Designers choose their next showcase home: a 1940-built house in Golden Valley

  • Article by: KIM PALMER
  • Updated: December 11, 2013 - 12:51 PM

After a long search, a 1940 house in Golden Valley will be this year’s makeover candidate.

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This 1940 Golden Valley house will be transformed as next year’s showcase home.

Photo: JOEL KOYAMA • jkoyama@startribune.com,

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Twin Cities interior designers have updated everything from Victorian mansions to a 1950s rambler as part of their annual showcase home fundraiser. But this year, they’re going back to the era of big-band swing, Rita Hayworth and Rosie the Riveter, choosing a World War II-vintage house as their next makeover candidate.

“It’s an era we haven’t done before,” said Keri Olson, co-chairwoman of this year’s showcase.

The house, completed in 1940, still boasts many original architectural details, including a curved, wood-paneled staircase, three fireplaces, carved molding and oodles of built-ins: buffets, hidden cabinets, desks, window seats and even a vintage vanity with frosted glass and mirrored panels.

“It’s a little bit glam,” Olson said.

Set on three-quarters of an acre in the wooded North Tyrol Hills neighborhood of Golden Valley, the house is big — over 4,500 square feet, plus a pool and pool house — but still “relate-able” in size, according to Olson, “with details that are hard to replicate these days.”

The house is the home of Jayne Haugen Olson, editorial director of Mpls.St.Paul magazine, her husband, Curt Olson, and their 8-year-old twin daughters. (The magazine co-produces the annual showcase event in partnership with the local chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, ASID.)

“They heard about our desperate search for a house,” said Bonnie Birnbaum, co-chairwoman of the event. ASID made a public appeal, via a Star Tribune article last month, that designers were running out of time and would have to cancel this year’s event if they didn’t find a suitable candidate soon.

Fourteen homeowners submitted their homes; the Olsons’ house was chosen in part because it offered a near-in location with ample neighborhood parking, enough living space for two or three dozen designers to do their work but not so much space that a makeover couldn’t be completed within five months, plus a lot big enough to accommodate the opening-night gala, Birnbaum said. “We need a yard where you can have a party.”

Designers are divvying up the rooms, after which they’ll start working their makeover magic, which will include a complete kitchen remodeling. The house will be open to the public for touring for three weeks, starting in mid-May.

Kim Palmer • 612-673-4784

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