When LaVerne Frances Peterson came across a home nestled in Minneapolis' Old Highland area when she was on a walking tour in 1991, she knew it was the one for her.
She immediately fell in love with the high ceilings, wooden pillars and inlaid floors of the home built in 1907.
"I liked the architecture and woodwork. ... I also really liked the ambiance," she said. "I thought it's unique inside too — that it fits my personality."
Not only that, the 2,432-square-foot home came with a balcony, deck and a backyard that was the perfect size for her two little dogs to roam. Peterson happened to be house hunting at the time and the house happened to be for sale. She jumped at the opportunity, knowing she would need to put some sweat equity into it.
"I'm a city person, and the price at the time was right," she said. "But it needed lots of work."
Too many renovations to list
Peterson tackled numerous projects over the years, saying it's hard to list everything.
She made improvements to the garage, lifting it up and giving it a new roof. Then there was the third-floor overhaul, which included re-joisting the roof and fixing the skylight.
Whenever taking on a project, Peterson was careful to play up the home's original structures, such as the wooden pillars in the living room and bright yellow, green and red original stained-glass windows that give the home a sense of elegance.
Peterson also put her own stamp on the house — from the matte green wallpaper in the living room and the orange wallpaper and ceiling tiles in the kitchen to the zebra print carpet on the third floor.
For her, the best spaces are the ones that connect her to the outdoors.
"The front porch, in the morning, to have your coffee there, it's wonderful," said Peterson, adding that she put on a deck and extensively landscaped the backyard. "Where I live is very quiet. You can sit out on the back deck and you don't think you're in Minneapolis. We get a lot of birds that come by — it's very pleasant."
'The neighbors are truly the best part'
After living in the home for 32 years, Peterson, 72, has listed the three-bedroom, two-bath home. Following several trips to El Paso, Texas, she said she's ready to move there to escape Minnesota's cold winters and have a new adventure.
She said the next owner will get a great property and a great location, close to the North Loop, downtown and Northeast. "We have Interstate 94 close to get to pretty much anywhere quickly, bike trails that are close and Theodore Wirth Regional Park," she added.
But she'll miss the neighbors the most.
It's a place where everyone is friendly and knows your name, she said. There's a nearby community garden and an association — committed to preserving north Minneapolis — that gives the area a deeper sense of community.
The Old Highland Neighborhood Association, established in 1974, also holds walking tours and community events. Old Highland was named a "Best Old House Neighborhood" by This Old House Magazine, according to the association's website.
"The neighbors are truly the best part," Peterson said. "We have a really strong community-based neighborhood."
Debra Wagner (612-226-1479, firstname.lastname@example.org) of Greenway Homes Realty has the $349,900 listing.