When photographer Michael Shoop visited his soon-to-be-built home in 1995, he was initially drawn to the architectural details, including the 30-foot ceilings and wide windows that let in plenty of light.
“The cedar ceilings and great wood support it, giving it a great sense of spaciousness,” he said. “As a nature photographer, I felt like I was in a northern lodge.”
At 3,051 square feet, the home had plenty of room for a family, plus room for photo shoots. The spacious garage also allowed Mr. Shoop to work on converting his 1987 Corvette into an electric vehicle (on display at the Minnesota State Fair’s EcoExperience exhibit in 2008). Mr. Shoop currently has two of his electric chargers in his garage).
Looking to downsize, Shoop and his wife, Joyce Prudden, bought a two-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment in St. Louis Park in the hopes that someone new will enjoy the space and its architectural beauty. have been listed. Like them, they say, new homeowners are likely to appreciate the fact that the architect and original occupant was a pioneer in his field.
Built in 1953 by one of the first women to graduate with an architecture degree from the University of Minnesota, much of the building remains true to its original mid-century modern design and has helped homeowners. said Kathleen Kullberg, a self-proclaimed housing detective. I’ve been researching the history behind their home for years.
According to Kullberg, not much is known about architect Lois Jean Merlin’s work in the field of architecture. Marlin graduated from college in the late 1940s, after World War II, and graduated from high school as an honor roll student.
“She was at the forefront of women’s advancement into the workforce,” Kullberg said. “She was the only woman in her [architecture] Graduates — all the others were men. ”
Kulberg isn’t surprised by the fact that there isn’t a lot of information out there about Merlin. Women worked as draftsmen for architects and as real estate agents, but at the time they were little known and their achievements were not properly recognized.
Kulberg said Merlin may have had difficulty finding construction work and turned to building his own home. Today, it is rare to find a mid-century home in such good condition and faithful to its original design.
“It’s rare to have such a grand space and see something like that,” Kullberg said.
There is a certain balance throughout the house. For example, the high ceilings are weighed down by the fireplace’s warm-toned brick, Kullberg said.
“The fireplace has a lot of warm, earthy textures, but it’s simple and straightforward,” she said. “There’s a grassroots feel to this property.”
And there are plenty of hidden perks that speak to Merlin’s eye for design.
There’s built-in storage space everywhere, including drawers, bookshelves, and record holders, and the kitchen cabinets also have built-in containers for things like sugar and flour. Pruden added that the roof overhang is installed above the windows so that they can be left open even when it rains (unless there are strong winds).
“During the summer, the overhang creates a bit of shade for the home, and in the winter, it blocks out the sun’s lower angles and allows more light in,” she said. “There was always a lot of light coming in in the winter.”
There are also fun additions, like the front door’s brightly colored glass that shimmers when sunlight shines through, and a xylophone-like doorbell that allows guests to use a mallet to announce their arrival to the homeowner.
“She was really thoughtful about how she did everything in the house,” Pruden said.
Over the years, previous owners have made updates. There is now an outdoor in-ground pool. There are skylights throughout the house, and one of the rooms has an accordion-style folding wall that allows him to turn one room into two.
Pruden and Shoop partially remodeled the kitchen and replaced the aging stove. The project also included the construction of a laundry room next door. They built a porch outside, but made few other cosmetic updates because they appreciated the original design.
“I looked out the glass door and saw all the green trees in what used to be called the Back 40,” Shoop said. “I was sitting in the breakfast room and there was a feeder hanging over the overhang. I really enjoyed watching the birds while eating breakfast.”
Erin Sjoquist (612-207-4318, [email protected]) of Keller Williams Integrity Realty has $669,000. List up.