When Dan Priebe and Molly Rice hosted guests at their home in Stillwater, they hung out in the limestone-walled "speakeasy" on their lower level. Or, in summer, on the terrazzo patio overlooking the couple's tiered gardens and waterfall.
"We love to entertain, and we had two great spaces, for whatever season," said Rice, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who grew up in the restaurant business. "We had a lot of football parties — any excuse to have people over and feed them."
The couple's stately Victorian-era house once hosted paying guests, as the Overlook Inn and later the Laurel Street Inn during the 15 years it operated as a B&B.
Priebe and Rice bought it in 2004 with plans to convert it back into a single-family home where they could raise their two children.
"We were living in Marine [on St. Croix] and looking for something more in town," said Rice. "I grew up in a Victorian house so it spoke to me."
The home's location, on a bluff across from Pioneer Park, was ideal for a family with kids, she added, just five blocks from downtown and with a view of the St. Croix River Valley.
The house, originally built in 1859, is one of the oldest in Stillwater, with a wraparound front porch and grand double-door entrance.
Its first owner was Hollis Murdock, an attorney and probate judge who served as mayor of Stillwater for one term. He expanded the house a few years after building it, and later added decorative flourishes, including porches, an arched front door and dormer windows. The house also had a front "viewing window" that was used to display Murdock's body, per Victorian custom, after his death, Rice noted.
In 1990, during the house's B&B tenure, it was gutted and completely remodeled. The owners added guest amenities, including en suite bathrooms, some with jetted tubs. Porches were enclosed into sunrooms, a three-car garage was added, and the dirt-floored "speakeasy" got a proper floor, turning it into an inviting pub.
Priebe further enhanced the pub, building a bar and wine rack.
Rice, the cook, designed a new semiprofessional kitchen with solid-surface countertops, a Wolf stove, refrigerator drawers, a breakfast bar and new hardwood floors. The couple also added in-floor heat to the entire house and garage, and opened up doorways to make the big 7,800-square-foot house feel like a family home.
The couple have now downsized and moved out of the house and have been operating it as a VRBO property. It sleeps up to seven couples and has been renting for $3,500 to $4,000 for a weekend (two nights). It also accommodates weddings and other events, and has a dedicated "makeup artist room."
Now Priebe and Rice have put the house on the market for $1.35 million. For that you get 1.7 acres of manicured grounds, six bedrooms (three with fireplaces), nine bathrooms, two libraries, a parlor, also with fireplace, two sunrooms and that limestone pub.
Diane Hawkins, 651-226-7994, and Robert Hawkins, 651-717-8808, Keller Williams Realty, have the listing.