When her husband’s job brought Melissa Coleman and her family to Minnesota more than four years ago, she hadn’t planned on building a 1,800-square-foot, minimal, city farmhouse from scratch.
But then Coleman—creator of the popular food and lifestyle blog, The Faux Martha—learned of a teardown property her realtor, Mike Smith, owned in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis. She set her heart on building on the site.
Smith, also co-owner of Forage Modern Workshop, Hi-Lo Diner, and construction firm Brownsmith Restoration, took on the project as the company’s first new-home build. They decided on a farmhouse style that would be bright and open yet visually defined. “I don’t like to reinvent the wheel and the farmhouse style is a really good wheel,” Coleman says. “It’s naturally cozy while also being very utilitarian.”
For Coleman—who recently published her first book, The Minimalist Kitchen: 100 Wholesome Recipes, Essential Tools, and Efficient Techniques—the kitchen was a priority, and efficiency was key. Smith encouraged the couple to separate the kitchen from the dining room, and designed a floating pantry to serve as a functional element as well as a visual room divider that still allows light to filter through the space.
The kitchen island stores glassware and dishes in neatly segmented drawers directly across from the dishwasher to make emptying it a breeze. More functional, yet beautiful, touches: marble countertops and notches in place of pulls on the cabinet fronts. “Hardware is beautiful, but the utilitarian function of the notch is so brilliant,” Coleman says.
While the majority of her home is white, she has thoughtfully incorporated color and pattern in her décor. “I like to use pops of color and pattern to break up the white walls, which can feel really sterile otherwise,” she says. She prefers muted colors like chalkboard green and navy, and quiet patterns, such as those found in her area rugs and wallpapers from Minneapolis-based Hygge & West.
Coleman also likes to repeat elements to keep things visually cohesive. Matte black finishes reinforce the historic, industrial feel of her home, and aged brass adds warmth. “I love the classics,” Coleman says. “You can see it in my wardrobe, home, and recipes. When form and function meet, there’s nothing left to design. You can just enjoy it.”
The Influencer: Melissa Coleman
On where she shops for her home:
Coleman frequents both vintage stores specializing in home goods, such as SouthSide Vintage, FindFurnish, Junket: Tossed & Found, and Time Bomb Vintage, as well as boutiques known for minimalist wares, including Forage Modern Workshop and The Foundry Home Goods.
On what kitchen items she considers essential:
“I think every kitchen should have a Grate & Slice by OXO,” she says. She also recommends stocking spatulas with a sharp edge for scraping and a Vitamix blender—her 10-plus-year-old version gets used daily.
On her favorite places to eat and drink in the Twin Cities:
Coleman favors Hola Arepa, The Bachelor Farmer Cafe, and The Lynhall. “I finished writing my book there right after it opened last year,” she says. “It was probably more of a distraction because, have you seen that place? I’ve studied every nook and cranny. It’s so beautiful.”