Friday, September 1, 2023

Sifoddling Along


By Marilyn Carnell

Architectural Quirks

Below is a photo of piano windows in the rental house we lived in for the first year we lived in Minnesota from 2011 to 2012. The other photo is an outside shot of another house. It was the first time I was aware of such an architectural feature and once I noticed them; I found they were quite popular in Hopkins, our new hometown. I have seen more than 20 in a casual drive around the city. Although they are in many homes, I have been told it is not a good idea to place a piano next to an outside wall. I suppose they didn’t know that at the time.

Housing developments in this small city of about 19,000 people came in bursts. In the late 1800s, Czechoslovakian farmers who raised raspberries commercially built large homes. After World War II they converted the farms to “starter homes”. (See following examples.)

Our house is one of the few built later (1967). Today all the home-building sites have been sold so most residents live in apartments and condos. The existing houses have been extensively remodeled and updated, but the unusual architectural features have been retained.

Once derided as a community of “cars and bars” due to the plethora of car dealerships and drinking spots, Hopkins is now a desirable place to live as it is one of the more affordable communities in the metro Minneapolis area.

I do not have piano windows in this house, but it shares another common feature in Hopkins houses. My son and his family live in a house built after World War II. Both of our houses have central halls with a built-in linen closet and drawers next to a laundry chute to the basement. Mine has one addition—a pull-out folding shelf. I added the barely-seen little white labels to remind me what goes where.

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