The house that contractor Matt Wagoner recently remodeled in St. Louis Park has all the features that today's buyers expect — plus one feature they don't expect: a room that replicates the thrills and chills of being a NASCAR driver.
"It does get intense," said Wagoner of the home's lower-level theater room, which boasts a 9-foot projector screen TV, plus two high-tech simulator chairs that respond to the action onscreen as you race along the curves of the track.
"They vibrate at the base and throw you around," he said. "It takes your breath away."
Wagoner, owner of Limitless Construction, already owned the two NASCAR simulator chairs when he decided to incorporate them into the house he was remodeling in the Eliot Park neighborhood. "I've been a fan since I was little," he said of stock-car racing. (Wagoner also has a familial interest in the sport, being a cousin of recently retired NASCAR superstar Jeff Gordon.)
Wagoner bought the 1950 house on a quiet cul-de-sac intending to completely renovate it and sell it. "It was pretty dilapidated," he said.
The home's original basement ceilings were only 7 feet high. "That's what started it," said Wagoner of his decision to create the NASCAR simulation room. "The HVAC guy needed to run a piece of ductwork," requiring more headroom.
So Wagoner jackhammered out a section of the original basement floor, then scooped out the dirt beneath it, to gain the ceiling height needed for the oversized screen and stadium seating in the theater. "I had the chairs, so I decided, 'Let's make this happen!' "
While he went all out in the basement, the rest of the house got a complete overhaul, as well.
Wagoner spent a couple of years transforming the one-story house into a much larger, two-story house with four bedrooms, five baths and 3,200 finished square feet, including the lower level.
"We took the existing footprint and hit the reset button," he said.
The new custom kitchen has marble countertops, large center island, white cabinets and hardwood floors, while the new master suite boasts a walk-in closet with built-ins and a walk-in rain shower in the bath.
The lower level, in addition to the sunken NASCAR simulation room, includes a playroom, a bar, a wine room finished with reclaimed lumber and a sauna, plus a bathroom.
So what happens if the next owner isn't into NASCAR?
The simulator chairs can easily be removed, and the room converted into a conventional home theater for viewing movies or other sports events.
"I put them on wheels. They're not bolted to the floor," Wagoner said of the simulator chairs. "You can pull 'em out if you want to entertain for the Super Bowl."
Jason Jewison of Incentive Realty has the listing, 612-281-8407, incentiverealtyMN.com.