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. Steve says:

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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*

    1. Sarah 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.

      1. 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.

    2. Kate 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!

      1. 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!!!!

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