It had good bones.

That's why Rich Adamczak purchased the traditional farmhouse in St. Paul's Frogtown/Thomas-Dale neighborhood in 2003.

"It was kind of basic and dated. It hadn't had a little TLC in some time," he said. "It just needed a modern spin."

Adamczak, a program coordinator at the University of Minnesota's medical school and an artist on the side, embraced the idea of moving into the 1,776-square-foot home and giving it a reboot.

Now, after almost two decades of renovation, Adamczak and his wife, Cindy Coelho, have listed the three-bedroom, one-bathroom house.

While the price, at $289,900, is in line with the current market for its size and amenities, listing agent Michael Boege calls it a bargain because of its large windows, high ceilings and timely updates.

"I think the style of the house both inside and out is amazing, from the exposed chimney in the kitchen to the repurposed tin ceiling to a great landscaped backyard," he said. "This may be the best house under $300K in the Twin Cities."

Despite its age, the home had a solid foundation when Adamczak bought it, which allowed him and Coelho to concentrate on a cosmetic makeover.

"The history of the house is that it had moved from somewhere else to this location," he said of the current spot on Blair Avenue just east of Lexington Parkway. "So the house was 1908, but the foundation was 1971."

With its small rooms and choppy layout, the floor plan was problematic. So Adamczak removed walls where he could to allow for larger rooms and a better flow.

He overhauled the kitchen, adding cabinetry and stainless steel appliances, including a double oven, vent hood and an under-the-counter beverage refrigerator.

"Before, there was no cabinet space," Coelho said. "It's made a huge difference."

But Adamczak also made it a point to incorporate farmhouse charm — a theme that would be woven throughout the home — with details such as butcher block countertops, a wood feature wall and a pressed tin ceiling.

Farmhouse flair, artful touches

Beyond the kitchen, the home's farmhouse flair remained — or was enhanced — under Adamczak's watch.

As luck would have it, his brother's farm in northern Minnesota was a place to source materials. The land had come with several abandoned structures, and Adamczak repurposed the corrugated steel from those buildings to use as the ceiling for the living room and dining room.

"It has a really interesting patina," he said.

When it came time to landscape, Adamczak brought in fieldstone and flagstone from his brother's farm.

"It was a great way to incorporate the farm into the city because the house was originally a farmhouse and I wanted to bring that flavor and aesthetic," he said.

He also used the house as his canvas.

"The house was a fun place to try new things, to bring enjoyment through color or textures," he said.

Al fresco living

Updated outdoor spaces were also important for the couple.

Adamczak built an art studio in the backyard with large swing doors and a built-in bench. "It's a nice place to go to read a book or paint," he said.

They took advantage of the south-facing yard that gets plenty of sun to plant perennials such as peonies and coneflowers as well as native grasses.

He also built a backyard patio that became a favorite hangout for the couple, especially when they had guests.

"It's a great place for entertaining and being able to sit out there and enjoy the landscaping," Coelho said. "It makes a really beautiful setting."

She gives her husband plenty of credit for his careful curation of the home.

"Rich is one of those people who learns where the light hits and that informs the decision of what you use the space for and the color of the walls," she said. "Everything is very thoughtful and deliberate to make the best use of the spaces."

Adamczak lived in the home for several years before Coelho moved in six years ago. Now they're ready to make a fresh start with their shared living space.

"It's been 18 years here for me. This was my kid, my baby, when we met," he said. "We want to put our stamp together on something new."

Adamczak said he takes comfort in knowing that the home is ready for the next owners to move in and enjoy.

"There are no surprises," he said.

The couple said the neighborhood offers proximity to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul.

"The midtown Frogtown area is really a gem. It's centrally located," Adamczak said.

Michael Boege of CB Burnet (; 651-325-7419) has the $289,900 listing.