Daily life can be tedious, hectic, and exhausting; the natural instinct is to withdraw from society, retreat to nature to recuperate and rejuvenate. When living in an urban area, it can be challenging to combine the desire for seclusion with the demands of everyday life. Many here in the north have bridged the gap by owning lake home, while others plan quiet annual vacations. For those just getting started with careers, homeownership, or families, of course, “getting away from it all” might be—for a little while, at least—beyond their reach. In reframing the idea of seclusion, however, we might find a sense of it well within the confines of the metro area.
The most obvious choice is to consider suburbs. With larger yards in most cities just outside Minneapolis and Saint Paul, more green space, and with city planning standards much different than the gridlock of a city block, moving a bit further out can evoke a feeling of being away from the city, while still remaining close (or close-ish) to everything. Other factors—commute time, for instance—might make this option unrealistic for some.
Another option is one I started thinking about this winter, that of redefining what seclusion looks like. I was with a client in a home in the Ventura Village neighborhood of Minneapolis—a bustling, diverse neighborhood, bordered on two sides by 35W. As we had driven to the house, we’d turned away from busy Franklin Ave., onto quieter, more residential streets. The home was located on the street adjacent to the freeway, so at first it didn’t seem enticing: A view from the front of a tall, brown fence and the sound of the freeway. Inside, the house itself was quiet and had been nicely updated, had a large backyard, and, because it was on a corner lot, felt very private. Upstairs, the master suite was sizable with a vaulted ceiling and a large, octagonal picture window. The room was organized so that, from the bed, you looked right out the window: The view was all sky framing the in-progress construction of the new Vikings stadium.
I had a similar experience while previewing a condo in Stephen’s Square—again, a lively neighborhood and one of the most densely populated areas of Minneapolis. The condo was a garden-level unit in a lovely old brick building on Clinton Ave near E. 18th St. The street dead-ended to a dividing wall on the other side of which was I-94. Somehow, with only a few buildings nearby, a parking lot or two, and landscaping that belied the obvious care of condo owners in the area, it had the feel of a charming urban cul-de-sac.
While both of these examples feature properties in the middle of the city, lots of other possibilities exist—near the light rail or abutting an abandoned rail line, mixed-use industrial areas, or near parks or community gardens. Start thinking outside the box and you might find exactly the secluded feeling you’re looking for where you least expect it!
Angela Anderson, 612-396-3654
Licensed Associate Working with Sharlene Hensrud of RE/MAX Results, and HomesMSP — Sharlene, John, Angela