Nearly 20 years ago, before the tiny house movement was a thing, Nancy Patterson recalls how her sister Susan Patterson purchased a 565-square-foot house in south Minneapolis.
"She wanted to live within her means, and this was the home that was perfect for her," Nancy said.
With a philosophy that one could live large in small spaces, Susan, who died late last year, maximized every square inch of the 1920s home. She vaulted the ceiling, creating a loft-like hangout space, and added built-ins and pullouts in the kitchen.
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"There are two big box units in the kitchen with open access. The pullout drawers in the pantry held all the food. You could quickly grab what you needed," Nancy said.
Because the property came with a sizable yard and an ample amount of outdoor space, Susan traded in the front porch for more square footage in the living room.
"She had to search really hard to find things that work in a tiny space," Nancy said. "Every single space had to be utilized because there wasn't a lot of it."
Susan also improved the house's function and design. A bathroom with a full tub and space-saving pocket doors was added to the main level. Durable slate tiles were installed in the bathroom and kitchen, where she managed to find space to add a dishwasher. And because she loved to bake, the original oversized 36-inch vintage stove with lots of character remained.
"She put things in that made it feel like you could have all the luxuries in life," Nancy said.
Susan also removed a wall between the kitchen and the dining area.
"It's amazing how much light comes in that house," Nancy said. "It's just the brightest little place."
Following Susan's death, her family put the two-bathroom, studio home in the Morris Park neighborhood on the market.
"What Susan would want is for someone to have the great life that she had there. It's a lovely place to be in, and it's such a great neighborhood. She loved the neighbors," Nancy said. "As sad as it is to let it go, I'm very excited for someone else to enjoy it."
Listing agent Debra Perry said the next homeowner will find a home that utilizes every square inch on the main level, and has a light-filled, multifunctional lower level as well. Beyond storage and laundry, the lower level could be used as a crafting/hobby area or lounge.
Perry said the house also features a larger-than-average city lot.
"It's a small home, but it sits on this beautiful 60-foot-wide lot, so there's a lot of outdoor space," said Perry, adding that fruit trees in the yard are in bloom. And "there are a lot of raised beds [for gardening]. Some pretty perennials are starting to come up right now."
Perry sees many houses in her line of work, but this one pulled at her heartstrings, she said.
"Personally, the minute I walked into that house, I knew that there was something special about it in the way that it was designed and laid out. It's beautiful," she said. "It's the perfect blend of vintage and modern and just really efficient in how the space was used. You don't find that everywhere. It's just an extraordinary little tiny house."
Debra Perry (DebraPerry@edinarealty.com; 651-707-5857) has the $247,000 listing. At the time of publication, an offer on the home is pending.