It's still 1970 in this 'time capsule' home in Minnetonka

Kim Palmer, Star Tribune
·2 min read

About 50 years ago, a Twin Cities area art maven hired a prominent architect to design a modern home for her.

The architect, Arthur Dickey, collaborated closely with client Lois Berman on the house, and she loved everything about it, said her son Joshua Wert, one of four children she raised in the Minnetonka home.

It was a big house — 5,500 square feet — made up of three modules connected by a two-story atrium or breezeway. The five-bedroom house featured soaring vaulted ceilings, clerestory windows and swanky walnut built-ins, including a floating coat closet in the front entry.

It's easy to picture Don Draper of "Mad Men" shaking a martini in the living room in front of the dramatic two-sided brick fireplace with its cantilevered hearth.

Growing up in the house was "amazing," Wert said. "It's such a visual feast, with so much to look at and so many different colored woods — like being surrounded by an architectural forest."

The house even has an indoor pool. "It was the party house for birthdays," Wert recalled.

Dickey, who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright, incorporated a lot of triangle motifs into Berman's house.

"That was a common theme in his homes," Wert said.

Dickey, a prolific architect, designed more than 300 Twin Cities area residences, including a modern Minneapolis house shaped like the star of David.

Dickey even designed the modern stained-glass panels in the front entry of Berman's house.

She lived in the house for more than five decades and never changed a thing, Wert said. "She took care of the house impeccably. It's a time capsule she never updated."

Well, except for the wallpaper.

When Wert lived at home, "Every room had psychedelic, insane wallpaper," he said. Now just the master bath sports its original wild, groovy patterns and colors. "It's the only one left."

Even the rubber tree plants growing in the atrium's built-in planter are original to the home, Wert said.

Berman recently moved into a senior living community, and is preparing to sell her longtime home.

"It took 50 years to get her out of there," said Wert. "She loves it. It's hard for her to let go of the house."

He's overseeing some freshening-up projects with the aim of putting the house on the market in the summer.

The family hasn't selected a broker yet or set a price, but Wert has shown the home to a few interested parties. One of them wanted to paint all the woodwork white and remove the brick and copper fireplace, which did not go over well.

"We want to find the right next steward," said Wert.

Interested parties can contact Joshua Wert via e-mail, joshua@joshuawert.com.

Kim Palmer • 612-673-4784 @stribkimpalmer