Tips for Curb Appeal

See great ideas for improving the curb appeal of your own home!

This Old House magazine offers up great home improvement advice. I love the Before and After photos shown and discussed in this article about curb appeal!

Secrets to Great Curb Appeal

4105 Upton Ave S, Mpls

Property has Sold—No Further Showings

4105 Upton Avenue South, Minneapolis MN 55410 — $699,900
Sale Price: $625,000

Spacious and sun-filled duplex in Linden Hills.
Short walk to Lake Harriet and the Linden Hills business district.

Walls of windows in the dining and living rooms.
4105 Upton Ave S — Sunroom currently used as office.

Main Floor Unit:

  • 2+ bedrooms and 3 baths.
  • Open floor plan.
  • Hardwood floors.
  • Three-sided gas fireplace between living and dining rooms.
  • Updated kitchen is open to dining room.
  • Master suite features an arched window and a row of glass-block atop the wall separating the bedroom and dining room.
  • Lower level includes a family room with built-in cabinetry and “bar” with sink and fridge. This space can also be a guest suite with Murphy bed and its adjoining bath. A French door at the bottom of the stairs provides greater privacy from the main floor.
  • Laundry and mudroom by attached garage. Laundry room has Duet® washer and dryer.
  • Other highlights include a deck and courtyard and an attached double garage.
  • Main unit finished square feet: approximately 2,090
4105 Upton Ave S — Living Room with great windows.
4105 Upton Ave S — Nicely updated kitchen
4105 Upton Ave S — Master bedroom suite. Note glass block in wall dividing bedroom and bath.

Upper-Level Unit:

  • Two-level unit on 2nd and 3rd floors.
  • Private entrance at front of property and two private interior entries.
  • 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths.
  • Large living room, formal dining room and eat-in kitchen on 2nd floor.
  • Gas fireplace in living room.
  • Two bedrooms and a bath on the 2nd floor.
  • 3rd floor includes a bedroom, sitting room, full bath, laundry, and deck.
  • Numerous skylights on the 3rd floor.
  • Decks off of living room and kitchen on 2nd floor.
  • Upper unit total finished square feet: Approximately 1,800
4105 Upton Ave S — 2nd floor unit living room
4105 Upton Ave S — 3rd floor space with skylights
4105 Upton Ave S — 3rd level deck
4105 Upton Ave S — Exterior during warm weather months.

For additional information or to schedule a private showing of this fine property, please contact:

Kate Walsh
Lakes Area Realty
612.220.3309
info@designhouse9.com

Please see Select Homes for Sale for additional properties.

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Grow Good Food

Wow! You Can Grow Food Almost Anywhere!

The question used to be “How does your garden grow”? A more apt question today might be “Where does your garden grow”?

It’s time to think outside the box…er, or perhaps outside the planter container, the yard, and the garden plot. Consider more outrageous, yet entirely capable, avenues for gardening. Check out the slide show below and prepare to be enchanted and inspired. Spring is coming soon, is it not?

The Incredible Edible Urban Garden

Are you chomping at the lettuce to get your own urban garden planted? I know I am. Send me some photos of your creative gardens now or later and I’ll post them here. Let’s start arugula-revolution!

Watch this video to see a truck transformed into a “farm”. So cool!

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Now, let’s eat some homegrown foods. Bon appetit!

Home and Patio Show

Ah, the home show season.

Update: The 2011 Home and Patio Show in St. Paul, MN.

It’s here again, much to the delight of home owners and enthusiasts throughout the Twin Cities. This weekend is the St. Paul Home and Patio Show at the River Centre at W 7th St and Kellogg Blvd.

If you’ve never been to one of these shows, expect to find a comprehensive exhibit covering all things related to home: expert advice from professionals, Do-It-Yourself seminars led by both Home Depot professionals and Ramsey County Master Gardeners, a “Minnesota Green Zone” dedicated to living and building eco-friendly, and hundreds of exhibits showcasing the latest trends. The exhibits feature products related to gardening, home renovation, landscaping, building, decorating, and green living.

Admission is $9 for adults and $2.50 for children aged 6-12. Children 5 and under are admitted free. Use this coupon to get $2 off admission for each and any day of the show: $2 Off Coupon-Home & Patio Show

Click here for directions and a map to the  River Centre:
Directions to Home and Patio Show at the St. Paul RiverCentre

10:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M. on Saturday
10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. on Sunday

Want more information? Go here:
Home and Patio Show Information

Pont du Gard, Roman Aqueduct, France

Pont du Gard is both a bridge and a part of the aqueduct of Nimes, France. It was built approximately 2000 years ago and is considered a masterpiece, both technically and artistically. It’s the tallest of all Roman aqueducts. It’s a simple and elegant structure set amidst the Mediterranean countryside just north of Nimes and west of Avignon.

Pont du Gard, France

The bridge was built entirely by hand using dressed stone without masonry; the limestone blocks were fitted together and secured with iron clamps. It’s composed of three levels of stone arches with the first level used as a road and the third level used as a water conduit.

The first level has six arches, the second level has eleven arches, and the top-level, which supports the water channel, has thirty-five or forty-seven arches (reports vary). The biggest stone blocks weigh close to six tons and came from surrounding quarries, some of which are still active today.

It’s reported to be 900 feet long and 160 feet high (about the height of a 16-story building). Pont du Gard was part of an aqueduct nearly thirty miles long that supplied Nimes with fresh water.

Here’s a photo showing people on the bridge. It gives a sense of its immense size and a close-up view of its ancient architectural form.

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Close up of Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. They’ve produced a short video about the bridge and ancient aqueduct.

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Learn more about UNESCO’s World Heritage here: UNESCO World Heritage

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Minneapolis-St Paul Real Estate Market: February 2010

Here’s the Monthly Skinny for February 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 Pat Paulson (President-Elect of the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS®), audio recorded by Zach Foty and video produced by Chelsie Foty.



Music for Valentine’s Day

Music is such a special part of life. It produces a variety of energies in a home and is sometimes used as a feng shui adjustment. Music can be both energizing and relaxing. A song can stir a memory. Lyrics can move a person.

I have a niece who plays the violin. I’ve heard this piece played at a few of her recitals and have always loved it. The music here, Borowski’s Adoration, strikes me as an apt piece for today. I hope you enjoy it.

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A city, a river and the Peace Bridge.

Creating more pleasure in life, bridge by bridge, step by step.

The city of Calgary is in the process of building the Peace Bridge over the Bow River. The bridge is scheduled to open for pedestrian use later this year (around October). It will allow people to walk, bike and in-line skate in and out of the city centre. It’s all about mobility choices and sustainability.

This bridge design addresses safety and comfort for users by offering:

  • A 6.2-metre wide pathway, double the width of other pedestrian bridges in the area.
  • A clear separation between pedestrian and bicycle/wheel traffic for safety.
  • Canopy-style glazed roof supports year-round use while maintaining natural light.
  • Lighting for night-time use.

The bridge was designed by award-winning architect and bridge designer Santiago Calatrava. The music and the sounds of nature featured in the video are both soothing and moving. Enjoy your virtual trip to the Peace Bridge in Calgary!

Peace Bridge Video

peace_bridge_brochure

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Foot in the Door 4 at MIA

As a REALTOR®, I get my foot in the door of a lot of homes. And I help real estate buyers get a foot in the door of homes as well. Most every home I am privileged to walk through has art. I see a variety of art, original and otherwise: paintings, sculpture, ceramics, quilts, metalwork, three-dimensional pieces, drawings, photography, landscape art, collages, architectural models, découpage, and more.

One home I visited had artwork that the teen-aged daughter had displayed on her bedroom door. She had written something and I was struck by its beauty, humor and simplicity. I wanted to take it home with me. Alas, I could not. But to this day I recall the impact it had on me and I still smile as I think about the experience.

Have you had such an experience yourself? Artists such as this young woman will surface in droves beginning next week at an event here in our Twin Cities.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art officially opens the doors to the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Gallery on Friday, February 19th. The exhibition will be free and open to the public through June 13, 2010. This exhibit takes place once every ten years. That’s right. Once every ten years. It’s open to any resident of Minnesota.

Art drop-off and registration took place this past week, February 4-7. Word heard is that the lines were long, with people waiting 2-3 hours to get their ‘foot in the door’. Art submitted had to fit in a 12-inch square box.

Opening night is Thursday, February 18th from 6-9 p.m. and is museum-wide. An excited, enthusiastic, creative, and fun mob of artists and friends is expected (my description, not MIA’s). See the link below about the opening reception, complete with the chance to be part of the “Best Shoes in the Door” Flickr gallery. Feeling generous? You won’t be able to purchase any art but you can bring new socks to help with the St. Stephens sock drive.

“All in favor of art, say aye.”

“AYE!”

Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program

Click on the photo below to see additional photos from the setup.

Day 4 of setup for 'Foot in the Door 4" exhibition

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Is It Really a Bedroom?

Sometimes I tour a home with a certain number of stated bedrooms where one of the bedrooms is quite small. Such was the case this past week in Saint Paul where one ‘bedroom’ measured 7′ x  8′. So, is this really a bedroom?

According to one of the inspectors I work with, the International Residential Code (IRC), used by both Minneapolis and St. Paul, states that a bedroom must be a minimum of 70 square feet in area. In the above case, the room does not meet the minimum size of 70 square feet. Thus, the ‘three-bedroom’ house I saw is actually a two-bedroom house.

Other code requirements for a bedroom include:

  • having a ceiling height of seven (7) feet (from finished floor to finished ceiling),
  • one egress window or door direct to the exterior,
  • a smoke detector,
  • a minimum size of not less than seven (7) feet in any horizontal direction,
  • and light, ventilation and heating.

Note that a closet is not a required feature to meet code for a bedroom. Most people are surprised to hear this, undoubtedly because most bedrooms have a closet. It’s expected, but it’s not required.

(Code includes numerous other details which I am not including here.)

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Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual

Home, on one level, is certainly about food. A home with food is a welcoming home that’s about nourishment, sustenance, gathering, and contentment.

Food choices today are abundant, both inside and outside of the home. I regularly hear people commenting about their eating choices. Below is a link to an article that has simple food for thought. And this post is my wish to you for good eating, good health and good living.

Rules Worth Following, for Everyone’s Sake

One of my favorite Minneapolis restaurants (located in Uptown) offers both delicious and healthy food choices: Lucia’s

I’m posting this on a Monday, the one day of the week that Lucia’s is not open. But visit it another day for an epicurean treat. Lucia’s includes a restaurant, a wine bar, and a To Go shop. Bon appetit!

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I Love Lilacs! (Now They Rebloom!)

A lilac branch and green foliage

A sure sign of spring is the heady smell of lilacs blooming. There’s nothing quite like the scent of lilacs. I once had a lilac scented candle that smelled exactly like the flower—not overly scented as some candles are, but subtle and natural. It was amazing and wonderful!  If any of you readers can suggest a source for finding this candle or one like it, please let me know. I’d love to have another one.

If you’re a lilac lover like me, then you no doubt feel the lilac blooming season is far too short. Good news, lilac lovers! I’ve just read there are lilac bushes that continuously rebloom until the frost. They grow just 4-5 feet tall and are hardy in zones 4-7 (the Twin Cities is in zone 4).

I’ve read some positive reviews of these lilac bushes and it sounds like they sell quickly. White Flower Farm ships the plants in 5″ pots mid-April through June. If you love lilacs as I do, you might want to reserve yours now. Spring will be here before we know it. If you have any experience with these reblooming lilacs, I’d love to hear from you.

Gurney’s Seed and Nursery: Josee Reblooming Lilac

White Flower Farm: Bloomerang Shrub Info

The smell of lilacs—heavenly!

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Luminary Loppet – 2010

Tonight was the Luminary Loppet on Lake of the Isles. It’s a sight to behold. What’s a luminary loppet, you ask? Here’s how it’s described on the official site:

“Thousands of ice luminaries, an ice pyramid and the Ice-Cropolis! Bon fires, coffee, hot cocoa and cookie stations. Non-competitive – registration is open to snowshoers, walkers* and skiers alike.”
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Luminary Loppet on Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, MN – Feb. 6, 2010

Read more about this weekend-long City of Lakes Loppet.

The Beautiful Bow Window

The bow window has always struck me as a wonderful architectural feature. I love its curve within the four or five panes that typically make up a bow window. The curve adds a visual softness to what is so often an angular and straight lined building. The “bow” or curve feature allows more light to enter the home and provides a wider view to look out upon.

I saw this home in St. Paul earlier this week. It not only has a bow window, but the upper panes feature beveled glass. Beveled glass has angled edges. One benefit of beveled glass is that the angled edges act as prisms in the sunlight, providing a spectrum of colors not present in regular clear glass. Imagine a rainbow of color streaming in your home through a beveled window! This color diffraction also highlights the beveled glass, making it more of a focal point within the room than other glass. An antique beveled glass window will give this magical effect with both natural and artificial light sources.

Most, if not all, beveled glass windows were made by hand in the 19th and early 20th centuries. There were many time-consuming steps involved in the process, thereby making this type of glass expensive. Even so, Americans embraced these visually stunning windows and, as such, our country produced the widest variety and best quality of these elegant windows. An antique beveled glass window is superior to a modern version due to the differences in glass composition, the thicker glass which allows for a more refractory surface on each piece, and the inherent extraordinary craftsmanship of a hand-made bevel that allows for greater prismatic light.

A bow window in a St. Paul, MN home
St. Paul, MN home with beveled bow window

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Upcoming Listing

A Gem of a Condo by Southdale!

I’ll be bringing a new condo on the market next week. Here are some details in case you know of anyone who might have an interest:

6415 York Avenue South
Edina MN 55435

  • One bedroom, one bath.
  • Spacious living room can easily accommodate two seating areas.
  • Updated kitchen and bath.
  • Separate dining area off kitchen.
  • Home office alcove.
  • Large balcony with privacy walls.
  • Attached, underground garage.
  • Secured entry building.
  • Air conditioning.
  • 760 square feet.
  • Second/top floor unit.
  • Walk Score = 75 (Very Walkable).
  • Convenient to Southdale Mall, Fairview Southdale Hospital, Centennial Lakes, 50th and France, Lake Harriet, Galleria, AMC movie theaters, restaurants, shops and more.
  • Near buslines.

List Price: $69,000

Windows: Repair or Replace?

As a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, I like to raise awareness of the benefits of repairing windows rather than replacing them. Often times people think they are improving the energy efficiency by replacing the windows. Perhaps not.

“More heat is typically lost though your roof and un-insulated walls than through your windows. Adding just 3 and 1/2 inches of insulation in your attic can save more energy than replacing your windows.”

Has this quote caught your attention? It’s pulled from an article published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Read it for information about the benefits of keeping your old windows (they’ll last far longer). It also covers wood window basics, maintenance of wood windows, lead-based paint safety, and winter tips (including the most important job of a window lock. Hint: it’s not for security).

Windows Tip Sheet (National Trust for Historic Preservation-July 2008)

If you’d like to read more, go here:  Historic windows and energy efficiency

And here’s another blog entry regarding Help for Historic Windows

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“A man looking out of an open window never sees as much as the same man looking directly at a closed window.”

–Charles Baudelaire

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Homebuyers Tax Credit

It’s February and the deadline for the Homebuyers Tax Credit is approaching (April 30, 2010). Qualified first-time homebuyers can receive a credit of up to $8000. Other qualified buyers can receive a credit of up to $6500 for homes purchased between November 7, 2009 and April 30, 2010. Buyers need to enter into a written binding contract by April 30, 2010 to close by June 30, 2010 in order to claim the credit. There are certain conditions that must be met to qualify. Contact me to receive a brochure outlining the conditions and benefits of this tax credit. Either leave a comment (below) or use the ‘Post a Note’ page for more privacy.