A Peek Inside Erin Francois’s Remodeled 1930s Tudor Duplex

The delight the local blogger finds in DIY and interior design stems from the creative women who came before her

Photos by Wing Ta

Erin, clad in a favorite denim outfit, sits in her living room near one of her most rewarding DIY projects: her family’s coffee table.

At the tender age of seven, Erin Francois would bunker down in her basement, throwing hot glue and dried flowers onto anything she could get her hands on from her mother’s collection of craft supplies. Despite the mess that typically followed, crafting was always encouraged in her Duluth home—particularly by her mother, who owned a sewing school named Seams Sew Cool, and her grandmother, a fashion drawer for retailer Glass Block. Together, the two instilled a passion in Francois that propelled her toward a fulfilling career in the creative arts.

An abundance of textures and organic elements adds a modern touch to the 1930s Tudor duplex.

After studying interior design in college and working in commercial design, Francois spent six years selling fabrics and textiles, but found her creativity had become stifled. To compensate, she launched blog François et Moi to find her way back. Though originally designed to document her life as a newlywed, she noticed certain content beginning to gain traction: her DIY projects. So, she ran with it.

Now, François et Moi is a full-fledged design-focused DIY and styling blog that chronicles the renovation of her family’s 1930s Tudor duplex in South Minneapolis. Her content provides a refreshing approach to DIY design projects ranging from medicine cabinet makeovers to no-sew café curtains.

Francois’s home projects showcase her love for French culture, but at a closer look, one will discover touches of Scandinavian and Nordic influences, too. Vintage and thrifted finds can also be found throughout her designs, fusing together new and old items, high and low price points alike. “Some of those older pieces add more of a soulful sensibility to my home,” Francois says. “I really value celebrating the imperfections that make my home, family, and story unique to me.”

In the kitchen, fresh-cut flowers, gold hardware, and updated appliances bathe in natural sunlight.

This perspective led to her signature aesthetic—one that strives to take the details of a traditional home and marry them with a fresh, clean look that’s functional and livable for a modern-day family.

That keen understanding of what life looks like with a busy family may be what keeps François et Moi readers so hooked, but the cheerful brunette’s relatability and authenticity could just as easily explain her blog’s success and 61,000-plus Instagram followers.

“All of this makes me want to work hard and show my daughter what you can do if you put your mind to something,” says Francois, who isn’t sure yet if two-year-old Sylvia will follow in the footsteps of the creative women who came before her. “That would be super fun because that’s something we could easily do together. I would love to teach her how to sew, just like my mom taught me.”

For whenever that day comes, there’s a tower of textiles and a Janome 8050 sewing machine in the corner of Francois’s office—ready to fly at a moment’s notice.

The Influencer: Erin Francois

Soft blue panels ground the art and accessories that decorate the back entry and stairwell.

You like to say, “Blue is the new neutral.” What does that mean?

Think about denim jeans: They work with everything. I have such a deep-seated love for the color because you can make it work in any environment. It’s a staple.

Do you have any tips and tricks for Instagram?

I use the VSCO A6 filter almost exclusively with iPhone photos. It’s really good for shooting interiors. If you take a dark picture, the filter brightens it and makes your
feed look more cohesive.

What type of DIY projects are most rewarding?

The projects that are super integrated into our everyday lives, like our coffee table.
I found a round top at Salvation Army and bought some screw-in legs from Amazon. Sylvia paints, draws, and plays with Play-Doh on it, and my husband and I have date nights around it. We actually use it.

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