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Q: Which one is a stellar example of restoring the original grandeur?
KM: A lot of the mansions fell into disrepair until someone came along and revived them — like Dick and Nancy Nicholson. They did a complete top-to-bottom restoration of the Louis Hill House, a Georgian Revival. Every surface and every room was touched, and it’s beautifully done. They use the restored ballroom to hold fundraisers for nonprofit organizations.
Q: Why did you add a glossary of architectural terms, from “Aaron’s Rod” to “Zoophoric”?
KM: I was seeing all these details, and I didn’t know the names. The definitions give us context for understanding what these architects created and all the European influences.
Q: What was the best part of doing research?
MN: Reading letters and poring through artifacts stored in boxes from the Minnesota Historical Society. For the Lindeke House, I looked at old yearbooks from Yale and found out that A.W. Lindeke was on the rowing team. I got a picture of what life was like back then — the families belonged to country clubs and summered on Lake Minnetonka. I wanted to understand the people who built the homes, and I also spent quite a bit of time with the current owners sitting in their living rooms. They see themselves as stewards preserving the homes for the next generation.
Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619
What: Karen Melvin will sign books at 7 p.m. Nov. 19 at the Bookcase, 824 E. Lake St., Wayzata, and 2 p.m. Nov. 22, Barnes & Noble, 2100 N. Snelling Av., Roseville. For information, go to www.summitavenuebook.com.