Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

No cookie-cutter apartment in Kasota October 28, 2010

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ON THE FRIDAY AFTERNOON I met Joshua Colonna, he was working on a “honey-do” list. He and Melissa are expecting their first child in November and she wanted him to finish a few tasks. But that didn’t stop this hospitable young man from pausing in his home improvement projects to invite me and my husband inside the couple’s Kasota home.

And what a home. The pair live in an apartment in the 1898 former Kasota City Hall.

 

 

The 1898 Kasota City Hall, now a 5-unit apartment building.

 

An open front door initially drew me toward the corner brick building in the heart of this small river town. I loitered outside the old hall snapping exterior photos and contemplating shots of an interior construction zone.

But when I asked a workman if I could take pictures, he deferred to Joshua, who turned down my request. Just as quickly, though, Joshua offered us an impromptu tour of his apartment, apologizing that the place was a bit of a mess due to his in-progess projects.

To my absolute delight, I walked through a side door, up several steps and onto a stage-turned-kitchen. As corny as this sounds, how cool is that? I just stood there for a minute on the old hardwood floor, totally awed that someone would have an apartment as dramatically-inspiring as this one.

 

 

The stage area has been transformed into a kitchen.

 

With a beadboard ceiling, decorative painted metal framing the stage, and antique furniture mixed with modern, the stage is set for a classy, airy apartment with a vintage feel. This place possesses flair, pizzazz and drama.

 

 

Original decorative trim surrounds the stage which features a beadboard ceiling.

 

 

All the world's a stage, or in this case the stage is a kitchen. Here's Joshua on stage.

 

And that’s exactly why Joshua, who owns this apartment unit, says, “This building fills up fast. Everybody likes the feel of it, the old 1800s feel. It’s not just your cookie-cutter place.”

I can see why someone, anyone, would want to live here. What fun to have get-togethers here, mingling on the kitchen/stage and in the audience area below, now partitioned into a living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom in this apartment. And then the real kicker, on the side stage extension that veers into a corner of the living room rests Melissa’s piano, perfect for entertaining.

 

 

A stage bump-out presents the perfect place for a piano.

 

 

The stage looks onto the revamped audience seating area which has been partitioned into a living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom. Only the bathroom has a separate, lowered ceiling over it.

 

Joshua knew I was more than a bit impressed with his apartment given how I openly gushed over it. But then he had to go and tell me about the upstairs apartment, the bright open space where an artist lives, and about another old building he’ll be refurbishing into apartments in a nearby community…

 

 

One last angle of that dramatic, inspiring kitchen.

 

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling