Harold Haverty wasn’t a showy or extravagant person. But in the 1990s, the CEO of Deluxe Corp. wished to share his financial success with his family, friends and other Twin Cities executives.
So he and his wife, Ethel, enlarged their 4,000-square-foot Colonial in North Oaks to create an 11,000-square-foot estate on nearly 2 wooded acres.
“He walked in the world of CEOs,” said Harold’s son Steve Haverty. “He needed to be able to entertain and socialize to be successful.”
Harold died in 2015 at age 85, and Ethel died eight months later. Their L-shaped brick mansion, which is for sale, is where the Havertys hosted lavish catered affairs for up to 150 people. The home also served as Harold’s refuge from the stresses of running Deluxe Corp., a Shoreview-based check-printing and small business services company.
The elegant two-story foyer is graced by decorative Tuscan columns. Steve’s daughter had her wedding photos taken on the grand curving staircase. Over the years, the six bedrooms and seven bathrooms graciously served visiting relatives who came to town for holiday gatherings.
Harold was in charge of every detail of the expansion, from the wood-paneled office to the huge four-season porch. He even created a room to hold a generator. “Dad wanted to make sure they had a backup in case they lost power,” said Steve.
Harold’s was the classic rags-to-riches story. “My dad came from humble beginnings,” said Steve. “He never finished high school or had a lot of money.”
In the 1950s, Harold landed a job in the mailroom, and gradually climbed the corporate ladder at Deluxe’s Chicago printing plant. Steve, an only child, grew up with his family in the northern suburbs of Chicago.
In 1971, Deluxe transferred Harold to the headquarters in St. Paul, and the family relocated to Minnesota. Harold and Ethel bought the 1.8-acre piece of property in North Oaks, because “it was [believed to be] the highest point in Ramsey County,” said Steve.
They built their two-story brick Colonial on a hill overlooking the densely wooded site, which is secluded from neighboring homes. Steve lived there for about two years after high school and later moved to nearby White Bear Lake.
At Deluxe, Harold advanced to president in 1983 and then CEO in 1986. As an up-and-coming executive, he was invited to the multimillion-dollar mansions of other successful business leaders. His friends and colleagues included Whitney MacMillan, CEO of Cargill, Barbara Grogan, who sat on the Deluxe board of directors, and Richard Schulze, founder of Best Buy.
For the 1990s massive brick addition, the Havertys were influenced by architecture they admired on their travels, such as the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur country estate and museum in Delaware. The new architectural design blended the old part, built 20 years earlier, with the new.
“My mother wasn’t ostentatious,” said Steve. “She just went along for the ride.”
The expanded formal dining room and living room easily accommodated fancy dinner parties and big family gatherings. During the holidays, Harold had the home professionally decorated, including a 12-foot tree in the entryway. “At one time, there was five generations of the Haverty family here,” said Steve.
Five gas fireplaces warm several rooms, including the master suite, which offers treetop views from a curved bay window. The more casual lower level was for fun and games with a pinball machine and pool table adjacent to a handy kitchen with a cooktop and refrigerator.
Ethel’s hobbies were needlepoint and crafts, so the home includes a big craft room. Finally, an outdoor patio was transformed into a four-season porch with floor-to-ceiling windows that can be opened to let in the summer breezes.
The home was his dad’s labor of love, but “obviously over the top in quality and size,” admitted Steve. “We didn’t realize the grandeur of the project until it was done.”
But Harold had worked hard his entire life, and his reward was a retreat “to escape and relax in the middle of the woods,” said Steve.
Today the North Oaks community encompasses 1,650 homes on 1- to 2-acre lots. Amenities include lakes, trails for cross-country skiing, biking and walking, tennis courts, a private beach and the North Oaks Golf Club.
Steve and his fiancée, Mary Achartz, moved into the Haverty house in 2015 to care for his elderly parents, who were then in their 80s.
It’s way more space than Steve will ever need, and that’s why it’s time to sell. He and Achartz are planning to travel in an RV and not be tied down by homeownership.
Steve’s children have more of an emotional attachment to the house, from the many times they visited their grandparents, than he does.
“It was my dad’s dream,” said Steve. “Not mine.”
Krista Wolter of Coldwell Banker Burnet has the listing, northoaksprivateestate.com, 612-247-5106.