If he could, Robert DeChellis would load up the five-bedroom, five-bath Victorian house on the east side of Bde Maka Ska that he spent half a million dollars to renovate and move it to Florida, where he is relocating.
"It's 118 years old, so it's got that charm about it, but it's been updated and is totally modern," he said.
DeChellis, the former president and CEO of Allianz Life Financial, bought the property in 2017, drawn by its location in the heart of Minneapolis' chain of lakes. Its location means it couldn't be handier to bike around the lakes, grab a bite at a nearby eatery or take in theater and concerts.
DeChellis also was attracted to the home's potential for transformation. Built in 1902, the high-ceilinged 5,340-square-foot house had been refurbished over the years by successive owners. That left it with a mishmash of styles, some of them dated and clashing.
"As people went in, they would renovate a part of it for the era they were living in, so you had things in it that looked like the '80s or the '90s or 2000s," he said. "I saw the opportunity to bring it back to its original state of grandeur and have consistency throughout."
DeChellis hired Christopher Strom Architects. For starters, they wanted to create a uniform aesthetic that also may be a marker for this era. It is white-on-white.
"One of the things about the house was that it was dark," DeChellis said. "We brought the light in."
He got rid of the mustard-colored faux finish in the kitchen, which also had a mural of a window. He put an actual window in the place of the mural.
"Duh!" he said.
He also redid the kitchen, putting in Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances and an island topped with Carrara marble. He splashed that marble throughout the house, including in the bathrooms and on fireplaces.
The dining room was largely untouched by previous owners and had the original hutch from 1902, DeChellis said.
"But it wasn't functional any longer, so we hired a cabinetmaker to make the exact hutch, but make it useful so we could store china in it."
He kept the hardwood floors, which have radiant heating, on the first and second levels. The third floor, which has carpeting and murals, was colorful and fun from previous owners. DeChellis left it untouched.
He also didn't do much to the basement, which has a kitchen, bedroom and its own entry.
"The third floor is great for young people," DeChellis said. "And you can have a live-in housekeeper, nanny or family member downstairs."
Downstairs also is where the wine cellar is located. What's the capacity?
"A lot more than I have," DeChellis laughed.
Many houses have basement tornado shelters, but this one has a new safe room for disturbances of the civil kind.
"I created that, and you'll never find it," DeChellis said.
One of the things he loved most about the house was its sense of quiet, especially inside. "You're in the heart of the city and you can't hear a thing," DeChellis said. "We got to start with a really good piece of clay and brought it to life again."
The property is special, said real estate agent Sara Anderson, Keller Williams.
"What sets this house apart is that it's been completely updated with every modern convenience but still has these beautiful Victorian touches," Anderson said. "It sits on an extra-wide lot with a wraparound porch, has three covered parking spots plus a fourth outdoor spot. You go from the porch to the beautiful backyard to the lakes, and the world just opens up."
Sara Anderson, Keller Williams Preferred Realty, 612-280-7983, has the listing.