Fountains, courtyards and gardens with 100-year-old vines. Curved ceilings, rounded walls and wrought iron details.
Such a home might be expected in the Tuscan countryside, but this one is on Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis.
Now the 7,000-square-foot house in the 2200 block of East Lake of the Isles Pkwy. is on the market.
Listing agent Bruce Birkeland said the home is unique in more ways than one.
"It's three-quarters of an acre which makes it one of the largest lots on the lake. I think it's maybe only rivaled by only two others," he said. "What's also remarkable about this house is the romantic nature of the architecture and the grounds. You have these hidden gardens. A pool house. It's walled in. It feels very authentic, European-Mediterranean."
The home also has five bedrooms and four bathrooms and includes an outdoor pool and pool house with a kitchenette, bathroom and upper-level balcony with lake vistas.
"You can sit on top of the pool house and have phenomenal views of the lake," said homeowner Tim Barber
The Barbers are selling because they want to be closer to where their daughter attends school in Eagan. The fifth homeowners of the home, Barber said the property was not always in the grand Italian style that it is today.
In fact, the original home was an English Tudor built in 1911. Seven years later, the property changed hands and the second homeowners took on a major renovation and expansion of the property, buying a vacant lot next door to build a pool and pool house.
The house grew in size and changed in looks, to an architecture reminiscent of medieval Italian villas.
"They redesigned the whole thing and added a massive music room with wood-paneled, high ceilings," Barber said. "They made the house for entertaining. The whole first floor was designed for parties and entertainment purposes right down to the coat closet."
Italian touches include a pergola with 100-year-old grapevines. Stucco and tile roofing, marble flooring and pillars as well as curved walls and ceilings give evidence of Italian-inspired design details. Medieval influences prevalent in Italianate architecture can also be found in the wrought iron fixtures as well as the brick and stonework.
Barber said anyone who comes through will be drawn to the handcrafted details and custom work.
"All that woodwork and tile flooring ... everything back then was done by hand. When you look at it, you appreciate more the level of detail and the work that went into it by all of the artists involved," he said.
Since moving into the home in 2010, Barber and his family have given several of the spaces an update. The pool and the pool house have been restored. A once-defunct outdoor entertainment area with a shuffleboard court has been revived.
The kitchen also got a major makeover that added a center island, granite countertops and top-end appliances. A wall was knocked down to incorporate an existing breakfast nook.
Barber's favorite room changes with the seasons.
In the winters, it's the TV room in the finished basement where there's a "massive" wood-burning fireplace and a grotto ceiling, exposed beams, brick and terrazzo flooring as well as wrought iron fixtures.
In the summer, it's all about alfresco living.
"For me, the highlight of the house is the gardens. And then in the summer, you can enjoy the pool with the pool house, which opens up to that whole entertainment area," he said. "There are so many unique places in the yard."
Barber said the home is a calming space for anyone who spends time there, as was the case for him and his family.
"It's a very private place," he said. "There's lilac edging and a tall wall. You're in the city and smack dab in the middle of everything, but you don't hear traffic. Any noise just fades away. You feel like you're coming home to an oasis."
In other words, it's amore.