Above: Cramer’s effortless elegance and love of local artists is on display in her family’s temporary home, an apartment overlooking Lake Calhoun.
Q&A with the Stylemaker, Anne Cramer
What’s your favorite possession and why?
The crystal chandelier I received as a gift from (husband) Paul. I love it because it is the first really “fancy” domestic item I have ever owned. It moved to the Beach Club and will be coming with us to the new house.
Where do you go to get a little extra zip for your home décor?
I have been loving CB2 and West Elm for our stay here. Comfy, lounge-y and really suits the style.
What’s your ideal night out in the Twin Cities?
Paul and I grab lattes at Starbucks, drive around the lakes, meet up with friends at Lucia’s, then home by 10 for a Law & Order re-run.
Any secret spots you adore?
I love Zumbro Café. I could dine on their oatmeal seven days a week.
Sometimes words get used so often that the meaning gets sucked right out of them. For example, the much-maligned (unfairly so) “nice.” Another casualty may be “fun.” But Anne Cramer, and her delightful style, is resurrecting it.
Anne’s brand of irreverent elegance has been a staple on the Twin Cities scene for years, perhaps most markedly when she designed her own clothing line, pieces of which were spotted on just about every fashionista in town.“I think it worked because, really, I was just designing for myself and things I liked, and people saw me wearing it and wanted one, too,” she says. Her ease was enviable.
Cramer is the woman who wears Converse All-Stars with a dress and pulls it off perfectly. She’ll say she’s a tomboy—after raising three boys—but she manages to achieve one of the most feminine interiors around, without ever veering into sickly sweet territory.
Take, for example, the beautiful silver soup tureen on her kitchen counter. “Oh that?” she says. “That was a gift from my dad. I saw it in a shop and I loved it, and he sent it to me as a gift.” He explained it was for serving soup. But she found a different purpose for it. “Taco Tuesday!” she exclaims. “I put the meat in the middle, and here are all the spots for the tomatoes and lettuce and cheese! You know, when you have boys, you can never get too hung up on stuff.”
After two sons flew the nest, Cramer and her husband—she describes their dynamic as “fly by the seat of our pants”—sold their beautiful, now-too-big Minneapolis home and are building another in Linden Hills. At their temporary quarters in the Calhoun Beach Club, her casual-formal, high-low aesthetic permeates, making it feel like, well, home.
“You know, my mom is really fun. And growing up, our house always looked nice, but was comfortable and fun,” Cramer says of her influence.
To that end, she used peel-and-stick tiles from Home Depot and peel-and-stick gold-and-turquoise wallpaper from Target, balanced with a little Ikea, a little West Elm, a little CB2, and a little Arhaus, among other treasured and designer pieces. She seems delighted to reveal that a little light-up heart decoration hails from Michael’s, which hangs next to Samantha French and Bekah Ash original paintings. True to form, a bunting drapes across a custom California Closets built-in full of her beautiful silver serving pieces. Always ready for a party.
Even when you leave, you get an Anne Cramer-style send off: the word “Bye” constructed with gold washi tape on the wall next to the door.
By Katie Dohman
Photos by Wing Ta