Photos by Spacecrafting
When St. Paul natives Jim and Marcy Sticha realized they were about to become empty nesters, the two decided they were ready to embark on their next stage of living. Having raised their four children in their previous colonial-style home in St. Paul, the couple knew they weren’t ready to leave the neighborhood they knew and loved just yet. Luckily, they found the perfect place for their new home: a vacant lot located just four blocks west—connected to a house owned by a family that Jim had known growing up—and one block from the Mississippi River.
The Stichas’ must-haves for their new abode? A main-floor primary suite to allow for aging in place, a screened-in sun porch, and an efficient floor plan with no more square footage than was absolutely necessary—not exactly downsizing, but rather, “rightsizing.”
“They were focused on the idea of family entertaining—they wanted something where their kids and their kids’ eventual partners and maybe grandchildren could come stay, but also something that felt comfortable and cozy when it was just the two of them,” explains Chris Van Klei, co-owner of local design-build firm Detail Homes. “They wanted to be set up for the next 30, 40 years.”
The 4,750-square-foot rambler Van Klei and his team built was the perfect solution, featuring an English Tudor-style stucco exterior that seamlessly blends with the beautiful older homes surrounding it, five bedrooms, four and a half baths, vaulted ceilings, and an attached garage—a luxury rarely found on an urban lot. The primary suite is located on the main level as requested, along with another bedroom, an office, and a sun porch, while the lower level includes the remaining three bedrooms, a family room, and an exercise room.
“The floor plan is one of my favorite setups, and I love how the main level’s living spaces all connect together,” says Van Klei. “I think it’s a house that lives so well for two, but you can still have 20 people over and all be comfortable hanging out together.”
When it came to the interiors, Marcy worked with local interior design firm Henri Interiors and looked forward to starting fresh in a new home and space that better reflected their current needs. “The kids had kind of beat up everything over the years, so I had the chance to finally do what I wanted,” she says.
Rather than the standard black window frames and white oak cabinets commonly seen in homes today, the team opted for saturated colors and warmer woods to keep everything light and bright, paying homage to the timeless Tudor style while also adding modern touches in lighting and decor.
“I love all the colors we picked,” says Marcy. “I didn’t want to be too trendy and have people be able to tell in five years when our home was built, so we picked muted earthy tones and really deep, dark stains. I love how the deep green window in our front office turned out, and all the rich stain adds character—especially to our front door!”