1957 Minnesota time capsule house — Shoji screens, chinoiserie lighting and more mid century modern Asian inspired details

mid-century-entry-with-slate-floorsTour-a-Time-CapsulePam and I were thrilled when reader Joan tipped us off to this gorgeous 1957 mid century home in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. Featured for sale by Edina Realty, this original-owner home appears to have a strong Asian influence — with warm walnut paneling on the walls and ceilings… shoji screens and chinoiserie lighting. And: Peek at that front door. This house is detailed to the nines. There’s also a vintage St. Charles kitchen with original Thermador appliances. We’d love to know more about the architect. This home also has had 15 minutes of Hollywood fame — read on for the details and for 17 lovely photos of this time capsule house.

mid-century-ranch-house-built-into-hillThe house is sited on on a spacious, wooded lot set into a hillside. This allows the garage to be tucked under the main part of the house — making it much less obtrusive. The driveway is edged with a stone wall — adding to the mid century curb appeal — as well as holding back the hill. Pam came up with the term “unassuming” to describe the exterior. Very nice — but not much indication of the fabulosity going on inside. We find this to be true with many mid century modest houses.

back-of-mid-century-house-with-deckAround the back, we can see the lower level is exposed — creating a walk-out basement with room for many windows to bring in natural light.

deck-on-mid-century-houseAbove the walk-out basement, a long deck with angled railing stretches half the length of the back of the house — the perfect place to sit and take in the view. This angled railing style was used pretty commonly on mid century ranch houses, we think — although we *think* we tend to see thicker rails.

back-yard-of-mid-century-houseland-around-houseJust beyond the wooded yard sits a golf course. Wow — nice view indeed!

mid-century-entry-with-slate-floorsThe the walnut wood paneling on the walls and ceilings looks to be of spectacular quality — and makes the home feel so  inviting.

And, of course the shoji screens — fantastic! We’re not sure we see these too often in midcentury houses so far inland.

mid-century-home mid-century-hallway-with-slate-floorsThe stone (slate?) flooring in the entry way is just beautiful — and it complements the walnut paneling so well. Also of particular interest is the railing around the stairs to the basement — with rails that look to match those outside — and with an overall design that also elegantly mirrors the lines on the shoji doors. And: Note the ceiling fixtures — they appear to be chinoiserie, also reflecting the oriental inspirations throughout this house.

mid-century-living-room-wood-wallsThe main living area features breathtaking high walnut ceilings, large open expanses of space, oodles of light pouring in from the walls of windows, a view of the wooded lot — all coming together to create mid century at its best. Again, we see attention to detail that is extraordinary — see the wood soffits/beams with hidden up lighting?

mid-century-living-room-wood-ceilingwood-built-in-shelves-and-desk-retroEven though they have books and decorative pieces on them — these lovely built in shelves still look streamlined and minimalistic. The medium tone of the walnut wood shelves — and the fact that they match the walls — seems to camouflage the items that are arranged on them. Magic de-cluttering perhaps?

mid-century-fireplace-denThe home has several fireplaces — the one above is even set up to use for cooking.


But why would you want to cook in the fireplace when you could do your cooking in this wonderful St. Charles metal kitchen? Two built-in ovens! Thermador?

White-retro-mid-century-kitchenI spy several pull out cutting boards, a corner sink, an extra long range hood that stretches the entire length of the sitting area, and a set of warming drawers!

mid-century-fireplace-brickHere are some shots of the light-filled lower level — complete with turquoise pinch pleat draperies. (Note how they extend just below the sash/trim — this is one of the classic ways “to do” pinch pleats.  The brick fireplace that stretches the entire length of one side of the room must be a favorite place to gather on chilly evenings

mid-century-living-room-windowsIt looks like a lighter wood was chosen for the lower level paneling — oak perhaps? Could those large floor tiles be terrazzo?  Hopefully whoever buys this home will be able to keep the curved sofa — it fits so nicely into this space.

Alas — we asked, but no photos of the bathrooms were taken. There are two full baths, two 3/4 baths (does that mean with just showers, not tubs?) and a half bath. Usually, we have found that when there are no bathroom photos, it’s because they are “dated” — and you know that for us, that is a Good Thing!

The listing mentions that this home was recently featured in the film “Thin Ice.” After watching the trailer, I saw a few glimpses of what could be the shoji screens in the upper level of the house. What an interesting bit of history on this beautiful home.

From the listing:

Original owner, mid-century modern home situated on Minneapolis Golf Course. Fab, retro thru-out. St. Charles kit, walnut paneling, shoji doors, amazing work, classic modern details… Fantastic views, quiet setting.

  • Price: $569,000
  • Lot size: 1 Acre
  • Year built: 1957
  • Square Footage (approx): 2,655 Sq. Ft. Above Ground\1,966 Sq. Ft. Below Ground
  • Appliances: Range, Cooktop, Wall Oven, Indoor Grill, Exhaust Fan/Hood, Dishwasher, Refrigerator, Washer, Dryer, Water Softener – Owned, Disposal
  • Flooring: Tile
  • Cooling: Central Air
  • Heating: Gas Heat, Forced Air
  • Basement: Walkout, Full
  • Fireplaces: 3, Living Room, Family Room, Amusement Room, Wood Burning
  • Beds: 7
  • Baths: 2 Full/2 Three-Qtr/1 Half
  • Additional Interior Features: Natural Woodwork, Sauna, Vaulted Ceiling(s), Security System, Main Floor Bedroom, 3 BR on One Level, 4 BR on One Level
  • Additional Room Information
  • Family Room: Main Level, Lower Level
  • Laundry: Main Floor Laundry
  • Bath Description: Main Floor Full Bath, Main Floor 3/4 Bath, Main Floor 1/2 Bath, Private Master, 3/4 Master
  • The home sits on the edge of a golf course

For further information contact: Sheri Fine at Edina Realty
(612) 720-2442

Special thanks goes out to listing agent Sheri Fine from Edina Realty for allowing us to feature this home and to Kyle Chiodo from 20/20 Home Photography for allowing us to use his beautiful photos in this story.

See our complete archive of Time Capsule Houses here.

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  1. John says

    Hi Pam,

    This home truly says TIMELESS to me and the “unassuming” description for the exterior is spot on!! I wouldn’t change a thing if I were buying it.


    • MbS says

      Me too. So warm and not at all close. I also love these words:

      Chinoiserie – zhin-waz-are-ree

      and, the related one of

      Japonaiserie — zhaw-p?h-ne-za-?ree

      I have to practice those words before I say them. Thanks, PK, for the chance to say them today.

      • pam kueber says

        Yes, I love the word Chinoiserie, too. I didn’t know about Japonaiserie — so thank you, MbS, right back! :)

  2. says

    It’s hard to pick my favorite thing, but it might be the front door.

    Also Pam, 3/4 baths are with a toilet, sink and shower. I used to live in a 1 3/4 bath ranch. (But if a home has a lone bathroom with a shower instead of a tub, I’ve never seen that referred to as a 3/4 bath. ???)

    • Coopercapers says

      3/4 bath is a regional term. It means bath with a shower stall instead of a tub, so if 1-3/4 baths in the local Minnesota jargon, that means one bath has a tub and the other a shower stall. Just an easy way of explaining without saying so much. Everybody there knows what it means. I live in Florida now and would see for sale signs here stating: 3-2-2 with no idea what that was—turns out that code meant 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and 2 stall garage. Learn something new every day.

  3. Marta says

    What a truly wonderful home. I love everything about it. The countertops look new, so I’m wondering what was beneath that long vent hood originally. The siting one this one is just perfect, too, and all the light.

    Yes, 3/4 bath traditionally means toilet, sink, and shower. The term seems to have gone out of fashion in recent years, as I mostly see such setups referred to as full baths. I don’t like it. Give me back the 3/4 description, please. It’s more accurate. :)

  4. Sarah g (roundhouse) says

    There is a house in my town that has almost the exact same entrance/living space as this house! Amazing door that leads to entry with stone flooring that faces living divided by shoji screens! Even the living is wood paneled as well. The current owners are not keeping the house up and we have asked to buy it from them and they seemed interested in the offer….. Maybe it’s time to revisit that house…

  5. Janice says

    Lovely, lovely home and a lot bigger on the inside than what it appears on the outside. Would love to have seen those bathrooms! That kitchen is spectacular!

    • Robin, NV says

      It’s the TARDIS! Sorry, your comment made me think of Dr. Who.

      The house is like an unassuming jewelry box that you open up to find incredible treasures. It’s so lovely and formal yet inviting and cozy. Someone really had a great interior design aesthetic. So timeless.

  6. Michael says

    OMG this one is a STUNNER! I even love the wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room; such a plush contrast to all the wood and glass. The kitchen is to-die-for. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kathy C says

    Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather see more views of the bathrooms and maybe just one view of the golf course in the online pictures! I always wish the listings would include pictures of the bathrooms but they usually don’t unless they are totally remodeled/spa type baths.

    This house is spectacular. You could drive past it every day and think nothing of the exterior. I love the color matched basketball hoop!

    • pam kueber says

      We mention this in the story: We asked if there were bathroom photos, they said “no”. Agreed: If they DON’T show the bathrooms, it usually means they are original. Which WE like!

        • Zoe says

          I would love to, except that the house is in Minnesota, not Michigan! (Michigan and Minnesota are like identical twins who dress differently; people are constantly confusing us for one another!)

    • Marta says

      I love that it’s so well set up, but plain. You could give it so much personal pizazz with a textiles and kitchen paraphernalia without having to ‘undo’ someone else’s style.

  8. says

    I’m so excited to see St. Louis Park here! Last year I was living in Minneapolis, and a visit to an open house in the Westwood Hills neighborhood was what jump started my appreciation for mid century homes. Now we have one ourselves!

  9. TappanTrailerTami says

    Wow, this is a super duper house! The only thing that I would change is the counter tops and I think that’s it. So many wonderful features in this home, hopefully whomever buys it will leave the paint buckets alone, and enjoy all of that beautiful woodwork.

    Hmmm….do you think maybe the extra long fan hood had or has warming lights? That might be why it is so long, and would make sense since it is above what would be the buffet area if you were eating buffet style?

  10. June Cahill says

    Just love the house – we have a 1969 condo in Tucson – it has two sets of pocket door shoji screens – and also bypass shoji screens that hang from the lower side of the upper cabinets and are used to close off the kitchen when entertaining ‘formal’…love shoji screens!

  11. Annie B. says

    A cathedral of elegance and grace. This house is a textbook case in the power of simplicity. And, I simply love it.

  12. nina462 says

    love it! i know where this house is, having lived in st louis park/hopkins area for 15 years. many a gorgeous retro house in that area. actually, I have a book regarding the area and how to update your retro home – i must scan pictures for you Pam.

  13. says

    Holy moly! I could live there, no questions asked, no changes made! What a gorgeous home. And the property. Wow. If I could find a one acre property that looked like that, with a house like that, I’d move from my five acres and 1970s ranch in a heart beat. lol

  14. Katie says

    Gorgeous! I love all that warm wood paneling. I love the beautiful simplicity of the house, and that the floors are not carpeted. The set up for cooking fireplace is to die for, and that kitchen is perfection.

  15. says

    wow – this is a great home! wish i lived nearby so i could check out the bathrooms :) one might be pink! But if that beautiful paneling is really walnut, there is no way anyone should tear that out – it’s too rare and expensive!

  16. blair kooistra says

    I say a prayer that whomever buys this stunner leaves it alone! I’d never seen soji screens until we saw a home built in 1957 with screens that separated the hallway from family room. And WHAT a family room! Birch paneled, terrazo floor, built-ins galore, cleotex ceilings, and even some grass cloth wallpaper. Kick myself for letting that go and occasioanlly drive by to see if there’s evidence of a remodling project ongoing. I sure hope not!

  17. Kersten says

    Wow. This has me both overjoyed and also in tears. We are looking to relocate to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, and this is the house of my dreams! I wouldn’t change a thing and would love this house all the rest of my days! Too bad the price is above our limit! Sigh. That kitchen! All that warm wood! *LOVE*

    • says

      Hey it still might be worth checking with a realtor, you never know what the situation might be, I mean if it’s WAY out of your price range it likely won’t happen, but who know, the worst they can say to a low offer is “no,” and you never know, you might get lucky. My parents got their house for $250k under asking price, my dad made an offer of $300k under asking price expecting them to just turn it down, but they countered at $250k under asking price. It turned out that the owners had money and had already moved on to a new bigger house that they had built 2 blocks away and the house had been on the market a long time with no offers and it was worth it to them to just get rid of it. So you never know how things are gonna work out, because my dad risked making an insulting/laughable offer on a home outside of his means I got to spend my teenage years in an incredible house with an acre and a half of landscaped lawns, a swimming pool, a small orange grove in the front and a smaller orchard in the back instead of a cookie cutter tract house.

      • pam kueber says

        I agree: Make an offer, you never know! Also, sometimes the seller really wants to see the house maintained as is — rather than gutted. Put a letter with your offer explaining your personal interest in the house, and that may also help seal the deal.

    • says

      Don’t despair, Kersten! I know for a fact there are other great midcentury homes in this area with lower price tags; I fell in love with one myself. The neighborhood is called Westwood Hills if you want to look around more. You might have to sacrifice being ON the golf course but there are other great options!

      • Kersten says

        Sara, Pam, and Kate – Thank you for your very kind and encouraging replies. This house is keeping me up at night. Nightmares of white paint on those beautiful walnut (my *favorite* wood) walls. I dream of myself whistling in that amazing kitchen, and how I’d accent color into the room. I’ve even bought a couple lottery tickets (not like me to do this!) and when I win another $2, I exchange it for another ticket. I’d actually rather not be on a golf course (those taxes, ouch!) but if somehow this actually came together, it would be nothing short of a miracle. We have to be out of our current house on the 30th of March. It is sneaking up quickly. We’ll keep checking the area, and others, and I’m not too proud to write letters and deliver to houses that are not currently on the market. Kate, if you notice any others, *please* drop me a note. We are not living in the area right now, so it’s not easy to drive around and notice the possibility of homeade “for sale by owner” signs in yards… birchviewfalvey@yahoo.com Thanks for any leads! Here’s another we stumbled upon- alas, this one I need to let go: http://www.edinarealty.com/homes-for-sale/MN/Golden-Valley/55422/1875-Kyle-Place-80381801 Holy Moly. Talk about a dream!!!!

  18. Cheryl says

    There is an amazing shot of the front door on the virtual tour (which is located on the realtor’s website)! I also wish they had included photos of the bedrooms and bathrooms. Thanks for sharing this wonderful home.

  19. Rob says

    Simply amazing, this house is just a few doors down the street from us and I never would have guessed how incredible the interior is based on the view from the street. Great find!

  20. Steve says

    I have one similar to the listing. 2700 sq ft. Reno costs. 200000. More square footage. Means. More fun. Means more money. :)

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