Monday, April 26, 2010

An artistic home

I visited some old friends yesterday. Tony and Avis Erickson have spent years crafting their home. I went to high school with this couple and have maintained sporadic contact with them over the years. They have worked as teachers and landscape gardeners and in nursing homes, so they have had a limited income with which to operate.. They have substituted enormous artistic creativity for money and put together a truly remarkable series of rooms. Let me give you a tour.

The flash on my camera over illuminated many of these shots. Here is what the place looks like below in the subdued lighting they use. The materials came from big box home stores and architectural salvage. Ordinary off the rack tile and millwork are used in unusual ways to give the look of period luxury.

They bought a strange house that was two prefab units like house trailers with a frame structure bridging the space between the two. The room you see here is a sunken living room with 14 foot high ceilings. They have worked for years wallpapering and carpentering to create a stylish Victorian fantasy that looks like it was lifted from Dickens. They say it is a work in progress and have dozens of separate projects going at once. They know it will never be finished.

Here is a room off to one side of their kitchen. Notice the arches on the doorways and cabinets. A large stained glass window hangs above the entrance.

Above and below are chandeliers they have fashioned from cast off strips of brass, toilet chain and prisms scrounged from discount lumber yards. Every bit of the house is like this. They told me that creating these chandeliers was one of the most fun things they have ever done together.

Here is a cabinet in the bathroom with old silverware bent to form pulls for the doors.

Below is a shelf in their bathroom with bracketed shelves.

Below is a crib Avis constructed, with its gate closed .

Here is the same crib with its gate opened showing it's elegant interior.

I am so enchanted with this home that I come to see it nearly every time I am in Minnesota. My photos really don't describe the level of detail and textures that make this house a work of art.


Jonathan said...

Wow! what a beautiful home so unique in every way! I love it!

Unknown said...

Amazing! This looks like it is out of a high end film.

Mary Bullock said...

It is beautiful - looks like the interior of a late victorian home. But they must spend hours just dusting everything!

Christine Walker said...

Mary Bullock: I had exactly the same thought! It's so beautiful, but, oh, the upkeep.

willek said...

Those door pulls. Just great. Why hadn't I thought of that.

Kim Rempel said...

WOW. Original. said...

Hi Stapleton,
You'd probably like my house too. Gothic stone stable turned into an arts and crafts home with Victorian artifacts, saved from a fire, with an Italianate garden including 52 stone columns. Furnished and decorated with everything from an inherited Venetian mirror (18th century-my husband's side of the family)to my dumpster diving finds(my side of the family). It's a fairy tale home for someone who was raised in triple-deckers. Everyone is invited here to paint.I don't dust.

But I love the house you showed here because it probably looks like something else on the outside and a marvel on the inside!

Pam Holnback said...

Love this home tour. What creativity.


Interior design is my second passion after making art so many thanks for sharing this beautiful home.

billspaintingmn said...

Very creative, I'll bet they watched MacGyver too!
That silverware pull is fun. I'm
glad you had an enjoyable time in Minnesota.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I love it too. I wish it were my house.

Stapleton Kearns said...

That is SO California.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think they use cats.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I imagine there is some of that.

Stapleton Kearns said...

The whole house is full of little clever things like that.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I kept thinking "why didn't I think of that?"

Stapleton Kearns said...

From the outside you would never guess its interior.Although it does have extensive gardens

Stapleton Kearns said...

I don't know if anyone has ever written about the house before.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I wish I had the time to work on my home.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Now I am on my way home, well almost I teach this weekend on Cape Cod!

Carol Nelson said...

HGTV should do a feature on this home. I love it when people use discarded and abandoned items and turn them into something beautiful.

Unknown said...

you EVIL person, why won't you wash your brushes with soap and lukewarm water! :(