After more than five years, one lawsuit and multiple headlines, the 19th-century Victorian house that TV star Nicole Curtis has been renovating in north Minneapolis is finally finished and ready to hit the market.
Curtis, DIY Network's "Rehab Addict," said she plans to list the house, priced at $425,000, within the next three or four days. It's the last rehab that the outspoken preservation advocate will undertake in Minneapolis, she said. On Dec. 9, she will hold an open house at the property, 1522 Hillside Av. N., from 1 to 3 p.m. to raise money for Backpack Project MN, a charity for homeless youths.
"This will be the only time to see it finished — it will not be on the show," said Curtis, who lives in Los Angeles but plans to return to Minnesota for the open house. Visitors can donate $5 or more to tour the five-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot house, with proceeds used to buy backpacks filled with supplies, gift cards and clothing for homeless teens who have aged out of foster care.
Curtis bought the house, believed to have been built in the 1870s and the oldest house in the Jordan neighborhood, from the city for $2 several years ago. However, the drawn-out renovation project upset neighbors, and the city sued Curtis' company last year, then settled and gave her a deadline to complete the renovations.
"This project was a pain," Curtis acknowledged. The house, which was days from demolition when she bought it, was in such poor shape that it had to be completely gutted and taken down to the studs. One handrail, three doors and some hardwood flooring are all that's left of the original interior, she said, although it "still feels old," filled with salvaged materials and fixtures. In the kitchen, 1920s cabinets from Bauer Brothers were retrofitted into the brand-new space by a custom cabinet maker. The turret now houses a new master suite. The house has new custom wood-framed windows by A-Craft, a balcony to match the original, a full walkout basement and a tuck-under garage. "This is definitely a renovation vs. a restoration," she said.
The Hillside house is known as the Almeda Yates house. Yates was a teacher, artist and missionary who commissioned architect William Haight to design a house for her on the highest spot on the hill. It had been remodeled many times, said Curtis, with asbestos siding that had to be abated.
Though Curtis is done with projects in Minneapolis, she visits often to see friends. "It's bittersweet," she said. "I love the people in Minneapolis but I don't agree with city politics." She plans to continue rehabbing houses in other cities, including her native Detroit, "that welcome what we're doing," she said. "I can't keep ramming my head against the wall. That's why we've moved on."
She also plans to sell her house in Uptown. And after recently completing another season of her long-running show, she's decided to take a break, she said, to seek "peace and reorganize. We've been filming continuously," she said. "We're taking time off."