When Jere Blanchfield was house hunting in the early 1990s, he felt he hit the jackpot when coming across a house on a corner lot across from Hiawatha Golf Course and blocks from Minnehaha Parkway.
On top of that, the house in the Ericsson neighborhood of Minneapolis had been well maintained by the previous two owners and had a charm to it.
"The previous owners took good care of it," he said.
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Sure, the midcentury modern rambler, built in 1950, was due for a refresh. It wore a lot of pink — on the walls, framing the storm windows, in linoleum tile and even as the main hue for the refrigerator.
"The bones were great. It just needed a new set of clothes," he said. "With a golf course and a park on two sides of it, the sightlines were so good I wasn't afraid of having to paint and carpet and do that kind of stuff."
Blanchfield purchased the house in 1993. His now wife, Teresa Engstrom, moved in in 1999 and joined him in the makeover.
Over the years they've upgraded the mechanicals, replaced all the windows and swapped out worn carpet for higher-end Berber carpeting.
One of the biggest transformations came in the kitchen, where they traded in pink linoleum for Pergo flooring and gave the oak cupboards an update.
"We didn't want to lose the oak, so we pulled the doors off and took some of the cabinets to a shop in Wisconsin and they put in windows and we painted some of the doors but not the base," Engstrom said.
When the appliances were also updated, a large stove was swapped for a more standard size. "The stove was what Jere called a Buick, it was so huge," Engstrom said. "We had a cabinet maker come in and fill in the gaps. He just did a wonderful job."
Another major update was repurposing a bedroom and converting it into a sunroom. The space became the go-to spot for their daily morning coffee and newspaper routine.
"We stripped about four coats of wallpaper and painted and carpeted. It's a lovely space," Engstrom said. "We have views of the park. You can catch the sunrise over the golf course. You can see the herons, geese and the ducks and hawks."
While the couple have enjoyed the home and prime location, they recently listed the two-bedroom, two-bathroom at just over 2,100 square feet. Now retired, they're moving to Mankato, where they have family. The new house is also larger, which will allow them to spread out more to enjoy their hobbies.
"Teresa is a quilter, and she now has a dedicated space," Blanchfield said. "We're collectors of cars, and I wanted a place where I could work on them in the winter. No matter how you do it, the city's just not an easy place to have classic cars, so we had stuff stored in garages all over."
Blanchfield and Engstrom hope the next occupants will be drawn to the original features of the home, from a wood-burning fireplace in the living room to a built-in bar in the basement.
"One of the things I like about the house is no one has come in and torn it apart," Blanchfield said. "If you like houses of this era, the house was well designed and has craftsmanship. And it's updated and cleaned up and kept up."
Another big plus is the ample storage throughout the house.
"The bedroom closets are so generous with storage. Then there's storage under the sunroom; there's storage under the steps," said Engstrom. "There's a linen closet; there's a pantry; there's another pantry."
Location of leisure
Listing agent Rebecca Powell said that the homeowners have taken great care of the house and that the location can't be beat.
"It's a rare opportunity. You walk outside and there's all this open green space everywhere," she said. "It's very peaceful, yet you're in the city and you can walk down the street a block and there are grocery stores and restaurants."
It's those amenities and the neighborhood that Blanchfield and Engstrom will miss the most. Whether it was walking to nearby businesses or hitting trails at the nearby Grand Rounds Scenic Byway system linking a series of parks in which they regularly hiked, biked and snowshoed, the access to outdoor activities was right out their front door.
"It's one of the other things that stood out about the location besides the sightlines," Engstrom said.
"And the neighborhood and neighbors are just awesome and amazing," Blanchfield added. "Saying goodbye to everyone has been torture."