Some of you might have noticed that I haven’t been posting lately. It’s not for lack of want… just a lack of time. Some big changes are in the works. Ian and I just bought a house and we’re moving to Minneapolis!
We were caught off guard by our own decision. We’ve been in Chicago for 10 years and thought the windy city would be the place that we’d be for a very long time to come. But there were some things that we’ve dreamed of that we just couldn’t see happening in Chicago. I’ve had a vision for years that we’d buy a two flat or a three flat (duplex, triplex depending on where you live). We’d live on one floor, family or friends would live on the other(s) and there would be some shared living space. Of course, a big part of this dream is that I’d have a studio at home and a soda kiln that I can call my own. I’ve been renting studio space and running the soda program at Lillstreet for the last 9 years, but I’ve been aching for my own space for quite a while now. Due to the cost of housing in Chicago, it was feeling like our dreams could not be realized in this city.
Last Thanksgiving we were in Minneapolis visiting Ian’s family (he grew up in Minneapolis). His sister had just bought a house and started putting on some friendly pressure on us to move there. The discussion was fun but I kept dismissing the idea. I’m not really a fan of big change. On the drive home I had a ‘lightbulb’ moment. It occurred to me that if we moved there, we could realize this vision of our future that has been so clear for so many years. When I had the moment of realization that the picture was right but we had the city wrong, the decision was simple. We would have a piece of land to take care of. A place to build a kiln. My sister Nora and her two little boys are moving with us to complete the vision. Nora will be starting a PhD program at the University of Minnesota this fall which has been a part of her dream for years.
So this is our new home. Ian and I ignored the lack of heat in the middle of January and mint green walls throughout and fell in love with this building. It’s a duplex in the Powderhorn neighborhood in South Minneapolis. (Check out this amazing photo blog of the neighborhood: powderhorn365.com.) We’ll live on the 2nd floor, my sister and nephews will be on the first floor. We’ll have guest space and Ian’s office space in the attic and the basement will be my studio and a shared family room. My soda kiln will be built in the backyard. We’re hoping to get the majority of the work done by June so we can move up there and start building out the studio and settling in.
One of the things that we loved about the house was the garage out back (this picture below is a view from the 2nd floor porch). It’s actually a carriage barn from the mid-1800’s that pre-dates the house (which was built in 1927). For now we’ll be just fixing it up, but it has future studio potential. We definitely won’t be using it as a garage- but we have some interesting ideas for this interesting space.
We’re doing a huge amount of demo and construction on the house. New plumbing, new window inserts, new furnaces and hot water heaters. The picture below is of one of the bathrooms. We “discovered” a window in each bathroom that had been hidden by the tub surround!
I love the location of our house. It’s a block and a half from Powderhorn Park, a huge park that we’ll be spending a lot of time at! We caught the end of a cool Art Sled Festival last month. Minnesotans are not afraid of winter. One of my favorite things about the location of our new house is that it’s only 1/2 block from the Midtown Global Market. The photo below was taken from our front steps. Our block is a dead end so we have a nice quieter street, but it’s close to so much. The market has been an amazing resource throughout this project. Quick access to heat and plumbing during February as well as warm coffee and food has been invaluable! I’ve been using it as an office space during our time up there- using the free wireless and plentiful table space to spend the afternoon making phone calls and writing emails.
If you’re in the Minneapolis area, send me an email and say hello! I can’t wait to start meeting potters up there. Or if you know of any references for builders, carpenters, landscapers, etc… please pass on any info that you have to me! We’re so happy to hire folks to work on the house that we have some sort of connection to.
I’ll be posting updates on the projects (house, studio and kiln) in the coming months. For now I’m going to attempt to return to my life in Chicago. We’re not actually moving for a couple of months (June maybe?). The renovations have been totally consuming and my studio has been completely neglected. I’m heading to the studio now for the first time in a while. It’s time to start working on some tiles for our new kitchen…