Listed 1936 house on Cedar Lake in Minneapolis for $3.95 million

It was on the cover of the coffee table book “Legendary Homes of the Minneapolis Lakes.”

With its three floors, glass blocks and multiple balconies, the modern and minimal house is recognized as an example of international and Art Moderne architectural styles, with a touch of Art Deco.

Designated a landmark by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation, the home was considered groundbreaking when it was built in 1936, said real estate agent Jim Schwarz.

Oh, and that iconic house on Cedar Lake? It’s on the market.

Light-filled spaces, flat rooflines and smooth walls, rounded corners, semicircular bays, translucent blocks and round windows that resemble portholes have been incorporated into the design of the house. Schwarz said the smooth, curved white walls are a perfect backdrop for displaying modern furniture and art.

That’s one of the reasons art lover and homeowner Russell Cowles was drawn to the house four years ago.

“I fell in love with the interior elements of the house, including polished chrome banisters, porthole doorways, hollow ceilings,” he said. There are “several outside decks with curved railings reminiscent of ship railings, and [there’s] incredible Art Deco kitchen cabinets.”

Staying true to form

The house is called the Kaufman Lacey House, named after its original owners and after a later series of homeowners who made significant updates.

In the early 1930s, original owners V. Mel Kaufman and his wife Henet returned from the Chicago World’s Fair, inspired by the minimalist designs that came from Europe. They hired architect James Brunet to build their home along the shores of Cedar Lake.

The house has changed hands a few times since then. The Lacey family added an office, expanded the bathrooms, modernized the balconies, and installed a stair tower. A few years later, they added a third floor with a primary suite with a walk-in closet and attached bathroom – all of which blended in with the original facade.

Like the Laceys and previous owners, the current homeowner has also made careful updates, freshening up spaces from top to bottom.

The interior and exterior trim were refreshed. Hardwood floors were repainted. Heating, air and electrical systems were renewed. All bathrooms have been renovated except for the primary bath on the third floor.

Highlights include the addition of large handcrafted porcelain tiles by a local ceramist in two bathrooms on the top floor, as well as a hand-painted mural, also by a local artist, in the powder room on the ground floor.

Some of the latest upgrades are inspired by Cowle’s “passion for steam locomotives and Raymond Loewy’s industrial design,” says interior designer Laura Ramsey Engler, who worked on the house. Overall, “the project was intended to stay true to the house’s venerable history while embracing Russell’s love of art, craft and color.”

While he oversaw many updates, there were things Cowles certainly didn’t change. Built-in kitchen cabinets, including a walk-in closet with a porthole, were restored. He also restored the artful multi-colored kitchen floors installed by a previous homeowner.

“I loved the personal touches, like the kitchen tile, patterned after a quilt,” Cowles said.

To sail

Now it’s time for Cowles to bid farewell as he and his wife Linda embark on a new adventure. They listed the four bedrooms and five bathrooms with over 4,000 square feet.

“I recently remarried and I wanted a new home in a new location that we both chose where we could enjoy a wonderful new life adventure together,” Cowles said.

New homeowners are likely to enjoy features such as two-sided fireplaces and the luxurious bedrooms, some of which have wet bars and adjacent spa-like luxury bathrooms. And for those who want to enjoy water activities, there is a private dock.

Schwarz said the view of the lake is majestic, whether from the landscaped patio or through the many, many windows in the house. Also, “there are many private balconies and decks,” Schwarz said.

Jim Schwarz ([email protected]; 612-251-7201) has the $3.95 million mention.

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