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Our House

Houses like ours were truly made for the holiday season. I often think of myself as its current caretaker, not the “owner” per se. The story of how we came to buy it and what we’ve done with it is pretty cool.

We live right in the heart of South Minneapolis, in a Victorian farmhouse built in 1886. Well, the original building permit for a barn structure says 1886. The historical records show that it was finished as a homestead in 1894, the basement and foundation were added in 1897, and it was first wired and plumbed in 1907. The place has incredible bones—the original hardwood flooring, banister, and trim are intact, and we’re blessed with a wraparound, screened-in porch that serves as our outdoor living room and bedroom during the summer months. We used to rent half a duplex up the block, and jumped at the opportunity when the previous occupant put up a “for sale by owner” sign.

Even prior to buying the house, Jaxon and I have always put time into decorating for the holidays. It’s one of those rituals, though a lot of work, that feeds both of our creative outlets and reminds us that another year together has just passed. Since he owns all of his late grandparents’ antique ornaments and a whole lot of Eastern European glass ornaments from before the fall of the Berlin Wall, my partner has the ability to make Christmas trees that cause Macy’s to weep in shame. Throw in the TV showing a roaring fire in our fireplace, and the charm factor goes sky high this time of year.

The dining room tree is our “red, gold, and green” theme, very homespun with more woodland ornaments. The living room tree is shinier and has a mid-century modern feel to it. This year we added in some strings of the class big bulbs, just to heighten the nostalgia. Here are some pictures.

Our mid-century modern tree.

Our mid-century modern tree.

Red, gold, and green!

Red, gold, and green!

Note the nostalgic light bulbs.

Note the nostalgic light bulbs.

Note the more homespun ornaments.

Note the more homespun ornaments.

Periodically one of these ends up on our bookshelf or buffet. Good for meditating!

Periodically one of these ends up on our bookshelf or buffet. Good for meditating!

Also, here’s a link to the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s feature on the house from a few years ago: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/homegarden/37505914.html

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About Michael Lee

South Minneapolis queer writer, researcher, educator, and social change enthusiast. Currently researching and writing a biography of the late journalist Randy Shilts.

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