Home Tours 2012

Tour six houses full of creative people and energy for our ninth-annual Home Tours edition.

Home Tours 2012
Photographs by Steve Henke


Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands


Most of the furniture and drapery was purchased from the condo’s previous owner. The couple added rugs, artwork, and rattan floor poufs from IKEA. “We needed a little splash of Scandinavia,” says Uri, left, with son Tre, Toni, and Tackle Box.

FOR TONI PIERCE-SANDS, living in a condo in The Commodore happened “magically” three years ago. As a kid, she visited the former Commodore Hotel’s lobby with her father to listen to his musician friends perform in the art deco bar. The bar closed years ago but will soon reopen to the public as a retro speakeasy, a turn of events that brings her life full circle after leaving home to dance in New York.

Toni met her husband Uri (a Miami native) in New York City when the pair was performing with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. They later moved to Minnesota with their son, Tre, and started their own company, TU Dance, in 2004. Since then, they’ve been named “Artist of the Year” by the Star Tribune and one of “25 to Watch” by Dance magazine, among other accolades. Last year they opened TU Dance Center to teach kids their art. “I started dancing at age 6 and never stopped,” Toni says. “I love that this all happened here in Minnesota—in a place that deserves it,” Uri says.

They’ve fallen in love with their condo and the area around it. After work you might find them strolling Selby Avenue, past where Toni’s grandmother worked at the Urban League, to relax over drinks on W.A. Frost’s patio or at neighborhood haunt The Muddy Pig—their “watering hole.”

We’re Mad For …

A turquoise and red pillow from Patina.
A photograph of the dancing duo.

Toni’s father’s vintage kora.

Coasters of jazz musicians found in Tel Aviv.
The couple dressed the already-there red walls with retro Alvin Ailey dance posters and works by Ernie Barnes and local artist Lorenzo Crockett. Toni and dog Tackle Box in the front hall.