One of the first questions customers often ask when they arrive at Crooked Willow is, “What is the history of this place?” Several former occupants of the house have come in to reminisce and tell me of their memories of the farm. I have even been fortunate to receive an article that was written about the farm and published in the Minneapolis Sunday Tribune Picture Magazine in 1955.
Christopher and I purchased the farm site at 11181 State Highway 27 East as an investment property in the spring of 2004. Our intent was to put up a Morton building for storage and a work shop. We thought the farmhouse could be rented out. Through out the summer, as we began to clean up the property, paint a few rooms in the house and lay out the plans for the shed, we started to see the potential for other possibilities on the small acreage.
I began to imagine that the house and granary could be fixed up and redecorated to become a showcase for the antiques we had collected over the years. Eventually I shared my ideas with my husband and we decided to renovate the existing buildings and create a quaint gift and antique shop in this charming country setting.
Chris’ Dad started calling the farm “Crooked Willow” after the curiously bent willow tree growing gracefully in the front yard. The business now had a name.
The original farm house was built in the 1930’s and a kitchen and garage were added in the 80’s. There were beautiful hardwood floors in the oldest part of the house – but character was needed. With my vision and plans guiding the way, frequent trips to various Twin Cities salvage and antique shops provided many, one of a kind architectural gems. My method was to find the piece and then figure out how to incorporate it into the redesign of the main house. The tin ceiling, built in cupboards and antique lighting are the results of our salvage searches.
The granary, which is now known as the Summer Kitchen, was rebuilt from the inside out. Insulation and new siding were added to the outside, while keeping the original wood on the interior walls to create a warm cottage atmosphere. A custom built screen door, stone floor and vintage radiators complete the look.
Crooked Willow opened to the public on May 2, 2006. With much hard work and dedication we hope we have created an inviting shopping experience in this picturesque rural atmosphere. The work that has been done at Crooked Willow has been a labor of love. I have had the privilege of working with many wonderful people on this project. The support and encouragement of my husband, family and friends have meant everything to me.
After 11 years we have decided that Crooked Willow will no longer be open as a retail store. Christopher and I will be taking some time to determine what will come next for our dear Crooked Willow. We thank all of our dear customers for sharing this journey with us and we look forward to connecting with you in the future!
Blessings and Peace