Pioneering Minnesota scientist Ancel Keys once lived and worked in this 1930s lakeside home in Shoreview. You can have it for $1.75 million.
Jeff Budd felt shivers down his spine when he discovered who had once lived in the house he and his wife, Linda, had just bought on Lake Owasso.
“A neighbor told us it was Ancel Keys,” said Budd, who is a biostatistician and had long admired Keys’ work. “He did cutting-edge research on the effects of fat and diet on the human body and cardiac diseases.” Keys was a professor of physiology at the University of Minnesota and with his wife, Margaret, had written the 1959 bestseller “Eat Well and Stay Well.” His accomplishments landed him on the cover of Time magazine in 1961 as the Man of the Year. Keys lived to be 100 years old and died in Minneapolis in 2004. “He changed the world’s view of what healthy eating is, and to think he did much of his work in my office,” said Budd.
Jeff and Linda bought the three-level walkout home, which was built in 1935, because it combined their love of living on a lake with historic character. It was 1998, and the Budds had two teenagers to enjoy the property’s 125 feet of sandy shoreline, ideal for boating, swimming and canoeing.
But the Budds knew the home, which had undergone several reincarnations over the years, would need work on the inside. “The house was originally built as an English cottage and had additions tacked on that made no sense,” said Jeff.
To make it their own, the couple undertook a major renovation, which included extending an existing addition to create a new modern kitchen and hearth room with vaulted ceilings on the main floor. The previous owners had used an old galley kitchen on the walkout level.
The new kitchen has a granite center island and countertop, cherry cabinets and best of all, Lake Owasso views. The new adjacent dining room boasts large picture windows that overlook the lake and all the boating action. “We eat dinner and watch the water-skiers go by and rate them,” said Jeff.
Linda is from North Carolina and an avid swimmer, so the Budds also installed an indoor saltwater pool and hot tub. “You don’t have to worry about leaves and cleaning, and we can swim all year round,” said Jeff.
During the remodeling process, the couple made sure to retain some of the original 1930s character, such as leaded stained-glass windows and archways in the older parts of the house. And they matched the birch woodwork to better blend the old with the new. Linda even crafted new stained-glass windows inspired by the home’s original diamond patterns.
Keys lived in the home until 1972, and his handiwork can be found in a street-side entryway he built from dark mahogany and stonework embedded with ancient dragon figures. But the Budds’ favorite Keys creation is a back-yard stone fireplace. “We still use it,” said Jeff. “We carve pumpkins, make a fire and have friends over in the fall.”
A few years ago, Jeff and Linda invited Keys’ daughter Carrie D’Andrea, who grew up in the house, to come over and see the changes they had made. “She remembered her father doing the Human Starvation Study,” said Budd. “When the participants broke their fast, they grilled steaks on their grill.”
When Keys went on sabbatical to study at Oxford, he rented out the house to C. Elmer Anderson, the governor of Minnesota in the early 1950s, said Jeff, who became fascinated with the home’s history. He also discovered that Bruno Haas, a renowned professional baseball and football player, had pulled permits for home improvements in the early 1940s.
But now that the Budds’ children have moved out, the home is just too big for the two of them, said Jeff. They plan to find a smaller place on a lake in the Shoreview area.
“I’m channeling Ancel,” said Jeff. “I like to do things with my hands — so we want a house we can fix up.”
• The home has 7,100 square feet and includes four bedrooms and five bathrooms.
• The walkout lower level houses a family room with a fireplace, billiards room and an office with a lake view.
• Main-floor master suite with built-in bookshelves, desk and sitting room with gas fireplace.
• An upstairs bedroom has a walkout rooftop patio facing the lake.