Robert Cerny designed Mid-Century-Modern… remarkably preserved, with amazing planned storage throughout

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When I first saw this MCM designed by Robert Cerny come on the market at 1808 Colvin Avenue in Saint Paul, I was intrigued. We drove by last Sunday afternoon to check it out and were delighted to discover an open house… we were not disappointed!

What stood out the most to me about this house was: untainted original design in outstanding condition… signature MCM wood, vaulted ceiling, original tile, windows opening to private wooded setting… and perhaps most notable was unbelievably thoughtful built-in storage throughout. Even the piano is built into the cabinetry… and the chickens have their own private chicken coop on the .84 acre grounds!

The listing agent who greeted us said the kitchen had been featured in the March 1960 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, with the headline “Here’s planned kitchen storage”. What’s so amazing is the kitchen looks almost the same today as it did in 1960 and it doesn’t feel outdated! It feels like a forerunner of today’s kitchen storage trends.

1808 Colvin – kitchen pic 1960
from Better Homes & Gardens May 1960

The Better Home & Gardens article started with…

“There’s a difference between good storage and lots of storage. To be good, it should be planned to take care of all your supplies and equipment, be arranged so everything is handy.”

It goes on to explain how everything was thoughtfully planned in this kitchen… including an indoor grill, a deep-fryer on a swing-up platform for making French fries, a dumb waiter to the basement… even an adjustable height rolling table for eating, serving, or extra work space. I loved how it left no space under-utilized, with shallow storage under the cabinets, rollup plastic doors on upper cabinets for easy access to everything.

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When I was looking at the bedrooms, the agent joined me to point out what she said was her favorite feature… built-in shallow shelves, which were in every bedroom and hidden behind panels in the bottom bedroom below. The master bedroom walked out to the deck which wraps around the whole back of the house.

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Robert Cerny, the designer of this house, taught at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture from 1937 to 1976, and I have heard it said that “his work was seldom exciting”. This house may not look impressive from the street, but the well-planned, well-preserved interior is amazing!

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results – – Mid-Century-Modern Realtor

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I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity.

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