This is the home of Elliott and Karen Grandall at 1300 South Section in Spring Valley, which will be featured Dec. 8 and 9 on the Christmas tour of homes.
This is the home of Elliott and Karen Grandall at 1300 South Section in Spring Valley, which will be featured Dec. 8 and 9 on the Christmas tour of homes.
The Scandinavians who live at 1300 South Section are proud of their Norwegian and Swedish heritage. Elliott and Karen Grandall moved into this attractive house in 1992. Considered an "arts and crafts" style, the house was built in 1913, four stories when one thinks about two stories of living space, a full basement and a full-floor attic.

On entering the front door, we at once see a floor plan typical of the era - square columns separating the entrance area and the parlor, the columns having the requisite cupboards halfway up, enclosed with leaded glass doors. Straight ahead is a fine wardrobe for outerwear, built by Charlie Frank, and to its right the open staircase beckons us upstairs. Elliott's rolltop desk is at hand below the windows to the north and east, evidence of his many roles in the community.

Visitors will no doubt be welcomed by a troop of Elliott's favorite nutcracker figures, which he uses to illustrate the study of "The Nutcracker" ballet in the fourth grade general music classes.

At left is the comfortable parlor with a great set of windows that look to the east - a wide center window, then two that slant inward for a striking setting for the Christmas tree. The candleholders in the windows, with their tiny wreaths around each candle, are common Scandinavian hospitality. Note the handsome corner table with its leather top that once belonged to Karen's grandfather, and on which the ginger-colored cat can sun himself.

The Christmas tree will be trimmed with the treetop angel, a treasure from Elliott's childhood, plus 1920-era angels and metallic ornaments from the 1950s. Guests will also see Scandinavian straw ornaments, as well as many ornaments given to them by students and parishioners. A handsome turn-of-the-century "combination bookcase" of solid oak dominates one corner with its curved glass door over four bookshelves, the mirror topping the pigeonholed desk and several drawers. The 1908 Sears catalog featured these bookcases for $8 to $12 each. Another lovely parlor table came from her grandparents. The leaded glass section in the upper portion of the center window is common to the era.

The dining and music room is in the southwest corner, well lit by windows that show off the beautiful Duncan Phyfe mahogany table and chairs. A Scotsman, Phyfe became the leading furniture maker of his time, and this is a splendid example of his work. The table-scape will glow with red and gold, displaying her grandmother's "Made in Occupied Japan" china. The berry red walls set off the dark woodwork, especially the built-in buffet on the north wall. The four door cupboards above sparkle with leaded glass doors that showcase lovely dishes. A long mirror tops the buffet with many drawers, and there we will find one of Karen's creches, one of several nativity sets she will have displayed. Atop the china hutch that houses their wedding china and Fostoria is a lovely mantel clock from her grandmother. In this room are their electronic piano and several musical instruments.

The delightful kitchen has been modernized with handy cupboards and a peninsula counter for dining on two sides. Just off the kitchen is a small utility room for the laundry area and a bathroom. A new built-in pantry for foodstuffs sports a family photo gallery on one side. Look for photos of oldest son David, who lives in West St. Paul and is an organ technician and repairman. Younger son Soren attends Creighton College in Omaha.

The inviting staircase leads to four bedrooms upstairs, including a spacious front room that contains the same set of windows as the parlor below. In the master bedroom are the bed and dresser set and cedar chest from Elliott's family and two striking chiffoniers. These have five drawers topped with a tilting mirror; again, these could be found in the early Sears catalog for $15 to $20 each - treasures! Elliott designed the lovely quilt on the bed. The boys' rooms each reflect their interests in sports and music. Music? Elliott has been a music teacher at Kingsland since 1990. To say he plays the piano and sings would be a gross understatement! He is also master of the French horn, which we seldom hear. Karen, who is an ELCA pastor, plays the violin and folks at Our Savior's Lutheran Church are often blessed by their music where Elliott directs the choir.

Their house sits on a large corner lot with a double garage out back where the barn once stood. There is evidence of where the well was located; there are wonderful shade trees and a well-used clothesline. Come up on the front porch and enjoy the holiday tour here with the gorgeous Christmas decorations of Bethlehem stars and lights that remain lit for much longer than just the holidays.