There's a chance you might have run across some of Nathan Stanley's work around town. The woodworker is behind some of the artistic, intricate wood carvings at local establishments including the Local, Brit's Pub (Clubhouse room) and Finnegan's Brew Co. in Minneapolis.
Walk inside Stanley's Minneapolis home — with tall columns, a majestic staircase and embellished ceilings that he carved himself — and you would never guess the place was falling apart when he bought it 14 years ago.
But he felt that the East Phillips home built in 1900 had good bones. That, along with a willingness to renovate and put his woodworking skills to work, Stanley was determined to draw out its potential.
"This house always thought itself as an aristocrat compared to other houses," he said of its structure.
Over the next seven years, Stanley opened up ground-level spaces and played up the home's elegant look by adding in his own handiwork, such as carved doors and circular cutouts.
Stanley didn't stay with any specific idea when he designed the home, following the beat of his heart. But he knew he didn't like straight lines.
The balusters along the stairs? Curved.
The wall of the primary bedroom's walk-in closet? Curved.
The door to the full bath? Curved.
The door under the half-bath sink? Also curved.
"Being a woodworker, a curve takes 10 times more time and effort than a straight line, but I think they add an awful lot," he said. "I lived in England for about five years and there was a lot of curved work there. I always thought that compared to a straight vertical line, it was really nice."
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Many of Stanley's projects were built using African mahogany, a wood with a lot of personality, he said. He was drawn to the wood's interlocked grain and interplay of light and dark.
"Woodwork is like music," Stanley said. "There's a saying: all of the arts aspire to the condition of music, whether it's literature or painting. All of the arts are trying to get to where music is."
Stanley, who worked in England for many years, has chiseled numerous wood features in rooms for clients — as well as carved furniture and fences.
For his own home, he drew inspiration from what some may think are unlikely sources given his extensive woodworking career: Dr. Seuss and jazz musician Miles Davis.
In the foyer, wooden spheres hang from the ceiling. And, for a small house, the staircase looks grand, with a bust of his grandfather and the bottom three steps pooling outward into the room.
The kitchen has a harp and horn piece hanging over it. The cabinets are embellished with musical décor.
Walk into an area near the living room, where he cites lines from someone else who inspired him: Jimi Hendrix. "And if we don't meet again in this world, we will in the next ... and don't be late," from the song "Voodoo Child," is etched in gold.
"I was in Amsterdam and I saw that in neon" lights, he said. "I just thought it was so life-affirming. ... It makes you excited about the future."
Stanley joked that he's unsure whether he's retired, but said he wants to continue woodworking for at least a few more years at his eponymous company.
As for the house, after leasing it out for the past few years while living nearby, he decided it was an opportune moment to sell the beloved place. He's listed the 1,250-square-foot house with three bedrooms and two baths.
Stanley said he's happy that he was able to update the house with craftsman details over the years. He added that wood from old-growth forests is harder to find due to deforestation, climate change and soaring prices post-pandemic, which also makes the house a rarity.
"It's a beautiful wood that took years and years to appreciate and mature," he said.
Every part of that home is one-of-a-kind, said listing agent Benton Johnson. For example, the kitchen is musically themed and the foyer ceiling extravagant, and there are rooms with curved dark wood that transport you to a pub. Attention to detail was also given to the exterior, including a custom fence.
"You'll see woodwork that you don't see anywhere," Johnson said. "His craftsmanship is incredible, which is also seen through the work he's done in the city."
His past clients would agree. Kieran Folliard, founder of Kieran's Irish Pub and the Local, said he trusted Stanley's artistic eye and craftsmanship so much that he would often give the woodcarver free rein when designing.
"He has the feel and essence for what an egalitarian gathering spot should feel like — it should support and encourage conversation between people and it should have a whimsical side that might elicit conversation," Folliard said. "He has that insight and sensibility that brings purpose to a space."
Benton Johnson (BentonJohnson@edinarealty.com; 320-766-0578) of Edina Realty has the $315,000 listing.