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Weisman Art Mob visits a shabby house turned modern home

Interior windows and translucent walls. Waterfall-tread steel stairs. Paired single-car garages. These are a few of the innovative elements that make architect Geoffrey Warner's Saint Paul bungalow an ideal family home.

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For their July event, Weisman Art Mob members were invited inside the home and immediately began to comment on its thoughtfully planned living spaces, constructed with a blend of traditional and innovative building materials. Warner is principal architect at Alchemy Architects and his house, known as the Goodrich House, was one of many custom architecture projects for the firm. Alchemy is best known for its weeHouse, a modern manufactured home that arrives on lots in prefabricated portions and is assembled in hours.

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Warner and his wife Dawn De Kayser--also an architect--purchased the home despite its sagging floors, impractical room divisions, dark spaces, and an unfinished upstairs. He and Dawn wanted to create a practical and functional space for their family of four to thrive for years to come. Their strategy was to remove unnecessary walls and create room divisions through building storage elements and custom furniture. They installed skylights, translucent walls, and interior windows to keep the house naturally and efficiently illuminated, even into the twilight hours.

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Outside, the Warners have created an expansive-feeling space within their standard city lot. With landscaping help from Phillips Garden, the yard is colorfully cast using a variety of materials including Ipe decking, copper, siding, rocks, and grasses. Twin garages nestled neatly near a tidy vegetable garden and connected by a weathered steel alley wall add a historical feel and lots of charm.

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Warner (pictured above right), De Kayser, and Alchemy Architects operations manager Betsy Gabler carried on individual conversations with Art Mobbers throughout the night. Members left for the evening having experienced a home that is balanced between ornate and functional, sensible and lush, and traditional and modern.

The next learning adventure for Art Mob members takes place in September; a walking tour of the U of M's public art collection. Learn more about Art Mob membership and view a full calendar of events.

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