Best of the Twin Cities 2013
76 shops, products, & trends we love!
Best Warm Up
The trend in hardware, fixtures, and appliances has been all cool chromes, stainless, and nickel for quite some time, especially in more contemporary spaces. But now brass is making a comeback. We’re not talking the glaring polished look that gave the metal alloy a bad name, but judicious doses of antique and satin-finished brass, bronze, copper, and gold. “The warm metals complement wood tones,” says Sandy LaMendola, principal of Twist Interior Design in Minneapolis. “It can be very glamorous if it doesn’t go all Kim Kardashian glitzy.” Take a hint from the stylish Europeans, she urges, and throw out the rules. It’s OK to use a gold candelabra beneath a silver chandelier.
Outdoor furniture is tough stuff, designed to withstand the most extreme weather. But some of it’s also quite chic. So why not bring the outside in? Could you use Room & Board's new Finn chair, covered in Sunbrella fabric, for casual, climate-controlled dining? Yes, you could. Also easily adaptable for use indoors and out: Casprini polycarbonate Tiffany chairs (available at Room & Board), Tolix Marais galvanized steel stools (available at Design Within Reach), and Dash & Albert polypropylene rugs (available at Que Sera). Stylish look? Check. Tough fabrics? Check. Easy cleanup for spills, kid disasters, and pet accidents? Check, check, and check.
Best Way to Grow
No, we can’t manage blooming gardens and lush borders for much of the year here in the tundra. But we’ve fallen hard for vertical gardens, courtesy of wall systems that can hold anything you’d plant in a container. Scott Endres, co-owner and container master at Tangletown Gardens in Minneapolis, installs vertical gardens in commercial space and homes. “They’re great,” he says. “They add green without taking up floor space—there’s always room to go up.” The best DIY wall system, says Endres: Woolly Pockets—cunning pouches of waterproofed felt made from recycled plastic bottles. The soft material is easy to plant with succulents or houseplants to create a living inside wall, or your favorite herbs for a kitchen garden on a sunny, outside wall. We like the lush green wall effect of several pockets overflowing with foliage, but a pocket full of annuals is a simple way to add a pop of color. • Available from Tangletown Gardens, Gertens Greenhouses, and many more local gardening stores.
Dove, dune, truffle, shadow, call it what you will, there are more than 50 shades of gray. A few of the most popular from Benjamin Moore are the cool Gray Huskie (1473) and warmer Revere Pewter (HC-172). This versatile neutral ranges from coolly elegant to warmly serene, and moves easily from traditional to contemporary. “Gray is not limiting at all,” says Andrea Surtel, an interior designer at Martha O’Hara Interiors in St. Louis Park. She terms it a “gentle” neutral that works with yellow, pink, navy, and green. Most recently, she’s paired gray with aubergine.
Best Classic Combo
If in doubt about this classic combination, bear in mind advice from the late, legendary Minneapolis designer Tom Gunkelman: Every room needs something in black. A black-and-white scheme provides a neutral background, but one with graphic pop and instant sophistication. Accent color? Yellow is the go-to shade for designer Greg Walsh of ID-Inside Design in Minneapolis. “A bright, true yellow is fresh and crisp in a black-and-white room,” he says. “It’s warm, not harsh.” But take your choice: Black and white plays nicely with orange, green, and even saturated reds.
Best Perspective Shift
Not-so-big houses with carefully crafted, versatile spaces remain a winning combination. Credit architect Sarah Susanka, co-founder of the Minneapolis architecture firm Mulfinger, Susanka, Mahady & Partners (now SALA Architects), with evangelizing the “better, not bigger” philosophy. Since The Not So Big House was published in 1998, Susanka has continued to examine ways to live thoughtfully, exploring the value of not-so-big landscapes, home remodels, and lifestyles. The sustainability zeitgeist and influx of urban redevelopment projects are also driving the trend of valuing quality over quantity. Consider, for example, this compact 850-square-foot retreat designed by St. Paul architect Meghan Kell Cornell. High ceilings, continuous architectural elements, and abundant natural light make the interior feel expansive despite its diminutive size.
Think you can do it yourself? Retailers from Home Depot to Bachman’s to Gabberts to the Tile Shop stand ready to help. In-store DIY seminars show you how to lay tile, plant a container garden, or choose a carpet. These often-free lessons are marketing tools for the stores, of course, but also great assistance for consumers who want to learn to do it themselves, for fun or for savings. Seminars are offered by many home and garden retailers; check with your favorite for upcoming sessions.
Best Cheap Chic
Our hometown discount retailer hit the bull’s-eye when it began partnering with prominent designers to create mass-market merchandise. Target’s first collection of home goods from teakettles to toilet brushes with designer Michael Graves’ modern signature, back in 1999, was just the beginning. Target now features TOO by Minneapolis furniture designer Blu Dot as well as accessories created by Minnesota-grown design celebrity Nate Berkus. Perhaps competition from JC Penney’s new shops-within-shops—including home lines by Jonathan Adler, Martha Stewart, Michael Graves, Bodum, and Sir Terence Conran—will spur Target to up the ante again.
Best Bespoke Statement
Evocative Trove wall coverings create floor-to-ceiling works of art. Several of the patterns created by the NYC-based firm have been acquired for the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and the Brooklyn Museum. The Minnesota natives who founded Trove, husband-and-wife team Randall Buck and Jee Levin, design the award-winning papers. “We wanted to re-imagine the unglamorous category of wallpaper,” says Buck. “We think of the wall as our canvas.” Trove papers are printed on archival paper and treated with non-toxic, wax-based coating, making them both eco-friendly and recyclable. Celebrating nature, architecture, history, even movies (“Indi” is a graphic nod to Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds), these wallpapers are guaranteed to make a statement. Even better, Trove customizes papers to order. When Minneapolis interior designer Carol Belz chose “Auva,” an abstract floral, for a powder room, Trove used elevation drawings of every wall to place the horizontal pattern for maximum impact. The result: an “amazing, drop-dead look,” says Belz. • See the selection at troveline.com. Available to the trade at Holly Hunt Minneapolis, 275 Market St., Suite 234, Minneapolis, 612-332-1900, hollyhunt.com
Last fall, the Ohio-based home-furnishings chain joined Gabberts Design Studio & Fine Furniture, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, and Restoration Hardware in the Galleria’s furniture row, adding a (mostly) mid-price option to the mix. With the store’s updated traditional designs and comfortable sensibility, we’re making Arhaus our own. • Galleria, Edina, 952-920-0463, arhaus.com
This new product and design resource urges consumers to do what its name says: mingle. Wander through the show room displays of every room in the house—from custom kitchens and bathrooms to living rooms, bedrooms, and entertainment rooms. The cabinets, wall coverings, flooring, furniture, and accessories you see in the 100-plus vignettes are available right there. And Mingle partner Studio M stands ready to provide interior-design assistance should you desire it. Owner Peter Santrach’s own remodeling project—and experience running all over town with a multitude of samples—inspired him to open a show room that would be a one-stop shop. Mission accomplished. • 12955 Hwy. 55, Plymouth, 763-717-8500, mingleteam.com
Ciel Loft & Home
Andy Higgins demonstrates both a preference for authentic style and a talent for merchandising in his enticing new storefront, Ciel Loft & Home, located cheek-to-cheek with the Guild: A Design Collective in St. Louis Park. Higgins and Chad Newman, his partner “on the ground” in China, buy and import Chinese farmhouse antiques and case goods fashioned from repurposed wood. Other items hail from Egypt, India, and Turkey—as well as domestically, including colorful metal ceiling tiles from Harlem. Natural materials, clean lines, and organic colors—as well as affordable prices—make this store a must-visit. • 4416 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-922-2747, cielloftandhome.com
The Foundry Home Goods
The stock-in-trade here: “Simple, useful, and beautiful objects for the home”—none of which does the shop justice. Owner Anna Hillegass opened this serene corner shop in an old brick North Loop factory and stocked it with handmade wares designed to last a lifetime. The hand-carved-in-Minnesota woodenware, Mexican glasses, Italian linens, Portuguese terra cotta, Japanese brass, and Swedish cleaning brushes make perfect gifts—or a special indulgence for you. • 125 N. First St., Minneapolis, 612-333-8484, thefoundryhomegoods.com
Zinnia Folk Arts
If you love the vibrant colors and powerful artistry of Mexico, this will be your happy place. Anne Damon turned her attraction to all things Mexican into a business several years ago, selling artisan-made wares at the Guild until she opened her shop at 50th and Bryant last spring. She travels to Mexican villages to find pottery, textiles, masks, religious iconography, jewelry, and what must be the metro’s largest collection of Day of the Dead figures. Damon’s familiarity with Mexican culture, the artists, and the symbols they employ make a stop at Zinnia much like a gallery tour with a knowledgeable docent. • 826 W. 50th St., Minneapolis, 612-824-4342, zinniafolkarts.com
Forage Modern Workshop
This East Lake Street storefront is the brainchild of Michael Smith and James Brown, co-owners of the contracting firm Brownsmith Restoration, who specialize in historic renovations. The Forage Modern retail shop cultivates a distinctive “Midwest modern” aesthetic that is warm and personal—each piece features a tag telling its maker’s story. The new and vintage offerings include nearly 100 different designers, and about 60 percent of the work is made in the Midwest. This is the place to get your hands on Rapson Rapid Rockers, Concrete Pig coffee tables, Oh Dier salt cellars, and more. Shop till you’re ready to drop—then refuel with a meatloaf sandwich at Parka, the comfort-food café that shares space with the store. • 4023 E. Lake St., Minneapolis, 612-886-3603, foragemodernworkshop.com
A number of adjectives come to mind on a visit to Andrew Martin: glamorous, theatrical, sophisticated, eccentric, wonderful, and fun. And perhaps one question: What is this UK brand known for its global influences and fusion style doing in a strip mall in Edina? (It’s the only freestanding Andrew Martin store in the United States, in fact.) The Midwest location isn’t happenstance—it’s handily located between the coasts, and the CEO of the international firm, Tim McGeehan, is a native Minnesotan. Amidst towering walls covered with wallpaper that mimes floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, fantastical 6-foot-tall horses made in Thailand of discarded motorcycle parts, sofas and chairs upholstered in unexpected fabric mixtures, and artifacts from around the world, the store sells delightful furnishings, fabrics, wallpaper, and more. And one more perk: the assistance of in-store designers Lisa Klick and David Sunderland to help put together personalized looks. • 7101 France Ave. S., Edina, 612-208-0557, andrewmartin.co.uk
Best Simple Splurge
Nicole and Ryan Thuftedal (sometimes with the help of willing family and friends) produce these yummy candles, soaps, lotions, and body salts in their Minneapolis kitchen. After experimenting with ingredients, Nicole began the venture with candles, using kosher-certified soy wax, natural essential oils, and wicks of organic cotton. • Available from the Weisman Art Museum Gift Shop, 333 E. River Pkwy., Minneapolis, 612-625-9494, weisman.umn.edu/wam-shop; I Like You, 501 First Ave. NE, Minneapolis, 612-208-0249, ilikeyouonline.com; and Drama, 4946 France Ave. S., Edina, 952-920-0294, shopatdrama.com. For more information, go to thuftedal.com.
Faribault Woolen Mill closed up shop in 2009 after 144 years in business, another casualty of the recession. But just a few years—and a somewhat-anemic economic recovery—later, the mill rebooted under the new ownership of cousins Paul and Chuck Mooty. Faribault blankets, with their distinctive stripe, are once more being loomed there, but now Revival Stripe blankets in fresh new colors mark the mill’s 2011 rebirth. Other modern translations of classics include the Ticking Stripe blanket, Lodge Stripe throw, and lots o’ popular plaids that capture the Ralph-Lauren-meets-rustic-lodge vibe. • Faribault Woolen Mill Co., 1500 N.W. Second Ave., Faribault, Minn., 507-412-5534, faribaultmill.com
Best Handcrafted Deals
Matt Eastvold’s furniture is handmade in tiny Dennison, but his designs are anything but rural. His mid-century-modern-with-a-twist case goods embody sleek sophistication and subtle bravura. Witness the Elko credenza, a handcrafted wood case that rests on a powder-coated steel base available in red, blue, green, black, steel, or white. And even better: Many of Eastvold’s custom orders are shipped to customers on the coasts, and, if accidents happen, he repairs these scratch-and-dent items and sells them at a deep discount at Forage Modern Workshop. • 12980 Dennison Blvd., Dennison, Minn., 651-210-2294, eastvoldfurniture.com
Best Update on a Classic
A clever combination of pretty and practical, Wind and Willow home's natural wooden bowls and spoons are edged in a soft, rubbery plastic that makes them durable and nonslip. Local designer Araya Jensen hand dips each piece in fresh colors that give your mother’s wooden spoons a sassy update. • windandwillowhome.com
When two Midwestern artists met up in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, several years ago, the idea for collaboration took hold in both of them. Mark Larson, a Minneapolis painter and part-time resident of the seaside village, showed his painted furniture to Dan Cramer, a long-time industrial designer from Minneapolis. Cramer, who specializes in contemporary furniture, was taken with Larson’s pieces. And so began their collaboration: a Larson-Cramer collection that marries iconic images to the sleek utility of contemporary furniture. Each piece is one-of-a-kind, handcrafted with wood veneers, oil paints, and varnishes. • larson-cramer.com
How to improve on Ralph Rapson’s iconic Greenbelt lounge chair? How about the same cool good looks in outdoor furniture made of recycled milk bottles? A chance meeting between Toby Rapson, looking for a way to get his father’s furniture designs back into production, and Loll Designs CEO Greg Benson, the Duluth master of plastic recycling, produced this winner, the Rapson Lounge by Loll Designs. The match made in eco-mid-century heaven also produced the Rapson Rocker by Loll Designs, both available in bright colors from sunset orange to sky blue. • lolldesigns.com and rapson-inc.com
Best Kitchen Helper
It’s a little scary to think about how easily bacteria can spread in the kitchen. So we’ll talk uber convenience instead: hands-free faucets are a great idea. Sticky fingers don’t mean a sticky faucet when you can wave a hand or a spatula to turn on the water. Thank you, Kohler. • Kohler Signature Store, 7101 France Ave. S., 952-314-9032, kohlersignaturestoreedina.com
Wood from the Hood was born of a simple but wonderful idea to reclaim trees downed by disease, construction, or storm damage, and reuse them. The south Minneapolis shop produces flooring, furniture, and accessories from the hardwoods of the Twin Cities’ fallen urban forests. Each item is tagged with a zip code so you’ll know where your sugar-maple cutting board grew up. • Check Wood from the Hood’s website, woodfromthehood.com, for local retailers.
Best Garden Tour
Serious gardeners reserve the fourth Saturday in July for their annual pilgrimage to the Tangletown Garden Tour. The gardeners in charge of these carefully cultivated landscapes are happy to regale the assembled with stories and a few secrets. The tour also incorporates the work of local artists, curated by Twin Cities galleries, in each garden to encourage a little judicious shopping—as well as wine tasting and sampling tidbits from Wise Acre Eatery. • The tour begins at Tangletown Gardens, 5353 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-822-4769, tangletowngardens.com
Best Occasional Sale
For five days during the second week of each month, the Cottage House in south Minneapolis bursts with vintage finds and savvy shoppers. Twelve times a year, 15 home stagers/designers stock, style, and even repaint the two-story house, all in keeping with the theme of the month. It’s a new shop every time you visit, but with the same great bargains. Check the website for sale dates, times, and themes. • 4304 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-825-4934, thecottagehousempls.com
Best Hometown Boy Made Good
Nate Berkus grew up in Minnetonka, graduated from Hopkins High School, and made it big in Chicago, thanks to a little help from Oprah Winfrey. He starred in The Nate Berkus Show, which ran for two seasons and is now being rerun on OWN. The franchise continues with his second book, The Things that Matter (Spiegel & Grau, October 2012), and his collections for Target.
Best Hidden Gem
When your favorite space is feeling in need of enchantment, Robb Whittlef, owner of Historic Studio, is only too glad to supply it. Magic is in great supply here, scattered among the new and antique items Whittlef finds in hidden corners of the world (the floor tiles from Liberace’s last home in Palm Springs are here, for example). You usually need a designer to help you shop for a piece with soul and the patina of a previous century, since Historic Studio is open to the trade only. But two days a year the 7,000-square-foot show room is open to the public, and everything is 50 percent off. Check website for sale dates. • 4950 W. 35th St., St. Louis Park, 952-933-9924, historicstudio.com
Best Seasonal Gifting
The constantly changing inventory at the guild: A Design Collective features new and vintage items from a bevy of local artists, designers, and stylists. Best of all are the themed vignettes that each tell a story with quirky and cool dishes, linens, sculptures, and more—and offer great inspiration for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, bridal showers, or birthdays. • 4414 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-378-1815, guildcollective.wordpress.com
Let your imagination take wing by spending an afternoon wandering through the Art & Architecture Building. This is the home of Spinario Design, a well-curated assortment of sculptural mid-century furniture, artwork, and antiques. Across the hall is Claire Steyaert Antiques & Design, where the former owner of Riverwalk Antiques shows her peerless collection of fine art and antiques. Check out the custom furniture studio of Willie Willette Works, too. But be prepared to dig in at Art & Architecture, especially if you’re in need of vintage lighting, hardware, or glass. And don’t forget to treat yourself with something sweet at Cupcake. • All shops located at 3338 University Ave. S.E., Minneapolis.
Many home stores hold regular sales on specific lines and, increasingly, pop-up sales. Notice is short. The best way to stay informed: Sign up for e-blasts from your favorite shops and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
ASID MN Sample Sale
Members of the Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) throw a three-day sale each September at International Market Square, where you can shop for fine furniture and one-of-a-kind home-décor items, all at 50 to 80 percent off retail. This year, the sale will be held September 19–21. • 275 Market St., Minneapolis, 612-338-6250, imsdesigncenter.com
Baker Knapp & Tubbs
Each July and December, Baker holds in-show room sales on its fabulous fine furnishings. Then there’s Baker Odds & Ends online (bakeroddsandends.com), where you can search out discounted floor samples from the likes of Barbara Barry, Laura Kirar, and many others. • 275 Market St., Suite 335, Minneapolis, 612-341-2906, bakerfurniture.com
You have two options for Blu Dot bargains: the annual 20-percent-off-for-20-days sale in October, or the annual warehouse sale in Rogers, where selections from the mod furniture maker can be had for a song (or at least for deep discounts). • bludot.com
Furnishings are always at least 50 percent off at this discounter, but each fall and spring, the store erects a tent in its parking lot and fills it with items marked down an additional 50 to 90 percent. Check the website for dates. • 160 Glenwood Ave. N., Minneapolis, 612-381-8508, designermarketplacemn.com
Cooks of Crocus Hill
If you’ve been yearning for new cookware—or bakeware, knives, table linens, or cookbooks—make a beeline for this beloved kitchen retailer’s annual June garage sale. This year, it will be held June 7–9. Discounts begin at 40 percent. At the St. Paul location only. • 877 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-228-1333, cooksofcrocushill.com
Gabberts Design Studio & Fine Furniture
The Gabberts Galleria store’s Odds & Ends room, located on the lower lever, is an oldie but a goodie. Imperfect pieces—including brand names such as Stickley, Hitckory Chair, and Century—are discounted up to 70 percent off. • gabberts.com
Galleria Clearance Experience
The tony mall’s version of a summer sidewalk sale. A goodly portion of the 65 retailers participate each July, offering deep discounts on their wares. • Galleria, Edina, galleriaedina.com
Room & Board
We’ll wager that every semi-savvy furniture shopper in town who prefers a contemporary style makes regular pilgrimages to Room & Board’s Golden Valley outlet store, open Saturdays from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. and Sundays 12–4 p.m. But the company’s annual floor-model clearance sale, which starts December 26 at the Edina store, also has deals galore. • Outlet: 4680 Olson Memorial Hwy., Golden Valley. Store: 7010 France Ave. S., Edina, 952-927-8835, roomandboard.com
The Sale Room @IMS
Designer furnishings and accessories at 50 to 80 percent off retail are always on the floor at the Sale Room’s two retail spaces at International Market Square. After teaming up with Francis King Ltd. to hold a warehouse sale in April—where prices were slashed another 50 to 80 percent—Sale Room owner Sharon Allemong plans to make it an annual spring event. • International Market Square, 275 Market St., Suites 196 and 281, Minneapolis, 612-877-4173, thesaleroom-ims.com
Traditions Classic Home Furnishings
The purveyor of fine furniture, lighting, area rugs, artwork, and accessories holds its annual sidewalk sale the last Saturday of July at the St. Paul store. Find discounts of 30 to 80 percent off retail. • 1039 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-222-5253, traditions.com
Chris Lee is a Wayzata writer who specializes in design.
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