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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sometimes, you can go home again

The first house I ever lived in was the second floor of a lovely duplex in St. Paul.  My parents bought the house before I was born and rented out the first floor while we lived upstairs.  I have so many fond memories of growing up there - playing in the backyard, running up and down Grand Avenue with my neighborhood friends, filming "movies" in the attic (and yes, we thought our filmmaking was genius).  We also had a full front porch, where my sister and I spent a most of our time being ridiculous.

Ridiculousness in full force.
Julianna, you're welcome in advance for posting this on my public blog.
 Eventually, trying to convince my sister that the tiny office with no fourth wall was her "room" got a little old, as did moving her bed out of the way every time we needed to get into the closet.  It was time to upgrade.  Luckily, 20 years of scrimping and saving allowed my parents to build a gorgeous prairie-school house on a lake in North Oaks, and we moved there when I was 11.
North Oaks house in winter

My college years were spent living in the dorms, but when I graduated I moved to Berkeley with my friend Lindsey and our classmate Carrie, and into my first 'real' apartment!  It was nothing fancy, but it was in an amazing location and made for a great first apartment experience.  

Dad, stop taking my picture...

After I moved back to MN, my friend Tessa and I moved into a 2BR condo in the Grand Avenue neighborhood of St. Paul.  We lived there for three years and had a lot of fun and many glorious parties.  This was where Ben and I started dating, so there are a lot of special memories from those days.

2009 - One of many fun nights at the condo

When I started grad school, I moved to Minneapolis in order to be closer to school and the bus line.  I was lucky enough to find an adorable apartment in Uptown, just two blocks from the express bus to the U.  It was the first place I lived that was really "mine," and I took full advantage.  I only lived there for two years, but my place on Emerson will always have a special piece of my heart.

Living room on Emerson

Bedroom on Emerson

Last spring when Ben moved back from BG, we knew we wanted a slightly bigger space than what I currently had - plus, as much as I loved that apartment, the building didn't allow dogs.  So, we moved to a lovely two-BR condo on Garfield, which is where we live now (see pretty much any recent post for photos).  To be honest, even though I love the neighborhood, for a variety of reasons into which I will not get...into...(?? is that even a sentence.  I have no idea) I've never felt that this living situation was completely ideal.

So...long story short...we are moving!  Next week. Yes I realize I just moved, but this was really a case of stars aligning.  Also, we've known we were moving since Christmas, I just haven't blogged about it...mostly due to recurring instances of cupcakes, travels, and other things that are more fun to write about than the infinite packing of glassware.

SO.  The point of all this is...remember that duplex I grew up in?  Well, my parents never sold it.  In fact, they've continued to rent it for the last 17 years, mostly to young professionals and couples just starting out.  Literally two days after we decided we would move at the end of our lease, my mom called to say that her upstairs tenants were moving out at the end of Feburary, and that the unit was ours if we wanted it. BUT, we'd have to wait until after March because she needed a few weeks to do some necessary touch-ups. Our lease is up April 1. 

The duplex has about 250 more square feet than our current place, plus an entire attic for storage, a full front porch, and a backyard.  And, it's a 2BR+, so we'll actually have an office to work in, instead of letting all of our papers pile up on the coffee table.'s about 1/3 less expensive than our current place.  And the neigborhood is just as good if not better.

This really is a win-win all around.  At first I thought it would be weird moving back into my childhood home, but honestly it's been so long that it doesn't feel strange at all.  Looking at it from an apartment-hunting perspective gives me an even greater appreciation for what a neat space it is...and also for how much my mom is undercharging (AND how overpriced our current place is....which I kind of knew...) are some photos of our NEW HOME (as of 3/23):

Grand Ave - Living/Dining Room
Looking from the living room into the dining the built-ins with leaded glass!

Grand Ave - Dining/Living Room
...and back through the dining room into the living room

Grand Ave - Office
The Office aka my sister's old room.
That huge open space used to house a giant fish tank containing no water or fish.
I won't attempt to explain this.  Because I can't.

Grand Ave - Porch
Front porch!  Perfect for PORCH PARTY!

Grand Ave - Kitchen

Grand Ave - Kitchen
Kitchen again
 Grand Ave - Bathroom
Bathroom...which is being repainted.  Not a huge fan of the brown.

Grand Ave - Hallway

Hallway between the two bedrooms...with a LINEN CLOSET.
I am so excited to have tons of storage.

So there you have it!  It's going to add probably 10-15 minutes onto each of our commutes but honestly...totally worth it.  We're excited!  I hope the pets are excited too...although something tells me Sidney will need to do his business a few times to declare the duplex "his." Mini probably won't even notice.  As long as she gets cuddles, she's good to go.

Happy Tuesday!  And if you're in MN, enjoy the ridiculously awesome weather this week.  You never know, we might get bombed by a random April make hay while the sun shines, as they say :)

(no, I have no idea who "they" are.  Hay farmers, I would assume)


  1. omg!!! those pictures really bring back the childhood memories:-) love it!


    1. I miss you! Now you really need to come visit, so we can re-live the memories :)

  2. We have the same teddy bear. I got a pink gunther bear as a being-born baby present and I can actually see it from where I am now.. ha. Just can't box it up!

    Beautiful new home.. I really love the deep brown wood accents.

    1. Aww I love that teddy. I still have him somewhere...he was a gift from a friend, so not sure where he came from originally but totally possible that it is the same!

  3. Oh that is such a cool story! I have a soft spot in my heart for my places in Uptown, in Prospect Park, in St. Paul, in Spain, and now near the U, but my first after college place actually looked a lot like your old/ future house, it was a fourplex on Marshall and I have such fond memories of it! Enjoy!

  4. This is gorgeous! Congratulations!


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