Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Estate Sale With An Old House Tale

Is there a house you often pass by that you wish you could see the inside of?
There are several on my list but, this one was near the tippy top of my list and last Sunday my wish sort of came true. Before I can tell you about the experience I have to explain a little more first....
 I've covered some of the history of Homewood (the neighborhood we live in) in posts a while back, but here's a quick background just in case... Homewood was once an affluent Jewish community where families and businesses thrived from the 1920's well into the 1950's and part of the 60's. 
Then in 1967, racial tensions grew and riots broke out along Plymouth Avenue resulting in many families fleeing out to the suburbs.  Much of North Minneapolis began to deteriorate in the decades that followed, but thankfully Homewood didn't fall into a similar state of disrepair.  Instead, many homeowners kept their homes within the family or at least maintained their history and beauty before selling to the next owner.
This home along with three others, sits on the street that borders Theodore Wirth Park. Theses four homes were known as the "Homewood Mansions". I am not 100% certain, but I also remember hearing once that these four properties have the biggest property lots within the Minneapolis city limits.  Anyway, when Alex and I would wander the neighborhood I would always say, "Ugh, I want to see what the inside of that house looks like!"  Yes, it looked like it needed some TLC, but we have a soft spot for old homes and can see the potential in anything that holds history and character.  One thing we never knew was if anyone lived there or not.

Sadly, last year's tornado that came through on May 22nd, 2011 didn't help the home's condition (or the property around it).  So many trees gone, boo!

The photos show that the roof has been replaced, but the windows still remain boarded up.  Even after the tornado, we still couldn't tell if anyone was living there.

Which leads us back to the present....
Thanks to a couple well informed neighbors (Hammers & High Fives for Brian and Chris!), I was going to finally see the inside!  They told me that Birkeland & Associates were holding an estate sale at the house.  So, wish coming true AND there's tons of vintage goodies for sale?!?!  I had to race over! 

I brought my camera along and took a few pictures inside.  The Birkeland staff didn't stop me from taking a few photos, so I assumed it was okay.  The sale was only on the main floor and basement, so I wish I could have snuck upstairs!  When I laid eyes on this grand staircase I nearly melted.  It was so beautiful, and it made me think how elegant and enchanting this home must have been back in it's early days!
Each and every little original detail seemed to remain intact in this home- the floor tile, woodwork, doors, door knobs, light fixtures, wallpaper, just everything... even appliances!!!
The kitchen was probably one of the most amazing rooms.  It had it's original built in breakfast nook, apron sink, oven & stovetop, and cabinetry.
The photo below is a view from the formal dining room into the living room.  The glass door to the left opened to the solarium which had amazing flagstone flooring.  I've never seen anything like it!
During my walk through this home, I eavesdropped a little bit on other people discussing the details of this home and it's unfortunate current condition. Someone at some point even said to their shopping buddy, "This home just has so much character and detail, it's a shame that it'll probably get torn down since it needs so much work." Now, I didn't know this person at all and I wasn't going to turn into a crazy lady in front of them but I wanted to scream, "Over my dead body!!!!" I thought, if someones going to tear this place down I'll put a stop to it by chaining myself to the front door Jessie Spano style!
"Stop the drilling! Stop the Oil!" Haha, anyone else remember that Saved By the Bell episode?

Now, I still don't really know the status of the house but the story I heard is that the home was owned by an older couple and the husband passed away last fall.  They didn't have any children and they were not living in the house so now the home for sale but to agents only for a bargain price.  Again, this all may or may not be true.  I'll just put this public plea out there just in case...
To Anyone out there with a really rich relative/ sugar daddy/ sugar mama/ who ever- just someone with lots of extra dough to throw around....
Could I please have like, I don't know, one million dollars so I can save this old house???  I promise to pay you back if possible, but if given the opportunity Alex and I (along with skilled professionals) would restore the house and save every bit of original character that it has to make it the gem that it once was in Homewood all over again. That should make you feel warm and fuzzy with all of your money.
XOXO Carla
Desperate public plea complete. 
Had to do it, you never know what could happen :)
Aside from the Old House Tale, I did take home some goodies from the estate sale!  I spent a total of only $36 and got three great finds.  The first was this old steamer trunk priced at $48, BUT I got there on the last day of the sale and they cut the prices in half.  So this trunk was only $24!!!!!!!!!
Amazing steal right?!?  You're jealous, right?  It really is a helluva deal!
The next item was this chair, again 50% off so it was $2.50.  I thought for $2.50 I will be able to use it as my first experiment with full on reupholstery.  That way if I mess it up, it won't be a big waste of money.  I see potential with it, love the wood legs!  I'll definitely share my experience tearing it apart :)
The last item was this vintage garment rack for $10.  I was on the hunt for a vintage garment rack last year and NEVER found one.  I'm still unsure where it will go, but for $10 I couldn't pass it up.  Who knows, maybe I could use it in "that little ol' shop" that I have always dreampt of opening.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the "Old House Tale"!

Did you love the detail in the home?
Would you want to save or restore the house if you could?

See you tomorrow for Head Over Heels Friday!


  1. What a fabulous old house! We have so many around here and I am always rushing over when I hear of an estate sale!

    Great finds - that garment rack is perfection!

  2. ok... you sell your house, I'll sell mine, and we can live there together! TOTALLY looks big enough. LOVE! Thanks for sharing!

  3. The house is for sale but the seller hasn't been particularly motivated. It may or may not hit MLS. There were many financial problems here. I was in the upstairs last fall. It is completely gutted. As is the third floor. It's going to take a very special buyer to reinvest in this property. The worst part is the garish look of no trees left on the block. :-/

  4. LOVE that house!! i'll have all my appendages crossed that it doesn't get torn down. great estate sale finds too... i never have any luck at estate sales!

  5. Hey, speaking of touring houses, I thought you might be interested in this:

    1. Awesome story, but I am so mad I missed the home tour! I realized it yesterday afternoon, bummer :( I want to meet these guys though!

  6. I don't have a million dollars but if someone puts up the cash, I'll be right there helping you save one of the jewels in our crown!

  7. I don't have a million dollars to fund the project - and sadly, that is probably what it will take. But, you get someone to put up the cash and I'll give you my sweat equity. This jewel in the crown of Homewood must be saved!

    1. I know, it needs so much work, work that I wouldn't even know where to start or what to do. I would just love to decorate it :) the fun part! I guess we will have to be nosey so we can find out what will happen with it.

  8. Hi, love your blog, nice item you found, I'd love to know where that trunk has been? When you take the chair fabric off, use it as your pattern. Good luck, it's really not hard, get a book from the library. Have fun. Mary in NY

  9. Carla, I was totally intrigued by the trunk, so I did some research. If the metal tag is European made like I think it is, then heres what I came up with, The JPT painted on the side means Jewish public transport. That was a label put out in the Polish corridor, which is the area of Poland where all the government officials moved to to try and stay safe in WW11 from the Nazi Germans. The info was hard to find, so I am assuming your trunk is pretty rare! Awesome find :)

  10. Wow that is a stunning house! I truly hope someone buys it and tries to fix it up as it does have soooo much potential and certainly does not look like it's in tear down shape yet! I've seen worse houses turned around!! P.S. I'm SOOO jealous of your steamer trunk! Bah!!

  11. What a fabulous story! It would be a crime to tear down a beautiful historic house like this. Hopefully you find a new wealthy friend to assist with your plea! Now I'm going to scour the internet for estate sales in my area...

  12. I LOVED the old house tale!! It really is a gorgeous sad that only 2 people lived there....I wanted that old stove! The garment rack is FAB!! Thanks for sharing

  13. I was also at this sale and fell in love with the house and the grounds. I too wish I had a million or so to restore this grand house.

  14. I live in Jordan and I love walking through this neighborhood to look at the homes. I'm jealous I missed the estate sale. Thanks for sharing the photos.

  15. utterly incredible! wow, no words.

  16. Curious to know what the fate of this lovely home was...

    1. I should write a follow up! I've been in contact with the new owner, she is a well known architect here in the Twin Cities and she's been restoring the home. The Star Tribune wrote an article about it, I still need to catch up and read the article and perhaps meet up with the owner again to hear about the progress :)


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