Home Tour highlights Shelter renovation project

When thousands of Twin Cities residents flock to the Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour in April, their itinerary will include a St. Paul residence that Shelter updated for a family of five. Inclusion on the Home Tour isn’t the first honor this project has earned. In 2018, the house was named Best in Show by the St. Paul BLEND Awards, which recognize new and remodeled buildings that help maintain the character of their surrounding neighborhoods.

The home originally went up in 1922 — to serve as both a church and its pastor’s residence. It included just three small rooms, plus a larger space geared for public gatherings. As time passed and surrounding buildings changed, the house became one of only two remaining single-story homes on the block. It looked a bit out of place. Like the runt of the neighborhood.

In 2014, the current homeowners — a couple with three kids — were fast outgrowing the modest dwelling. Faced with the choice of remaining in their longtime community or moving elsewhere, they opted to stay put and make their existing home meet their modern needs.

The family decided to work within the home’s existing 40-by-40-foot footprint, building up rather than out. Adding a second story would allow for larger bedrooms and add more common space.

The house’s exterior and central interior spaces featured a highly symmetrical design. The homeowners wanted to maintain that symmetry and employ an architectural style that reflected the era in which the home was built. In addition, the family valued a neighborhood culture that encouraged children to play across front yards. So, a generously sized front porch was a must-have amenity.


To execute this vision, Shelter created a new stair column, raised a shed dormer at the center of the roof, expanded the upstairs quarters, and built out porches on two sides. The result is a very traditional two-story craftsman home with a large welcoming porch facing the street.

Details such as double-hung windows, rafter-tail roof overhangs and brackets take cues from neighboring houses. Gable ends are clad in shakes and board-and-batten siding made of sustainable, low-maintenance exterior cement board. So the house is now not only roomier, but also more environmentally friendly.

An exterior color palette of slate blue, chocolate brown and white — accented with bright green and red accessories — completes the transformation, contributing to this remade residence’s striking curb appeal.

Ready to see it for yourself? Pay a visit during the Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour, April 25-26. The free event welcomes people inside a wide variety of homes, where they can chat with homeowners and contractors and pick up remodeling ideas.

Pondering whether it’s possible to expand your beloved home rather than move elsewhere? Our Reality Check can kick-start your decision-making process.

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