Summit Avenue Villa Exterior

Saint Paul, Minnesota

The renovation of this 1924 Mediterranean villa, originally built as a duplex, has been an exciting and rewarding, two-year journey for its owners, architect, and builder. The new owners loved the duplex’s character and location but the building was worn out and deteriorated after 85 years. A leaking internal gutter system caused extensive rot in the exterior walls. Given the building’s condition and a desire to considerably change the floor plan, significant work on structure was necessary. The house is being rejuvenated in the spirit of its historic character with luxe conveniences and updates for modern family living. The interior, exterior, and site are being completely renovated. Project features include a swimming pool, carriage house, and tennis court, three kitchens, seven bathrooms, and two small additions toward the rear of the building.

The exterior, sporting new stucco finishes, is being restored to its original design, and the long-missing balustrade on the front terrace has been recreated. Additionally, all new windows, clay tile roof, lighting, and decorative ironwork have been created as exact replicas of the originals.

The interior is also being completely renewed—combining original features with many new ones. Retained historic elements of note include the grand staircase, millwork and moldings, and the elegant original fireplace surrounds in the living rooms.

Several generations of one family will soon make their home here, in two condominium units. The features, style, and details of the units reflect the owners’ differing needs and tastes. One is strikingly modern while the other is more traditional, illustrating different approaches to restoring an old house.

The owners had a number of objectives for the project. “We wanted the residence to be accurately restored and thoroughly renewed,” said one of the owners. “We also wanted it to be environmentally sound, so in addition to preserving the existing building, we now have a geothermal heating and cooling system and a cistern to collect rain water, among other features. We’re thrilled to live in an old house that’s been renewed and updated for generations to come!”. The project is designed for LEED® Gold Certification.

Many people and companies have worked together to create this stunning transformation. Since the residence is located on Saint Paul’s historic Summit Avenue, one of the country’s longest, grandest, and best preserved residential boulevards, work to the site and building exterior were carefully coordinated with the city’s Heritage Preservation Commission.

Builder: Welch Forsman

Cabinets: Frost Cabinets