This Eclectic Minnesota Home Will Reignite Your Love for Plaid
It has been a big year for interior designer Bria Hammel's clients: The couple recently retired and became new grandparents. The next item on their to-do list was renovating their Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, home. "Our clients came to us looking to freshen up the home they built over 20 years ago," says Hammel. "After recently settling into retirement, they wanted to use this renovation as a way to celebrate this fun, new chapter in their lives."
As the couple's free-time expanded and their family grew, they wanted to really lean into their love of parties. "The homeowners love to host their family and friends," says Hammel. "And with the birth of their first grandchild, we wanted to make sure that this home was livable and ready for entertaining just in time for summer." As one of her company's biggest projects to date, getting it all done in time was no easy feat for Hammel and her team. Luckily, the house had a great foundation to start off from. "The home already had amazing bones and, because of that, we didn't have to make any changes to the floor plan, or even cabinetry or trim to restore the spaces," says the designer.
She decided to focus on updating the paint, countertops, lighting, flooring, and furnishings. "This house was brought back to life with a traditional, cottage-style feel," says Hammel. The designer also focused on everyone's favorite spot to gather in a home. "Our clients love to entertain and host," she says. "Since the kitchen is the heart of the home, we knew we wanted to make this one a showstopper." Read on to see how Hammel and the design team created the welcoming retreat.
Create a Welcoming Vibe
"Before, [the home's] main color scheme was olive green, burgundy, and black, and we wanted to do a complete 180 with the new design," says Hammel. "Our clients were not afraid of color so we really played that up in this space." They decided to go with a cool green and blue color palette throughout the house, but had to find a way to provide warmth as well. "By adding accents of darker wood tones throughout the home, it gave the space that lived-in, welcoming feeling," says Hammel.
Tie Everything Together
Since the home has an eclectic mix of furniture and shades of color that add depth and character to the space, Hammel went with the same "Coventry Grey" by Benjamin Moore paint on all the wall space throughout the entire first floor to make it feel connected from room-to-room. "We used the same paint color for the walls and the same color for all the cabinetry throughout the entire floor which tied everything together to make it cohesive and fresh," she says.
Always Add Whimsy
Hammel loves to use playful art and decorations to give a room character. For the hallway, she chose this carefree hummingbird piece fittingly titled "Garden Party" and placed vintage rattan lanterns on the floor to add intrigue. "The stunning, soft colors [of the painting] bring life to the space and we love the whimsicalness it brought as well," she says. "We placed [the lanterns with leather handles and rattan exteriors] in the hall to add some warmth and texture. We love how unique and unexpected it feels."
Choose Statement Lighting
The ceilings in this home are extremely high, so Hammel and her team knew that oversized, statement light fixtures were a must. "We like to think of light fixtures in a home like jewelry with an outfit," says Hammel. "It shouldn't overwhelm the space but complement it and make it that much more beautiful."
Have a Heart of the Home
The main goal of this renovation was to brighten up the home. To do so in the kitchen, Hammel switched out the dark countertops with Cambria's Britannica Gold quartz and replaced their stone backsplash with a creamy, cement plaid tile. "We love the traditional, timeless feel this kitchen has and how warm and inviting it is—something a kitchen should always be!" says Hammel. She decided to open up the kitchen to the dining and living space, so the couple could serve up cocktails or prep food while still being able to converse with their family and friends. "Surrounding the island are eight, custom barstools in a beautiful, blue plaid that became our clients favorite pieces in the entire home," she says.
Make Space for Socializing
"Our client loves to invite her neighbor friends over to chat over a glass of wine and [the screen porch] is one of their favorite spaces to gather," says Hammel. "Because of this, we knew it needed to have a great flow for conversation, and was cozy enough for them to sit for a few hours on end." Using indoor/outdoor fabrics, a white and green color scheme and textural elements like the rattan coffee table, and bamboo chairs, this space also gave a nod to the great outdoors—without the bugs!
Layer with Textures
Hammel and her team went with pieces that had character, but that didn't always mean using tons of color. For the dining area, they stuck with a neutral palette: They selected a French pine dining table, custom dining chairs with stripped upholstery (one of the collective favorite pieces), white plaster chandelier, and a camel colored rug to complete the look. "We love the neutrality this space has, while still feeling layered and inviting," says Hammel.
Go for Calm
Before the redesign, the master bedroom felt overwhelming with intensely red walls and heavy furnishings. Hammel gave it a calming makeover with soothing shades of green, blue, and taupe. "This space did a complete 180 and in the best way," she says. "We wanted to take this room and make it the calm, relaxing oasis that our clients deserve! With a few coats of paint—okay maybe more than just a few coats—and new furniture and accessories, this room quickly became our favorite master bedrooms ever."
Mix Prints and Patterns
Mixing colors, textures, and patterns is something Hammel and her team love to do in any project they take on. She feels it's what makes a space a conversation starter and truly unique—and adding pillows is an easy way to achieve the look you're after. "In our opinion, the more pillows, the better!" she says. "We use them as a way to add more layers, patterns, and color to spaces."
Try New Styling Approaches
Similar to the rest of the home, the master bedroom already had great built-ins, but Hammel wanted to play with them to mix things up. "We decided to hang artwork directly on the shelf itself which created a unique, collected look," she says. Her clients also had an incredible collection of books that they didn't want to get rid of, but that didn't exactly fit the streamlined look of the room. "By choosing to face the books with the spine inward it instantly makes a bunch of mismatched books look cohesive," explains Hammel. "We love this trick when you want to fill a bookshelf with a lot of books while not wanting it to look too cluttered or busy."
Focus on Detail
"In smaller spaces like [the bathroom], we always like to take the opportunity to focus on detail, detail, detail and really packing a punch," says Hammel. "We did so in this room by selecting a gorgeous, plaid wallpaper and adding in pops of brass through the mirror, sink, and faucets."
Embrace Every Space
"We hate to pick favorites but one of our favorite rooms in the entire home is the mudroom," says Hammel. "We used Brooke & Lou's mini coastal stripe wallpaper to add some color and selected one of our favorite tiles to add some character. We love how bright, beautiful, and functional this room feels the second you walk in the door!"