Century-old charm

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 24, 2011 - 5:03 PM

YOU CAN HAVE IT FOR ... $2.65 million

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Historic Frank Kellogg house on Fairmount Avenue

Photo: Provided photo, Coldwell Banker Burnet

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Penny Destache spends a lot of time in the cozy mahogany-paneled library of the Frank B. Kellogg home, where she and her husband raised their children.

"I often wonder what the Kellogg family loved about the house and what they would think about it today," she said.

Penny and Mark Destache bought the 9,300-square-foot mansion in the Crocus Hill neighborhood in 2003. It was designated a National Historic Landmark for its distinct Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque style. Kellogg, a St. Paul attorney and U.S. senator, lived there until he died in 1937.

Built in 1889, the home was given new life when local designers restored and redecorated it in 2004 as the ASID Showcase Home.

Penny said she and her husband have always loved the Victorian era and bought the home for its striking architecture and the large rooms that could accommodate their social functions.

She also uncovered some of the stately mansion's colorful history, such as the story behind the massive 1920s addition. "It's called the Coolidge wing because Calvin Coolidge was coming to see Frank Kellogg and they needed more room to host the president of the United States," she said.

To transform the Kellogg house into a Showcase Home, the Destaches worked with two dozen local designers to restore its 19th-century beauty, as well as make it more comfortable and functional. There's plenty of evidence of designers' creativity, including handpainted dolphins and tropical fish on the walls of the renovated third-floor children's quarters.

Designer Bonnie Birnbaum added a dramatic Antonio Gaudi-style swirled ceiling treatment in the remodeled kitchen, inspired by her trip to Spain.

"That's the 'wow' factor of the house," Penny said. "Everyone remembers it."

The Destaches will soon be empty nesters and have decided to sell the Kellogg house. They're happy to let a new family relish the oak-paneled foyer, turret bedroom and the leaded glass window forming the letter "K."

"But we're really going to miss the home's Victorian character," she said.

Other features

• The formal dining room boasts the original molding and artwork painted on the wall over the fireplace.

• The renovated third-floor attic has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a game/TV room.

• The master suite, housed in a turret, features a fireplace and bathroom Jacuzzi tub.

• An office adjacent to the master bedroom was turned into a walk-in closet with cherry closet organizers.

• Four of the five fireplaces have been converted to gas, but the original ornate wood and marble surrounds are intact.

• The second-floor laundry room is a rarity in an old house.

• A 1,500-square-foot, two-bedroom apartment is above a backyard carriage house.

• The half-acre landscaped grounds include a pergola and fountain at one end of a reflecting pool.

• The Kellogg house is only two blocks from Grand Avenue restaurants and shops.

Sarah Kinney of Coldwell Banker Burnett has the listing; 651-282-9621.

SHOW US YOUR HOUSE

To have a unique property considered for a Homegazing feature, please send digital photos and a description to lunderwood@startribune.com.

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