Prairie-style home near Bde Maka Ska with view of Minneapolis skyline lists for $1.139 million

Kimberly James will never forget the ice rink her father made in the backyard each winter or her family cooking over the wood-burning fireplace in their living room during the summers.

"My favorite part of the house is the kitchen — there's the table where we made Christmas cookies," she said. "Then there's the fireplace that had a barbeque grill my dad built into it. Every Friday night [in the summers], he would cook there."

It's with a heavy heart that her family decided to list the beloved four-bedroom, two-bath home in south Minneapolis. After the death of her parents, Benjamin and Donna Faus, she and her siblings decided they wanted to pass it on to a new family to enjoy.

Situated just blocks from Bde Maka Ska, the 3,050-square-foothome has one of the best views in the city, said brother Fritz Faus.

"My dad always said he'd rather have a tent on a beautiful lot rather than a mansion on one that's not so attractive," Fritz said. "It's absolutely beautiful here — you can see downtown. Living here is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Design inspiration

A longtime Minneapolis firefighter, their father built the home in 1955, James said. Armed with knowledge attained at the library, a pick he used to dig the foundation and a little bit of help from his father, Benjamin built the house.

Designing it after Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie-style architecture, Benjamin focused on making the home feel spacious by limiting the number of walls on the main floor and using wide windows to highlight the nature outside. In the center is a fireplace made of gray limestone, and all around are sights of the downtown Minneapolis skyline and Bde Maka Ska. The outside is made out of a type of redwood that's no longer in production, Fritz said.

"It feels like a piece of art because of its well-thought-out design," said listing agent Pamela Hendrickson. "We felt it was way ahead of its time because in the ′50s people weren't doing these types of floor plans."

It was a haven for Benjamin and his wife, Donna, an artist whose artworks were displayed around the home.

"My grandma loved to paint in the basement," said granddaughter Madeline Faus. "She would be set up to paint by the window."

Since the home was built, the family was careful to preserve the Frank Lloyd Wright-esque design amid renovations. All the hardwood floors are freshly sanded and stained, plus there's new carpeting and appliances. When the primary bedroom was getting an update, they further brought nature inside by putting in vaulted ceilings.

"There's been a lot of great upgrades, but we wanted to keep the original design," Madeline said. "We did a good job of keeping the original integrity of the design and enhanced it to make it look better."

'Best garden'

Benjamin and Donna enjoyed gardening and frequently could be seen on the lawn on a nice summer day. They won awards from the city for best garden, Faus said. They planted native wildflowers in the yard. And then when daughter James wanted to get married at the house, they planted dozens of colorful flowers for her big day.

In the back, the couple made a patio and a small pond. The gardens could be enjoyed inside, too, whether it was in the bedrooms, living room or even kitchen because of the numerous windows.

"They put their own creativity into their gardens," James said of her parent's love of landscaping. "The kitchen has multiple windows in it and it feels like you're outside. … You can see the garden and it feels like you're in nature all year long."

Anne Renstrom (763-639-3349, and Pamela Hendrickson (612-226-1788, of Century 21 Premier Group has the $1.139 million listing.