The Wolf House/Svedberg Studio
3359 Northeast Tyler Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55418, United States
About the Artist/Site
A simple one bedroom, one bath 1,078 square feet home in northeast Minneapolis built in 1912 was completely transformed after its purchase in 1979 by the new owner-artist, inside and out. Using a variety of patterns and designs in stone, brick, tiles, and more, the interior features both geometric mosaics and representational paintings, which both stand in contrast to and complement Lauri Svedberg’s mostly figurative and representational paintings, which she sells to enhance her teacher’s salary.
The project started when Svedberg needed to replace a window in the old house; built so many decades earlier, standard window sizes wouldn’t fit within the existing frames, so Svedberg decided she could probably construct her own, using Mason jars framed in pebbles. Moving on to other sections of the house, she glued most of the rocks and pebbles onto the walls with a hot glue gun; she became most proud of a mosaic doorway arch covered in all kinds of minerals and semiprecious stones she collected during her travels. Through the arch one sees a window constructed from 77 glass circles. The house became known as the Wolf House because for a while many images of wolves were featured in different sections of the house; a single image of a wolf emerging from a forest remains on the exterior.
Although the interior has gone through several iterations – including having an “outer space” room and an urban room –by its last iteration, much of the interior had become representative of natural settings. The bathroom has large trees painted on the walls and the toilet seat is covered in a painted animal-skin print, while its tank, as well as the floor, sink, and shower areas are painted or paneled in flat rock patterns and designs. The living room, too, has a large forest mural on the walls, with a lower vertical row of more rocks and pebbles and a real stone walkway inlaid into the standard wood plank floor; one wall of this room is also adorned with a painted cascading waterfall. The upper rooms in the two-story house continue the jungle and forest themes with more painted murals and draped animal-print fabrics. The kitchen cupboards and even the appliances are covered in rock and brick mosaics.
Svedberg has commented on several of the components of the house:
“Fun facts: The cobblestones that surround the yard are from old Minneapolis streets. The solarium components were from a state fair exhibit many moons ago. The front deck "pond" used to be a hippie hot tub built from redwood (the tub is still intact.) The ginormous oak tree is at least 150 years old. The house was featured in one of the very first episodes of "Decorating Cents" on HGTV. It's been on two MSP Home Tours, local TV, and newspaper and magazine articles. The two large wolf statues are from the roadside tourist trap "Treasure City" in Royalton MN. The octagon addition was assembled from pre-formed eco-panels with almost a foot of insulation. The garage door mural was done almost entirely with leftover cans of spray paint. A computer spontaneously combusted & almost burned the house down in the late 1990s.”
After she retired, Lauri Svedberg decided to sell her house in mid-2015 to move to Palm Springs, California; while realtors were somewhat confounded, the house ultimately sold for some $40,000 over the asking price. An octagonal 764 square foot unheated studio is also included in the spacious corner lot. As this is private property, the interior of the house is not generally available for viewing, but viewers may enjoy the rather eccentric wooden exterior.
~Jo Farb Hernández
Map & Site Information
3359 Northeast Tyler Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55418 us
Latitude/Longitude: 45.0292993 / -93.2455333
St. Paul, MN
River Falls, Wisconsin
Mondovi , Wisconsin
Fountain City , WI