It was love at first sight when Linda Boss stepped inside the St. Paul house that would become her longtime home.
She was enchanted by the quartersawn oak floors, the extensive Craftsman-style woodwork and detailing, and the many leaded- and and stained-glass windows, all in pristine original condition.
“Everything was in marvelous shape,” she said.
Boss had first spotted the house while walking in St. Anthony Park, the popular neighborhood where she and her late husband were living in 1984 — and looking for a larger home for their family.
“I was attracted to how it was placed on the property,” she said. “I like balance.” And it had elements of Prairie School architecture, which she’d always been drawn to.
So she arranged a showing. “Once we got inside it, we had to have it,” even though that required winning a bidding war with another prospective buyer.
The distinctive 2,948-square-foot house set on a triple lot — about ⅔ acre — was designed and built in 1914-15 by civil engineer Walter Lovell and was still owned by the Lovell family when the Bosses bought it. “We have all his blueprints and drawings,” she said.
The home’s original condition extended to the small kitchen, which was rather “primitive,” said Boss. So they hired architect Joe Michaels to design a new kitchen, incorporating the butler’s pantry, that echoed the home’s original character.
“He didn’t want to replicate Craftsman, but to complement it,” said Boss. “He picked up the beams from the dining room and designed a wood ceiling for the kitchen.” The original cabinets were birch, some of which were kept, with new cherrywood cabinets added. “They beautifully coordinate,” she said.
The couple also remodeled the master bath — twice. “We really wanted it to be of the era,” she said. “It looks like it could have been original.”
But the rest of the house remains a time capsule, down to its original Craftsman-style light fixtures. “We didn’t change the house because we loved it,” she said.
The sunroom off the staircase landing still has its original mosaic tile floor. “No cracks. It’s amazingly built,” she said. Above the sunroom is a sleeping porch that Boss uses for an office. “It’s like a treehouse.”
The former “billiards room” on the lower level serves as her TV room, now with a gas insert in the original fireplace. The fireplace on the main level also was updated with gas logs.
Boss has loved living in the house. “It flows really well,” she said, with lots of light and well-placed windows for air circulation. “It’s warm and welcoming — a very homey home,” she said. “It’s a gorgeous Christmas house.”
But now widowed, she’s decided to downsize and is moving to a condo about 2 miles away. The house is on the market for $1.15 million.
The home’s expansive park-like lot provides lots of privacy, she said, and is close to a nearby park where neighbors gather.
The neighborhood park offers a quaint downtown with a grocery store, a post office, a bank and restaurants. It’s also centrally located between Minneapolis and St. Paul, a short drive to both downtowns and within walking distance of the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota.
Boss is sad to say goodbye to her home of 35 years.
“I’ll miss most the peacefulness of the wood,” she said. “This house just has a good feel. It makes me feel rested. But it’s time to move on.”
Barb Swadburg, 651-271-8919, Lynden Realty, has the listing.