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Continued: New book showcases the stately homes of St. Paul's Summit Avenue

  • Article by: LYNN UNDERWOOD , Star Tribune
  • Last update: November 11, 2013 - 11:58 AM

KM: I first approached him about including his home because it was important historically — the Weyerhaeusers lived there. Garrison and his wife, Jenny Nilsson, had seen my other books and knew it would be a quality product. Then I asked him if he would write the foreword, and he said yes.


Q: How did you get invited into the houses?

KM: Most people I called were very welcoming. Many of the homeowners told me that they feel fortunate and regard themselves as caretakers of these monuments of history. It wasn’t too hard of a sell — not like the first Lake Minnetonka book.


Q: Were there any homes you wanted to include, but couldn’t?

KM: The Shipman-Greve Queen Anne from the 1880s designed by LeRoy Buffington. It’s just beautiful. Paul Larson and other architectural historians are quite impressed with that house. The owners decided the book wasn’t for them.


Q: Which one took your breath away?

KM: The Burbank-Livingston-Griggs House. It’s been through many major renovations — by Clarence Johnston and also Edwin Lundie, one of my favorite Minnesota architects. Nothing rivals the woodwork and staircase — the detailing is truly amazing. In Lundie’s 1925 renovation, he retrofitted 18th-century French and Italian interiors in many of the rooms. This house is a good example of why preservation is important — we can’t reproduce this today.

MN: For me, it was the Lindeke House. When you look at it from the outside, it seems dark. But inside, it’s filled with magnificent light. Architect Clarence Johnston perfectly positioned this house, and without today’s technology.


Q: What was the biggest challenge in doing the book?

KM: To accomplish all the shots in one day for each house. I had three or four interns working for me from local visual arts schools. Shari Wilsey, who owns one of the Summit homes, was the stylist. Some needed a little more finessing — but others were beautiful.


Q: Which house was the most fun to shoot?

KM: The William White House. The homeowners, Becky and Paul Diekmann, are collectors and had all these vignettes beautifully arranged everywhere I looked — and to think they have six children. That house made my heart sing.

MN: These interiors have a sense of humor — St. Nicholas is holding a parasol. People really live in all of these homes and use every inch. And they’re all friends with each other.

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