ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota's most-wish-listed Airbnb is work of art

The Minneapolis space speaks well for Minnesota. "We’re much more open and experimental than I think the country sometimes gives us credit for," artist Venus DeMars said.

Woman gives tour of house next to stairs with books stored underneath.
Annette Schiebout gives a tour of the Wolf House on Jan. 11. The stairs are designed to look like pebble-covered stone, but underneath the stairs is a hidden bookshelf. Schiebout hosts artist residencies, concerts, poetry readings, a sound installation and a dance troupe.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune
We are part of The Trust Project.

MINNEAPOLIS — New Mexico has the “ earthship .” Tennessee has a landlocked ark . In Minnesota, we have the Wolf House .

The most wish-listed Airbnb in the land of 10,000 lakes, at 3359 Tyler St. NE in Minneapolis, is a one-bedroom with an octagonal studio, a window-covered solarium and a skylight in the rock-encrusted shower. And, it’s so much more.

Light fills atrium in house.
Natural light fills the atrium in the Wolf House in Minneapolis.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune

The Wolf House, named for its concrete wolf statues and its namesake-painted garage, is a performance space and a living work of art, boasting wall-to-ceiling murals, a stone trail embedded into the floor, hundreds of pebbles glued on nearly every surface and a Mason jar window filled with tiny trinkets and toys.

When it's just an Airbnb, it feels “less full, less inspiring,” said Annette Schiebout, Minnesota artist and Wolf House owner, but the performance aspect of the space nurtures a dynamic energy.

Schiebout hosts artist residencies, concerts, poetry readings, a sound installation and a dance troupe. “A lot of dreamers come to me with the idea and walk through the house and figure it out,” she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Concerts are intimate, limited to about 40 in the eight-sided studio. For each event, “We do this collective howl,” she added.

Venus DeMars.jpg
Venus DeMars.
Contributed / Venus DeMars

Duluth-born musician Venus DeMars is among the carousel of folks to perform at the Wolf House. As a multidisciplinary artist, muralist and lead of Venus DeMars and All the Pretty Horses, DeMars lauded the effort it took to create the house’s “ethereal nature” and wall-to-wall ambiance.

The space “speaks well for Minneapolis, but Minnesota in general,” DeMars said. “We’re much more open and experimental than I think the country sometimes gives us credit for.”

While Schiebout has updated the Wolf House and revolutionized its use, she aims to keep the vibe and look left by its original owner. “I feel so lucky to maintain what she dreamt and created," she said.

Stone by stone, Minnesota native Lauri Svedberg painstakingly brought the Wolf House into existence by painting murals on its walls and ceilings and gluing rocks and shells into the floors, stairs and cabinet doors.

Svedberg said she has always focused on “creating environments.”

Stone painted stairwell leads down to entrance with disco ball hanging above.
Past the entrance into the Wolf House, the stairs leading to the second level are designed and painted to look like stone. A disco ball hangs above the entrance.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune

Since reading “The Boxcar Children” series as a kid, she was enamored with personalizing whatever space was hers, which as a child meant painting fake stained-glass windows in her bedroom.

“We have so little control over so much in our lives that I think being able to fashion and control the space that you are in is really helpful in making your way,” she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pre Wolf House.jpg
The Wolf House in fall 1980, when it was a residence.
Contributed / Lauri Svedberg
lauri svedberg.jpg
Lauri Svedberg.
Contributed / Lauri Svedberg

In 1980, Svedberg bought the northeast Minneapolis house for $40,000. She eventually had the porch torn off and replaced with a solarium.

After a 1996 fire caused significant damage, and after a divorce two years later, Svedberg transformed her interior motifs replicating outer space, the northwoods and a bordello into a unified theme.

Her studio and her home became a landmark in the neighborhood mainly because of the concrete wolf sculptures in the yard and the painted wolf on the garage door. (Svedberg also collected many, many wolfy things, including large dogs.)

She sold her retail works from there, and opened her home to Art-A-Whirl participants.

“Anybody who is typical would not find it easy to live in what I made, and certainly not with kids,” Svedberg said. “Because I was solo, I was able to pretty much ignore some of the things that might drive other people crazy.”

Due to health issues, Svedberg relocated to warmer climes, where she has kept up her nature to create environments. (She painted “every square inch” of her Palm Springs, California, home, inside and out — in bright tones, a different palette than the Wolf House’s “broody northwoodsy coziness.”)

Lauri Svedberg's Palm Springs kitchen.jpg
Lauri Svedberg's Palm Springs, Calif., kitchen boasts her flair for color and personalization.
Contributed / Lauri Svedberg

Svedberg was thrilled when she met Schiebout after its purchase in 2015.

“The fact that Annette has opened it up to the public and creative types as a retreat, performance space, funky rental, all of those things make me so happy. It means more to me that it is being enjoyed by lots of different people than if some individual had bought it and lived there alone,” Svedberg said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Large decorated room.
This decorated space upstairs in the Wolf House is where events, such as poetry readings or concerts, are held. The event space can support up to 40 people.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune
Rock and fake grass decorated cabinets.
The cabinets in the Wolf House are decorated with rocks and pebbles with faux grass covering the side. A second bathroom is hidden behind a similarly decorated sliding door.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune

“I can hardly believe the trajectory of this. I feel really lucky that this is a little bit of a legacy.”

Schiebout had lived in the neighborhood a decade when she saw a listing for the Wolf House.

“I went back for a second showing, fighting the crowds of people after the listing went viral, and made an offer,” she wrote on her website .

Woman gives tour of house.
Annette Schiebout, owner of the Wolf House, gives a tour while explaining the history of the art decorating the house.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune

After closing in 2015, she noticed plastic serving trays fastened to the solarium windows. “The first night I stayed here as cars drove by at night, these are like prisms, and it shoots lights all across the wall and I understood why she did this. It’s pretty magical,” Schiebout recalled.

In 2017, she tore down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. She updated the sinks, counters and stove and installed a dishwasher, a soaking tub, a second bathroom and a walk-in closet.

The kitchen archway was the first piece of the house she claimed as her own, adding her favorite rocks along the border. “I’ve done my best to create an introvert’s paradise,” she said.

Jeremy Messersmith.jpg
Jeremy Messersmith.
Contributed / Jeremy Messersmith

An artist and musician herself, Schiebout has never lived in the Wolf House, but she ventures here for breaks and to refuel. She’s a “binge writer,” and if she’s not churning out words in the solarium, she’s standing in a tucked-away corner behind the staircase bookshelf.

Minnesota singer-songwriter Jeremy Messersmith spends a few weeks a year at the Wolf House, where he’s written more than one-third of his songs over the past few years. The solarium may as well be “a conduit from the muse herself,” he said.

And as a performance space, an audience’s enthusiasm being in the intimate 40-person setting transfers to the music. There’s an element of “danger” and “sacredness” in the Wolf House, he said.

“It feels like I’m on the edge of something — of what’s real and what’s a dream. … It’s a wonderful place to be if you want to write or create," Messersmith said.

For more information, check out wolfhousempls.com.

Wolf House performance.jpg
Aubrey Weger and Andrea Borealis perform at The Wolf House/Bella Luna Studios in Minneapolis. The space is a combination work of art, performance studio and Airbnb.
Contributed / Phillip Otterness
Shower surrounded by stone with window above.
The shower in the upstairs bathroom of the Wolf House is surrounded by stone with a skylight in the ceiling.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune
Mason jars built into wall filled with items.
Filling the space where a window used to be, mason jars surrounded by pebbles take up a wall in the Wolf House. Each Mason jar contains a trinket that was left behind by guests of the Wolf House.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune
Frog miniature sits in mason jar built in wall.
Left behind as a trinket from a previous guest of the Wolf House, a small frog fills one of the Mason jars on the wall.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune
Wind chimes hang next to stairs.
A wind chime hangs on the side of the staircase, decorated with words that represent some of the values of the artistic focus of the Wolf House.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune
Snow covered house with a wolf painted on garage door.
The Wolf House AirBnB is located at 3359 Tyler St. NE, Minneaoplis. An image of a wolf walking through a tunnel is painted on the garage door.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune
Two wolf statues covered in snow outside house.
Two wolf statues covered in snow stand outside the Wolf House in Minneapolis.
Wyatt Buckner / Duluth News Tribune
Lauri Svedberg home.jpg
Lauri Svedberg's Palm Springs, Calif., home shows she has continued to personalize her spaces with floor-to-ceiling hand-painted murals.
Contributed / Lauri Svedberg

Melinda Lavine is an award-winning, multidisciplinary journalist with 16 years professional experience. She joined the Duluth News Tribune in 2014, and today, she writes about the heartbeat of our community: the people.

Melinda grew up in central North Dakota, a first-generation American and the daughter of a military dad.

She earned bachelors degrees in English and Communications from the University of North Dakota in 2006, and started her career at the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald that summer. She helped launch the Herald's features section, as the editor, before moving north to do the same at the DNT.

Contact her: 218-723-5346, mlavine@duluthnews.com.
What To Read Next
North Dakota officials are preparing to file a lawsuit against Minnesota on the grounds that the law interferes with their ability to sell coal and natural gas.
The Animal Humane Society is raising funds related for the "dogs, cats and critters" on its website at animalhumanesociety.org.
A family of five was shot to death by Neil M. Pladson in 1970. Pladson was imprisoned, then released to a halfway house in 1987. A year later, he was found strangled to death in his apartment.
As winter cold bites deep, MPR News is celebrating the best of the season through a new series called Winter Play.