Design Matters: The 2019 ASID MN Interior Design Awards

Photo by Spacecrafting

Interior design starts with a conversation, with designers asking their clients, “What do you need? What do you like? What do you value?” Our area’s local interior designers routinely engage in these kinds of conversations, and every year they come up with creative plans for homes and businesses that not only meet their clients’ needs but exceed their expectations. Each year, many enter their work in a contest run by the Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). Here, you can take a look at the designs that won first place and Best in Show awards in the 2019 competition.

Best in Show Residential: Kitchen (400-500 square feet)


Project Name: Urban Zen Kitchen

Designers: Linda Engler, ASID; Taylor Bryan, Allied ASID; Jenn Taft, Allied ASID

Firm: Engler Studio

Designer’s Note: This project was born when the clients saw a wood, glass, and metal wine cabinet while on a home tour. Both cooking enthusiasts, they not only wanted the cabinet but also a kitchen that would lend itself to entertaining. The reimagined kitchen now spans the depth of the house. The range, flanked by windows and bookended with floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, is the focal point of the new space. A long island provides storage and seating for eight. Cabinetry with flush fronts and large Belgian bluestone floor tile create a modern aesthetic, while the powder-coated steel range hood, metal trim on the island, and metal pendant light add industrial touches. Finally, a wine cabinet similar to the one that launched the project elegantly divides the kitchen and dining rooms while allowing for ease of movement between them.

Kitchen (more than 500 square feet)

Photo by Scott Amundson

Project Name: Modern Mountain Kitchen

Designers: Andréa Dixon, Allied ASID; Jen Ziemer, Allied ASID

Firm: Fiddlehead Design Group

Designers’ Note: A custom metal hood nestled between two large windows that let in natural light is the focal point of this kitchen, designed for a serious cook who asked for a modern look with a touch of glam. The designers chose white oak flooring finished with a light gray wash, cerused rift- and quarter-sawn oak for perimeter cabinets, and a light-colored Cambria countertop and backsplash. Accenting the elements are the chocolate-stained island interior, bar, pantry, and armoire cabinet. With its geometric tile backsplash, leather and brass hardware, and brass accent strips, the bar steals the scene. The large walk-in pantry is a cook’s dream, with ample storage, a second sink, steam oven, wall oven, and desk. The finished kitchen is both fashionable and functional.

Kitchen (300-400 square feet)

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Project Name: The Next Chapter

Designers: Linda Engler, ASID; Michelle Wagner, Allied ASID; Jenn Taft, Allied ASID

Firm: Engler Studio

Designers’ Note: After 25 years in their home, the owners wanted an updated hub where their children, in-laws, and grandchildren would be eager to spend time. A prior remodel had turned their 1955 rambler into a two-story with two staircases. Relocating one parallel to the other was the solution to the floor plan conundrum, and removing two walls opened the kitchen, living room, and dining room. Support posts and headers help delineate spaces but allow people and light to flow in all directions. Highlighting the space is a long island that incorporates the sink, dishwasher, storage, and prep space on the kitchen side; drawers on the dining room side; and a breakfast bar at the end. Crisp white creates the backdrop for bouts of blue in upholstery, accessories, and art. With plenty of elbow room, this home is ready for the family’s next chapter.

Kitchen (less than 300 square feet)

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Project Name: Small But Mighty

Designers: Gabriela Laboy, Allied ASID; Kate Adamcsek, ASID

Firm: Martha O’Hara Interiors

Designers’ Note: At less than 100 square feet, the original kitchen was tiny, dark, and dated. Moreover, its cabinets lacked order and countertop space was nearly nonexistent. The first step towards transformation was to eliminate an unused formal dining room to nearly double the kitchen footprint. The new kitchen now includes an eat-in nook and peninsula. New cabinetry with features and a pantry (formerly a closet) provide plentiful storage. The white of the subway tile backsplash, quartz countertops, and upper cabinetry brightens, while the gray of the lower cabinets adds subtle variation. The sleek silhouette of the pendant light contrasts with the timeless feel of a tiered chandelier. The kitchen now has a contemporary layout and a refreshingly modern look. Read our in-depth feature piece on this Minneapolis Tudor here.

Multiple Rooms/Entire Residence (more than 10,000 square feet)

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Project Name: A Fresh Start

Designers: Jeanne Anselmo, Allied ASID; Karen Soojian, ASID

Firms: JJ Designs; KSID Studio

Designers’ Note: A comfortable, timeless interior was the goal of the team as they tackled the reinvention—which included a renovation plus an addition—of this 1933 lake home. Complicating the work was the fact that the home had to meet the needs of a multi-generational family and would also be used for business and to host foreign students. The home now includes a master bedroom suite, mother-in-law suite, a large office complete with a meeting area, and suites for guests with access to their own coffee bar. The kitchen features two food-prep areas and a large restaurant-style banquette that can seat up to 10 people. New cabinetry, millwork, trim profiles, wainscoting, beams, and crown molding pay tribute to the home’s original style. The restful color palette unifies the space, while lighting, textural accents, and Asian-influenced art and décor add interest.

Multiple Rooms/Entire Residence (4,500-10,000 square feet)

Photo by Scott Amundson

Project Name: Modern Mountain Dwelling

Designers: Andréa Dixon, Allied ASID; Jen Ziemer, Allied ASID

Firms: Fiddlehead Design Group

Designers’ Note: The challenge was to blend the owners’ distinctly different styles, and to pay respect to the Native American burial site nearby. The solution is this modern mountain home, which blends touches of elegance and soft textures with rustic elements. The living room, featuring stone, metal, beams, and a massive TV above the mantel, reflects his style, while the hearth room, with lighter stone and wood finishes, reflects hers. The home is ready for entertaining with a kitchen that opens to a porch, a glamorous dining room with a floor-to-ceiling wine storage unit, and a lower level featuring a pewter-topped bar and a walk-in wine room. Layered neutrals and textures create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere, and fabrics and artwork reflect the Native American spirit that has become important to this family.

Multiple Rooms/Entire Residence (2,500-4,500 square feet)

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Project Name: Urban Zen

Designers: Linda Engler, ASID; Taylor Bryan, Allied ASID; Jenn Taft, Allied ASID

Firm: Engler Studio

Designers’ Note: Avid cooks and entertainers, the homeowners longed for the kind of entertaining spaces where they cook while easily interacting with their guests. To achieve that, the designers ditched the existing L-shaped kitchen floor plan for a rectangle spanning the full depth of the house that includes a prep kitchen which can be closed off with a pocket door. A wine cabinet creates an elegant divider between the kitchen and formal dining room, which opens into the living room and flows into the large family room, where windows and a sleek fireplace draw attention. Rift-sawn white oak cabinetry creates a warm, organic feel in the kitchen, while white cools and unifies elsewhere. With clean lines, symmetry, and views of the natural world outside, the home feels balanced as well as beautiful.

Multiple Rooms/Entire Residence (1,000-2,500 square feet)

Photo by Wing Ta

Project Name: Warehouse Loft Remodeling

Designers: Todd Hansen, Allied ASID; Katie Loecken and team

Firm: Albertsson Hansen Architecture

Designers’ Note: The couple wanted to improve the loft they loved: Their entry lacked definition and the master closet was a floor away from their bedroom. With a baby on the way, they also needed a nursery, a better-functioning kitchen, a larger laundry area, and more storage. Now, plywood birch paneling defines the entryway and a hallway with a drop zone on the main level. A partial wall creates a walk-in closet in the master bedroom, and the desired nursery cleverly occupies space that was once the master closet. The relocated laundry room is larger, and in the kitchen, the island was reoriented and space under the open stairs is used for the refrigerator, wine storage, pantry pullouts, and a built-in dog kennel. The once amorphous space is now a more purposeful home.

Multiple Rooms/Entire Residence (less than 1,000 square feet)

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Project Name: Tales of a Tight Tudor

Designers: Gabriela Laboy, Allied ASID; Kate Adamcsek, ASID

Firm: Martha O’Hara Interiors

Designers’ Note: After 35 years in her compact, compartmentalized Tudor, the owner wanted a more open feel as well as more storage and seating. By eliminating two walls, designers captured space for the kitchen in an unused dining room and opened it to the living room. Cabinetry with features such as drawers for pots and pans, an appliance garage, and a large buffet cabinet provide needed storage. An eat-in nook, where a custom bench disguises a radiator, and the new peninsula offer plentiful seating. The dramatic black-and-white palette adds brightness and highlights architectural details such as beams that formerly looked lackluster amid dark walls. Accents including navy velvet chairs, fuchsia pillows, and brass fixtures add interest without overpowering a space that no longer feels too tight. Read our in-depth feature piece on this Minneapolis Tudor here.

Singular Living Space (more than 500 square feet)

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Project Name: Balancing Act

Designer: Maureen Haggerty, Allied ASID

Firm: Mint

Designer’s Note: The challenge was to transform living and dining rooms into a comfortable, cohesive gathering space. The solution uses back-to-back sofas to create two seating areas. Equilibrium is achieved with several thoughtful pairs: two large sofas, two tall chairs, two ornate benches, two game chairs, two swivel chairs, two buffets, two ceiling light fixtures, and two wall sconces. An heirloom game table received a place of honor below framed art. Decorative molding, a custom mineral finish on the fireplace, and a special honed Venetian plaster finish on the ceiling add architectural interest. With an array of subtle colors, textures, finishes, and patterns that provides layered interest and harmony, the room is now a mosaic appropriate for entertaining both large and small groups.

Best in Show Residential: Singular Living Space (less than 500 square feet)

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Project Name: Living Among Ruins

Designers: Jodi Gillespie, ASID; Erin Merkl

Firm: Jodi Gillespie Interior Design

Designers’ Note: The goal was to respect the modern architecture of this loft as well as its location amid historic mill ruins. Recycled barn wood in the living room nods to the farmers who supplied wheat to the mills 140 years ago. The blackened-steel fireplace surround extending to the 12-foot-high ceiling hints at the smokestacks outside and blends with the dark window frames. Exposed concrete floors, ceilings, and columns were left untouched; technology and AV systems streamlined or hidden; and lighting enhanced. Simply furnished with a wool rug, family-friendly upholstered sectional, and chaise placed for contemplating the view, the home is now both distinctly modern and in harmony with its surroundings.

Special Purpose Space 

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Project Name: Gather Your Thoughts

Designers: Jeanne Anselmo, Allied ASID; Karen Soojian, ASID

Firms: JJ Designs; KSID Studio

Designers’ Note: A jewel box was the inspiration for this sitting room, where the designers placed navy blue grass cloth embellished with gold grommets on the walls and gold leaf on the ceiling. A mix of masculine patterns and textures (blue tartan plaid, leather, gold leopard, and velvet) and dark blue bookcases, where the owner displays photos and mementos as well as books, create a moody, library-like vibe. The wool carpet anchors the pattern mix and adds warmth. Bolstering the jewel-box theme are the opulent bar cabinet with a mirrored interior and gold bunching tables with mirrored tops. With two comfortable chairs flanking the cabinet across from the sofa, the room is now the perfect place for intimate conversation or to gather your thoughts.

Showcase Room/Model Home 

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Project Name: On Top of the World

Designers: Elizabeth Darth, Allied ASID; Emily Anderson, ASID; Bhavana Bhimavarapu, Allied ASID

Firm: Martha O’Hara Interiors

Designers’ Note: This custom home on a bluff overlooking a lake was designed for both show (it was featured on a home tour) and for real life. Above all, design choices had to enhance rather than compete with views through its many windows. Toward that end, furnishings are low-profile and the palette is neutral—composed of soft hues, white, medium-toned woods, and natural stone. Designed for entertaining, the kitchen features two islands, providing ample prep and storage space as well as seating. A central wine station in the formal dining room is an elegant focal point. While the main floor offers treetop vantages, the lower level provides access to the pool and lake (via a cable car), and with a wine cellar, billiard room, and tiered theater, is an entertaining paradise.

Bedroom Suite

Project Name: A Gentleman’s Suite

Designers: Bruce Kading, ASID; Eric Kaufmann, Allied ASID; Lindy Luopa, Allied ASID; Craig Hoffman and team

Firm: Bruce Kading Interior Design

Designers’ Note: The client wanted the master suite of his 1980s-era home to be a dramatic-yet-intimate environment. He also wanted to maintain the locations of windows and plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems, and to use existing furniture. Taking inspiration from traditional men’s haberdasheries, the designer lined the closet and dressing room with furniture-like cabinetry. The bathroom has a handsome walk-in shower, copper soaking tub, double sinks, and a highboy-like cabinet. Using a mix of wood, charcoal grass cloth, natural stone, quartzite, metal, and glass, the designers balanced masculine tradition with modern luxury.

Bathroom (less than 100 square feet)

Project Name: Great Plains Chateau

Designers: Bruce Kading, ASID; Eric Kaufmann, Allied ASID; Lindy Luopa, Allied ASID; Craig Hoffman and team

Firm: Bruce Kading Interior Design

Designers’ Note: When the clients acquired a private, 22-acre property with rolling hills and trees, they commissioned the interior design team to create a grand 18th-century-inspired chateau. The solutions for the powder room include damask wallpaper, glazed plaster molding for the panels and crown, custom wood wainscoting, and tumbled onyx floor tiles laid out in a herringbone pattern. The custom sink evokes European antiques, with bronze legs, a metal apron to hide the plumbing, a marble countertop, and faucets dipped in gold. Illuminating this exquisite jewel box of a powder room is a pair of antique chinoiserie sconces and a French lantern.

Custom-Designed Object/Detail

Project Name: Storytelling Stair Runner

Designer: Emily Anderson, ASID

Firm: Martha O’Hara Interiors

Designer’s Note: A custom-designed stairway runner made from vintage rugs adds interest and texture in the entryway of a suburban home. Two rugs, 20 and 60 years old, were cleaned, bleached, and re-dyed in two shades of gray. The rugs were then cut up, the pieces stitched together into a herringbone pattern, and a fabric backing added. The subtle pattern and soft tones of the “new” carpet provide a pleasing contrast to the sleek white of the adjacent shiplap and trim. And the runner, which hints at its history, is a conversation starter for guests who ask, “What’s the story behind that?”

Historic Preservation 

Photo by Corey Gaffer

Project Name: New History

Designers: David Heide, Allied ASID; Elizabeth Mueller, Allied ASID

Firm: David Heide Design Studio

Designers’ Note: The owners wanted to reintroduce historical details that had been lost when prior owners had attempted to turn their 1908 cottage into a 1960s-era rambler. They also wanted an improved kitchen and floor plan that would better meet their family’s needs. Combining several small spaces allowed for a larger kitchen, and two new shed dormers created space for a dual-use family bathroom and laundry upstairs. A new basement stair location provides access to the new walk-out basement mudroom. Period-appropriate millwork, built-ins, kitchen cabinetry, and details such as a colonnade that separates the entryway and living room evoke a sense of history. By addressing both functional and aesthetic goals, the designers simultaneously took the house back to 1908 and forward to 2019.

Best in Show Commercial: Commercial Project (more than 10,000 square feet)

Project Name: SVL

Designers: Kevin Rolfes, Associate ASID; Kimberly Scanlon, ASID

Firm: KRdesign; Vela Creative

Designers’ Note: The client asked for an inspiring workspace that would serve multiple purposes, contribute to the health and wellbeing of employees, and reflect the company’s brand. Design direction came from the company’s industry, HVAC systems (which the designers sought to celebrate with architectural elements), wall graphics, and even the floor plan. Work areas are now airy clusters that allow for collaboration, lounges offer respite, and other spaces serve multiple purposes. With pops of color and a mix of natural and technical elements, the building has a subtle but playful energy, and the design positions the company as forward-thinking, successful, and energized.

Commercial Project (less than 10,000 square feet)

Project Name: Pinball & Pour Over

Designers: Lisa Antenucci, Allied ASID; Jackie Colpaert, Allied ASID; Stevi Eggers, Allied ASID

Firm: Shelter Architecture

Designers’ Note: The business owner’s idea was to combine handcrafted coffee drinks, tea, craft beer, wine, and healthy grab-and-go food with pinball. The designers fully embraced the concept and set to work creating wayfinding elements, fixtures, and furnishings based on the pinball theme. Pendant lights look like pinballs and barstool seats like bumpers. A custom woodworker with a CNC router helped create the curving wood booths and drink ledge. With clean graphics, pops of color, and an imaginative take on furnishings and fixtures, the space feels fun and fresh, and fully reflects the business concept.

Emerging Professional Project

Project Name: Mediterranean Classic

Designer: Krystal Kellermann, ASID

Firm: Martha O’Hara Interiors

Designer’s Note: The grand exterior of this metropolitan lake home called for an equally impressive interior that complemented its Spanish style. The approach blends traditional with glamorous, aiming for a sophisticated-yet-approachable feel. The master bath, for example, features a tile “runner” with a circular motif set amid a more traditional marble tile. Damask wallpaper, crystal chandeliers, and tufted furnishings convey timeless elegance. The refined black-and-white palette is accented with rich gemstone hues—jade in the kitchen, fuchsia in the living room, and chartreuse in the office. Architectural details including a coffered ceiling, stone fireplace surround, and sleek iron railings further ensure this home’s inside feels connected with its outside.

Emerging Talent

Designer: Kristin Rackner || Firm: Studio Vice

Photo by Joe Krummel

Designer of Distinction

Designer: Letitia Little, Allied ASID || Firm: Letitia Little Interior Design

Photo by Sarah Pierce


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