Susan Stielow is fond of a 1920s photo of the Brooks family, with the children dressed in sailor suits and playing on the lawn of their Lake Minnetonka home.
"They lived on Park Avenue and would take the train to Wayzata and cross the bay on the Minnetonka Belle to their summer home," Stielow said of the steamboat that transported vacationers across the lake.
That history is part of the charm of the lake-side Tudor Revival home currently owned by Stielow and her husband, John. The mansion was built by lumber businessman Dwight Brooks as a summer retreat for his family. Over the decades it became known as "the house with the mushroom roof" because its ivy-covered exterior resembled an English Cotswold cottage.
"People from the area tell me they would drive by as children and fantasize that the home was enchanted and a princess lived there," Susan said.
The home, which was built on a point, encompasses 2 1/2 acres and includes 180 feet of Wayzata Bay shoreline.
John Stielow bought the lake home from the Brooks family in 1973. Over the years, he and Susan undertook many improvements, including putting on a new cedar-shake roof in the thatched style of the original.
In 2006, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) chose the Stielows' residence as their showcase home. During the months-long makeover, 50 design professionals redecorated and renovated many of the rooms, keeping with the character of the home while updating the amenities.
The master bedroom was transformed into a luxe suite with a balcony overlooking Wayzata Bay. The well-appointed spa-style bathroom was outfitted with in-floor heat and a vintage claw-foot tub. And in the kitchen, the designers replicated the Old Chicago brick from an exposed chimney in the new brick stove surround.
Susan said the ASID makeover helped make the house more livable for them and for future families.
"I've seen many lovely historic homes that have been torn down on the lake," said Susan. "We wanted to preserve our home and its rich history. All the Old World charm still exists, but it's been brought up to speed for the way people live today."
The Stielows have had the house on and off the market since 2006, when it was initially listed for nearly $9 million. They now spend most of their time in Florida and can't return to Lake Minnetonka as often as they like because of John's health issues.
Still, Susan admits it won't be easy to let go of the house where they raised seven children.
"It will be bittersweet to sell it. It was a great family house," she said. "The kids' rope swing is still out there."
• The main house, built in 1919, has 12,000 square feet.
• The house boasts six bedrooms and 10 bathrooms.
• There are both formal and informal dining rooms.
• The original library has a spiral staircase leading to an attic, which now functions as a recreation room.
• The spacious kitchen is geared for large-scale entertaining with two dishwashers, two sinks, a Wolf range and a Subzero refrigerator.
• The home has five fireplaces, including the wood-burning fireplace in the living room with the original marble surround.
• The carriage house was converted into a 1,500-square-foot guest cottage that has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room.
• During the 2006 renovation, the plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems were updated.
Listed by Jon Norris and Ellen DeHaven, of Coldwell Banker Burnet, 952-476-3646.
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