Tour the Home of Zinnia Folk Arts’ Anne Damon

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Stylemaker: Anne Damon

What are your favorite places to shop in the Twin Cities?
Arc’s Value Village, Guild Collective, Hunt & Gather

Aside from Mexico, what other countries interest you?
I’m currently obsessed with Australia—there’s so much cool, creative stuff going on there!

Which local artists do you love?
I love Minnesota landscape artists, especially Fred Anderson, Tom Maakestad, Carl Oltvedt, and my brother, Paul Damon.


 

Anne Damon and Roy Ginsburg’s home is a Minneapolis classic: Originally built in 1917 for $850, it’s a lovely example of a classic Craftsman with warm, cozy-feeling rooms.

But it wasn’t always so. When the couple acquired the house in the late 1980s, it came with a lofted Scandinavian–style addition, which certainly wasn’t in keeping with the Craftsman aesthetic. The Scandinavian touches even crept up into the front room, in the Delft tile that framed the fireplace.

As the proprietor of Zinnia Folk Arts—the shop at 50th & Bryant that showcases Mexican jewelry, textiles, and ceramics­— Damon personally selects every item on regular buying trips to the country. She loves incorporating all manner of handcrafted accessories and art into her home.  But even with Damon’s eclectic style, the architectural combination wasn’t working. “My personal style has always been more traditional, and I always really liked the idea of sticking with the original history of the house,” she says.

Eight years ago, as their two sons approached adulthood, Damon and Ginsburg asked themselves The Question: Do we remodel and stay—or do we downsize? “We love Minneapolis, and we’re so close to everything,” she says. “We decided to invest and stay. We are so glad we did.”

The couple enlisted the expertise of architect Lee Meyer and House Dressing Company’s Terry and Camilla Hughes to unify the house. What followed was a whole-house remodel—a redesign of the addition on the house to make a much larger kitchen, open dining area, and comfortable family room. At the same time, they added two bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor and remodeled the rest of the upstairs. And, yes, they replaced the tile on the fireplace and in the front foyer with a more period-appropriate design.

After that, the home became more cohesive, but Damon is no purist. Zinnia, which she calls her alter ego, positively bursts with bright colors and bold patterns. “The exuberance of color doesn’t quite fit in my house either, especially with three males,” she says, laughing. But what is apparent in her home is her appreciation for folk art, for the handmade and one-of-a-kind. She layers textures and combines worlds to make a personalized whole.

“If I see something I like, I experiment,” she says. “Maybe it works or it doesn’t quite—or maybe I take it back to Value Village if it doesn’t work at all! It’s sort of a collage aesthetic.”

Damon was a 16-year-old Spanish student living in Toluca, Mexico, when she purchased a clay tree of life—and the spell was cast.

A Michoacán ceramic pineapple adds a touch of Mexico to Anne Damon’s 1917 Craftsman. A black paper cutout of Frida Kahlo from Querétaro, Mexico, pairs with baskets from Ghana.

This beaded deer head, complete with real antlers, was made by Huichol Indians.

By Katie Dohman
Photos by Alex Steinberg

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