Land, lakeshore and a convenient location are a hard combination to find in the Twin Cities.
Jeff and Mary Werbalowsky scored all three when they moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota in 1991.
“My dream was to be on a lake,” said Jeff. “I love water.”
After looking at multiple homes, they decided to check out a house on Mirror Lake in Edina. As soon as Jeff saw the lake, the majestic oak trees and the huge private lot, he knew he was home.
“We came down the driveway, and I said, ‘I hope you like the house,’” he recalled.
The house also charmed the couple. Built in 1920 in English Arts & Crafts style, it was loaded with original handcrafted details, including blacksmith hinges, Gothic arches and stained-glass windows.
The Werbalowskys raised their three children in the house, adding lots of kid-friendly features, including a large L-shaped indoor pool with a giant projector screen for watching games or movies, a paddle tennis court, a skateboard ramp and an underwater-themed playroom.
“This house was the party house when the kids were in school,” said Jeff.
His own favorite activity is paddleboarding on the lake, which he does almost every morning during warmer months.
Over the years, the Werbalowskys made many enhancements to their lake home in the city. They expanded and remodeled the kitchen, creating a breakfast nook and adjacent laundry room. They added a large stone patio overlooking the lake, and a hot tub with a heated concrete floor.
Above the garage, they added a two-bedroom guest apartment with a deck facing the lake. “It’s like you’re up in the trees,” said Jeff.
A large addition 11 years ago created space for the pool, and above it a conservatory, and an office with big windows to frame lake views.
Jeff, who likes to garden, planted apple trees and raspberry vines, and added a greenhouse where he grows tomatoes and citrus fruit year-round.
All improvements were carefully designed to preserve the original character of the home. “They kept the English cottage look,” said listing agent Susan Wahman, Edina Realty. “They used an architect and worked very hard not to screw up the architecture.”
Now that their kids are grown, the couple are ready to downsize to a condo. “We need something smaller,” said Jeff. But he’ll miss his garden and doing laps in the pool. Most of all, “I’ll miss Mirror Lake.”
The home’s expansive grounds, its waterfront setting and its location, close to the city yet still a secluded retreat, are a rare trifecta, noted Wahman. “It’s very private. There are a lot of estates tucked back in there that nobody knows about.”
The estate, including the guest cottage, offers more than 13,000 square feet of living space, with eight bedrooms, nine bathrooms and six fireplaces.