A Charming, Minimal and Character-Filled Home in Minnesota

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While attending graduate school, Kari Jensen and her then-fíance, Aaron, rented a space in her brother’s home in the heart of Saint Paul, MN (which we featured in last week’s city guide). While neck-deep in studies nearly 10 years ago, the couple decided to take a break and spend a day browsing the city when they happened upon this cute bungalow just down the street. To their surprise, they found themselves considering — and ultimately buying — it. “We grew to love the neighborhood and the location was perfect for work and school and where we found ourselves playing on the weekends,” Kari shares. “It was completely on a whim, but we toured the house, liked what we saw, and thought it would be a good starter home for us until we were ready to grow our family.”

Their 1,600-square-foot bungalow is bright, clean and borders on minimal, but it still boasts just the right amount of character and charm — thanks to the home’s many original features, such as its archways, wood-trimmed windows, the fireplace and doors. Built in 1932, this space that they once considered their temporary starter home has become the place where they’ve raised their three children, Kaia, Kendi, and Klo (an ongoing journey which Kari chronicles on the blog Living Life’s Moments). Despite the home being the ultimate family zone, completed with their dog, Jazzy, Kari didn’t always see it this way. “We never thought we’d be in our home as long as we have. Nine years and three little birdies later, we are still in our first home!”

Nearly a decade ago, when the couple first bought their home, it was in pretty good shape and only in need of cosmetic updates; projects which were completed with gusto and excitement over the years. But as Kari explains best, “despite the work we have done to improve our home over the years, it has always felt like home to us because of the people and the things we have in it.” Since day one, and exponentially with every addition they’ve made to their family over the years, the home has become more refined, functional and cozy. “We have found that less really is more,” Kari begins, “by reducing [unnecessary] decor or eliminating clutter, we have a space that feels cleaner, more functional, and overall feels bigger. We bring in what we need and try our hardest to leave out those ‘wanted things’.” With this in mind, many of the furnishings that do stand in their home tell some kind of tale, whether it’s the table Kari’s dad made for the family using her grandmother’s barn wood, or the coffee table Kari designed and had made, and even the dresser in the couple’s bedroom which was Aaron’s grandmother’s. “Everything has a story,” Kari says, “and that is what I love so much about the spaces we have created.”

Over the years, the Jensen family has put a lot of heart into their home, making it their own and allowing it to evolve and adapt to their needs. But more than where they live, and more than the decor and furniture they own, Kari’s most thankful for who lives under this roof, saying: “It isn’t our forever home, but we sure do love it — especially the people in it.” –Sabrina

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  1. Emily says:

    I love this home and how minimal it is. It has some cute character like the rounded door frame which reminds me of a hobbit home! Too cute.

  2. Your home is beautiful. I love all the wood trim and moulding and what a sweet family photo <3

  3. Alexandra says:

    Gorgeous! Love this “bungaloft” :)

  4. Georgie says:

    You are braver than me with all that white and 3 kids, lol, but it is beautiful.

  5. Rachel says:

    This is such a sweet home! I especially loved how their gallery wall included personal photos and art work. The simple vibe made the home very charming.


  6. jen says:

    Love. Intimate and serene. Lucky kiddos!

  7. heidi says:

    Love love love this! The mix of white with the old wood trim is perfect…so let me ask…what color white? I have used white dove by BM in the past…I so need to know!

  8. Diana says:

    Love the minimalism here! Where is the master bedroom curtain rod from? Thanks!

  9. All I see is happiness, love and warmth! Great house! I see that each piece of furniture is collected with a lot of love and tender. For me the best part of their house is the living room. It just resembles a real home.

  10. Amanda says:

    Love this! So beautiful and inspiring. We live in 1800 sqft with our three kids, and I was just saying to my husband this week that it sure would be nice to have a great, big finished basement where we could send all the toys and kids. Thank you for the reminder that even though that separation of space would be a nice indulgence, relationships are built on people sharing the same space.

  11. Nathalie says:

    I love the lamp shade in the dining room, where is it from!

  12. Caitlin says:

    I’d love to know where your bassinet is from!!


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