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Innkeepers Tom and Sandy Lynum will check in guests and lock the front door with a century-old skeleton key for the last time after they sell the Sauntry Mansion. The couple's 1880s bed-and-breakfast in Stillwater is now on the market for $1.2 million.

The fanciful Queen Anne Victorian, built by lumber baron William Sauntry, offers nearly 7,000 square feet of early 19th century genteel living. The Lynums bought the B&B in 1999 for its quaint small-town location and affordability.

"It was a diamond in the rough," said Tom. Over the past 20 years, the couple has restored, refreshed and redesigned just about every surface and space.

The sprawling wraparound front porch and pristine decorative architectural elements, such as dentil trim and carved pediments, illustrate the Lynums' attention to authenticity and preservation of historical character.

Inside, original flora motif stained-glass windows, stenciling on the ceilings and Victorian-style fireplace tile inspired period-appropriate updates. They couple tackled and redid each guest room, one at a time, with the color schemes and patterns from stained glass and vintage wallcoverings providing the blueprint.

"We look at what's original and try to enhance and build around that," said Tom.

"We make the original handpainted ceiling the centerpiece of the room," added Sandy.

The Victorian Inn garnered a big spread in Larry Millett's "Minnesota's Own: Preserving our Grand Homes," and is on the National Register of Historic Places. "This house does a fantastic job of capturing a piece of history," said Tom.

The B& B has five guest rooms named after Sauntry family members, but they would never recognize them today.

The bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms have Swedish steam showers, double whirlpool tubs, gas fireplaces, wireless remote, and one's even equipped with a wet bar.

"The expectations of guests have changed," said Tom. "When we bought the house, it was an Old Victorian with doilies."

Two years ago, the Lynums remodeled the kitchen, adding cherry cabinets and a reproduction Victorian-style tin ceiling. But they made sure to keep the frosted-glass pass-through used by servants a century ago.

The couple live in the 1,500-square-foot owners' attic suite, which was a billiards room a century ago. It's air-conditioned and includes two bedrooms, a bathroom, sitting room and sewing area.

The ¾-acre grounds are landscaped with a fountain surrounded by gardens and a terrace.

The mansion includes eight bedrooms and eight bathrooms and is just three blocks from Stillwater's historic Main Street.

However, the sale price is for the house and property only. The business and furniture will be sold for an additional amount.

The Lynums' B&B has been the site of countless anniversary, wedding and birthday celebrations, and the couple has made lifelong friends through the business. "Many famous local people have stayed here," said Sandy, declining to name names.

They'll both miss the wraparound porch, which is "the best place to hang out in Stillwater even when its raining," said Sandy.

However, the couple said they've completed every project on their list, and now they plan to travel.

"It's time for a younger version of Tom and Sandy to come in and put their stamp on the mansion," said Tom. "And hopefully be mindful of its history and do what they can to preserve it."

Jennifer Kirby, Kirby Fine Homes, 651-785-3400, has the listing.

Moorish Palace next door for sale

The 1881 Queen Anne William Sauntry Mansion, a $1.2 million B&B in Stillwater.
The 1881 Queen Anne William Sauntry Mansion, a $1.2 million B&B in Stillwater.

Another one-of-a-kind property with a William Sauntry connection is for sale next door to the Sauntry Mansion.

In 1902, Sauntry built the structure as a "gymnasium" or recreation hall, which he used for entertaining. It was modeled after the Alhambra, the legendary 14th-century palace in Granada, Spain. Years later, the Moorish party palace was converted into a triplex. The current homeowners have restored it to its former glory.

The 7,000-square-foot, four-bedroom home is on the market for $1.5 milliom.

Richard McDonough, RM Realty, has the listing.