The Rezacs' craftsman home that borders Gregory Park traces its history to an expressive but simple architectural design.
Built in 1922 by Kampmann Sash and Door Factory, the north Brainerd home has the wide eaves and exposed rafters common to the craftsman architecture.
Arts and crafts architecture, more commonly called a craftsman design, is typified by a low-pitched roof and wide eaves. Homes have one or one-and-a-half stories, wide porches and built-in cabinets, shelves or seating.
The craftsman bungalow was considered an all-American housing style that focused on an efficient use of space, built-in cabinets and hardwood floors, at least until the 1930s.
The arts and crafts movement of home design was commonly called a craftsman style. The homes were typified by low-pitched roofs, wide porches and wide eaves with exposed roof rafters, like this north Brainerd home owned by Craig and TyAnne Guida Rezac. (Dispatch Photos by Renee Richardson)
Gustav Stickley popularized the arts and crafts style of architecture in the early decades of the 20th century and made the plans accessible by publishing descriptions and drawings of homes in his magazine -- The Craftsman.
The craftsman style is also often called a mission style. Open floor plans, low-pitched roofs and overhanging eaves were also typified by the prairie homes inspired by acclaimed American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
The north Brainerd home, owned by Craig and TyAnne Guida Rezac, echoes such styles with its open, flowing rooms and oak woodwork that carries a simple, clean and straight line.
"We just wanted to simplify our life and spend less time in the car and less time in the yard and be more involved in the community," TyAnne Guida Rezac said.
Stained glass in delicate pastels adds color and interest to an upstairs hallway landing.
She said the home's location made walking to work at Whittier Elementary School an easy option and it meant living in a neighborhood where the family knows all the area children.
The Rezacs bought the home in March of 1999, moving in that summer. The home offered central air, new electrical work, new plumbing and a new roof. Rezac said a benefit also came from the single ownership the house had for 28 years, which kept it in excellent shape. And the striking woodwork was never painted.
"We were so lucky in that way," she said.
Natural light is also at a premium with 52 casement windows in the home. The Rezacs' furniture and lack of clutter reflects the simplicity of style in the mission design.
Tall-backed chairs create a room within a room feeling as diners are enveloped into the gathering around the table. The Amish-built furniture was added to the home. A table setting, provided by Herberger's, was set for the Grand Old Home Tour in early December.
The unadorned woodwork was one way to create a home that was affordable for average homeowners. The simplicity of style came after the much more ornate Victorian period.
The Rezacs' home has a three-season porch facing Gregory Park. Beyond the home's wide front porch lies the living room area and a cozy library, complete with oak walls, built-in bookcases and an original ceramic tile fireplace.
"We used to drive around the north side when we were first married and this was our dream house," Rezac said, adding it was not the stereotypical big house with balconies. "For what you really need and what you really use, this was really practical for us. It really reflects a lifestyle choice."
She said the simplicity of the craftsman home is its appeal in a style that was built to last and be used by a family. "It was the first time that architecture was really available to a middle class."
Upstairs bedrooms are accessed from a closed stairway. Three upstairs bedrooms include large walk-in closets.
Rezac also became interested in the history behind the craftsman home. Stickley, considered the founder of the movement, had a motto that Rezac said she has taken to heart -- to keep nothing in a home that was not considered useful or beautiful.
Rezac said: "It's about having a place that really feels like a home."
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