Charlie & Marisol's Blaisdell Revival


Charlie & Marisol were married in 2005 while residing in an Uptown apartment building.    Marisol hailing from Lima, Peru, desired a cool urban space that she could infuse with her modern flair and style.  Charlie lived in a ‘college pad’ on 40th & Pleasant with three of his ‘dopest’ pals from the U of M.   Still sharing a great bond to this day, residing in that classic college rental made them all long for urban living when the time came to grow up and settle down.

4243 Blaisdell was built in 1912, a stately two story with a towering attic loft.  The home is and was one of the most prominent facades on the block and had been on the market for 270 days!  4243 Blaisdell had a perceived image of being quite expensive for the finishes and work involved.  The previous owner was a Northwest flight attendant, who borrowed against the home quite heavily without renovating much of it. They walked through the home and fell in love, the main floor featured horizontal leaded glass windows in the dining room, a classic brick fireplace, great space upstairs with three sizable bedrooms and the attic and basement offered space to design and grow into. Six years later, Charlie and Marisol have one of the cleanest and most well constructed original renovation homes in all of Kingfield; they stopped at nothing.  Both having personas not fond of shortcuts, the home has endured some decadent upgrades, including an on demand combo boiler, in-floor heat on the main floor, spray foamed attic, and in-ceiling stereo throughout, many of which are rarely seen in craftsman era homes.


DSC_1962Rare Form: How has Kingfield changed since you first moved in?

Charlie:  In 2006, there were a ton of foreclosures on the block, the two homes to the north were both vacant and in need of attention.   The block had several elderly residents that could no longer maintain their homes.   I even recall a graffiti incident in the alley of 43rd and Blaisdell. The house across the street, which just sold to a young couple for $260,000, had weeds growing up through the floorboards in the living room when we moved in, so needless to say things are looking up in Kingfield.  DSC_1966RFP: In your opinion, what's the cause for the turnaround? C:  Since then things have really turned, the biggest change being the farmer’s market, which has created a coastal vibe of energy every Sunday.  The streets are packed with cars and market goers; we really love the action, it makes us feel like Kingfield is the place to be!  Since then the area has been revived by the business owners that have averted the risk and invested in our neighborhood such as Lowbrow, Haus Salon, Corner Table, P46, the list goes on.  DSC_1936RFP: What was the sequence of events in the remodel?

C:  The standard must do’s prior to moving in were accomplished in short order:  painting the entire house followed by a complete hardwood grind and refinish.  The first real renovation task was the upper bathroom.  Marisol had a forty day trip planned to Peru two weeks after we closed, so I saw this as a perfect opportunity to renovate the bathroom, I told her, “it will be done when you get back honey.”

The bathroom took a year.

The list of renovations included uneven floors, a water holding tank for the original boiler, refinishing the radiator and cast iron claw foot tub and installing the in-floor heat.  It's really nice now, but my forty day timeline is now something we laugh about.  

DSC_1958RFP:  What was your biggest misconception entering into the house in 2006

C:  If you believe renovating a home is easy and inexpensive, you are incorrect.  We never looked back and added up the amount of capital we invested in the house - I prefer not to know.  DSC_1940RFP: Should there be a new home in your future, following this complete renovation, what lesson will you take with you to your next home revival?

C:  There comes a time, when you learn it's more important and intelligent to cultivate your own craft.  I would have been better off creating more business in the video world, while hiring smarter professionals to renovate my home.  DSC_1947

RFP: You seemed to not skimp in any area, what budget decisions were the most difficult throughout the renovation?
C:  Definitely the kitchen.  We designed it with a local architect, however when it came time for the build-out, our contractor gave us options A,B, and C with a range from 40k to 100k.  The cheapest being a simple kitchen and mud room in the existing space and the most expensive being a full bump out addition that would create a larger footprint overall.  We opted to stay within our original footprint, however we invested in really nice selections including custom cabinetry, windows, and heated floors which resulted in a very expensive new combo system.  DSC_1963LG: Out all of your renovations at 4243, what makes you the happiest?C:  THE YARD!  We love our green-space!  It has completely changed our lives in the summer. Our backyard was built out with a custom cedar six foot privacy fence,  an irrigation system to keep our lawn mightily green, outdoor sound system for our cocktail parties, and lastly a stamped patio that finishes the layout of the lawn.  RFP:  Your attic has closed cell spray foam, which is quite costly.  What led you to installing that vs. typical rolled batting insulation?DSC_1965DSC_1975RFP:  Your attic has closed cell spray foam, which is quite costly.  What led you to installing that vs. typical rolled batting insulation?C:  Quite simply we had a bat issue, and that wasn't cool with us.  So, spray foam was the clear solution to sealing up the attic space forever.   The result of it was amazing.  While expensive initially, it changed everything.  Our home is so much warmer throughout, especially the upper floors.DSC_1979Terrific leaded glass transom windows overlooking their fenced greens in the back lawn.DSC_1970RFP: If you could give one piece of advice to a young person looking to buy real estate what would it be?

C:  Buying a home used to be perceived as such an ‘adult’ thing, and in this new era it shouldn't be.  If I could go back I would have made an investment as soon as I was able to following college.   Invest in real estate before you start a relationship, or purchase a fancy vehicle.  When you're young everything is easier, the value of the wealth you acquire in the future is greater, and you have more time & energy to tackle projects in short order.  DSC_1968After seven years in the home, watching their son Tiago grow up, the announcement of their second child on the way has the Gerswerski’s pondering their next move.  Stay tuned this summer, as this storied and impeccable Kingfield restoration may become available.  DSC_1967The closed cell spray foamed attic serves as a terrific palette for the future owner to add finished square footage.  This step in the renovation process is an indicator of their approach across the board, no short cuts on Blaisdell Ave. DSC_1984DSC_1987