Could you live in just 425 square feet? There’s a micro house for sale in Minneapolis with a mansion-envy location, just two blocks from Cedar Lake.
Built in 1922, decades before the tiny house trend, this home is no fixer-upper. It’s already been fixed, just last year, including a brand-new kitchen and bathroom, plus new plumbing and electrical sytems and new windows.
The house, which faces a wetland, is in a somewhat secluded neighborhood of much larger and newer homes. Real estate agent Sherri Beier, Coldwell Banker, speculates that it was originally built as someone’s rustic getaway spot. The bathroom appears to have been added later, and the house has a chimney but no fireplace, leading her to guess there was once a wood-burning stove. “A little cottage that morphed into this baby house,” she said. “A lot of people are curious about it.”
The house had been a rental property and was in rough shape when owner John Nyagaka bought it in 2017, intending to build a new house on the lot. “It was pretty bad — kind of an eyesore,” he said. “It was a teardown, let’s be honest.”
Nyagaka cleaned up the house and moved in while he worked with an architect on plans for a new house. He fell in love with the setting with its mature trees and wildlife, including deer, ducks and birds. “You hear frogs,” he said. “You’re in the city but you don’t feel like you are. You forget you’re in Minneapolis.”
Eventually the little house began to grow on him, and he decided to remodel it rather than tear it down.
“It’s small, but I’m kind of a minimalist anyway,” he said.
Last year Nyagaka gutted and updated the entire house. “It didn’t have a true closet,” he said, so he tore out one wall to add a small walk-in closet. The remodeled house is just two rooms — a kitchen and living room/bedroom, plus a bathroom — but they’re as fresh and modern as a new condo, with engineered wood floors, quartz countertops, white cabinets, subway tile, new appliances and a ¾ bath with a new floor of slate-hued penny tile. There’s even a window seat.
“Inside it’s like a fancy apartment, but you’re not living with 100 people,” Nyagaka said. “You have a yard, you can walk to the lake.”
He finished the makeover right before the pandemic hit and lived there during Minnesota’s stay-at-home order. But Nyagaka has since moved to a duplex near Lake Harriet because he now has a significant other and they needed more space and wanted to own an investment property.
The little house by Cedar Lake is on the market for $399,900.
“In that neighborhood, you’re paying for the land,” said Beier. Most of the people who have expressed interest in the property so far want to tear it down and build a new house, she said. “Which would be sad because it’s so stinking cute. It would make a perfect Airbnb.”
If the home’s days are numbered, Nyagaka is philosophical. “I have mixed feelings,” he said. “I definitely understand the logic. The location is prime.”
The neighborhood is “a little oasis,” said Beier, and the wetland across the street gives the house a tranquil view.
Nearby Cedar Lake is quiet compared to other city lakes, she said. “It’s calm, a little more serene than Bde Maka Ska or Harriet.”
The house comes with a single detached garage, and a shared driveway, although the city has approved a curb cut, said Beier.
Sherri Beier, 612-816-1614, Coldwell Banker, has the listing.