Minneapolis mansion by home designer Mary Tyler Moore costs $1.2 million


As official architect of the Minneapolis Board of Education for more than a decade, Edward Stebbins designed several public schools in Minneapolis. He also designed private spaces – his most famous was the house on Kenwood Parkway known as the Mary Tyler Moore House.

The fact that Stebbins designed the 1900 Victorian brickwork in the Elliot Park neighborhood of downtown Minneapolis was not lost on Nancy and Brian Nasi.

When the couple bought the Elliot Avenue home 17 years ago, it was in poor condition.

“He was literally barricaded when we discovered him,” Nancy said.

Still, they were more than willing to undertake a major renovation.

“We were labeled as urban farmers, people looking for a messy old house and fixing it up,” she said, “and we found it in that forgotten corner of downtown.”

For the husband-wife duo, the house was worth saving not only because of its legendary architect, but also because it had several rare features: it stood on a double lot, included a shed, and was located in the east-central part of the city centre. .

“It was one of the few single-family homes left in the neighborhood or for that matter downtown,” Brian said. “We think we got there just in time.”

A blank slate

Nancy and Brian, who were looking to add a bit of modernity to the old-world charm of the house, enlisted architect Howard J. Young to help them. Impressed with his portfolio, which included restorations of older homes in St. Paul and Minneapolis as well as historic commercial buildings, Young seemed like the perfect fit.

“Iron, wood, brick, limestone and industrial ductwork mixed with fancy glass chandeliers, stained glass windows and open floor plans were her signature,” Nancy said.

In order to preserve the original character of the house and the carriage house, they clad the exteriors in brick. But because the interior had been stripped of many of its original components, they worked with a blank slate.

“The problem with a house that’s been boarded up is that they ripped things out like the wainscoting,” Brian said. “So we didn’t have to feel guilty about going in a different direction.”

Walls have been removed to open up the interior, exposing steel and wood beams to give the space an industrial accent. The kitchen received a modern update that featured wood sourced from bowling alleys as countertops for the two 11-foot islands.

The mechanics have been updated, including electrics, plumbing and insulation as well as heating and air conditioning.

Underutilized areas have been given new uses. They removed the Sheetrock ceiling in the attic to find a vaulted ceiling, ranging from 7 feet to 18 feet high. The basement has also been overhauled. The plaster walls have been taken down to reveal the original walls.

“The limestone walls were really unique,” ​​Nancy said. “It needed fixing, so I glued it back together and now it’s a nice basement. It’s kind of Brian’s man cave.”

Throughout the house, the brick has been sandblasted and the original hardwood floors have been retained.

Like the main house, the two-story, two-bedroom, two-bathroom shed has also been given a makeover in modern industrial aesthetics.

“It’s almost identical to a big house mini-me,” Brian said. “I consider it a proof of concept.”

like family

While fixing the house, Nancy and Brian learned more about the history of the house. The descendants of the former owners saw the couple in the courtyard and thanked them for taking care of the house.

“They would parade down our aisles. They would show up and have all this information for us,” Nancy said.

Nancy and Brian, who believe they are the fourth or fifth owners of the house, began inviting them over to see the progress they were making. The couple even honored a request from the original owner’s grandson to dig in their yard.

“He wanted to dedicate a tree to his grandmother, so we planted a crab apple tree,” Nancy said. “It was like a family. We would set a time for them to come and show the place. They came every year.”

They learned that Swedish immigrants Christine and August Ekman commissioned Stebbins to design the house when Elliot Park was experiencing a growth spurt. During the late 1870s and 1980s, schools and hospitals were being built in the area, and wealthy families seeking to build their homes near the business district soon followed.

It’s time to list

Seventeen years after moving in, the couple have listed the 4,383-square-foot, four-bedroom, five-bathroom home for sale, complete with a finished car shed.

“Brian is retired and I’m thinking of retiring soon and the reason we moved here was to be close to our jobs [in and around downtown]”, said Nancy. “There is such a rich history in this house… It’s going to be hard to leave this history because Brian and I are now part of it. But it’s time to pass the torch and let the new owners make their own story.”

They hope they send it in a way that future owners can appreciate – historic touches combined with modern conveniences.

“I don’t think people who come here expect to see such an open floor plan in an old house like this,” Nancy said, adding that people are also surprised at the privacy of the house. house for its size. “It has this warmth with the wood and the inlays. It doesn’t feel like a huge house. It feels like a very cozy house.”

And from the perch of several rooms, the city views are in spades.

“From a few different rooms you can see the downtown Minneapolis skyline,” said Brian, who added that restoring the historic home was “a labor of love and quite an adventure.”

Looks like this mansion once deemed unsalvage is going to after all.

Kathy Ekberg (kekberg@lakesarearealty.com; 651-503-6971) and Peter Mason (peter@lakesarearealty.com; 713-204-8804) of Lakes Area Realty have $1.2 million SEO. At press time, an offer on the home was pending.

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