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Continued: Liberace of the lake

  • Article by: CONNIE NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 9, 2007 - 1:48 PM

Piano princess Lorie Line is known almost as much for her glamorous gowns and flashy sets as she is for her crowd-pleasing holiday extravaganzas. In the middle of a 47-day tour, we caught up with Line at her Hollywood-worthy house on the shores of Lake Minnetonka in Mound. Upscale? Yes. But she's surprisingly down-to-earth, too.

Q How do you describe your style?

A Because my show is over the top, people think I'm over the top. But everything is pretty simple. I wear jeans and T-shirts just like everybody else. I don't want to act like a movie star every day. Only when I'm onstage.

Q Plenty of people would describe an 8,000-square-foot house as over the top.

A My house appears to be large from the outside, but inside it's all warm and cozy. What I love about my house is that it looks like it's from Italy, but it doesn't stand out in Minnesota.

Q You must have a staff to keep it up.

A No, we take care of our own house. My husband, Tim, and I do everything together, from cooking to shopping to washing the windows when I have an interview with the Star Tribune. My kids [Jackson, 13, and Kendall, 18] have chores, too. I'm proud of that. When I'm not onstage, I'm a full-time homemaker.

Q No kidding? Why don't you hire out?

A It's how I grew up. I'm capable. I want my kids to be capable.

Q So, do you have a favorite chore?

A It's what I call nesting. Moving things around, regrouping accessories. I like to redecorate using what I have.

Q Do you use what you have for your shows, too?

A I recycle things from the show to my house and back again. I use a fox shawl I wore in the show a couple of years ago as a throw. The rhinestones from the music stands are embedded in the tufts on the sofa. I used brooches from one show to decorate the pillows. Even the chandeliers -- the one in the foyer was used on the set for 500 shows.

Q And the grand piano in your living room? Has that been onstage, too?

A Yes, we tip it on its side and take it out the front door to the trucks. But Sven [the black Yamaha] is staying home this year. Esmeralda is white. She goes better with the sets.

Q Don't the neighbors call 9-1-1 when they see a piano, furs and chandeliers being hauled out?

A No. I own the houses on either side of us. One is a recording studio and guest house, the other is the crew house. We're sort of self-contained.

Q Did you design your house the same way you design your sets?

A Everything in my house is collected, not bought. I don't go to a furniture store and shop for furniture. Everything is sentimental, everything has a story. The antique Venetian mirror is from Italy. The silver tea set from Turkey, the basket from Africa.

Q Is there anything in your house that cost less than 10 bucks?

A I spent tens of thousands of dollars on the living room drapes and then I found these finials on sale for 99 cents. At first I was hesitant to put them up because they were so inexpensive, but they look great.

Q Where do you go when you want to hide out?

A The master bathroom. It has heated floors, a soaking tub and a great view of the lake. My first piano bench and the first chandelier we took on the road are in there. But the bathroom can be closed off by hidden doors. You'd never know it was there.

Q Do you remember the first time you played a piano?

A Yes! It was in kindergarten. I had perfect pitch and I figured out how to play a simple lullaby.

Q Did you have any idea that playing piano would become a lifelong career?

A For me and my husband, musicians and a crew? No. But I wake up every morning and thank my lucky stars and say, "I hope I make it."

Q Haven't you made it?

A I hope I make it.

Q Your fans would be surprised if they knew you ...

A Shop at Costco. In fact, I'd rather go shopping at Costco than shop for a new dress.

Q What's one thing we should know about you?

A I'm generous.

Q What's one thing we shouldn't know about y--

A -- I'm impatient.

Q Every holiday season for the past 17 years, you've been gone for weeks at a time. What do you do to unwind when back home?

A Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Q What's Christmas at the Line house like?

A Tim and I get home on Christmas Eve. Our celebration isn't elaborate. It's very practical. Very mainstream. Our tree is tasteful. The kids aren't spoiled. I have a budget. But we have one rule: We open presents in order -- from youngest to oldest -- and you have to completely finish opening one present and show it off before you open the next.

Q And then?

A The day after Christmas we're back on the road again.

Connie Nelson • 612-673-7087

  • related content

  • Lorie Line

  • LORIE LINE'S HOLIDAY SHOW

    What: "The Glory of Christmas Holiday Extravaganza." • When: Through Dec. 15. • Where: Orpheum Theater in Minneapolis. Cost: $41.50 and $49.50 for adults, $44 for seniors, $33 for ages 4 to 15. • For tickets: Call 612-673-0404 or go to www.ticketmaster.com. Soundbite: To hear a sample from Lorie Line's "The Glory of Christmas" CD go to www.startribune.com/music or call 612-673-9050, then enter 5000 for "Beautiful Savior" or 5001 for "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."
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