David Piehl Marquardt's home was falling apart when he first bought it in Minneapolis' Central neighborhood in 1992.
The 1890 Queen Anne had fallen into disrepair after it was used as a boarding house between the 1930s to around 1970. Two previous owners tried to restore it but, by the time Piehl Marquardt saw it while house hunting, the property had sat vacant for three years.
"It was in bad shape. It had been vandalized, things had been stolen like the plumbing. There was no kitchen — not even tiles on the floor — just a sink and two [cabinets] on the wall," he said.
Nevertheless, young Piehl Marquardt was captivated by the home's natural structures — that and it fit within his tiny fresh-out-of-college budget.
"I drove by it and it was visceral," he said." I knew I wanted to live in that house."
Help from neighbors
At first, Piehl Marquardt thought he was going to replace much of the interior and start anew, but many helpful neighbors were able to teach him how to restore and preserve the home's historic nature.
Missing pieces from the home's ornate staircase? Fixed by a guy down the street. Kitchen remodel? Done by a neighbor who specialized in wood crafting. An unaccounted upper mantle on the fireplace that would match the rest of its aesthetic? Found by a neighbor who happened to spot one like the original listed in the newspaper.
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"I wasn't savvy about preservation," he said. "But I had a lot of good mentors."
It was project after project the first few years — much of it done by Piehl Marquardt. Projects included rebuilding the porch bases, putting a roof back over the porch and even replacing the rest of the roof on the house.
The home was built by T.P. Healy, nicknamed the "King of the Queen Anne" and was the family home of Mary E. and Josiah B. Hudson of JB Hudson Jewelers, according to a Minneapolis Historical article by Anders Christensen of the Healy Project home preservation group. The house sits on the nationally designated Healy Block Historic District, homes by the builder that share an alley on the 3100 block of 2nd and 3rd avenues in south Minneapolis.
By chance, a descendent of Hudson's stopped by the house to see it. She gave Piehl Marquardt pictures of the more than 2,600 square feet house from the early days and ever since then, he's worked on restoring it to its original beauty.
The family of another previous owner stopped by one day to look at the house shortly after that owner's funeral.
"I knew they had one of the front doors [that had been turned into a coffee table]," Piehl Marquardt said. "I mentioned to them that if they wanted to part with the table I would take it. A week later, they brought it back with a note saying they thought it should be back at the house."
He was able to track down the other front door which was still in another previous owner's storage unit.
Then there was a missing wooden carving between two windows on the lower floor. Piehl Marquardt tracked a previous owner who took that— from a note he found in the attic.
The man not only gave him the missing carving, but the two became friends and regularly kept in contact to talk about the home.
"I've known all the owners [or their relatives]," he said. "I have put so much time and effort into this house — it was a labor of love. I got it just like I wanted it to be."
Passing the torch
Piehl Marquardt also installed antique or reproduced light fixtures in the four-bedroom, two-bath home. Wallpaper is hand-printed William Morris and Adelphi and the stencils above it were made to look like how it was originally set in 1890.
Among the many restorations and refurbishments — are modern amenities like air conditioning and an updated kitchen and appliances.
"The exterior needs a new paint job," he said. "Other than that it's in pretty good shape."
Now married, Piehl Marquardt said he's looking forward to a new chapter in another house and that it's time for him to pass on the torch of ownership to someone else.
"I never thought I'd sell it," he said. "I want to make sure the next owner appreciates the history and workmanship like I have."
Constance Vork (firstname.lastname@example.org, 612-396-4046) of Vork Real Estate Group, a division of Keller Williams Integrity Realty, has the $384,000 listing.