Miram Lutz and Leon Schwartz's love story starts in their Falcon Heights home — an art moderne-style abode with a curved front that prompted neighbors to affectionately call it "the cake house."
Lutz bought the sprawling 4,000-square-foot home built in 1940 for her aging parents, and to use as a home base between her travels to Africa as a U.S. diplomat. About 10 years ago when Schwartz, a family friend, was visiting Lutz's father, he was reunited with Lutz, who happened to be at the house between assignments.
"I traveled the whole world just to find my soulmate back where I started," said Lutz, who has been to a whopping 76 countries. But in all the world, there's no place better than her beautiful Minnesota home.
With multiple skylights and curved windows and even a fireplace that fits the curve, the home is an exceptional example of art moderne architecture, she said. There are antique doorknobs, solid wood doors, sturdy Douglas fir floors and even a secret trap door in a closet that collects the mail.
"It's been modified from the original, but not over-modified," Schwartz said of the home's updates. "And the lighting is so beautiful — it shows things so well in the home."
The style of the home made it perfect for multigenerational living, with three bedrooms on the lower level and two on the main level as well as three bathrooms, Lutz said. Both levels have wood-burning fireplaces to gather around and an open concept that makes spaces versatile.
"It's a flexible space that can meet family needs with different configurations," she said.
Lutz also took advantage of the house's location, a short drive from downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, and surrounded by biking trails. It's conveniently near the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, and a short walk from the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus and its agricultural fields, which makes her feel as if she is in the countryside.
The neighbors are "the best," Lutz said, adding they checked in on her father during the pandemic when Lutz and Schwartz could not fly back to the United States during her assignment in West Africa.
It's a tearful goodbye to the home for the couple, who are getting ready to leave behind many joyful memories. The couple are living in Mali and soon will be moving to Washington, D.C., for Lutz's reassignment.
When Lutz retires, she plans to settle in the Midwest, close to where her heart has always been.
"The Midwest is a good place to come back to," she said. "Who knows? Maybe I'll come back and see if this house is for sale to live in it again."
Noel Krueger (NoelKrueger@edinarealty.com; 612-703-5575) of Edina Realty has the $650,000 listing.