At 749 Buchanan St. in Northeast, however, a much more recent vintage tiny house just hit the market for $275,000. The 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom, 584-square-foot home was built by current owners Stefany and Brent Rowe in 2016. Three years earlier, the couple had moved from Plymouth into the city, but quickly realized apartment life was not for them.
“We discovered we hate having neighbors, so we decided to go down this fun path,” Stefany says with a laugh.
Unsure where to begin, the Rowes reached out to Dunwoody Institute of Technology. That’s where they met John Dwyer, the leader of the Minneapolis technical school’s architecture program who’d eventually draw up their blueprints. His vision would be erected atop a .2-acre foreclosed lot the Rowes acquired for $11,000 in 2015, according to county records.
“It was known around the neighborhood as 'the eyesore,'” Stefany recalls. “It had kind of turned into an overgrown dog park.”
Clearing the city’s regulatory hurdles to construct their dream tiny home proved challenging. That might be why newer-construction examples are so rare.
"The city is not a fan of our house,” Stefany says. “But [current mayor] Jacob Frey was our councilperson at the time, and he was a great advocate for tiny homes and for us."
The Rowes’s finished product is a smartly designed example of minimalist living. The first level features a 440-square-foot heated garage plus storage area, which can double as entertaining space in the winter, Stefany says. An open floor plan stretches over the second level — living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom.
Up top, there’s a rooftop deck for entertaining. Out back, there’s a fenced-in yard with a hot tub.
“It's like having all the amenities of a condo, but it's our own space,” Stefany says. “That was the real appeal: a small space that's easy to maintain that we could pay off quickly for more disposable income."
In March, Brent was furloughed from his job in sales due to COVID-19, but he quickly found work in Las Vegas. Stefany, who works in HR, is staying behind to sell their beloved tiny home, just four years after completing it. The “bittersweet” task of selling the place falls to Christina Zajic, the Edina Realty listing agent who also happens to be the Stefany’s good friend.
"The Twin Cities have responded; my phone is blowing up, I'm having to recharge it three times per day,” Zajic reports. “The competition at this price point, despite COVID, is out of control.”
Zajic likens the property to “the perfect IKEA home,” the sort hyper-thoughtful design that maximizes every single square foot. She expects the unique listing to move fast.
"People are realizing: I don't need a lot of space to live,” Zajic says, “but I need space around me to breathe."
Let's take a photo tour of 749 Buchanan St., courtesy of Edina Realty and Spacecrafting (click here for a virtual tour):