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For a listing agent whose specialty is midcentury modern, Jessica Buelow knew an aluminum-clad house in St. Louis Park that she was listing was extra special.

Built in 1958 by the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) and designed by prominent modernist architect Charles M. Goodman, the house is the only one of its kind in Minnesota. The house also is rare in that it is among 24 Alcoa Care-free Homes in the country ever built. The homes set out to showcase the open-concept floor plan and versatility of aluminum in everything from framing to roofing.

"The war was over and there was the housing boom, and so the aluminum companies got creative and decided to make this kit of a home that could be built with the intention of being affordable out of aluminum. So they were using materials that were a bit outside of the box," Buelow said. "And the fact that an aluminum company was able to get an architect that was renowned at the time to be part of the project is pretty remarkable."

Buelow said just as special is how the current homeowners meticulously restored the house — from the original redwood ceilings and walls to the colorful aluminum accents — making you feel like you're stepping into a "modernist time capsule."

"What really makes it so exceptional is how perfectly, respectfully and tastefully it has been renovated," she said. "It hasn't been gray-washed that takes away a lot of that character and flavor that we love about the midcentury modern movement. It's refreshing to see all that intact in this house."

In 'shabby' shape

When current owners Whitney and Robert McChane purchased the place in 2011, the house's prominent use of wood, walls of glass, a breezeway and spacious courtyard pulled at their heartstrings, as did the unique aluminum and layout.

"It had a more open concept living style, which was novel at the time it was built. We loved that it had this airiness and lightness," Whitney said.

However, by the time they purchased it, the passing of time and past remodeling masked some of that original design. Determined to bring the house as close to its former glory as possible, the couple decided they were willing to put in the work.

"It was in shabby condition. We both love midcentury homes and we understood the history of it, and we just thought, 'We may not have a lot of money, but we have a lot of sweat equity that we can put into it,' " Whitney said. "What attracted us to the home was the fact that there was this rich history and it was something that we felt should be preserved, and so that was our vision."

Bringing color back

One of the biggest undertakings was restoring the aluminum, some pieces painted over, back to their original state.

They searched for evidence of original hues by removing panels, unearthing preserved sections that had not faded or been painted over.

For example, on the exterior, "we uncovered part of the original aluminum that hadn't been exposed to the sun and so we were able to color-match that and have a new teal roof put on," Whitney said.

They color-matched other places of the home, too, repainting those pieces with specialty aluminum paint.

"It's purple, it's gold, it's green. It's just this rainbow of colors, and when you put that against the redwood and the other really interesting colorful details, it's just incredible how the original house was designed and that the aesthetic still stands today," Whitney said. "It feels like a work of art."

Bidding farewell

In addition to restoring the house, the McChanes also finished out the basement, which includes entertainment and flex spaces.

But while they've created additional living space within the house's footprint, they're outgrowing the home as their family grows and their needs change. Since moving in, the McChanes now have three children and primarily work from home.

It's the reason they're selling the five-bedroom, three-bathroom house across the street from the Minneapolis Golf Club.

"It's bittersweet," Whitney said. "It's been quite heartbreaking to have the conversations about moving as we were trying to figure out ways to make it work for us."

But in the end, they decided it was the right thing to do.

"To build out or the idea of changing the integrity of the home was just a non-starter for us," she said. "We've always felt that our role has been to restore the home and bring it back to its authentic self."

Jessica Buelow (; 612-327-3667) and Karen Rue (; 612-916-1110) at Edina Realty have the $925,000 listing.