COOL, CALM & COL­LECTED

First-time home­own­ers take char­ac­ter cues from an old house and give it even more soul with projects like a re­vamped kitchen and hand­crafted fur­ni­ture.

Do It Yourself - - Features - WORDS + PRO­DUC­TION KELLY RYAN KEGANS PHO­TOGRAPHS ADAM AL­BRIGHT

A Min­neapo­lis Tu­dor keeps its charm while get­ting a ma­jor DIY makeover—and the re­sult earns a whole lot of heart eyes.

AS A NEW MOM, ERIN FRAN­COIS GAVE HER­SELF A BREAK WHEN DAUGH­TER SYLVIA WAS BORN. IT WAS THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE AGE OF 7 SHE WASN’T

MAK­ING THINGS. “For the first six months of my daugh­ter’s life, I bought (rather than made),” she says, adding, “#Sur­vivalMode!” To­day, Erin’s sewing ma­chine is hap­pily hum­ming again, de­sign­ing decor and mak­ing im­prove­ments in the 1936 Tu­dor du­plex that she and her hus­band, Ken, bought in Min­neapo­lis a few years ago. “We knew we wanted to live in the city, but as we be­gan house-hunt­ing, we re­al­ized we were com­ing up short with what we could af­ford,” Erin says. “Ken found the du­plex the night it hit the mar­ket, and we were in­trigued by the fi­nan­cial sense it made.” (They rent out the up­stairs unit.)

Erin was im­me­di­ately sold on the gable roof, half-tim­bered fa­cade, and arched open­ing be­tween the liv­ing and din­ing rooms. Al­though the house had plenty of built-in charm, it needed dec­o­ra­tive up­grades and a kitchen over­haul. “We DIYed ev­ery inch of the space to­gether, from adding in­su­la­tion to the walls to tiling the back­splash to plank­ing the ceil­ing,” says Erin, who blogs about her projects at Fran­cois et Moi.

“The No. 1 rea­son I DIY is if I can’t find what I’m look­ing for in stores or if it is out of my price range,” she says. “But, in­evitably since hav­ing my daugh­ter,

I’ve be­come much more likely to buy some­thing if the process to make it is su­per time- and la­bor-in­ten­sive.”

FRESH FI­NESSE Erin Fran­cois strate­gi­cally de­ployed small DIY up­dates in­side and out­side her 1936 Min­neapo­lis home. The en­try, above, got a style boost from a pair of planters she as­sem­bled from store-bought wooden boxes, crown mold­ing, drawer knobs as feet, and iron pulls. Erin re­vived her liv­ing room, op­po­site, with rug-hook pil­lows and a cerused paint treat­ment on a pedestal side ta­ble her grand­fa­ther made decades ago.

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