Heather Fox is learning to let go.
"I like everything clean and organized, and I've just had to get over that," she said.
The past year was a crash course in how to roll with the punches for the 40-year-old co-owner (with husband Brad) of Fox Homes, a real estate and renovation company, and Foxwell, a design studio and home accessory store in Edina.
The couple were already adept at juggling — raising two young sons, running their businesses and starring in HGTV's "Should I Stay or Go," relying on business practices they've honed over the years, a network of tradespeople and a stay-up-all-night work ethic.
But in a pandemic, that wasn't enough. "There's nothing you can do when plumbers or electricians can't get the materials they need to do their jobs," Brad said.
The shortages had a ripple effect on construction schedules which meant that, along with delivering bad news to clients, the Foxes also had to deal with delays in their own project. A major remodel of their Edina home that was supposed to be finished three months ago will likely take until early next month — just in time to be one of the homes featured in the 2021 fall Parade of Homes Remodelers Showcase running Oct. 1-3.
In case you're wondering, this is a different home from the one that has received media attention in the past. The Foxes sold that house last year and purchased a new abode not too far away, renting an apartment while an extensive renovation of their new space took place.
But when their lease was up in July, they found themselves moving in before the project was complete. They've been living out of dusty boxes since.
"My biggest piece of advice to clients is don't live in your house if you're doing major renovations," said Heather. "Now I really know I'm right!"
One of the property's biggest draws was its setting on a 1-acre lot overlooking Lake Cornelia near Southdale Center, only three blocks from their old house.
The 1951 rambler had ample square footage but a poor layout and a few odd "Mad Men" touches, including three bars — in the living room, basement and, strangely or awesomely depending on your perspective, the owners' bedroom.
"Half the main floor was devoted to the owners' suite, which had a bar, two bathrooms, two closets and a bedroom," Brad said.
Reconfiguring the space to better suit family living and creating a unifying aesthetic between the original house and a 1980s addition were key priorities.
Shingles on the floor
A nice surprise Brad uncovered soon after buying the home was a shingled roof on the attic floor. "The newer part of the house, which runs along the back, has 16-foot ceilings. When they put it on, they built a taller roof right over the top of the old one, so it looks uniform from the street," he said.
The discovery meant the Foxes could raise the ceiling in the original part of the house without having to make any roofline changes, which was a huge savings.
In addition to carving three bedrooms and two baths out of the old owners' suite, they also moved the kitchen from the front of the house to the back, where it's now adjacent to the family room and overlooks the lake and a newly renovated swimming pool.
A lower-level bathroom and wet bar (complete with a sliding "takeout" window that the couple's youngest son likes to be in charge of) are perfect complements for entertaining by the pool.
Beautiful kitchens are kind of Heather's thing, and she's not afraid to add color, pattern or glamorous light fixtures.
But she took a quieter approach for this house, allowing a few simple materials to speak for themselves. Softly grained birch cabinetry, white quartz countertops as well as brass accents create a clean, sophisticated look that adds warmth to the light-drenched space.
A small but mighty pantry tucked around the corner holds the "stuff I don't want to see on the counter," said Heather, pointing out things like the coffee maker, stand mixer and toaster as examples. "I can keep the kitchen uncluttered, which helps my mind stay calm, but let life happen back there."
The spirit of 1970s Palm Springs pops up in botanical wallpaper, vintage-inspired light fixtures as well as lots of rattan, natural wood and nubby textiles.
The Foxes own a vacation rental property in the desert city and spent a few months there during the pandemic when California wouldn't allow any short-term rentals. Longtime fans of the midcentury design the area is known for, the Foxes' recent stay deepened their appreciation of how the style evolved in later decades.
The family room in their new home includes two iconic references — a sunken pit lined with couches (where one of the home's bars used to be) and a conical Malm fireplace painted a mustardy yellow. The hue also shows up on the pantry cabinetry and a light fixture near the entryway.
With the boys back in school and their house near the finish line, the couple are characteristically upbeat.
"We speak about the challenges but also know how insanely lucky we are to have experienced everything we have — hard things, too," Heather said.
And in response to the question of whether this is their forever home, she replies, "We're both saying we will never move again. And I think we actually believe ourselves this time."
PARADE OF HOMES REMODELERS SHOWCASE
What: As part of the Fall Parade of Homes, a Remodelers Showcase spotlighting home makeovers will be featured the last weekend of the tour.
When: Noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 1-3.
Tickets: A $5 contribution goes to Housing First Minnesota Foundation, a nonprofit that builds and remodels homes for Minnesotans in need.
More info: A guidebook is free and available at area Holiday Stationstores and Kowalski's Markets; paradeofhomes.org.
Yellow paint on Malm: Mustard Olive by Benjamin Moore
Brass hood and shelf: Marvin Freitas
Lighting: Dutton Brown
Kitchen cabinets: Northland Cabinets