MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It is one of the most alluring homes on Lake Minnetonka. The historic 32,000 square foot Pillsbury Estate on Brackett’s Point sits on 13 acres.

The $24 million price tag makes it the most expensive home for sale in Minnesota. The value may be rooted in the history of the property and the two families who have called Southways home.

WCCO got a rare look at the sprawling estate.

Southways sits south-a-ways on Brackett’s Point. The estate, built as John and Eleanor Pillsbury’s summer home in 1918, commands 13 acres of Lake Minnetonka’s most prominent point. Realtor Meredith Howell knows the home, and the family history, well.

“They had six children,” she said. “They wanted the house to be a welcoming house and more of a living-type house, grand but not ostentatious. And when you come into the entry way, it’s intentionally intimate. You’ll notice you can see the lake from three points. The ‘signature view’ is at the end of the long gallery.”

(credit: Southways)

(credit: Southways)

To the east “is the living room, the main room of the house, and it is patterned after a 17th century drawing room in England,” Howell said.

Well-known architect Harrie Lindeberg wanted the walls to be the beige color it is now.

“Mrs. Pillsbury had her own ideas, and she wanted it to be green,” Howell said.

Italian walnut walls in the library were hand-carved by local artisans. The dining room is formal, yet inviting, and an intimate breakfast room.

“It’s designed in the shape of a gazebo. When you look at the floor, you see all the blue tiles that are laid in wave-like format to replicate the waves of the water,” Howell said.

The home is steeped in history. Pictures on the wall show the Pillsbury children and, later, their families.

“They hosted heads of state, both domestic presidents and international, but Mrs. Pillsbury like to have it remembered most as being a home for her children,” Howell said.

The home that meant so much to one of Minnesota’s pioneering families was sold in 1992, after Eleanor died at 104.

Former hedge fund manager Jim Jundt and his wife, Joann, bought Southways. The couple, well-known in philanthropic circles, renovated the home, pouring tens of millions of dollars in to winterize and restore it.

“They appreciated the history of it, and they wanted to bring it up to the 21st century and have it be just as it was, except obviously updated,” Howell said.

The Jundts combined upstairs bedrooms to make a grand master suite accompanied by a sitting room, his and her dressing rooms, complete with murals on the ceiling, and a leather floor in the “his.”

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

There are seven bedrooms, 13 bathrooms. One of the bedrooms that remained is the Princess Suite.

“It hosted the prince and princess of Sweden and their young son Bertil in 1938,” Howell said.

On the lower level, an authentic temperature-controlled European wine cellar was added, poised to hold some 6,000 bottles. And there’s a spa and exercise area.

The doors on the main floor open to a breathtaking view of Lake Minnetonka. The grounds are meticulously kept and picturesque pathways surround the property. A pool and pool house now complement the tennis court. The caretaker’s apartment is a short distance away.

The landmark property has been on the market since 2007. Howell began showing it to potential buyers a few years later, and she has high hopes for the next owner.

“I hope it’s somebody who understands the architecture, understands the history and will carry on the legacy of what the Pillsburys and the Jundts have done,” Howell said.

The sale in 1992 was the largest of its kind in Minnesota history, at $5 million. Howell said this next sale, whenever it happens, will trump every sale in the state before it.

Jennifer Mayerle

Comments (6)