This Side of the Mississippi

A block off the prestigious Mississippi River Blvd the neighborhood quickly becomes fairly common place. But at the top of a little rise stands this house that seems to have decided it is not content to be a neo-this or revival-that. It doesn’t even proclaim its mid-century modern heritage very loudly actually. It just sits on its hill looking content to be what it is. Although, when I consider its yellow doors I can’t help but think it wears just a little sly smile.

Regrettably I have been unable to discover the architect responsible.

x marks the spot.

A Quiet Corner of Longfellow



Few houses that sit on a corner lot seem to take advantage of their particular situation. This house by Thorshov & Thorson in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis on the other hand manages a number of clever feats at once. No matter the time of day one side folds forward to embrace the sun while the other creates a niche of cool shade. Also, instead of just looking across the street like most houses the angle at which it is set on the lot allows the big windows in the front a full view of the trees that line the West River Road’s boulevard strip at the end of the block. There are several nice touches too – like the benches that surround the patio off the side door and the opposing angles of the chimney caps. Another thing that makes this house appealing are the two houses next to it. More on those later.

x marks the spot.

Tucked Away Since 1955



Somewhere between the unobtainably beautiful pages of Dwell Magazine and the undesirable tract housing vomited onto the land by developers; just around the corner from the quaint but increasingly inadequate pattern houses that make up most neighborhoods I find myself stumbling upon a few humble gems. Homes that appear to be comfortably of the space they inhabit even though they are unusual. It can be quite difficult to figure out if this is the result of the skill of a professional architect and landscape architect or simply the intuition of a passionate owner. Either way I thought I’d start sharing some of my finds here to demonstrate that quality space can be achieved wherever you find yourself.

This first one is in Saint Paul’s Highland Park area and thanks to the AIA I discovered that it is actually called the Donald Haarstick House. Mr. Haarstick was one of the first architects to embrace modernism after WWII and this home he designed for himself dates to 1955. It is different almost radical compared to adjacent houses yet (to me) looks much more interesting to live in.

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