Swing-era showcase in Golden Valley

  • Article by: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 17, 2014 - 3:19 PM

Designers — and style-savvy homeowners — collaborate on a World War II-vintage house in Golden Valley for this year’s annual tour.

If you like vintage woodwork, you’ll love this year’s ASID designer showcase home.

Inside, there’s a forest of it — from chestnut to bird’s-eye maple, crafted and carved into staircases, fireplaces, floors and paneling, plus built-ins from bookcases to buffets to hidden bar cabinets.

There’s so much natural woodwork, in fact, that it was almost a deal-breaker for homeowner Jayne Haugen Olson when she first looked at the place at the urging of her husband, Curt, who had gone to an open house. (He’d fallen in love with the hilltop site and sunny back-yard pool, and was sure his wife would love the massive walk-in closet in the master suite.)

Jayne wasn’t so sure.

At the time, they owned another home, in the same neighborhood, with white painted woodwork. “I didn’t want all natural wood,” Jayne said.

But when she saw the house, the woodwork wasn’t dark, as she’d expected, but an appealing mixture of warm medium tones. “I was pleasantly surprised by the color,” she said.

And although the house had been vacant for more than a year and needed some TLC, she could see that it had good bones and even better potential. So the couple bought the house and moved in last March with their twin daughters, now age 9.

In January, they moved out again so that a team of interior designers could transform the house, room-by-room, and open it up for public tours this month.

New era

The Olsons’ house represents a new era — and a new neighborhood — for the annual designer showcase event.

Previously, designers have tackled Tudors and Victorians in the urban core, sprawling estates on Lake Minnetonka and even a 1950s rambler in Edina. But this year’s makeover harks back to the era of big-band swing and Hollywood Regency glam, while updating that look for modern living.

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

The house, completed in 1940, sits on three-quarters of an acre tucked into North Tyrol Hills, a wooded enclave in Golden Valley, another first for the showcase.

At first, the Olsons thought they’d redo only the kitchen, and make a few other cosmetic changes. They hired architect Andrea Swan to design a new space that would integrate the working kitchen and adjacent dinette into one big room.

Just as they were about to begin that project, they learned that ASID was still looking for a showcase home. Jayne, editorial director for Mpls/St. Paul magazine, was very familiar with the event, which is copresented by the magazine. But because so many previous showcase homes were so large, she wasn’t sure their 4,500-square-foot house would fill the bill.

But the designers decided the Olsons’ house had ample space to work with, and Jayne decided that all that natural woodwork posed “an intriguing design challenge.”

In her job with the magazine, she sees a lot of homes and is well-versed in current decor trends, including the mixing and matching of wood finishes. And although she’s no slave to trends (“I’m not a Millennial Mom: the CB2 younger, hipper mom,” she said with a laugh), she was interested in a “trend-forward” look, while respecting the home’s integrity. Because her home already has so much wood, she can get an eclectic organic look — and still have freedom to incorporate other materials.

New role

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