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Carol Hejlstone is a bicycling and garden enthusiast.

So when she and her husband, Jesse, moved back to Minnesota 12 years ago after having lived in Chicago and Vancouver, she was drawn to a home in Minneapolis' Bryn Mawr neighborhood.

"The location really drew me to the home, the proximity to downtown, the Chain of Lakes," she said. "Door-to-door it's a 2-mile bike ride to Target Field and downtown. The location was just a dream."

On the gardening side, the yard needed work, but the potential was there. And it just so happened that Carol had gone to school for landscape architecture and worked at a large garden center.

"The yard was a blank slate. There was a tree stump and some random old hostas. For me that was a fun challenge," she said. "We like to do those types of projects."

The house would need some updating, too. Good thing that Jesse used to be a contractor.


The Hejlstones got right to work with the garden.

"Everything we've done we've tried to do in a regenerative fashion, so not using chemicals or herbicides or pesticides and really trying to work with what we have," Carol said, "and to improve things through bio-dynamic methods with a special type of composting and the way you grow the plants."

They established pollinator-friendly prairie plantings that would bloom throughout the gardening season.

"As soon as the bulbs start coming up in the spring, we're one of the homes that start [seeing signs of life in the yard] as well as one of the last with fall perennials," she said.

Vegetable gardens became part of the mix, as did close to 30 shrubs, fruit and shade trees, as well as vines producing juneberries, gooseberries and grapes.

The gardens have allowed the family to live off their land and share their bounty with others. It also became a fun place for son Ziggy to forage.

"He's an adventurous eater with all of the fruits and vegetables," Carol said.

They also built a chicken coop — created out of a repurposed trampoline — and raised chickens.

Home updates

The family also made updates to the house. Built in 1924 in what is now Bryn Mawr Meadows Park, it was at some point moved to its current location on Morgan Avenue.

From what the couple could tell, the house hadn't been updated much.

"It was outdated," said Carol. "I think it may have received a kitchen remodel in the 1970s."

They put in new mechanicals, including high-efficiency central air conditioning, and updated most of the rooms while preserving the original hardwood floors as well as a cast iron tub.

One of the biggest transformations was in the kitchen, where they put in new cabinets, quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances. They also replaced the vinyl flooring with ceramic tile in a herringbone pattern.

The Hejlstones also spent countless hours stripping, sanding and refinishing wood-paneled walls.

Other improvements included putting on a metal roof and adding a Juliet balcony off the main bedroom.

"You get these awesome views of downtown and overlooking the park and all the gardens in the front yard," Carol said.

The basement was also insulated and finished. "It's given us additional living space," she said. "It became a bonus room and play space for our son."

Listing it

After more than a decade in the three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 2,500-square-foot home, the Hejlstones have decided to sell.

"It's time for a change and we're onto the next adventure. We're just moving a little further south [in Minneapolis] with more square footage and a larger yard," Carol said. "It's another blank slate to start this process again. I grew up on a farm in North Dakota, and that farm girl in me never stops."

She said that the next homeowner will not only get an updated home that comes with an "established food forest," but great neighbors, too.

And there's another bonus: They'll throw in a lifetime membership to Utepil's Brewery a mile away. The Hejlstones were investors when the brewery was getting established, and their two VIP "memBEERships" are transferable. "Which means a free beer for each person every time they go to the brewery, plus two free growlers each month for the next 90 years," Carol said.

Listing agent Sonda Featherstone said anyone living there will benefit from a great location with more amenities on the horizon, pointing out that Bryn Mawr Meadows Park is slated to receive a multimillion-dollar upgrade and that the future Southwest light rail line will be within walking distance.

Featherstone said the home has a lot of charm and lives well, with features such as a breakfast nook, an open kitchen and a three-season porch.

And there's nothing left to be desired with the home's outdoor spaces, either.

"The sellers made excellent use of the yard," she said, with an "inviting back patio, beautiful gardens and a nice bonfire area."

Sonda Featherstone (; 651-442-3941) of Featherstone Real Estate, LLC has the $450,000 listing.