In 1990, Kevin purchased a house near the intersection of 43rd Street and Bryant Avenue South in Minneapolis. He liked the location because it was right on a bus route and within easy walking distance of Lake Harriet. It's a nice neighborhood. There's lots of cool stuff within walking distance: coffee shops, a hardware store, a convenience store, churches, schools, rose garden, the Lake Harriet Bandshell, the various trails and parks by Lake Harriet.
We thought the house was built in 1909, but it sounds like the county thinks it was built in 1916. Whatever. It's an older home. Off-white stucco exterior. One main floor, partially finished basement.
Laurel moved back to Minnesota in September 2004; she and her cats became Kevin's housemates then. We had a small housewarming (or "reheating") in December 2004.
Some time after Kevin and Laurel started dating (and after Kevin's previous roommate had moved out), we painted the living/dining room walls light blue and pulled up the carpet to reveal hardwood floors. The floors need to be resurfaced and patched someday. The living room and dining room area is a nice open space with couches, bookshelves, and lots of cool lights. We have something of a "space" theme going in there, as we have art depicting space scenes that look great with the light blue walls. Accent colors are green and other shades of blue, for the most part. With a few bright colors here and there.
We painted the walls in Laurel's room a robin's egg blue or Tiffany blue. Laurel wants to make this space into an office and has already picked out the shelves and desk she wants from Ikea.
We painted the walls in Kevin's room the same light blue as the walls in the living room. The bathroom is connected to that room, so after we're married we're thinking we may make Kevin's room into a library/guest room/den and leave it open most of the time so it feels like an extension of the living room. We hope to find a nice couch that folds out into a comfortable bed for that room; we also have picked out bookshelves for that room from Ikea.
Kevin removed the ugly floral and beige wallpaper from the bathroom walls and then painted the walls, ceiling, and cabinets a nice shade of green (called "wasabi" though it isn't really the color of any wasabi we've seen) that complements the existing tiles (which are kindof beige with avocado flecks). It was a tough job removing that paper and prepping and painting that room, but Kevin did excellent work. Laurel removed the old hardware from the cabinets and replaced them with new better-looking stuff. We picked out a shower curtain and towels that we both liked. So the bathroom is now decorated mostly in greens and blues. One day we hope to replace the bathtub as our attempts at resurfacing it haven't worked very well. We should also someday get new hardware for the sink and tub as the current stuff doesn't work so well any more (we used to have to use a pliers just to run water in the tub, which was an adventure).
Our front porch has become a nice place to sit and relax or read. The cats also love sitting out there and watching the bunnies and birds in the yard and the people who pass by on the sidewalk.
The kitchen is our next Big Project. We need to remove the wallpaper and scrub down all the walls and cupboards and do general prep work. The plan is to paint the walls and cabinets yellow, possibly two different shades of yellow or else yellow and white. Laurel has been collecting red retro housewares and signs to display in the kitchen; she also continues to accumulate Fiestaware dishes and wants to continue that collection (as those are the dishes she uses every day, also the ones she likes to display). Laurel is very pleased to have her Grandma and Grandpa Olson's old red kitchen table in the middle of the kitchen (it was a gift to Grandma Florence from Laurel's Mom and Grandpa Eddie back in October 1947 or so the inscription on the bottom of the table says). So one day the kitchen should be bright and yellow and white and red and all those Fiesta colors. Laurel was very happy that Kevin liked this idea.
The back porch is small and home to our recycling bins and a closet that serves as overflow pantry space. We've tried to spruce it up a little to match the kitchen. Our recycling bins are yellow (in a stroke of luck, that was the color which was on sale). Laurel put the brightest rag rugs she could find on the floor (which were made by her great aunt Leona Bradwisch). We've got all sorts of Twins hats on the hat rack back there.
The basement . . . needs a lot of work. Half is finished, the other half is unfinished. The finished side is currently home to Laurel's bed (which she and Kevin moved down there to make more room in her office). We think once we get hitched that we'll both sleep down there as it's nice and quiet and dark (compared to the upstairs rooms). We've got a second TV and Tivo down there (the first are up in the living room). Plus an old couch (that needs replacing) and a bunch of bookshelves and a table. We hope to make it at least half of that space into more of a social space for gaming and watching TV, etc. We'll have a shelf or curtain dividing that part of the room from the area with the bed. We think. Maybe. Not sure yet on a color scheme, but we do want to improve the ceiling (and ceiling lighting) somehow and replace the carpet eventually.
The unfinished side of the basement is home to Kevin's computer collection and some of Laurel's computer gear. We hope to one day have it set up nice enough people can do LAN gaming back there. It's also where we store most of our clothing in wardrobes and on hanging rods and racks. We're still working on improving that setup. That area is conveniently located next to the washer and dryer. And there's another shower and toilet down there as well, plus more storage.
The two-car garage has been full of boxes full of Laurel's stuff for the last couple of years now. Lots of Laurel's stuff was there in storage while she lived in Mitchell, South Dakota. Laurel became Kevin's housemate back in September 2004 because it seemed like the best option (given her situation and that so much of her stuff was already there). We're working on sorting things in the garage and getting rid of what we don't need or want; there's definitely a big garage sale in our future.
Some day, we hope to put together a tiki bar in half of the garage, leaving enough room there so that Laurel could pull her van into the garage sometimes. We're already collecting tiki stuff, so if you run across anything cool that fits that theme at a garage sale or some place, think of us.
Our yard is a work in progress right now. We're trying to figure out where we want flower beds and what we want in them. We'd like to have a deck at the back of the house some day, in the mean time we're trying to figure out the best place for our picnic table and grill and such stuff. And for all the plants, of course.
We're always happy to get advice from people about home improvement projects, landscaping, and the like. It's been fun for Laurel to finally be able to paint walls and decorate a bit more permanently than she could in apartments. And Kevin's definitely enjoying making some much-needed improvements and changes. Just that first paint project made a world of difference. We're especially pleased that our tastes overlap as much as they do.
We definitely hope to have you over to our home some day for a party, for impromptu grilling in the backyard, to watch movies, to play games, to sit on the porch, to stay overnight when you're in town, and so on.
We both have long dreamed of having a home that truly felt like a home. Where we felt comfortable and happy. A place where our friends and family would be welcome, where we could have parties and small gatherings fairly regularly. We're thrilled to be in synch about this. This place is really starting to feel like home in part because we're so happy together and in part because together we're finally managing to make progress on the things that matter the most to us. We're really having a blast and hope you'll enjoy any visits you make here.
We like to call our home "Wit's End" for any number of reasons (some involve a video game, others just the usual use of the phrase).
Other things to know about Wit's End:
Two cats share this home with us, so if you come for a visit and are allergic to cats you'll want to take precautions. The cats are friendlier than most; they're also indoor only cats so please please please do not, under any circumstance, let them outside. We try to keep track of them so it's unlikely they'll get out when we have company, the porches help a lot with this (they're like airlocks, but for keeping the cats in the house).
Ours is a non-smoking household. You are certainly welcome to smoke outside (providing you aren't standing right next to someone who objects to that sort of thing).
We like company. Don't be shy about calling if you're in the neighborhood or are going to be in the neighborhood and would like to get together.
We share our driveway with some of our neighbors, so it's generally not safe for anyone to park there (except for brief periods, like if you're dropping someone off or picking us up). Please don't block the driveway for more than a few minutes.
We can provide you with wifi net access if you would like that, we also have a pretty good grasp of where area hotspots are. We may also have a computer (with a net connection) available for your use (just ask).
From 35W (south of downtown Minneapolis):
Take the 46th Street exit.
Head west on 46th street.
Then turn north/right on Bryant Avenue.
We're in the stucco house on the left side of the street at 4316 Bryant Avenue (South).
There's parking on the street in the surrounding area. There's also a school in the next block that has a parking lot you might use during non-school hours/functions if you can't find anywhere nearby to park on the street.
We are on the 4 MTC bus route, various 4 buses pass by all the time.
If you're coming over for a party or Minn-StF, we'll try to have a note on the door so you know you're in the right place.
If these directions aren't sufficiently clear or you need more information, just get in touch with us via email or by phone. Our address and email addresses are below.
Laurel Krahn & Kevin G. Austin