New condo owner Jared Goodwin received a phone call from his father at just the right time. Goodwin, who grew up on a farm near Crookston, Minn., had moved to the Twin Cities and just closed on a loft.
But his unit’s open layout, soaring ceilings, raw concrete and exposed metal ductwork felt cold and industrial.
Goodwin wanted to redesign the closed-off kitchen and carve out a second bedroom for guests. And nostalgic for his rural roots, he longed to “somehow bring the farm to the city.”
That opportunity arose when Goodwin’s dad called and announced that he was going to demolish a shed on the farm. Goodwin and his brothers had often used that early 1900s granary as a fort when they were kids. “I told my dad not to bulldoze it down because I have a use for it,” he said.
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So Goodwin took a week off from work, and with his brothers tore down the old shed board-by-board, carefully pulling out hundreds of nails. Then they hauled the lumber to a mill in Wisconsin to have it cut and finished.
Today the shed’s rich golden-red cedar and whitewashed pine boards cover accent walls, a fireplace surround and the bedroom floor inside Goodwin’s home in the heart of downtown Minneapolis.
And best of all, the DIY reclaimed wood and prep helped him hold down costs, so that he didn’t bust his $60,000 remodeling budget.
“Every day I see the journey of the wood from the farm to my home in the city,” he said.
Goodwin’s job in finance at Target headquarters sparked him to find a place to live near downtown Minneapolis in 2012.
The up-and-coming North Loop neighborhood boasted bars, restaurants, shopping and Target Field. His real estate agent showed him the corner unit on the top floor of the historic brick Lavoris Chemical building, an industrial artifact converted to lofts in 2004.
“There’s not many buildings where you can get three sides of windows,” said Goodwin, basking in the abundant natural light streaming into his loft. Or the 1920s vintage factory character, including massive bell-topped concrete pillars in the building hallways and in his living room. “With my budget, it was as close as I could get to a penthouse.”
Since Goodwin got a good deal on the 1,800-square-foot loft due to a short sale, he could invest in redesigning the kitchen and adding a guest bedroom, while infusing some warmth.
“The plan was to convert a disconnected kitchen into a contemporary, light-filled space that anchors the transformed loft,” said Christine Albertsson, architect for Albertsson Hansen Architecture in Minneapolis. “We wanted to use as many reclaimed materials as possible to do it on a limited budget.”
For the revamped kitchen, Albertsson and project designer Mark Tambornino replaced the confining peninsula with a new, generous-sized, butcher block-topped island for effortless flow between the new expanded kitchen and existing living room.
They reused and refreshed the existing cabinets, while adding new ones so perfectly matched that even Goodwin can’t tell which are old and new.
The budget-friendly crisp white subway tile backsplash is the backdrop to black granite countertops, which, along with the sink and faucet, also were recycled. Goodwin used an Excel software program to design a tile pattern “to keep your eye moving,” he said.
Simple metal pendant lights with retro filament bulbs illuminate kitchen work spaces. He also preserved the unit’s brown-stained concrete floor but had it buffed to a high-gloss shine.
“Now I have so much counter space,” said Goodwin, an avid cook. “I can make eight big pans of fudge for the family.”
In the living room, Albertsson transformed the dark burgundy drywalled gas fireplace by encasing it with the salvaged cedar. “Now the fireplace stands out and has its own identity,” she said.
The reclaimed cedar motif extends to the newly created second bedroom for Goodwin’s visiting family and friends. Albertsson and Tambornino designed two partial walls in the center of the open floor plan, which let in light from the windows, while defining a private space.
Built-in storage shelves, closets and dressers make the partial walls multifunctional. The room also doubles as Goodwin’s office, with a computer desk at one end.
Another agrarian touch is a curved wall, clad with the farm shed’s salvaged vertical pine boards, at the end of the loft’s entry hallway.
“The curved wall is a transition from the hallway to the main event,” Albertsson said. “It directs your eye around the corner to where the view opens up.”
After the loft project was complete, Goodwin still had cedar planks from the shed. So he used them, along with steel pegs, to craft a 300-bottle wine rack, which greets visitors at the front door.
Goodwin finds comfort in his reinvented loft, with its merged city and country aesthetic.
He can look out the windows and gaze at downtown skyscrapers, walk to a Twins game or have dinner at nearby Bar La Grassa. “And when I see the nail holes in the wood,” he said. “It brings back the rustic feel of the farm.”