and more than 50 homes are represented on the Home Tour this year. Take advantage of this event to talk with others about a future remodeling project and to get fresh ideas for your current home.

Here’s what you’ll find when and if you go this year:

  • Homeowners sharing their remodeled home and stories,
  • Professionals sharing how they help clients with remodeling, expanding and building, and
  • Classes and informative talks.

The Home Tour Guide is available around town near newspaper stands, in libraries (while quantities last) and online at www.MSPHomeTour.com. The Guide groups homes geographically and provides icons for highlighting specific interests:

  • Whole-house renovations
  • Space additions, basement or attic finishing
  • Kitchen remodel
  • Bathroom remodel/addition
  • Historic preservation/adaptation
  • Green construction or solar features
  • Landscaping
  • New construction

Homes are also rated for accessibility relative to the number of steps. You’ll be asked to remove your shoes so wear easy to remove shoes if you have them. Shoe coverings will be provided as well for those who prefer not to remove their shoes. The Home Tour takes place regardless of weather conditions.

Home Tour Passports are issued at the first home you visit. You’re asked to show your passport at each subsequent home you visit.

Complete the survey on the back of the passport and return it to the reception table at the last house you visit. Completing and turning in the survey allows you to be entered into a drawing to win a free professional design consultation. Ten free consultations will be given away through the drawing process.

12 Things to Know About the Homebuyer Tax Credit

If you’re in the market for a new home and are hoping to take advantage of the tax credit, here’s what you need to know:

  1. To qualify, first-time and repeat buyers must enter into a written binding contract by April 30, 2010 and close by June 30, 2010.
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  2. You qualify as a first-time homebuyer if you (and your spouse, if married) have not owned a primary residence for a 3-year period before your purchase, and you have never taken advantage of the DC first-time homebuyer credit.
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  3. Buyers qualify for the repeat buyer credit if they have lived in their primary residence for five consecutive years of the past eight years. A primary residence is generally regarded as the residence where an individual spends most of his or her time.
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  4. The credit may be applied to primary residences, including detached single-family homes, condos, townhouses, and co-ops.
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  5. The maximum allowable credit for first-time buyers is $8,000. The maximum allowable credit for repeat buyers (also known as long-term residents) is $6,500...
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  6. The tax credit is equal to 10% of the purchase price of your home, up to $8,000 for first-time buyers and up to $6,500 for most other buyers.
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  7. Like all tax credits, it will directly reduce the total amount of taxes you owe.
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  8. The full credit is available for single individuals whose adjusted gross income is less than $125,000. If your adjusted gross income is greater than $125,000 and your home purchase qualifies you for the full credit, the credit phases out by set percentages according to the adjusted gross income above the $125,000. The adjusted gross income for married couples filing jointly is $225,000, with the credit beginning to phase out for amounts higher than the $225,000.
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  9. The purchase price of the home cannot exceed $800,000.
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  10. There is a mild recapture provision with the program. If you sell your home within three years of purchase, the entire amount of the credit is recaptured (that is, the government takes it back).
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  11. Dependents are not eligible for the credit.
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  12. Purchase documentation must be included with the tax return in order to claim the credit.
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Please contact me if I can assist you with the sale or purchase of a home.

Kate Walsh, Realtor®
Lakes Area Realty
612.220.3309
info@designhouse9.com
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For more information about the tax implications of the credit and your home purchase, please consult a tax professional.

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Financial Assistance to Edina Home Buyers

Making Edina More Affordable

The Edina Housing Foundation (EHF) is a non-profit corporation that provides financial assistance, up to $60,000, to Edina home buyers. This below market rate housing program has been in place for over 20 years and can possibly lower your total housing payments due to the lower interest rate on the loan assistance. The program is geared toward anyone who wants to live in Edina and is not just for first-time buyers. Here’s a short overview of the program:

  • The program is known as Come Home 2 Edina 2nd Mortgage Program.
  • The term of the loan is identical to the term of the first mortgage.
  • The rate of the loan is the lesser of 5% simple interest or the first mortgage loan interest rate minus 1%.
  • There are two payment options: monthly payments or deferral of all payments until sale, refinance or maturity of loan.
  • The subordinate loan is assumable with the approval of the Edina
    Housing Foundation.
  • The purchase price cannot be more than $325,000.
  • The borrower shall pay not less than $1,000 towards down payment, closing costs and/or prepaid expenses.
  • There are assets and income eligibility requirements.

The above information is an overview of the program only. Contact me for more detailed information regarding your specific situation and needs.

If you’re considering purchasing a condo in Edina, this program is especially helpful for buildings that are not FHA approved, such as my listing on York Avenue by Southdale: 6415 York Ave S #204

Kate Walsh, Realtor®
Lakes Area Realty
612.220.3309
info@designhouse9.com

Elegant Brick Condo by Lake of the Isles

Featured: Illyricun Condo

Illyricun Condominium in Minneapolis, MN

This elegant and beautiful building is located at 2719 Humboldt Avenue South in Minneapolis. It’s a short walk to both Lake of the Isles and Uptown. The association is comprised of seven units, six that are almost 1800 square feet in size and one garden level unit that is less than 1000 square feet.

Illyricun Condominium in Minneapolis MN

The building was originally built as an apartment house and retains most, if not all, of the exquisite exterior detailing from when it was constructed in 1913. The front steps lead to a two-story, exterior entry area; the doorway is framed in an arch and the opening at the second level is also arched. The top floor units have arched windows along the front of their units which provide continuity with the framing arches on the first and second floors.

There is currently one unit on the market, priced at $349,900.

Living room with fireplace
Note the windows on three sides of the living room. Divine!
Formal dining room with built-in buffet and elegant moldings.
Sunny kitchen with informal dining area.
Unique tile work in the bathroom that has a separate tub and shower.
Spacious entry hall / foyer

Contact me for more information about these units and other condo properties in Minneapolis.

Kate Walsh, Realtor®
Lakes Area Realty
612.220.3309
info@designhouse9.com

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Listing provided courtesy of Edina Realty, Inc. and Coldwell Banker Burnet.

Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Lasted updated on October 24, 2010 at 17:39pm.

© Copyright 2010, Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc. All rights reserved.

The data relating to real estate for sale on this site comes in part from the Broker Reciprocity program of the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc. Real Estate listings held by brokerage firms other than Lakes Area Realty are marked with the Broker Reciprocity logo or the Broker Reciprocity house icon and detailed information about them includes the names of the listing brokers. DesignHouse9.com is not a Multiple Listing Service MLS, nor does it offer MLS access. This website is a service of DesignHouse9.com and Lakes Area Realty, a broker Participant of the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc.

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For additional properties, please see Select Homes for Sale.

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“Hump Day” Now Seen in a Whole New Way

Let’s declare Wednesday “Bridge Day”

Wednesday. This is the day people refer to as “hump day”. It’s the middle of the work week. Two days already behind and two days to go before another weekend. We in real estate don’t think of our week this way since we often work on weekends as well as during the week.

I recently viewed a photo of a bridge that took me to another place, mentally if not physically. As I looked at other photos of bridges, I found myself having a different reaction and experience to each one.

I’m posting some of them here for your pleasure. For all of you working today, Wednesday, and thinking about your upcoming weekend, I say enjoy this virtual trip around the world. Use the comment section below to let others know what reaction and/or experience you have from seeing these images.

Hump day is thought about as something to get over or beyond, a challenge, and another day of struggle before the slide into the weekend and its freedom from work and fun. I now like to think of Wednesday as “Bridge Day”.  No challenge, no struggle–simply a picturesque means of getting from one place to another with infinite ways of enjoying the journey.

Bike trail with covered bridge

I’d love to be riding a bike along this trail. How about you? Would you also be riding a bike? Maybe a horse. Walking or running perhaps? You decide.
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Rome

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Charles Bridge in Prague

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Chilkoot Bridge

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Where are you now?

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Where does your mind go when you view this scene?

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Allerford

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Avignon, France

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Photos courtesy of http://www.morguefile.com

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Minneapolis-St Paul Real Estate Market: March 2010

Here’s the Monthly Skinny for March 2010, which is produced by the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS.

Where has the Twin Cities real estate market been and where is it heading? This monthly summary provides an overview of current trends and projections for future activity. Narrated by Cari Linn (Secretary of the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®), audio recorded by Zach Foty and video produced by Chelsie Foty.

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An Artistic View of Minneapolis / Lake Harriet

The Camera as Canvas and Paint

Artists can often be found along the shore of Lake Harriet during the warm days of spring, summer and fall—canvas propped on easel, paints and brushes in hand. The bandshell, the lake and the sailboats provide a picturesque setting worthy of the time and attention of an artist.

The camera is my version of canvas and paint. The click of the shutter is the paintbrush in motion. I’ve many photos from my walks around the lake. Today I edited a few of them with my Photoshop software to create the look of an artistic canvas. I certainly have my share of bandshell, lake and sailboat pictures. Many times, however, I’m even more delighted with the compositions I find elsewhere around the lake.
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Fence and Wall at the Lake
Leaves a-flutter
Turtle Fountain at Twilight

Art in the Garden

Featured Artist: Allison Armour

A garden can be a sanctuary, a visual and sensory delight, a source of food, a habitat for nature’s various creatures and birds, and a place to satisfactorily work on a hobby or passion. It’s also an appropriate place for art.

I recently read about Allison Armour and her award-winning work. I was immediately struck by the simple beauty and elegance of her pieces. The light-catching metal reflects and enhances the wonderful array of colors in a garden and the sky. The sphere fountain adds a soothing water feature to an already peaceful place.
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Allison Amour’s award-winning pieces at Chelsea

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Look at the mirror obelisk for more inspiration. It’s mirror surface reflects the flowers and sunlight while it’s pointed and sharp-edged shape offers a striking contrast to the softness of the plantings.
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Here are additional photos of her spherical fountains and sculptures:

Allison Armour Aqualens water fountain
Allison Armour Aqualens water fountain
Allison Armour Aquasphere
Allison Armour Garden Sculpture
Allison Armour pole sculpture

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To learn more, visit Allison’s website: www.AllisonArmour.us

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Front Door and Color

Feng Shui Tip: Front Door Color

Bring more opportunity into your life by using color on your front door. Use three colors for the exterior of your home: one color for the walls, a second color for the trim and a third color for the front door.

The front door is considered the “mouth of chi” —the place energy enters your home. It is also known as the “mouth of opportunity”. By painting your front door a contrasting color from the walls and trim colors, you invite more energy, and hence opportunity, into your home and life. Below are beautiful examples of a colored front door working to support the homeowners.

Many people seem hesitant to paint their front door a color. Drive or walk around your neighborhood and look at homes that have a colored front door. See how pleasing and inviting it looks to the eye.

If you’re concerned you’ll choose the wrong color, seek the advice of a color consultant or an interior designer (check my Resources page for contact information for color consultant Steve Kleinpaste). You might also ask a friend who exhibits style and flair. If you plan to sell your home, I provide color consultation as part of my listing and staging services.

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The Annual Saint Paul Sidewalk Poetry Contest

Gracing city sidewalks with permanent art from everyday people

There are numerous reasons people choose to live in certain places. Schools, convenience to regular needs such as grocery stores, commuting distance to work, nearby parks and lakes, etc. Some folks just like sidewalks. A place to walk. Now a place to read.

Saint Paul offers sidewalk poetry—and a chance for any Saint Paul resident to submit their poetry. Five poets will receive a $150 prize and citywide honor. Deadline is March 28, 2010.

I’m both an avid reader and a writer. Alas, I’m not a Saint Paul resident. If I were, I’d submit this poem (just written):

Home, hmm
by Kate Walsh

A house is a home
All sunny and bright.
We love warm scones,
hmm, delectable, every bite!

Good luck to all who enter the contest. Other cities—take note!

2010 Sidewalk Poetry Contest Guidelines

For more information, visit the City of Saint Paul website.
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Capturing the Fading Light at Winter’s End

The Joy of a Camera

Winter is waning. I went out with my camera late this afternoon and found myself surprised by the abundance of color already on display as the snow and ice melts. These were taken at Centennial Lakes Park in Edina, a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I was in the area to check on a lockbox at my condo listing. An agent had told me it was jammed. Sure enough, it was.

Thumbs down about the lockbox. Two thumbs up for the pictures. I’ll post more later. (March 23, 2010 — Visit my flickr account by clicking on the photo in the sidebar to see more photos from this day.)

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A stone path at Centennial Lakes Park in Edina Minnesota

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A park light gave the appearance of fire on the lake.

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Path and lookout point overlooking Centennial Lake.

Bridges to Prosperity: Ken Frantz Offers More than Hope

A former builder now constructs bridges that offer far more than meets the eye: hope, help, and results to those in great need.

American Ken Frantz was so moved by a photo he saw in the National Geographic magazine that he founded the nonprofit organization Bridges to Prosperity. This volunteer organization constructs bridges in Africa, Asia and South America in order to improve the lives of isolated people. The bridges provide these same people with improved economic activity, medical services, the ability to attend schools and find jobs, and more. All of the bridges are built with local support and labor. Bridges to Prosperity just completed their 50th project this past November.

A bridge, a man with a vision, and a problem of extreme world poverty that can be solved with the help of all of us.

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For more information and/or to donate, please visit: Bridges to Prosperity Website

Bobby Flay vs. Izzy’s Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream takes the cake, figuratively speaking.

Spring begins, here in the United States, on March 20th. Warmer temperatures outside turn my thoughts to ice cream. Nowadays there is an abundance of flavors to be sampled. This is especially true when visiting a shop with its own homemade ice cream.

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The Izzy Scoop at Izzy's Ice Cream Shop in the Merriam Park neighborhood of Saint Paul MN

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We have several such shops here in the Twin Cities that are definitely worth the trip.There’s Sebastian Joe’s in Minneapolis (Linden Hills and Lowry Hill locations), Pumphouse Creamery in Minneapolis (near Lake Nokomis on Chicago Ave and 48th St), Sonny’s Ice Cream (made and served at Crema Cafe on Lyndale Avenue South in Minneapolis), and Izzy’s Ice Cream Shop in Saint Paul.

I’m giving special attention to Izzy’s for a couple of reasons. First, the shop is doing things to minimize their energy usage; they’ve installed rooftop solar panels and they deliver ice cream in high tech insulated bags, thereby eliminating the need for freezer trucks.

Secondly, they participated in a televised food competition with internationally known chef, Bobby Flay. Filming took place in August of 2006. Jeff Sommers, owner of Izzy’s, made his award-winning Hot Brown Sugar recipe. Bobby Flay made Raspberry Stracciatelle Ice Cream. The judges gave the top score to Izzy’s.

And yet a third thing I like about Izzy’s: The Izzy Scoop. This is a small, additional scoop of ice cream atop your cone that allows you to try a second (or third if you get a double scoop cone) flavor. Let’s celebrate spring and support some of our local businesses by indulging in this old-fashioned treat.

Read Izzy’s Ice Cream Shop newsletter describing the event: scoop_sept_06

Visit the Resources page for links to all the ice cream shops mentioned here.

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Caring for Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors add beauty to any room.

They offer an organic, earthy and non-allergenic quality to spaces. I love wood floors in a kitchen. They are generally warmer underfoot than ceramic tile and stone. They also provide a more cushioned surface that is easier on the joints.

Kitchen with beautiful hardwood flooring.

What’s the best way to care for these fine floors? Start by minimizing the dirt, grit and sand that enters your home by using a mat or rug near your entrances. These elements act like sandpaper on the finish of your wood floors and cause scratches and dents that lead to dulling.

  • Use a broom and/or vacuum to pick up any dirt, grit and sand.
  • Clean up any spills immediately. Liquids can damage and warp the surface of a poorly finished floor.
  • Move furniture by lifting it off the floor rather than dragging it. Make use of felt pads under the legs of furnishings to minimize scratches.
  • Avoid direct sunlight, especially in spaces with a southern or western exposure. The sunlight lightens fabrics and artwork and it can do the same to your wood floors. Use your blinds and curtains to prevent extended exposure of sun to your floors and home furnishings.

There are many products marketed as cleaning solutions for wood floors. Some have chemicals that are actually damaging to your floors. Others have substances that cause problems when it comes time to refinish your floors.

Read the letter below from the President of Heritage Hardwood Floors, Inc. to learn more about how to care for your wood floors. Take proper care of them and they’ll provide you with years of beauty, warmth and natural elegance.

Click here to read the letter from the President of Heritage Hardwood Floors, Inc.

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