Photos by Wing Ta
You’d never know Alexandra Gray Bennett hasn’t gotten more than three or four hours of uninterrupted sleep a night for the past eight months—the co-owner of contemporary quilt maker Louise Gray is still as bright and bubbly as ever, even with an increasingly busy company and an 8-month-old baby boy who insists on waking her up for a cuddle frequently throughout the night. “Parenting has taught me so much,” Gray Bennett says: “To be kinder to myself, and how much I took sleep for granted!”
Fortunately, she has a beautiful home in which to spend all those waking hours, a classic foursquare near Lake of the Isles in the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis. Gray Bennett and her husband purchased it three years ago, surprising themselves by choosing a traditional house. “It reminded me of my childhood home, and I had a very happy childhood,” she says. It helped that the previous owner was a Swiss engineer who had updated the house with modern elements like casement windows and a steel roof. “She was meticulous,” says Gray Bennett. “Our utility room is unbelievable.”
This past year, the couple worked with designer Victoria Sass of Prospect Refuge Studio to further refine and furnish the interior. Similar to the ethos of Louise Gray, their goal was to apply contemporary esthetics to a beloved traditional form—in this case, a 100-year-old house.
In the living room, there’s an easy rapport between a soft, minimalist Croft House sofa in a daring (for a young family) shade of white and a pair of vintage Danish beechwood chairs with worn leather cushions. One of Gray Bennett’s heirlooms, an 18th-century French Aubusson rug, hangs on the wall, adding a touch of elegance and warmth. “One of the first questions Victoria asked us was what things had sentimental value. I really appreciate how she effortlessly wove those into the design,” says Gray Bennett. “And she was so intentional about sourcing additional pieces from makers and artisans across the globe.”
Upstairs, the new nursery is a fairy tale forest with leafy wallpaper and a ceiling fixture that can resemble a bunch of balloons, grapes, clouds, or moons. Floor-length linen draperies in soft sage create a cozy cocoon, and the setting is ripe for impromptu story-making, setting a young imagination aflame, or—hopefully soon—prompting a full night’s sleep.
Influencer | Alexandra Gray Bennett
What would people be surprised to learn about you? I have long desired to be a
hip-hop dancer and went so far as to take private lessons last year. I am, regretfully, no better than when I started.
Tell me about the quilts in your house. I always have a Louise Gray quilt in circulation,
but a majority of our quilts were handmade by my mother to commemorate important life events. They are some of the most treasured pieces in our home.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming a small business owner?
It’s easy to get caught up in the humdrum that comes with managing a business. I’ve discovered I need to be more intentional about dedicating time to stay curious and nurture the anthropologist in me.
Do you have any takeout favorites in the neighborhood? The Tao Bowl and Bliss Potion from Tao Natural Foods.
What silver linings have you discovered during what has been quite possibly the longest year ever? I am fortunate to live in (what I believe to be) one of the most beautiful parts of the country, yet most summers, I find myself out of town nearly every other weekend. I am grateful to have this opportunity to reconnect with the outdoors and enjoy the incredible park system our city has to offer—it’s one of the main reasons I chose to move back to Minneapolis after college and wanted to raise a family here.