Wagner Family Intro
photos by Paisley Anne Photography
We are the Wagners. You’ll mostly find me, Patti, steering this ship but Brian helps a lot with the handy work to bring our projects to life. We live in Minnesota with our three adorable kiddos where we’ve been renovating our 1927 Tudor Revival and have found joy in sharing the process on Instagram.
We also have a side business renovating vintage properties in Minneapolis, MN to turn into boutiquel rentals. In June of 2019, I left my career as a Product Designer for Target (after 13 years) to stay home with our children and manage our rentals full time. To keep my creativity flowing, I wanted to launch this site for a more in depth look into our projects and whatever else is shared on my Instagram.
A little background about me
I love Pho, Thai food and long strolls around the neighborhood. Okay, okay, let’s back it up a bit. I was born in Laos but my family fled the war torn country when I was around four yrs old. We lived in two refugee camps in Thailand, and one in the Philippines before going through the vetting process to arrive in the US when I was about seven. I used to feel shame with this story but now I tell it proudly. I daydreamed and drew a lot as a kid. Although we didn’t have much money and rented throughout my childhood, I would decorate our house with things I made to make it feel like home. I guess that’s why I’m a believer in good design for all.
I grew up in California but attended college in Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University, earning my BFA in Interior Design before moving to Minnesota after graduating. I’ve worked at a design-build firm and an interior design studio. Due to company acquisition, I was laid off from my design studio job and found that to be a blessing. Because of it, I landed my dream career at Target HQ as a product designer!
Shop some of the products that I’ve designed below (*affiliate links used):
I had no intentions of staying in the midwest for long but met Brian shortly after moving and you know what they say…the rest is history lol (read the short story of how we met here)! Before Brian became a banker and President of Flagship Bank, he did landscaping work for his brother doing some hard labor jobs. Love hearing stories of days he used to drive dump trucks and being outside sweating all day – whew! Although he is a banker by profession, he went to Aviation school to become a pilot. This guy can do everything I tell ya. He plays bass guitar, is a great cook, has a vast knowledge of finance, can pretty much fix anything, isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty like cleaning sewage from a clogged pipe, is a super hands-on dad and yea, can fly airplanes. You know, simple things…
How we got started in the rental business
Brian’s first real estate investment project started in 2006 when he and his brother purchased a 1926 six-unit building. They converted the apartments into nice condos doing a lot of the work themselves. From demolition to refinishing floors to painting, Brian learned a ton. In total, he has renovated 13 units to date. His knowledge in finance + real estate investments + building codes combined with risk taking, has grown our small business into what it is today. I’m happy to be his right hand person who lays out the designs elevating them from other rentals, sources the products, finds partnerships and styles them to make our listings as attractive as possible. We currently manage six rental units and have dreams of growing it. It’s been an adventure filled with highs and lows but we are so proud of all the work we have poured into reviving these old properties. We’re always learning and intend to make this space a place of encouragement.
I am now managing our rentals and it’s been bittersweet starting this new chapter in my life. Target HQ was truly a great place to work BUT I’m thrilled to spend more time with my babies. This will be a new adventure because I’ve always had a job with a steady paycheck since I was 15. It definitely won’t be easier but it feels right for our family, right now and I’m very grateful for this opportunity.
Hope this gives a glimpse into who we are and how we got started. This site will be an extension of my instagram account at Patticakewagner. I get so many questions on there and it’s nearly impossible to read + answer them all. I truly love sharing our work and knowledge so this also serves as a one-stop resource guide for all the FAQs. While I’m happy to share all of this, please know that this takes a lot of time and work on my part. Most of the content that I share are not paid so in order for me to continue to give my time, I will take on paid sponsorships/partnerships on a limited basis when I see fit. I strive to be transparent with this. Everyone’s time is valuable and we should all use it wisely. With this said, I’m so glad you’re here! This is a place to focus on family, renovation, design and community. I hope you find it as a guide in making your home a little sweeter – wherever that may be. Thank you so much for your continued support. I am truly appreciative to have you follow along.