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.

  1. 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!

  2. 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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