We Found a Century-Old, 'Magical' Mediterranean for Sale -- in Minnesota

Think of Minnesota and you're likely to imagine 10,000 lakes, woodsy forests, and bone-chilling winters. That's what makes this French Mediterranean -- style estate a warm and welcome departure. Located on a 2.8-mile lake close to downtown Minneapolis, the five-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom home is listed for $4.5 million.

"The word that most people use to describe the house is 'magical,'" says Bruce Birkeland, listing agent with Coldwell Banker Burnet. Birkeland, who has spent time in the south of France, believes the house could just as easily be in Europe.

The home's acreage sets it apart from the other homes around the lake, he says. "What's rare about it, too, is the land size. It's really large."

On the estate, grapevines curl over a pergola, which is supported by grand columns, and a water feature is built into the pool. There's also an ornately tiled fountain with a statue on top in the backyard.

Inside, the grand home has tile flooring and an elegant staircase in the entryway. The living room has a fireplace and wood-beam ceiling. There's also a fireplace in each of the two sitting rooms, and the dining room offers views of the gardens. Built-in bookcases and arched doorways can be found throughout the home.

Built in 1911, the home mimics a lavish style common in estates across the U.S. a century ago, says Birkeland. "It had the pool, the pool house, the fountains, the 100-year-old grapevines, the art collection," he adds. A tiered rooftop deck, one-bedroom carriage house, and wine cellar also make the home seem more Old World than American. But there are also modern touches, including an outdoor pizza oven.

Although the home's located in a tight-knit community in an urban setting, the landscape design shields it from the view of others. "You have both the privacy -- it's completely walled-in -- as well as a green wall. It's extraordinarily private," says Birkeland.

The sellers -- a family with young children -- have lived in the home for five years. Previous owners held on to the home for 25 years and 50 years each, says Birkeland.

As for who will purchase this taste of France located in oft-chilly Minnesota? It'll most likely be a buyer who expects to entertain guests regularly.

"It's a wonderful entertaining house. It has been owned by couples who used it for entertaining," Birkeland says. Despite the formal atmosphere, "it's light and bright."