Philanthropist Blythe Brenden’s Home Reflects Her Preference for Purple

Blythe Brenden

Above: Blythe Brenden and a few of her favorite things: purple rug, shimmering accessories, and Lulu, her French bulldog.

There is no mistaking Blythe Brenden’s style: Even before you step into her new Edina home you note the purple chairs out front. She just moved in a few months ago, but she has already put her unique stamp on it.

Brenden is second only to Prince in her adoration of the color purple, accented in her house with cool grays and silver, not to mention sparkle, shimmer, and fur. “All of my friends walk into this house and say, ‘Oh, this just screams you,’” says Brenden.

Blythe Brenden's Closet
Her generous closet includes plenty of sparkle.

The interiors demonstrate how well designer Tim Mattes of Timothy Joseph Interiors knows Brenden’s preferences. He consolidated her design choices by pulling together vignettes so that she could make quick decisions. It worked.

The cohesive result allows her to showcase her artwork and add her own signature touches to her new house—the four crystal chandeliers, for instance. “I love anything that sparkles,” she says, explaining how each fixture was painstakingly hung, crystal by crystal, by installers wearing white gloves.

Blythe Brenden's Master Suite
The bedroom is all about shades of purple, from the glittering grape wallcovering to the eggplant pillows to the pale plum shades of the linens.

Brenden is known for throwing stylish fetes and fundraisers, which are easily accommodated in her home by the open flow of the main floor and patio, as well as a lower-level great room with a bar and comfortable seating. A third-generation philanthropist—her grandfather was Ted Mann, the movie theater magnate who began the family’s tradition of giving, and her mother was Dr. Roberta Mann, also a noted philanthropist and community leader—Brenden founded the Blythe Brenden-Mann Foundation to support causes she holds dear. They are many and varied: medical research, education, integrative health and prevention, women and children, and arts education. She also serves on several nonprofit boards and has chaired capital campaigns for Cowles Center for Dance and The Performing Arts and Abbott Northwestern Hospital’s Institute for Health and Healing. 

Blythe Brenden's Book Shelf
Carefully curated shelves in the great room showcase collected treasures.

Her home offers a quiet respite from her travels, board meetings, and galas. It holds many treasured gifts and collectibles from around the world, yet is tightly edited. “I detox my home a lot,” she says. “If something goes in, something has to go out. I have to know I really need it to have it.”

She loves walking her French bulldog, Lulu, around her neighborhood. Especially since few residents are up and about when she arrives home late at night, and walks Lulu wearing a ball gown and comfortable shoes.

The Influencer: Blythe Brenden

Where do you shop locally for gifts?

Ampersand at the Galleria. One of my favorite stores is J.B. Hudson. They actually once gave me the keys to the store for the day to fundraise for the Masonic Children’s Hospital.

What about pieces for your home?

I’ve picked up some good things at both At Home and Gabberts. And, of course, at International Market Square.

Where can we find you wining and dining?

Well, I did help create the Blythetini at Mission American Kitchen—it’s a clear chocolate martini.

By Katie Dohman

Photos by Wing Ta


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