« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Anna G. Larson, Published May 25 2013

$1.3 million Lake Lida property offers lake view from almost every angle

PELICAN RAPIDS, Minn. - Lake Lida greets Phyllis and Dick Gilbert the minute they walk through the front door of their lake home.

Panoramic views from custom windows that stretch nearly the height and width of the walls in the main living area set the mood for the rest of the Gilberts’ $1.3 million 5,432-square-foot property that went on the market April 1.

The Gilberts are selling the lake home because they spend most of their time in Arizona. Phyllis says it will be difficult to leave the property since they had a hand in every detail when it was built in 2000.

“We just put our heart and soul into this,” she says.

Ideas for the lake home came from the Gilberts’ clipping file they’d been adding to since their marriage 48 years ago. When they purchased the lake front property, architect Tony Stoll of bhh Partners (formerly Baker+Hogan+Houx) in Perham fashioned their file into a real home.

One of the Gilberts’ main desires when they built the home was to have a lake view from almost every room in the house. Stoll succeeded, Phyllis says. Nearly every room, even rooms on the lower level, has a view of the lake.

“No matter where you are, you never leave the lake,” says Steve Backstrom of Coldwell Banker Preferred Partners. Steve and his wife, Barb Backstrom, are the Gilberts’ real estate agents.

“If you walk in the front door, and you can see the water, you have a good lake home,” Steve says.

Almost every room also has a walk out, and the railings on the porches have clear glass so the lake view isn’t blocked.

Privacy was important to the Gilberts, so the large lot is secluded from neighbors by trees. Although it has a private feel, it’s only five minutes from town, which is the best of both worlds, Phyllis says.

“You don’t want to have to drive 20 minutes for a loaf of bread,” she says.

Besides privacy and lake views, the home’s ample storage and smart design maximize the space. For example, in the kitchen, drawers are wide enough for placemats so they aren’t folded or scrunched; a pop-up vent comes out of the counter top by the stove so the lake view isn’t disturbed by an overhanging vent; the dishwasher is higher than average for easier loading; corner cabinets have Lazy Susans for easy access; and a special drawer was designed to hold recipe cards in order to avoid recipe box clutter.

While the house features high-end touches like granite counter tops, custom cabinetry and custom windows, the warm wood, calming color palette and outdoor views create a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. The furniture was custom designed to fit the space so it wouldn’t feel cold and impersonal, Phyllis says.

“I would describe it as a friendly house – a great house for entertaining,” she says. “It’s a happy house.”

Phyllis says she and Dick entertain often, and the house can comfortably sleep 14 people, which is why she imagines a family, a retired couple or someone who likes to entertain buying the house.

The property’s been on the market about two months, and real estate agent Steve Backstrom says that now, since the snow is melted, people are buying lake properties. Lake homes and lake lots are selling especially fast this year due to low interest rates and people’s desire for investment properties, he says.

“It’s busier than ever at this point. People have waited long enough to see where the bottom is on prices, and now they’re coming out and picking up things as investments,” Steve says. “That’s a good sign.”

Properties priced at more than $1 million aren’t “out of the question” like they used to be, he adds.

“The budget is not out of range anymore for a lot of people – there’s a lot of money coming back from western North Dakota,” he says.

Compared to 25 years ago, Steve says that potential buyers are much more educated about properties because of the information available on the Internet. Twenty-five years ago, the Backstroms used to show a property 12 times, on average, before a sale. Today, they average about two showings per sale because people know what they want, come prepared and don’t want to waste time, Steve says.

Lake properties are priced according to factors like lake value (different lakes have different values), lot size, the structure on the lot and lakeshore location, he says.

“Everybody is looking for the best they can get in their budget,” Steve says. “The bottoms keep going up all the time, and the top – obviously there’s no end to that. It’s just a matter of how large your lot is and how big your budget is to put it all together.”

The large square footage, land value and quality of the Gilberts’ lake home play into its $1.3 million price tag. Steve says that the property is “the ultimate lake home or retirement home in Minnesota.”

“You’d never get bored, and there’s a lot of space,” he says. “If it’s in your budget, this is what everyone wants.”

The Gilberts will miss their lake home, but Phyllis says she hopes someone new can appreciate the time and heart invested in the home.

“I can’t think of one thing to do differently,” she says. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”


Gilbert house by the numbers

Price: $1.3 million

Location: Lake Lida in Otter Tail County, five minutes from Pelican Rapids

Lot size: 5.1 acres (an additional 56 acres are up for sale)

Feet of lake shore: 530

Home square footage: 5,432

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 2½

Fireplaces: 2

Kitchens: 2

Other: heated floors, energy efficient throughout, large laundry room, three-car garage, wet bar off kitchen, private workshop separate from main house, security system, more than $100,000 in landscaping

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525