You can still see where the horses poked their heads through the stable stalls in Carol Ahlstrand’s English Tudor-style home.
Today the square openings serve as illuminated art niches created by Ahlstrand, the homeowner and an interior designer.
But a century ago, the Tudor was a carriage house and stables for the Lake Minnetonka summer retreat of George Van Dusen, the grain storage magnate.
The Van Dusen family subdivided the 10 acres in the 1970s, and the carriage house and connected stable were converted into a single-family home.
Ahlstrand bought the 7,626-square-foot stone and stucco residence in 2001. “It felt like such a jewel in the rough,” she said. “I knew it could be made into something magical.”
Since then, she’s undertaken a top-to-bottom renovation, completed in phases over several years. “I redesigned and updated every room,” she said.
The five-bedroom, five-bathroom manor sits on 1 acre near Smithtown Bay in Victoria, and is on the market for $2.173 million.
That “jewel” echoed the English Tudor architectural style of the adjacent Van Dusen lakeside summer mansion, which burned down in 2010.
“The Van Dusens were Anglophiles who loved English architecture and history,” said Ahlstrand.
In the foyer, parts of exposed stone walls hinted that there was much more to be found. Ahlstrand eventually unearthed 100-year-old boulders, which had been concealed by drywall, paneling, wallpaper and paint. “It was like an archeological dig discovering all these layers,” she said.
After finding some of the stone walls covered in soot, she guessed that the stories were true about people having parties and building fires in the once-vacant house.
Ahlstrand had all the stone sandblasted and acid-washed before redesigning the spaces. “The renovation was a labor of love — or hate — depending on the day,” she said.
For the interiors, she preserved some of the century-old character, such as the chunky ceiling beams and walnut paneling, while “freshening it with contemporary art and accessories to give it a pop,” she said.
The remodeled kitchen and adjacent hearth room bridge the past with high-tech comfort. Appliances include a European AGA range and a Subzero refrigerator, which is hidden behind walnut panels.
“I wanted to keep the integrity of a warm and cozy English home — but have today’s amenities,” she said.
Now that her daughters have left the nest, Ahlstrand would like to take on a new design challenge, albeit in a smaller home.
“I had a ball doing it,” she said. “I hope the next owner loves it as much as I did.”
• Vintage wavy seeded glass salvaged from a Summit Avenue house divides the casual and formal dining areas.
• Master suite is appointed with a fireplace in the bedroom and heated floors and sauna in the bathroom.
• Landscaped grounds of English country and formal gardens.
• Spacious outdoor entertaining areas including a stone fireplace and patio seating sheltered by a large pergola.
• Property comes with a private sandy beach and deeded access with a dock slip on Smithtown Bay on Lake Minnetonka.
• The whole-house renovation included new electrical wiring, plumbing and HVAC system.
• Seven miles from downtown Excelsior and four miles from the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.
Kathy and Melissa Murphy, Edina Realty, 612-328-4039, have the listing.