The renovation of this stunning 1929 house near Minneapolis paid tribute to its original characteristics while updating it to function a large family with contemporary needs. Interior designer Renée Hallberg of RLH Studio worked closely with the architects and builders to make sure the spacious house was functional and beautiful. Most important, she worked closely with the clients, who already had bits that they wanted to utilize.
After working on the job for a couple of decades, Hallberg had all the inside decor installed in two weeks while the family was out on holiday. They arrived home to a major show.
in a Glance
Who lives here: A couple, their four kids and two dogs
Location: Orono, Minnesota
That’s interesting: A wall mural at the dining area matches one that Jackie Kennedy picked for the White House.
The initial entry was so spectacular that very few alterations were made. “We preserved and reused millwork, doors, hardware and light fittings where we could,” says Hallberg.
The present oak floors were stained a dark chocolate tone, and Hallberg brought from the antique chandelier. The molding, staircase, banister and other architectural fittings are original to the house.
The checkboard marble floor from the front entrance, popular from the 1920s, inspired a number of the decisions made throughout the house.
The initial large kitchen has been gutted and cut up into a string of little utilitarian rooms. The clients really like to cook and entertain, and the family gathers for meals as far as possible.
The flooring tiles are porcelain, a practical material for a busy kitchen.
Backsplash: Grammercy Park at Heirloom White, Walker Zanger; hood: custom; stools: Ballard Designs in custom cloth
Custom cabinetry comprises glass fronts that show off favourite products. The large island is sized to the scale of the kitchen and the large family.
Cabinet colour: Cloud White, Benjamin Moore; countertops: Mystery White marble; pendants: Vaughan
Two other essential members of the family spend a lot of time at the kitchen, Charity and B.B.. The pillow on their bed nook is covered in indoor-outdoor fabric for durability.
A great deal of time can be spent at the breakfast area, in which the kids do their homework. Hallberg had the clients’ existing chairs reupholstered and had a customized table top made for the base base. The banquette on the right was covered in ultrasuede, which stands up well to wear and tear. The chandelier combines old-world iron, beads and some enjoyable deco waves right to a 1929 house.
Chandelier: Mason by Lamplight Designs; curtain fabric: Scalamandre
The star of this pantry space is the German silver sink, which is original to the home but has been formerly placed elsewhere. The entire team worked hard to make it fit into this region.
Valance: custom, with fabric by Schumacher
Initial features, the clients’ own furnishings and Hallberg’s improvements create a beautiful dining area. “Between the dining table, buffet and walls, the area was dominated by wood and white,” says Hallberg. She included a customized Stark rug and chairs wrapped in a striped fabric. She freshened up the corner closets by painting the backgrounds blue and installing lighting indoors.
Chandeliers: Dennis and Leen via Holly Hunt; Hepplewhite chairs: 1stdibs; wall sconces: original to the house; buffet: clients’ own
The dining area mural, Vues d’Amérique du Nord, is original to the home and has quite a pedigree. It’s hand-blocked on canvas and has been created by French firm Zuber et Cie. Jackie Kennedy used the exact same mural from the White House, where it still hangs today.
While the mural was a valuable bit, the sky was an orange-peach color, and there were dingy grays. Hallberg brought in Otto Painting Design to switch the skies to blue and amp up some of those faded colours, so the bit could recall the home’s history while matching with its updated look.
“The family room was built around a lot of bits my clients already had, for example, torso, cocktail table, mirror and much more,” says Hallberg. She brought in gray and ivory hues from the other rooms, now paired with light couches and vibrant cherry and sunny yellow accents. “The girl of the home adores these bright and joyful colours,” says Hallberg.
The carpet’s pattern is a blowup from the ultrasuede Calvin Klein fabric on the back of the breakfast area banquette. The clients already owned the sofa in the foreground; Hallberg had it reupholstered at a charcoal herringbone with a contrasting welt. The clients also already owned the painting.
Painting: Ira Yeager; wall paint: Abalescent, Benjamin Moore
“The living space is like candy!” Hallberg exclaims. She joined the client’s favorite happy colours and pieces that they already owned, such as the camelback sofa, cocktail table and table lamp, using new cloths on the French chairs and the bench. Soft, buttery yellows in the walls and rug keep matters complicated.
Wall paint: Roycroft Vellum, Sherwin-Williams; bench fabric: Schumacher; striped seat fabric: Etamine
Little details such as buttons beneath the customized linen drapes and fringe on the bottom of this chair are constantly on a professional designer’s mind. The button detail can be within the dining area.
The customer loved this tile border, therefore Hallberg worked the rest of this stone box powder area around it. The floor is covered in a coordinating herringbone tile, and the background just seemed to fall into place. The ceiling is covered in silver foliage and picks upon the metallic components of the taps, mirror and background.
Backsplash: Statuary White, Cosa Marble; base sink: Hapstead, Kallista; background: Colefax and Fowler
This den is your greatest man cave. It had been gutted, but the paneling, built-ins and ceiling recall a masculine study from 1929. The onyx fireplace surround adds a contemporary touch.
The monkey chandelier is just one of the client’s favorites; he has hung it in 3 homes. I can’t imagine it fitting in another room as perfectly as it does in this.
The clients’ vintage Louis Vuitton trunk functions as the coffee table. “We took the exact same Osbourne and Little fabric we utilized on the sofa, had it paperbacked and covered the coffered ceiling with it,” says Hallberg.
The original home had a regular door from the den into this pub, but now it is a secret. The panel on the right side of this photograph opens like a door, but when closed it is camouflaged as a member of their room’s wall.
Hallberg tied this background back into the den by using the exact same Schumacher print on the couch’s throw pillows. The leaded glass design on the top cabinets is based on the of additional glass doors original to the house.
Here’s the contrary of this man cave: the woman’s escape place, a sunroom bathed in light. “This room is a refuge space, full of sunlight,” says Hallberg.
Designer tip: While these window treatments are custom,Hallberg recommends incorporating a coloured tape border to get a customized look using premade retail window treatments.
Wingback: Hickory Chair; chandelier: Currey and Company; ottoman fabric: Cowtan & Tout
This feminine powder room is off the spouse’s downstairs office. The walls are covered in a ballet-slipper-pink bud fabric. The French vanity was discovered on 1stdibs; Hallberg needed a sink dropped in and also a customized marble shirt fitted around it.
The clients purchased back the Murano glass sconces by a trip to Italy and have hung them in all of their homes. They also already owned the mirror; its curves play off the curves of this vanity perfectly.
The gray tones seen in the more public regions of the house decorate to soothing slate blue and gray at the master bedroom. The clients already owned all the furniture and accessories. Hallberg had the bench reupholstered in soft blue mohair, had bedding custom made with fabrics from Kravet and reassigned the clients’ prints into a place over the headboard.
The nightstands were custom built. Not only do they hide shelves for books and other bedside necessities, but they also hide radiators while letting the heat through.
Wall covering: Tirreno Blue Amalfi Silk grass fabric, Phillip Jefferies; bench fabric: silk mohair, Glant
The master bathroom was completely gutted. The architects, Cook Architectural Design Studio, designed a stunning cone ceiling in the master bathroom. “We utilized a Venetian plaster on the ceiling to find that shine,” says Hallberg.
Also Venetian: the stunning mirror over the vanity, which the clients already owned. Continuing with the mirrored theme, Hallberg had the top of the vanity covered in an inlaid antique mirror. She added unique hardware from Anthropologie.
Wallpaper: Alberto Floreale; polished nickel taps: Kallista; vanity : Holly Hunt
The elegant chandeliers from the master bathroom were found in Vintage Pine at Chicago. The wall sconces are original to the home, but it is wonderful how well they function together with all the new decor.
Off an upstairs kids’ hangout, this space had been gutted and turned into a cozy study for those kids. “I made an additional windowseat so that more than one child could lounge at once,” says Hallberg.
Designer tip: Use an indoor-outdoor fabric in children’s rooms to stand up to wear and tear.
A young kid’s room brings in joyful colours too, with much more custom painting done by Otto Painting and a special fiber-optic ceiling in which light pokes through little holes.
Duvet: Garnet Hill
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