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Jane Severance has come full circle.

She not only moved back into the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house her parents built in 1948 in south Minneapolis' Nokomis area, she also thoughtfully updated it for the future.

When her parents died in the 1990s, Severance felt a strong pull to keep the house in the family.

"This was indeed a full-blown family home," she said. "I have memories of our family gathering for the holidays, all those Christmases and Thanksgivings with all of our relatives over year after year."

Severance decided to sell her house and settle back into her family's Shoreview Avenue home — a home she hadn't lived in after having moved out for college more than three decades ago.

Her parents had lived by the "if it ain't broken, don't fix it" philosophy, so moving back felt a throwback.

"This was like going back to the 'Leave it to Beaver' house. Things were very outdated," Severance said. "All of the cabinetry in the kitchen was original to the house. The refrigerator and stove were still that Harvest Gold. Otherwise, the house had very good bones."

But Severance was in no hurry to make her mark on her family home, aside from a few spruce-ups here and there.

"I was very content with the house as it was for many, many years. I was busy. I was working. I was in and out," said Severance. "It really never occurred to me to take on a remodel, much less a renovation of the space."

It wasn't until she was getting close to retiring from Delta Air Lines in March 2020 that she thought about updating the house that she was about to start spending more time in. While Severance didn't know everything she wanted, she knew one thing she didn't want: a major addition.

"I was very concerned at the beginning that the curb appeal of my house would take on a different flavor," Severance said.

After vetting several architects and designers, Severance hired New Spaces design and build firm. With a small addition, a bump-out and some creative reconfigurations, the team gave the house modern amenities without outshining its classical style.

"What I really like about this project is that we did not tear everything out but kept it original," said New Spaces' Bjorn Freudenthal.

Adding and reworking

The outdated kitchen was the starting point. The goal was to add a center island, open up the space and replace those decades-old cabinets and appliances.

To make space for the island, the New Spaces team decided to do a 3-foot bump-out to an exterior wall where a refrigerator and stove sat. "Then on the exterior, we created a shed roof to be able to house that," Freudenthal said.

A narrow doorway and wall that closed off the heart of the home from other main gathering spaces were knocked down and the entrance was framed to give it an always-been-there look.

"We created an arch which was an exact replica of the original arch in the living room," Freudenthal said.

New Spaces designer Jayme Lennon also created custom cabinets for Severance's pottery collection.

"The first time I visited Jane's home, it was obviously something she loved," said Lennon. "There's a combination of glass-fronted cabinets in the kitchen for her to display that collection."

Another small addition – a 10-by-7-foot mudroom with plenty of hooks, cabinets and shelving — was added to the back of the house.

Upstairs, the team reworked existing spaces to make Severance's bedroom feel like a suite.

About 2 feet was taken from a second bedroom to add a shower and transform the half-bath into a full bathroom. Pocket doors were installed in the bathroom entrance off the hallway and the primary bedroom.

"We thought adding a door from the bedroom into the bathroom would make it feel more like an en suite," Lennon said.

The primary bedroom also was given a suite-like upgrade in the form of a new 5-foot-deep walk-in closet. "We took space from a hallway cedar closet and we stole a little bit of space in a third bedroom," Freudenthal said.

Settling in

As a flight attendant, Severance traveled the world for more than 30 years. Now retired, she's glad to be settling into a permanent home — and one near and dear to her heart.

She's especially happy that her home got the updates it needed yet still feels familiar, right down to the new stucco on the additions, which is meant to match the original.

"They really accomplished an appropriate renovation," she said. "Even though so much was done, you wouldn't know it from entering the house on Shoreview Avenue. Everything is kind of done in the back and it remained true to the neighborhood."

The biggest test of the renovation came when Severance's sister and her family, who live in Montana, visited. Severance had kept her sister involved during the project, inviting her to sit in on virtual meetings with designers. And she was eager for her sister's approval.

"It was important that she be part of it," Severance said. "My brother-in-law, too; he's been coming over here since he was 18 years old and practically grew up in this house and has memories of this house and my parents, too. There's the sentimentality for all of us."

To Severance's pleasure — though not her surprise, the renovation got the thumbs up.

"They're both very, very pleased with the decisions that were made — that the design and architectural details were appropriate to the house," she said.