Anne and Tobias’ Midcentury Gem is All in the Family

It wasn’t an inheritance, as you might expect. The house was on the market for the second time in 2009 when Anne Healy Shapiro called her mother to tell her that she and husband Tobias were going to look at a house on Mooney Lake. Her mother grew up on the lake and wanted to join the pair to see which home it was.

When the couple arrived, they found Anne’s mother in front of the house, weeping. It was, indeed, the home Anne’s grandfather, Carlos Nestler, built in 1950 with the help of noted architects Dale McEnary and Edwin W. Krafft of McEnary & Krafft of Minneapolis. Tobias cautioned against letting the seller know their history with the house, lest they show their negotiating hand, but eventually the owner learned the story—and accepted their offer despite a higher bid.

The move from a Crocus Hill Craftsman was a bit of a shock—“We sold the Stickley furniture and the four-poster bed,” Anne says—but they stuck to the plan because they fell in love with the house and the story behind it.

Shaprio_Living-Room_G
(Wing Ta)

Both Anne and Tobias have design chops: The husband-and-wife team makes a living scouting locales for films, commercials, and photo shoots. Years ago, Anne took a vacation from the WCCO news desk to help a friend scout for The Mighty Ducks and never returned. As she scoured church basements for the Coen brothers, Tobias was rehabbing high-end apartments in Paris, plucking eye-catching finds from auctions in Belgium.

Their viewpoints come together beautifully in the home. Oversized French versions of the Papa Chair flank the living-room fireplace—they’re teal now, but the couple is inspired by a hot-pink Rothko painting and may be reupholstering them. Tobias is “more adventurous with color,” Anne says, but she also notes she chose the pop-of-coral floral wallpaper in the laundry room.

They’ve done a bit of remodeling: removing the popcorn ceiling, redoing the kitchen, and repainting rooms up to five times apiece to get the color right. The décor marries past and present, with an Eames recliner, Guzzini light, and other midcentury touches punctuated by bold abstract paintings and photographs of the couple’s beloved horses and dogs.

Anne pulls out photos of the home’s groundbreaking, of her grandmother watching warily. “She’s like ‘What have I gotten myself into?’” She says, laughing. “But you know, for a conservative German man, my grandfather really had a lot of foresight.” He certainly did: He signed and dated the original blueprints on Anne’s birthday, as though he knew she’d be coming.

Stylemaker: Anne & Tobias Shapiro

Favorite place to shop in the Twin Cities
Uptown—I love getting cookies at Lucia’s. We’re looking for a living-room couch at Roam.

Favorite hidden gem
H & B Gallery. I took my mother-in-law there—she’s from Manhattan—and she was like a kid in a candy store! If you know what you’re looking for, you can win the lottery at that place.

Favorite Room
The porch. You can hear the wind and see the lake, and the grill’s out there. I can imagine my grandfather grilling steaks for everybody.


(Wing Ta)

Eames molded plywood chair, Arne Jacobsen wall sconces, oriental rug, and art from Paris create the midcentury, cosmopolitan vibe. (Wing Ta)

(Wing Ta)

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