1910 Prairie Schoolhouse on Mount Curve in Minneapolis cost $2.85 million

Throughout George Maher’s career, from the late 1800s through the 1920s, he was part of an enclave of well-known Prairie School-style architects, apprenticed at Silsbee and Kent in Chicago at the time Frank Lloyd Wright and George Grant Elmslie were draftsmen. .

Maher then imagined famous estates for prominent families, including the Winton family. The lumber magnates commissioned the Chicago-based architect to design their 1910 Lowry Hill mansion on Curve Mountain in which Jim and Shahnaz Costa now live and which continues to be studied for its design.

“Like his colleagues at the Prairie School, he believed that architectural form should follow function and that American architects should strive to create a new vocabulary of form,” reads an excerpt from the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s Lake of the Isles Tour highlighting nine Minneapolis homes of architectural significance.

“The Winton House, based on a Maher house designed for Charles and Helen Winton in Wausau [Wis.], reflects Maher’s ideals of symmetry, mass, and centralization. Its overhanging eaves, low, horizontal roofline and entryway are typical features of the Prairie style. »

Prairie Style Features

Like his contemporaries, Maher used Prairie style features such as horizontal lines, patterns, and natural materials.

Maher preferred symmetry in his creations, predominant throughout the Costa house. The living room has floor to ceiling windows at opposite ends of the room. The living room and master bedroom have central fireplaces with two sets of double doors on either side that lead to four season porches. Even sconces in an upstairs hallway are designed to hold two bulbs – one up, one down – for symmetry.

Maher also incorporated unifying elements. In the case of the Mount Curve house, poppy flower patterns can be found in windows and leaded light fixtures throughout. “Poppies [on the stained glass] turn blue or peachy depending on the time of day and how the sun hits it,” Jim said. “It is a very complete house.

He added that the house also benefited from having a large logging family behind it.

“Because this house was commissioned by the Winton family, you can imagine what beautiful pieces of wood products have been incorporated into the house,” Jim said. “The house has this very beautiful quarter-sawn mahogany and oak wood.”

Preserve its integrity

The Costas appreciated that the house had been carefully preserved.

At one point in its history, architectural designer Elizabeth Hyatt, behind several notable historic homes, notably in the Lake of the Isles-Lowry Hill area, lived in the house with her husband, Henry.

“The Hyatts remodeled the house after they had lived there for several years,” Jim said. “It is significant to have Elizabeth’s hand in this historic house. … As old as this house is, it is in remarkable condition.”

While living there, the Hyatts were also in contact with the Minneapolis Institute of Art. They donated pieces such as three poppy flower window panels along a kitchen wall which are now on display at the museum. Additionally, the Hyatts have made the museum the steward of some notable items currently in the house, such as the light fixtures.

“They wanted to make sure the history of the house was preserved,” Jim said.

The Costas have also maintained the home, making improvements such as adding landscaping including a perennial garden and fruit trees, upgrading the stucco exterior with fresh paint in a more rich, placing a retaining wall and updating the roof. Inside, they updated the kitchen and interior finishes.

“We just want to make sure it’s maintained,” Jim said. “But the condition of this house is in amazing condition. It really doesn’t need a lot of updates.”


Now that their children are grown, the Costas are downsizing.

So, after eight years, they listed the seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom home covering 10,400 square feet. The half-acre lot also includes a four-storey shed/garage, with a finished apartment on the second level and two underground floors.

Listing agent Meredith Howell said that in addition to the home’s rich history, the place offers many amenities such as a third-floor recreation room with a kitchenette and an entertainment and exercise room on the lower level. The chef’s kitchen has two refrigerators, two dishwashers and three sinks. The master suite includes a fireplace, sleeping porch, en-suite bathroom and walk-in closet.

She added that the extent of home preservation is not something one encounters every day. “I love that her story has been embraced and things have been kept,” Howell said.

The Costas said a new owner would appreciate the quality of the design and construction of the home, not to mention its timeless nature.

“It has a modern feel as there is a lot of square design [elements]. The design feels current despite being 110 years old,” Jim said, adding that despite its size, the house looks quaint between the layout and details such as the pocket doors that allow rooms to be closed off. “It’s a hybrid of an open layout but still there are compartmentalized and generous rooms.”

Shahnaz said the home is ideal for entertaining, especially in spaces such as the formal dining room. “It’s just beautiful with all the original woodwork, fixtures and cabinetry and how it looks on Minneapolis,” she said.

For the Costas, they hope that the next owners will carry on the tradition of its former inhabitants.

“The guy who sold it to us when he was leaving said he considered himself the caretaker of the house. We feel the same way. We are just happy to have had the opportunity to live there and preserve,” Jim said. . “We have enjoyed living in the house and hope to pass it on to future caretakers who appreciate architecture and design as much as we do.”

Meredith Howell ([email protected]; 612-940-4566) of the Global Luxury division of Coldwell Banker Realty, holds the $2.85 million SEO.

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