Lighten your home decor for the warm-weather months

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enter One of the best ways to feel like summer is coming is by changing your home décor from winter cozy to light and sunny. But since New Yorkers don’t always have a ton of time or money to spend on redecorating, we asked a few local interior design experts for summer home décor tips that tailored for city living. Lighten up Switch out your heavy winter blankets for lightweight throws, suggested NYC home decorator Betsy Helmuth of Affordable Interior Design. “Crisp, white bedding is the best way to make your bedroom feel fresh in the summer months,” she said. “A bright white blanket atop white sheets is a light-weight, low-maintenance look.” If your apartment is naturally dark, “adding mirrors in a home during the summer months reflects the lovely sunlight around your space,” Helmuth added. Make your lamps more summery too by “replacing the ‘blah’ finial (the screw-on piece that holds your lampshade on) with a whimsical one, such as a nautical knot or a real seashell,” noted Katrina Szish, a Financial District-based TV personality and style expert behind the blog Dress up your walls “Brighten up a [bland] entryway or create a feature wall with removable wallpaper,” Szish suggested, adding that her favorite is the Easychange wallpaper from Sherwin Williams. “When you want to remove it, it peels off in minutes without leaving any residue.” If you’re a fan of summer hats and scarves, “don’t shove them away in boxes in drawers. Decorate your hallway with them,” offered Gorokhovskaya. “All you need is a few nails and a hammer. The shapes and colors will add to [your décor.]“ Read More

30 Ways To Upgrade Your Rental Apartment

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    Tycon’s Take: Our goal is to help you make any of our Minnesota rentals your home.  While some options may be more involved, here are some creative ways that you add some style to your apartment. So, you want to be living in the home of your dreams, but instead you find yourself living in a boring rental apartment? The walls are off-white, the bathrooms and kitchen are in need of a serious overhaul, and there’s very little character to the place. The solution? Some very clever apartment decorating hacks. Obviously, remodeling an apartment you don’t own isn’t an option (and neither is making an absolute mess of the walls and floors since you’ll probably want that security deposit back from your landlord) so you’re going to need to think about low-touch cosmetic fixes that’ll make a big impact. With that in mind, here are 30 ways to upgrade your rental apartment to make it feel like home. Just because you aren’t planning on living somewhere for life, doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to living somewhere bland. 1. Change up the paint job in a big way. Dramatic paint will make a huge difference in an apartment. Get permission from your landlord for a complete overhaul (most will say yes) or just redo a small bathroom, or entryway, which will be easy to repaint when you are ready to move out. 2. Hang curtains to spruce up walls. Can’t paint a wall? Create a curtain wall to enhance the space with some color. 3. Have fun with chalkboard paint. Use chalkboard paint on a wall or door to add some fun to your rental. This works particularly well in kitchens or kids rooms. 4. All about mirrors. Mirrors are a great way to enhance a space, and they also trick the eye into thinking a space is bigger than it really is, which can be critical in a small apartment. 5. Change up the handles and door knobs. Don’t invest in new doors or cabinets for your rental, just change up the handles. New handles can change everything, and you can even do the installation yourself.   Read More  

Summer Fun 2016: Five ways to be active

Tycon’s Take: With Summer almost here, be sure to take advantage of all that Minnesota has to offer.  Whether you live in Minneapolis, St. Paul or anywhere in between, there’s plenty of recreational activities to enjoy in our great state.  Looking to move to a more active and bustling community?  Check out our properties and let Tycon help you find your next home! Summer in Minnesota ushers in a period of collective euphoria. We can finally shed our layers and move unencumbered, letting the sun warm our skin and the breeze wash over us. All that time spent slip-sliding down ice-laden walkways makes us fully appreciate things like running in single-layer ensembles and moving through air that doesn’t sting our eyeballs and burn our lungs. That’s probably why the Land of 10,000 Lakes has quietly gained a reputation for outdoor recreation. We don’t have mountains or an ocean, just a good old-fashioned ambition for embracing adventure and fitness, especially during the nicest months. Not to mention the incredible infrastructure we have built to accommodate an active lifestyle. If you’re looking to get out and moving this summer, consider any of the following activities, best enjoyed when the sun is shining and the temps are above freezing. Mountain Biking There’s no doubt that the sport of mountain biking is growing in Minnesota. From the metro area to the North Shore, new single-track is being designed and built every year. Ride: Lebanon Hills, Elm Creek, Battle Creek and Theodore Wirth parks are just a few metro spots that offer a range of single-track trails. For a comprehensive list, check out the Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists’ website ( For world-class trails, the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System in Ironton, Minn., can’t be beat ( Keep your eye on the progress of the Duluth Traverse trail, which has ambitions to be the first 100-plus-mile system of single-track right within a city ( Rent: Mountain bikes and/or fat bikes are available to rent at locations including the Angry Catfish in Minneapolis (, Maple Grove Cycling ( and Cycle Path & Paddle in Crosby ( Read More

Minneapolis and St. Paul’s park systems are pretty much perfect

The Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, are known for many things: bone-chilling winter weather, a vibrant bike culture, an abundance of lakes and regional cuisine that revolves around tater tots, canned soup and melted cheese. Together, these bustling Minnesotan burgs situated on opposite sides of the Mississippi River can also claim bragging rights as having the two nicest — yes, a loaded word in Minnesota — urban park systems in the country per the Trust for Public Land (TPL)’s annual ParkScore rankings, an index that ranks park systems belonging to the 100 most populous American cities. No strangers to dominating the ParkScore rankings (Minneapolis and St. Paul tied for the top spot in 2015), the Twin Cities both received “outstanding” 5.0 “park bench” ratings with Minneapolis leading St. Paul by a mere four points with an overall score of 86.5 out of 100 possible points. St. Paul actually triumphed over Minneapolis in the park access category — a whopping 96 percent of residents in Minnesota’s capitol city live within a 10-minute walk of a public park compared to Minneapolis’ 95 percent. However, Minneapolis parks boast a larger median size than those in St. Paul (6.5 acres versus 3.7 acres), a factor that helped Mill City triumph in the end. Read More

Where Twin Cities chefs go out to eat

Chefs spend so much time in their own kitchens that it can be difficult to find a spare moment to dine out. So when they do get the rare opportunity to go to another restaurant, they make every trip count. Here’s where they like to dine when it’s chef’s night out. JUSTIN SUTHERLAND OF HANDSOME HOG Where was the last place you dined? The last dinner I had the pleasure to enjoy was atSt. Genevieve in Minneapolis. Besides wanting to see my past co-workers from the former Brasserie Zentral who speckle the floor and kitchen like the ghost of Christmas past, the meal was absolutely amazing. I haven’t had the time to sit down for dinner in a long while and I’m so glad this is where I chose. What’s your go-to place? My go-to places haven’t changed in six-plus years. I don’t go out to eat often, but when i do, it’s brunch at the Strip Club Meat & Fish and ramen atTanpopo Noodle Shop (both in St. Paul). Besides the amazing food at Strip Club, the culture and service have kept me coming back for years. Everything Tim Niver and his crew touches is gold. You eat like a king and feel like family every time. Being part Japanese, I’ve struggled to find a place to bring my grandma that she’s dubbed as authentic Japanese. The Monday ramen at Tanpopo has always been my happy time, and after bringing my grandma and finally getting her stamp of approval on authentic Japanese food in Minnesota, it is hands-down my favorite. What’s next on your bucket list? Wanting to check out Heirloom (St. Paul), Hi-Lo Diner and Upton 43 (both in Minneapolis) soon, I hope. MARGARET DORAN OF MARGAUX’S TABLE Where was the last place you dined? The last place I ate out was at the Nova Wine Barin Hudson, Wis. We had a gift certificate that Andy Peterson from Peterson Craftsman Meats gave me for Christmas. Cozy space. I also had dinner at Joan’s in the Park in St. Paul recently. We ended up there because our original pick was the Commodore, but we couldn’t get in. So my friend suggested Joan’s. We had a great meal there. I also have a good friend who likes to hang out and cook. We cook at each other’s houses and try new recipes to see if they would work on Margaux’s menu. What’s your go-to place? I like to go to LOLO American Kitchen & Craft Bar in Stillwater when I’m in the area. It’s super fun and casual. You can order a flight of tacos, all with different and imaginative fillings. And you can get a decent glass of wine. When I’m in the Chicago area, I like to make sure I visit my friend Thierry LeFeuvre at Froggy’s French Cafe in Highwood, Ill. He’s kinda my mentor. I apprenticed under him when I was just getting started. What’s next on your bucket list? I haven’t been to Travail (Robbinsdale) yet, so that would be a bucket list choice. I have a lot of chef/owner friends I’d like to visit. I tend to dine at smaller, owner-driven restaurants that adhere to local, organic, grass-fed, etc., wherever possible. Read More

Editorial: A rising population in St. Paul

Tycon’s Take: St. Paul is on the rise and so is the demand for apartment living.  If you’re looking to make your home in St. Paul, be sure to check out Bryant Oaks, and Chestnut Arms. St. Paul’s population has topped the 300,000 mark for the first time since the 1970s, according to estimates last week from the Metropolitan Council. That’s great news for a town touting its vitality and livability and aiming for more. Our city’s new estimated population is 300,353 — up more than 15,000, or 5.4 percent, from 2010 to 2015 — placing St. Paul among metro-area cities that added the most new residents during the period. “It’s an affirmation that we’re on the right track,” St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman told us. “Communities that are investing in themselves are thriving; people want to be a part of a vibrant community,” with access to transportation, jobs, housing and entertainment. He asks: If we hadn’t invested in light rail or amenities like CHS Field — if we didn’t have a Lunds & Byerlys grocery store downtown — would we see the opening of the Custom House apartment-hotel-restaurant development in the former U.S. Post Office? “The answer is I don’t think we’d be seeing the 300,000 people in the city of St. Paul,” he said. Read More

Saints baseball – and Bill Murray – are back in Lowertown

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St. Paul thinks big for downtown with plan for River Balcony

Downtown St. Paul sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. But finding a route down to the water can be confusing, said Lowertown resident Kathy Powell, who is often asked how to get from one area to the other. The river — long the industrial and commercial heart of St. Paul — was for decades laden with industrial waste and sewage, and cut off from downtown by rail lines and parking lots. Now St. Paul, like cities across the country, is transforming its riverfront and reversing the history of neglect. The city will debut a final master plan this month for the latest piece in that transformation: a River Balcony along the bluff. The 1.5-mile overlook and pedestrian path would stretch from the Science Museum to Union Depot and add connections from the balcony to the riverfront. “This clearly puts us on the map of the great river cities of the world,” St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said at an event last week where project details and riverfront art installations were unveiled. Early renderings of the first section that would be built between Union Depot and Robert Street show a balcony held up with supports resembling trees. It could offer lounge chairs, space for lawn games, a fire pit and connections to a market inside the Custom House apartment complex, said an architect working with the city and Custom House developers. Construction on that section, one of three phases, could begin next year and would be paid for with a mix of public and private dollars, Principal City Planner Lucy Thompson said. But major questions — like how much it would cost, who would pay for what and when the balcony would be completed — remain unanswered. Read More

Where to take your foodie friends to eat when they’re in town

My best friend Lynn is a chef who owns her own restaurant. That restaurant is near our Wisconsin hometown, which is about a five-hour drive from the Twin Cities. She lived with me in Minneapolis in the 1990s, so she knows the metro pretty well, but it had been a few years since she had been here. So when she texted to say she’d have a rare Saturday off and wanted to come for a visit, I immediately said yes and started making a list of where we’d eat. A crazy number of restaurants have opened in the time between visits — so many that I had a hard time whittling it down. I decided to choose places we could hit in one night and that were more on the casual end, where we could chat and nibble. Plus, with such little notice, some of the fancier places would already be booked. She was going to be here for less than 48 hours, so I had to make it count. Here’s what we ate (and drank): SATURDAY Since she was arriving in the late afternoon and it was Minnesota spring-gorgeous outside, I thought it would be nice to grab a drink on a patio before dinner. I really wanted to take her to Revival, the fried-chicken haven in South Minneapolis that will be opening a second location in St. Paul soon, but there’s no outside seating there. So we stopped at Hola Arepa. The line for a patio spot was long, so we bellied up to the bar inside. At least the doors were open, so there was plenty of fresh air and sunshine. We started with some delicious tropical drinks. I had the Locked Up Abroad, which is basically a vacation in a glass — pineapple, coconut, rum, lime and just enough bitters to balance everything out. Lynn went with the tart, refreshing gin-and-cava-soaked Aviso. Read More

Minneapolis, St. Paul Listed As Best Cities For Working Moms

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two of the best 10 cities in the nation for working moms are in Minnesota, according to a new list on Minneapolis took the second spot in the ranking, earning high marks for having companies that support a healthy work-life balance and that have progressive maternity programs. Target and the creative agency Carmichael Lynch were cited as examples. The City of Lakes also got a nod for having 1.4 female top executives to every male. St. Paul landed at seventh on the list. The “most livable city in America” got points for its Victorian architecture and multiple Fortune 500 companies, including 3M and HealthPartners. Earning the top spot in’s ranking was Orlando, Florida, which, according to the American Community Survey, is closest to parity in terms of pay, with women making 95 percent of the salary of their male counterparts. As for the Twin Cities, women in Minneapolis make, according to the statistics cited, 91 percent of what men make, and in St. Paul, they make 89 percent of what men make. A city in Packer Country also made the list. Madison, Wisconsin, came in at fourth, standing out because 78 percent of women with children in the city, ages 20- 68, are employed. Read More