Michael Graves admits the house he designed in Minnetonka in 1998 "doesn't have a wow factor. That gets old quickly," said the internationally known architect.
But the Graves home, now on the market for $1.295 million, is still a standout.
Target commissioned Graves to design the model home to showcase his new line of housewares, which were being launched in Twin Cities Target stores.
Graves went a step further and filled the 4,300-square-foot contemporary house with custom furniture, lighting, sculptural sinks and other unique products he had designed.
For Graves, it was a thrill to mastermind every detail of the home, including the artwork.
"Frank Lloyd Wright got to do that all the time," he said.
The house is the only one in the state designed by Graves, who's designed office towers in Dubai, hotels in Egypt and a resort in Disney World. In fact, it's one of only three homes Graves designed and furnished, including his own home in Princeton, N.J. His favorite detail from the Minnetonka house, called Cedar Gables, is a shuttered window in the master bedroom that overlooks the two-story, maple-paneled great room.
Although the house is 10 years old, Steven Streeter, president of Streeter and Associates, which built the home, said it continues to prove that Graves is a visionary.
"For the time, it was quite a piece of architecture," said Streeter, who noted that the unique three-gabled exterior, the way the design draws in natural light and its placement on the wooded site set it apart from other homes built in the late 1990s. "It was good for Minnesota to have a house that pushes the envelope of design," he said.
The custom furniture Graves designed is no longer in the Minnetonka home, which has had several owners since it was built. But the Michael Graves brand is still going strong at Target stores, which sells about 200 different items, ranging from measuring cups to tea kettles. And Graves' two New Jersey-based companies continue to design buildings worldwide as well as a variety of products.
He's also responsible for several high-profile Twin Cities projects, including the 2005 addition to the Children's Theatre Company, which included a rotunda and a theater, and the new three-story wing on the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, which opened in 2006.
In 2003, a spinal cord infection that left Graves in a wheelchair inspired a new venture -- bath safety products for people with limited mobility. (They're available online only at www.allegromedical.com.)
In a nod to his many achievements, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is presenting an exhibit sponsored by Target of the 75-year-old architect's work. "From Towers to Teakettles: Michael Graves Architecture and Design" runs through Jan. 3.
Other features of the Cedar Gables home:
• Including the lower level (finished after the home was initially sold), the 6,159-square-foot house includes five bedrooms, six bathrooms and two fireplaces.
• Graves designed many of the interior features, including cabinet hardware, kitchen and bath fixtures and lights.
• The two-story great room boasts maple paneling with built-in storage and wood-burning fireplace with a limestone surround.
• The great room has French doors that lead to a covered porch.
• A two-story reception area off the foyer can be used as an art gallery.
• Two sculptural, oversized pedestal sinks in the master bathroom were designed by Graves.
• A lower-level walkout has a bar, fireplace, guest quarters, game room and home theater.
• Location, location, location: The upscale Cedar Pass neighborhood is surrounded by wetlands and woods.
Erik Myhran of Coldwell Banker Burnet has the listing; 612-810-3745. To have a unique listing considered for a Homegazing feature, please send digital photos and a description to email@example.com.
"FROM TOWERS TO TEAKETTLES"
What: A retrospective of the work of Michael Graves architecture and design, including models, drawings and photographs of the firm's architectural projects as well as a collection of product designs.
When: Through Jan. 3.
Where: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 3rd Av. S.
Information: 612-870-3131 and www.artsmia.org.