Minnesota’s long winters are known for their subzero temperatures and punishing snow, but they seem perfect for life at the beautifully cozy home of Johnna and Max Holmgren. The proprietors of Bear Fox Chalk, an illustration studio that uses chalk as its chosen medium, the pair are no strangers to thinking creatively or working with their hands, tasks that they took to with serious verve when they decided to renovate a long-abandoned nineteenth century home in the town of Stillwater. Over the course of two years, the couple transformed this once dilapidated and damaged home, opening up floor plans, exposing hardwood floors, and giving the interior a fresh coat of bright white paint.
The house’s purchase and renovation was a labor of love in numerous ways, and love, more than anything, is what seems to permeate this home. “We dated in high school and this city was our halfway point where we would meet often for dates and outings,” Johnna recalls. “We fell in love with the city, the St. Croix River, the accessibility to both the city and country. We loved the old homes and loved the idea of our daughter Luella growing up here with parks on every corner and forests only a jaunt away for exploring.” The home, now freshly renovated and overflowing with warmth and light, is exactly the sort of place that can grow and evolve along with this young family; a charming, yet unfussy space that is filled with memories and room to create new ones. —Max