The author-radio host and his family are planning to buy a house on Summit Avenue overlooking St. Paul.
The Georgian Revival house on Summit Avenue in St. Paul that Garrison Keillor and his wife have offered to buy was built in 1919, designed by the noted Boston architectural firm Thomas, Parker & Rice, designers of many historic East Coast buildings. It sits on a bluff overlooking the city on a half-acre lot.
Are you in the market for a seven-bedroom house with 14-foot ceilings and a sweeping staircase reminiscent of a French chateau, in a bustling and historic neighborhood in St. Paul?
Would it help that one of the sellers is writer, storyteller and radio host Garrison Keillor?
The star of "A Prairie Home Companion" and his wife, Jenny Lind Nilsson, listed their house in the Ramsey Hill Historic District with a real estate agent this week. The asking price: $1.65 million, according to www.realtor.com.
Keillor and Nilsson sued their next-door neighbor, Lori Anderson, in January to stop her from building a two-story garage-and-studio addition to her house, saying the project would "obstruct the access of light and air to [their] property."But the dispute isn't the reason Keillor and Nilsson are selling their house and buying another, said real estate agent Mary Hardy. Keillor wants a large, airy first-floor studio where he can work, she said. Keillor and Nilsson made an offer for a house in the 200 block of Summit Avenue that has about 4,000 square feet more space and sits on a half-acre lot on a bluff. While its listing price is no longer public, the house's taxable value was listed at just under $1.6 million.
The lawsuit that Keillor and Nilsson filed was settled through mediation about a week later, but terms were not disclosed.
Since then, however, new drawings have been submitted to and approved by the city, said Robert Humphrey, assistant to the director of the city's Department of Safety and Inspections. The new plans, Humphrey said, call for the addition to be built away from the property line. Otherwise, the project is essentially the same.On Tuesday, it appeared that construction was underway.
Keillor was out of town and had no comment Tuesday, said his spokesman, David O'Neill.Keillor and Nilsson's current house in the 400 block of Portland Avenue was built in 1915 and designed by Emmanuel Masqueray, the same architect who designed the St. Paul Cathedral. The house has more than 5,000 square feet on three finished levels, seven bedrooms and two fireplaces.
"Very, very livable," Hardy called it.
The stately house that will become the couple's new home, a few blocks away, isn't too shabby either. The 9,000-plus-square-foot house in the 200 block of Summit Avenue has six bedrooms and four fireplaces. It was built in 1919 and sits behind a wrought-iron fence and gate.
No one is likely to block the air flow or scenery there. It sits on a half-acre lot on a bluff.
"Gorgeous," is how Hardy described the house.
Staff writer Anthony Lonetree contributed to this report. Pat Pheifer • 651-298-1551