Some of the updates to the 1926 Colonial on Palace Avenue

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Mary Haugh, an investor who focuses on revitalizing housing stock from the 1920s in St. Paul and Minneapolis through her company, The Second Stripe, explained some of her recent choices through cards she displayed throughout her latest fixer upper on Palace Avenue in the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul.

Front yard patio

The Adirondack chairs positioned on a circular bluestone patio were hand-made in Inver Grove Heights by Mike of Woodworks Plus.

Entryway niches

“Old houses always have surprises, and this time it was a wonderfully pleasant one,” reads a card in the entry. “These sweet little closets were hidden behind the walls for at least 50 years.”


The home features wallpaper by Rifle Paper Co. of Winter Park, Florida. It started as a stationery brand, Haugh explains on a display card, but has expanded into fabrics and other home products.

The Peacock pattern is used in the blue-themed bathroom upstairs.

Living room fireplace

This wood-burning fireplace is original to the house, along with the hearth. The firebox and chimney brickwork was tuckpointed and repaired, new flues added, a hefty steel liner placed and a cap to top it off. It’s been inspected for safety and is ready to use. Note the instructions engraved in the original damper handle.

Living room chandelier

Haugh placed a chandelier in the living room to show people there was a spot for a dining table where one could serve meals, play games or work on a laptop.

Cabinetry and built-ins

The custom white oak cabinetry in the house was made in West St. Paul and Stillwater by craftsman Nick Dooley. The cabinets were hand finished and assembled and installed “with enough leveling lasers to do a light show,” Haugh wrote in her display card.


The kitchen features a Verona dual-fuel double oven. In addition to the two ovens, there’s also a convection oven/microwave.


The kitchen also features a Kraus “workstation” sink. An inset shelf allows for a drying rack, cutting board, colanders and all sorts of accessories to be used with it. It helps provide more counter or work space.

Upstairs hallway bathroom

To accommodate younger members of the household, everything in this bathroom was slightly adapted to be the right height and size for children. The Bocchi sinks came from Italy.


Remember how Harry Potter slept in a cupboard underneath the stairs at Number 4, Privet Drive? In this case, the “cupboard” is a closet-like playroom within a bedroom. The removable benches were custom-made by a neighbor, handyman Mike Johnson. The benches have secret compartments on two levels to hide treasures or to store LEGO bricks. The display shelf, shaped like a round theater stage, is ready to host LEGO and Playmobil scenes. The tiny space is even wired with outlets to plug in some string lights.

Finished basement

The finished lower level now has multiple options for use. The main area is staged as a game room with a wet bar. A second “away room” can be closed off with French doors if people would like to sit and watch the game on the comfy sectional or have a quiet workspace.

Heating and cooling

A large furnace is part of a new full-house HVAC system. Haugh had ductwork installed throughout that now services three heating and cooling zones.

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