Docomomo US/MN’s 2023 Mid-Century Fall Home Tour

The self-guided home tour in Prospect Park concludes with a reception at Novella Design House in Wayzata

Photos courtesy of Docomomo US/MN

Ronald Balazs House I, Architect Unknown, Built by Erco Inc., 1962-1963

Docomomo US/MN’s annual Mid-Century Fall Home Tour ushers in autumn with an always-tantalizing selection of drool-worthy vintage homes replete with period-perfect furnishings. This year’s tour, on Saturday, Sept. 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., is self-guided. All the homes are in the Minneapolis Prospect Park neighborhood—except for the finale: a reception at the Novella Design House in Wayzata, from 3:00-4:30 p.m.

“Prospect Park is an enclave for a wide range of 20th century architectural styles,” says Ben Clasen, vice president. “With its close proximity to the University of Minnesota, it is no surprise that the neighborhood features several midcentury modern homes by architects affiliated with the School of Architecture.” The tour includes homes designed by such noted Minnesota architects as Carl Graffunder, Elizabeth Scheu, Win Close, Frank Kerr, and Harlan McClure. All the modest homes were constructed from 1938 through 1963, with the majority built in the 1950s.

Faulkner/Lippincott House, Close & Scheu Architects, 1938; Close Associates addition, 1940

The Faulkner/Lippincott House, aka Opus I, for example, is considered the first International Style building in Minnesota. The house was also the first commission completed by Elizabeth “Lisl” Scheu and Winston “Win” Close, of the newly formed Close & Scheu Architects. The couple designed the home for three bachelor professors—Ray Faulkner, Edwin Ziegfeld, and Gerald Hill—with three bedrooms on the upper level. The house was later sold to University of Minnesota professor Benjamin Lippincott, and his wife, Gertrude, also a modern dancer. They engaged Close Associates in 1940 to design an addition and reconfigure the interior space for their growing family.

Nordgren House, Carl Graffunder, 1953

Also on the tour is the Nordgren House, designed by Carl Graffunder and built in 1953 for Robert H. “Bob” Nordgren, a research chemist for General Mills who was active in DFL politics. The single-story house has a raised basement with a small tuck-under garage, a low-pitched gable roof with projecting eaves, and vertical Weldtex combed plywood siding on concrete block. Redwood is used for the sunshade on the south side and the fascia boards.

The Novella Design House in Wayzata, originally designed in 1956-1957 by architect Loren B. Abbett, has been restored by the current owners. The house features vertical redwood siding on the exterior, and tongue-and-groove cedar ceilings that extend to the exterior eaves, which are visible through the glass wall on the back of the home.

Grab your nearest midcentury enthusiast and get your tickets, $15-$55, here.

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