NON MLS: The Lake Minnetonka Real Estate Blog

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Dec. 16, 2022

Who was Frank Lloyd Wright?

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was an American architect, interior designer, writer, and educator who is widely considered one of the most important and influential architects of the 20th century. He was a leader of the Prairie School movement of architecture and was known for his organic, nature-inspired designs and his pioneering use of materials such as concrete and steel.

Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin, and received his architectural education at the University of Wisconsin and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He began his career working for the firm of Adler & Sullivan in Chicago, where he worked under Louis Sullivan, one of the leading architects of the time. While at the firm, Wright developed his own design philosophy, which emphasized the integration of buildings with their natural surroundings and the use of simple, geometric forms.

Wright is perhaps best known for his residential designs, which include the iconic Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania and the Robie House in Chicago. He also designed a number of public and commercial buildings, including the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the Marin County Civic Center in California, and the Johnson Wax Administration Building in Wisconsin.

Wright was a strong advocate for the use of organic architecture, which he defined as "the harmonious union of the structure with its site." He believed that buildings should be in harmony with their natural surroundings and that the use of natural materials and forms was important in achieving this harmony. Wright's designs often featured low, horizontal lines, large windows, and open floor plans, which helped to blur the boundaries between the inside and outside of the building.

In addition to his architectural work, Wright was also an influential teacher and writer. He founded the Taliesin Fellowship, a school for architects, and wrote several books on architecture and design, including "The Future of Architecture" and "A Testament." Wright was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, posthumously recognizing his contributions to architecture and design.

Posted in Architecture
June 13, 2022

Buyer needs: Single Family to $330,000 in Western Suburbs

Looking for a single family home in the Western suburbs. This client wants to rent out a room or a level to a friend so they would like a finished basement with bedroom and 3/4 bath so they have a second living area. Fantastic buyer ready to write

Posted in Buyer Need
June 13, 2022

Buyer needs: Wayzata or Deephaven up to $5,000,000

Looking for a Lake Minnetonka home for sale near Deephaven elementary, Deephaven, Wayzata, Minnetonka, Woodland, Tonka Bay on or off the lake.

You can also click here to view the biggest houses on Lake Minnetonka.

Posted in Buyer Need
June 13, 2022

Buyer needs: Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, Plymouth

Buyer looking in Wayzata, Plymouth, Blaine, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove Private backyard. Preferably 5 bedrooms but 4 is ok. 3 Bath+ 3 car garage.walkout lower level.

  • Blaine, MN | Eden Prairie, MN | Maple Grove, MN | Plymouth, MN | Wayzata, MN
Posted in Buyer Need
June 13, 2022

Buyer needs: Single family up to $450,000 in Albertville or St. Michael

Buyer looking in St. Michael, Albertville, or Rogers, preferably in in STMA School District boundaries (so Hanover or Otsego, IF within the boundaries) but Elk River School District is also okay. Minimum of 3 bedrooms plus office space OR 4 bedrooms, 2 or more bathrooms (2.5 ideal), and 2+ garage spaces. A slightly larger city lot with trees would be great. Minimal updating/improvements needed okay.

Posted in Buyer Need
June 13, 2022

Buyer needs: Townhouse to $350,000 in Hopkins, Minnetonka, or Plymouth

Searching for 3BR/2BA townhouse with lots of natural light, wants some exterior space, a deck or decent size patio & green space a big plus. Needs between 1,700 - 2,000 sq ft.

  • Hopkins, MN | Minnetonka, MN | Plymouth, MN
Posted in Buyer Need
June 13, 2022

Buyer needs: Single family up to $400,000 in South West Metro

These buyers are looking for a large lot, think hobby farm style home with acreage. They will look at all possibilities. Thank you!

  • Belle Plaine, MN | Chanhassen, MN | Chaska, MN | Delano, MN | Eden Prairie, MN | Jordan, MN
Posted in Buyer Need
June 9, 2022

A history of Northome (Part II)

Cedarhurst Estate in Deephaven, MN

By Bette Hammel, author of Legendary Homes on Lake Minnetonka

One hundred years after it's founding, the Deephaven Centennial committee arranged a celebration for Russell M. Bennett’s grand estate, Cedarhurst.

The original house, a “northern southern colonial” was located at the top of a lengthy slope overlooking the lake. There was nothing else like this elegant property: the beautiful formal gardens, acres of other blooming gardens planted on the slope, a greenhouse, walking paths, a fountain and beach below at the lakeshore.

Magnificent trees marked the walking paths. Broken arrowheads found on the beach indicated that Dakota Indians once held court here. After the Centennial, home ownership grew rapidly in well designed homes scattered around the old property, The neighborhood then evolved with the changing times.

Begnining in the 1950s the property was subdivided to make way for contemporary residences. Stone arched pillars similar to the original, Northome entry, marks the drive into the Cedarhurst neighborhood. Today there are 19 homes throughout Cedarhurst including a drive that heads sharply downhill to a lagoon, a boat harbor commonly held by all 19 residents.

Around the corner is a sharp point of land, known as Gibson’s Point, marked by a distinctive house designed by Elizabeth Close and built by the original owner Robert Mann Benson.

Over on the north facing land is one of the newest homes, a contemporary, designed by Charles Stinson, owned by Judy and Richard Corson.

Further down that shoreline and definitely not part of Cedarhurst, is the site of once renowned Frank Lloyd Wright house.

Proceeding south down Northome Road, drivers will pass outstanding home sites where distinctive community leaders once lived including James and Laura Miles and the well known T. B. Walker and son, Archie Walker. If that name sounds familiar, it should as T.B. founded the popular Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Other tastefully designed homes along the road face St. Louis Bay. The road finally dips toward its end, Sunset Point, a very pleasant spot right across the channel from the Minnetonka Yacht Club. Near the point was the Frank B. Jewett home, and later by his family who were popular sailors.

The first house built at the point, according to the late historian, Jim Wyer, was owned by Alice B.Taylor, followed by her son, Kingston Fletcher, and currently his daughter Alison Fletcher.

The house was obviously designed for entertaining, with an excessively long living room and plenty of seating at tables at one end.

The formal dining room lies in the next room while the kitchen is hidden behind closed doors nearby. Windows placed all around the house bring fantastic views of the lake. Many and sundry Wayzatans have enjoyed parties in this unique house.

It is well worth a drive to head for Northome Road and see its many pleasures for yourself. You can easily see why Deephaven and the Northome area are some of the most desireable of the Cities on Lake Minnetonka.

Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka by Bette Hammel with pictures by Karen Melvin

Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka was published October 15, 2009 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press and was written by Bette Hammel with photography by Karen Melvin.

The book details 30 of the most spectacular estates on Lake Minnetonka. It retails for $49.95 and is available at your favorite book seller.

March 11, 2022

The History of the Lafayette Club and Minnetonka Beach

By Bette Hammel, author of Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka

Picture a majestic Lake Minnetonka Hotel opening for 800 guests from neighboring states and the South. Travelers were delighted to find their rooms overlooking the refreshing waters of Lake Minnetonka from their verandas.

Guests enjoyed views of the many boats scurrying to deliver passengers including straw hatted men out fishing, and ladies in fluffy billowing skirts promenading.

Then came dinner and with that, hundreds of waiters swung into action in the spacious dining room. Two orchestras supplied music and later performed in the grand ballroom for dancing.

James Ford Bell wrote, “It was a place of life and gaiety… of many people. One was impressed with the size of the building itself… the big broad veranda so often crowded with family groups many from the South… the arrivals and sailings of the big boats and the 5:45 train from Minneapolis.”

It was 1882 when James J. Hill celebrated the opening of his grand Great Northern Railway hostelry which he named: the Lafayette Hotel. Hill had chosen a great location, a ridge shaped slope overlooking Lake Minnetonka on both sides: the Lafayette Bay to the north, and Crystal Bay to the south. Even the President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant, came to join the celebration.

Unfortunately, the huge building caught fire in 1897 and burned to the ground. Hill carried on with his luxurious yacht, the Belle of Minnetonka, and took part competing for business on the lake. Those were the glory days of Lake Minnetonka when all the ferry boats and steam boats alike were enjoying a brisk business as the lakes hotels were attracting many summer visitors.

Now, 130 years later, the Lafayette Club is regarded as the” hidden gem”of the private clubs in the Twin City area. After the first fire, It had survived socially as a club and was rebuilt as the Minnetonka Club. Again another catastrophe struck when it also was destroyed by fire several years later.

Ultimately, the Board was forced to hire an architect to design a new structure that would be fireproof. Hewitt & Brown, a local firm of good repute, was chosen and in 1924 produced a sparkling new clubhouse of Mission Style Revival. Stepping into the clubhouse visitors today admire the classic Spanish style of the interior: the old world look of the circular fountain decorated with floral arrangements, the classic lobby furnishings, and especially the high ceiling.

Since its inception, the club has always had two upper levels; the second is still used as guest hotel rooms, the third is out of date. Looking upward, the visitor can’t help feeling the ghost of Hill looking down for approval of his new club. The Lafayette has always been considered the place to go for festive weddings, anniversaries, retirements, graduations, and all sorts of private dinner parties. The grand ballroom is the perfect hosting for unforgettable dances such as The Waltz Evening held annually led by The Golden Strings Orchestra.

In the past couple of years with the advent of the pandemic, such public celebrations have been limited according to General Manager Gregg Malsbary. But lunches and dinners continue as usual for members and guests including outdoor dining when weather permits. Through the pandemic, the golfing has been very popular, he says. This spring the tennis clubs will resume while pools remain in use for all age groups. Wedding plans can also be arranged.

While the Lafayette holds court, the city of Minnetonka Beach continues to grow and it’s history is impressive. First established by early settlers in 1855, it was incorporated as a village in 1894, thereby becoming a self governing municipality, a city. It is recognized as the smallest incorporated city in the U.S. and one of the wealthiest in the nation. Its current population is just 535 with 230 homes.

Two of its roads connect with the Lafayette Club--Northview Road and Cottage Lane. Across from the Clubs’ golf course lie two large neighborhoods overlooking Crystal Bay: the Woodbridge Road neighborhood has grown and flourished with homes of varied architectural styles ranging from contemporary to mid-century modern to Colonial Revival.

Arcola Lane is the much older more established neighborhood. A stretch of homes faces Lafayette Bay from their perch high above the highway rushing below. The first home on the lane, situated where Woodbridge road winds up from the historic bluff below, maintains its early 20th century site with a gracious large family home now beautifully updated by its owner, Michael Snow.

This historic residence was once the home of Bergmann Richards, noted historian of Minnetonka Beach and the State Historical Society. Originally designed for a family of five, Richards home was among the first lake homes to build a front porch that ran completely across the front façade, providing a fantastic view of Lake Minnetonka. Further down Arcola Lane, three Victorian homes remain, proudly showing their 19th century carvings on the facade or on the roof lines. The largest one with a great round porch facing Lafafette bay is famous for an historic event, the unforgettable day when John Philip Sousa came to entertain with his popular band.

Across highway 15 and the Arcola Bridge lies the largest part of Minnetonka Beach including Lafayette Road and Huntington Point Road. As a neighborhood, the Beach is recognized as one of the finest lakeside home settings on Lake Minnetonka. There are more than 230 homes, each one of superlative vintage and design.

Most are at least three stories allowing commanding views of the lake including Big Island, Brackett’s Point, & Robinson’s Bay. The boat slips are too numerous to count.

Around the bend those homeowners facing Lafayette Bay can hop in a boat and buzz through the narrows headed for the Upper Lake where they can enjoy cruising the landmark islands and bays near Al & Alma’s, or Lord Fletcher's.
The distinctive homes of Minnetonka Beach feature Colonial Revival, shingle style or a mixture of several styles. Eg., a 19th century home becomes a mid-century-modern. Only the new contemporary features lots of glass and straight angles, with few curves.

Even James J. Hill would have approved of Minnetonka Beach’s lakeside neighborhood and the fireproof modern Lafayette Club. Many Beach homes have open porches or terraces completely furnished with patio setting and tables. It could well be the setting for a James J. Hilll movie. Why not? That’s the talk of dreamers who say “even Bergmann would have liked that idea.”

NOTE: Bergmann Richards, a prominent attorney and distinguished historian of the 50’s, was following an old tradition as a learned amateur antiquarian who maintains close scrutiny of a specific locality. In Bergmamn’s case, it was his village of Minnetonka Beach. The results of his studies were published in 1957 in a small book, “The Early Background of Minnetonka Beach.”

Legendary Homes of Lake Minnetonka was published October 15, 2009 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press and was written by Bette Hammel with photography by Karen Melvin.

The book details 30 of the most spectacular estates on Lake Minnetonka. It retails for $49.95 and is available at your favorite book seller.

Posted in Bette Hammel
Feb. 17, 2022

Dan Gustafson Achieves Prestigous Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialist Designation

Wayzata, Minnesota February 17, 2022 – Coldwell Banker is pleased to announce that Daniel Gustafson, a real estate agent affiliated with the Wayzata office, has earned the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury ® Property Specialist designation.
The Coldwell Banker Global Luxury program is redefining the world of luxury real estate marketing, offering a comprehensive and competitive advantage to affluent clients worldwide. The prestige of the Coldwell Banker® name, combined with state-of-the-art technology and bespoke marketing strategies resulted in agents affiliated with the brand completing 27,595 $1 million-dollar-plus transactions in 2019, more than any other national real estate brand. Access to one of real estate's most robust global networks encompassing 94,000 independent real estate agents in approximately 3,000 offices in 43 countries and territories culminates in extraordinary representation that crosses oceans, continents and language barriers.
“In completing this program, Dan joins an elite group whose members rank among the top luxury real estate agents in the world. Luxury Property Specialists have a track record of representing some of the most significant properties of all time, and this training program is one of the most sought-after courses of its kind in the industry,” said Ryan Gorman, president of Coldwell Banker. “Dan embodies our credo – ‘Your luxury is our legacy.’”
The Luxury Property Specialist training program is created and delivered by the network’s top agents who share best practices for working and winning in a luxury market, and in partnership with The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing (ILHM). Dan has earned three esteemed designations (Coldwell Banker’s Luxury Property Specialist, ILHM’s Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, & the Institutes’ Million Dollar GUILD status for multiple sales transactions exceeding one million dollars), further distinguishing him from his competition, while simultaneously arming him with an exclusive suite of marketing tools.
Gustafson has already listed and or sold these exceptional properties as part of the Global Luxury program:
254 Bushaway Road in Wayzata for $2,655,000
1025 Wildhurst Trail in Orono for $1,598,000
1630 Holdridge Circle in Wayzata for $2,000,000
2615 Woodbridge Road in Minnetonka Beach for $2,200,000
2438 Lafayette Road in Minnetonka Beach for $3,025,000
Gustafson has 7 years of experience serving home buyers and sellers and provides residential real estate services in the western suburbs of Minneapolis including the Lake Minnetonka area. Gustafson has earned many awards for his sales success including the Coldwell Banker International Presdient’s Circle award in 2021.
Gustafson constantly strives to build his professional skill set in order to provide exceptional service to clients. Gustafson also specializes in lakeshore & riparian rights, new construction, and home staging.
He is a member of the Minneapolis Association of Realtors & the Minnesota Commercial Association of Realtors. He is active in the Wayzata community as a volunteer and donor with the Wayzata Athletic Boosters, the Wayzata Girls Basketball Association, and publishes Wayzata’s fastest growing periodical entitled, available on news stands all over Wayzata.
About Coldwell Banker Global Luxury®
The Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® program legacy traces its roots to 1933 and has been a world leader in luxury real estate since. Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Property Specialists are an exclusive group within the Coldwell Banker organization, making up under ten percent of independent sales associates affiliated with the brand worldwide.
Coldwell Banker affiliated agents conducted 27,595 transactions of homes priced at $1 million or more in 2019, more than any other national real estate brand. This equates to $144.4 million in sales every day with an average sales price of $1.9 million in this category.
Coldwell Banker, the Coldwell Banker logo Coldwell Banker Global Luxury and the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury logo are registered marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. DBA is owned by a subsidiary of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY), the largest full-service residential real estate services company in the United States.
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