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Interiors

A 1940s Bungalow Centered Around Art in Minnesota

by Sabrina Smelko

Ann Wood and Dean Lucker have been creating art, both together and separately, since graduating from art school in 1987. Specializing in mechanical sculptures and mixed media objects, their collaborative practice, , has seen them work on everything from public art displays and originals for private clients, to craft shows and exhibits, to galleries and shops. Not only do Ann and Dean share a professional practice, studio, and , but they share a love for one another and a charming family home in the heart of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Ten years ago, when they were searching for a house to call home, the process was long and tiring. They saw dozens of spaces, and even lost out on a few offers they made, but in hindsight, the wait was well worth it. When they found this 1940s bungalow in the heart of Saint Paul, MN, they knew it was meant to be — especially because of their shared soft-spot for art from that era. Despite the large, urban locale that they live in, their home is nestled in a quiet neighborhood that allows Ann and Dean the pleasures of small-town living, with all of the amenities and conveniences of a larger city.

Upon buying their home, there wasn’t much work to be done as they preferred the home’s original features, such as the cabinetry in the kitchen, so making the space theirs was as simple as moving in and doing some light weekend projects and DIY fixes over the years. After filling the rooms with as much artwork as the walls and surfaces could handle, a mix of rustic and glamorous furniture pieces were crafted and sourced from far and wide to fill and add function to the remaining space — all with comfort top-of-mind.

Of course, like anyone who owns an older home has experienced, over the years they’ve had to replace the roof, update the electrical, buy a new water heater and appliances, and consider all of the other not-so-glamorous expenses. But every ounce of work they’ve put into the home has made the space feel proudly theirs. Though the size of their home is just shy of 850 square feet, and though finding furniture small enough to fit each space was a challenge, the coziness that their charming, tiny abode offers makes those cold, long, Minnesota winters just that much more enjoyable.

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As you enter through the front door, you walk into Ann and Dean's living room. To pay homage to and respect the era and size of the home, they purposely bought a small couch for the space, though it was a challenge to find something this scale! The sofa is from Room and Board and the rug (and all patterned rugs throughout their home) is from HomeGoods.
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Ann Wood and Dean Lucker at home.
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"We are both artists," Ann says, "so we have a lot of art -- both our own art and art from friends." Their main goal when it came to decorating their living room was to create a soft, comfortable space that highlighted this figurine collection. During the summer months, Ann will cut flowers from the yard and punctuate surfaces and decor with fresh floral arrangements.
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These chairs from Pier One Imports make for great extra seating, but still allow for an open space for foot traffic from the entry. The pine chest was found in an antique dealer's back shed in Iowa over 20 years ago. "It’s really old and put together with square nails!" Ann explains.
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The inside of the pine chest is populated with Ann and Dean's collection of ceramic objects. "We seem to find mini vessels, sculpted heads and all varieties of oddball clay pieces [we like everywhere we go]!"
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Two painted chests add extra storage and color to their living room. Some of the art on this gallery wall are creations of Ann and Dean's, and some are treasured finds, such as the collection of black and white lithographs from the 1930s.
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The floor plan of their cozy 850-square-foot bungalow.
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"The making, collecting and caring of art is at the center of our lives."
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Next to the living room, you'll find the dining room. Their dining room table was purchased at an outlet for a discount because it had a big scratch on the surface, but one person's refuse was Ann and Dean's treasure. They fixed the scratch, cut the table down by 6" to fit the space perfectly, and covered the surface with imitation silver leaf.
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When they first moved in, the original chandelier had been replaced with a low-end hardware store variety to their dismay, but, as Ann says,"A friend of ours was replacing her fixtures at the time, so we traded a piece of art for this glass fixture, which would have been [close to] the [original] lighting at the time of [the home's] construction!"
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In front of a historical painting of a Canadian church is a collection of white and off-white ceramics, some made and some bought.
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Also off of the dining room, you'll find their kitchen with its original 1940s cabinets. "When looking at all the homes [we saw when we were house-hunting], we saw a couple of homes that had the original wood cabinets and really like the way this looked," Ann says. "They matched the color of the wood floors and were in great shape." After a quick wipe down and applying a coat of white enamel paint to the inside, Ann and Dean were thrilled with the result.
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The countertops are Silestone and Ann and Dean installed the green subway tile. The print on the wall is by Camille Rose Garcia.
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The home has two bedrooms, the larger of which they use as their shared studio space and office, and the smaller of which they use for their master bedroom.
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Wherever Ann and Dean have wall space to arrange artwork on, they take advantage of it. When asked to describe their design style, Ann replied, "Our design style incorporates areas of calm and openness accented with artwork collections."
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Dean in their home office, sitting at another table they customized. Like their dining table, they cut off the ends so it would fit between the edge of the wall and the window on the left.
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Originally, this cabinet was intended to house a TV, but after a quick silver leaf finish, they now use it to store their printers and office supplies.
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To the left of the office cabinet are two of Ann’s paintings made from hand-carved wood and dyed eggshells. As you spin the figure and moon sculpture, a crank activates and animates the figures, a creation by Dean.
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This dresser in their office stores some extra clothing. The painting on the wall was done by Ann, which illustrates her perspective of Dean’s imagination.
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Off of the dining room's double glass doors is a porch with pine-covered walls, which overlooks the garden and backyard.
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From the porch, you can exit through a door which takes you to their backyard. "This is the one area that we have changed almost all [aspects of]." explains Ann. Dean designed and constructed the fence, and together with Anna and Dean's brother, they installed the concrete and planted new perennial gardens. "This garage was originally built to house our wood shop but we recently moved the shop to a warehouse space."

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Comments

  • One of my favorite sneak peeks! So much character and so little fad. Your backyard is a dream. Your use of faux silver leaf is remarkable.

  • What a perfect house!! Amazing how they decorated it to such perfection, still keeping the cozy feel. The decoration of their house, is like their art: with such love for details.
    Greetje

  • The art really makes the place! But please, the term is “centered on.” You can’t “center around” something.

  • Having know this couple for some time, their home is so theirs!
    They both have a serene personality, their artwork reflects that and so does their cozy home.

  • This is one of my favorite home tours, ever. It reminds me of the favorite homes I’ve visited growing up – focused on art, not trends. I love all of the wood and even the frames for the artwork.

  • Beautiful! Homes filled with artwork are so personable and warm – thank you for sharing yours with us. I am inspired by your silver-leafing! I have an older dining set that I would love to refresh with this technique. How has the silver leaf held up for you? Did you seal it with a polycrylic or anything? Your input is much appreciated.

    • Thank you Libby. Yes the silver leaf has held up beautifully although we do use placemats. First you sand the surface enough to rough up the old finish, then paint on the adhesive. We purchased leaf on sheets then finished the surface with many coats of spray polyurethane. Allow the table to dry completely between coats.

  • this home makes me OOZ of warm and cozy fuzzies. The Art here is Sooo beautiful and colorful… the entire house speaks calmness to me. I envy their friends for knowing this couple :)

  • I’ve “met” Ann online before, and her house certainly matches her impeccable personal style. I’m jealous not only of her style, but of the compatibility between her and Dean’s tastes. My husband and I are always having to find compromises!

  • I feel so honored to see Ann and Dean’s home! I love their artwork and am lucky enough to have purchased a couple of pieces in Denver at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival…what a thrill!

  • I am really bowled over by this story! I was so fortunate to have stumbled upon Ann and Dean a while back on the veritable rabbit hole that is Instagram and have been a happy follower ever since. When one hungers to see something truly fascinating that is not trend-based but rather the fruits of a pair of inspired minds, Woodlucker will really hit the spot. And, Grace… That you managed to post SO MANY wonderful photo’s! Pure heaven, everyone… Pure heaven it is to have Designsponge as the go to place for all people and things delightful!

  • Okay, I love this house! It is definitely one of my favorites. It is so warm and inviting, and the art is FANTASTIC. Their art is so different but both wonderful. I love the collection of pottery objects. I love the silver leafed furniture – something I never would have thought of, but it looks so right in their house.

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