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Along a row of historic townhome units on Minneapolis' Nicollet Island, one of the 18 units in particular gives the biggest nod to the buildings' French Second Empire style, known for eclectic architecture and decorative design.

"It's a little Gilded Age, a little a combination of things," listing agent Rob Gintner said of the 1,800-square-foot townhouse that recently hit the market.

The three-level home, which boasts a Versailles-inspired living room, features chandeliered, art-filled spaces adorned with frescos, murals, marblework and woodcarvings that transport you through the ages and across the globe.

Gintner said the owners, Jean and Harland Drumm, updated spaces in their one-bedroom, two-bath home from top to bottom during the 20 years they lived there. But the couple worked carefully to adhere to the building's listing on the National Historic Register. Jean took the lead whenever there was a project for the unit, which was built in 1877.

"She was studying to be an interior designer and spent about six or seven years curating all of this," Gintner explained. "She liked different styles and [commissioned several] artisans and works of art."

Theme by theme

Artist Jennifer Kranz said painting murals, marbleizing wood cutouts and taking on other projects at the townhome was like no other in her 35-year career.

"There isn't a space that isn't artful and so, for me, that was one of the most unique things. You couldn't take a step without seeing some form of art," she said.

Kranz, of Hastings, described her and Jean's working relationship as co-creators.

"She had a very strong vision of what she wanted to create, and a lot of it had to do with her travels," Kranz said. "Not only was it supposed to be beautiful, but it was supposed to create an experience. … she was a visionary with art and knowing how to use it in a home."

Each floor had a different theme. On the main level, an Old World European design emerged. Kranz painted a hallway mural depicting the gardens and fountains of one particular famous French residence.

"The mural was an extension of the living room, which was Versailles-inspired," she said. The sprawling landscape mural served to make the narrow hallway feel more spacious.

Kranz also painted landscapes to fit the lower-level walkout's Asian-influenced theme.

"It was a totally different style of design," the artist said.

Then there is the basement, a "baroque" wine room with custom wood-carved arches and a waterfall.

Beyond murals

While Kranz did the mural work, including what she calls an "angel babies" oil painting on the ceiling in the main gathering space, several artists were involved in enhancing the home.

Minneapolis woodcarver Erik Wyckoff did a substantial amount of custom woodwork, from the main floor powder room and basement wine room to pillar bases and paneled screens. In the kitchen, another artist designed mosaic backsplashes using precious stones such as jade. A backsplash with rams represents Jean's astrological animal sign (Aries), while another, of a lion, features Harland's (Leo).

In addition to artisan work, Gintner said, the couple carefully curated art pieces — from paintings to sculptures — as well as custom furniture.

Common themes

While each level reveals a different approach to decorating, Gintner noted the common themes found throughout. That includes contemporary amenities, such as a gas fireplace, modern appliances and custom cabinets in the kitchen to hide clutter and disguise the appliances, from the refrigerator to the microwave. The couple also spared no expense in preserving original hardwood floors and adding luxury finishes, such as marble flooring in the bathrooms.

Jean has passed, and Harland is no longer living in the unique home. As part of the estate, Gintner said, the family is including the furniture and art pieces in the listing price. Between the renovations, artwork and furnishings, the listing agent, said the couple spent $3 million on the home, and there's paperwork to back it up. "She kept receipts for every piece of artwork that was commissioned, every ceiling chandelier that was put up, everything that was done," he said.

For artists such as Kranz, what's also special is that she got to know Jean, who was so pleased with the work Kranz had done.

"The last thing I did for Jean was marbleize the trim in the front entry. She called me to thank me for helping her create what was her perfect environment that was a dream come true," Kranz recalled. "She said, 'I am happy every day because of the art that I have surrounded myself with.'"

Rob Gintner (; 612-712-1168) of True Real Estate has the $1.2 million listing.