Finding Minnesota: Whimsy Green

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — From garages to guest houses, from granaries to man caves, a Meeker County couple has a knack for turning old farmsteads into things of beauty.

In this week’s Finding Minnesota, John Lauritsen traveled to Dassel where home makeovers are taken to another level.

“I didn’t think I was going to be a country girl. And when we moved here I was nervous because Target was 30 minutes away,” Allie Lundeen said.

It was a blind date that brought her and Ryan Lundeen together. It was an old farmhouse that helped them realize it was meant to be.

“He hasn’t stopped working,” she said.

“And I learned early on just to keep doing what I’m told,” he said.

Six years ago, the two were awarded their Dassel farmstead in an auction for $137,000.

“My mom thought we were absolutely crazy because it was a lot of yellow and orange and very dated,” Allie Lundeen said.

It was small, outdated and bat-infested, but it had character. So the Lundeen’s got to work. They lived in a pop-up camper in their driveway with their children for three months while they completely gutted the house. The honey-do list went both ways: he took care of the construction, and she took care of all the finishing work. What came out in the end turned heads.

“We’ve had such a good response. He’s starting to believe in me and trust in me,” Allie Lundeen said.

That trust was enough for them to venture to other parts of the farm. A family who loves the outdoors, was about to make their money indoors.

“He told me, ‘Spare no expense for the man cave.’ So this is more pimped out than our house,” Allie Lundeen said.

“After working on that for three years, I was like ‘All right, I can do whatever I want,'” Ryan Lundeen said.

That meant turning a 100-year-old granary that used to house hay, straw and livestock into a man cave, complete with floor heat, a fireplace and surround sound.

Next, it was on to the one-stall garage, which Ryan Lundeen said his father suggested turn into a guest house. So they did, and added an electric fireplace for a finishing touch.

While the farm makeover was going on, Allie Lundeen began to blog and put do-it-yourself instructions on her website Proverbs 31 Girl. The pillows and signs she created for home decor became so popular that, four times a year, they have a sale inside their barn affectionately called Whimsy Green.

“I wanted horses and chickens and the barn- now we have signs everywhere and pillows,” Ryan Lundeen said.

But during those Whimsy Green sales, people come from out of state to buy what their family has to offer. The lines stretch down the driveway. What the Lundeens have done is something straight out of HGTV. Speaking of which, the network did reach out.

“We bombed the interview. Just bombed it,” Allie Lundeen said.

And that’s OK because there is still plenty of work left on the farm.

“There are a few more outbuildings I have my eye on. We live in the moment so we are just going to see what happens,” Allie Lundeen said.

This is actually the third place Ryan Lundeen has helped makeover.

They hope to someday buy other farm properties and turn them into bed and breakfasts.

Allie’s sister plays a big role in help her create some of the décor.

The Lundeens will be holding their next Whimsy Green sale on April 27 and 29.

More from John Lauritsen
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