Twin Cities interior designer Bruce Kading is a patient man. He waited 46 years to finally renovate the cozy kitchen in the 1930s Tudor where he and his wife, Marcia, have lived since 1976. The reason for the delay? Kading was simply too busy helping loyal clients create their own dream homes. “I didn’t want to do it until I could do it right,” he says.
Finally in 2022 the opportunity arose, and Kading took it. Tucked along Minnehaha Parkway in Minneapolis, the residence carries a graceful grandeur, with plaster cove ceilings and arched doorways and windows. The idea was to bring that same ambiance into the kitchen, then mix in plenty of modern-day practicality. “My wife needed the space to function well, and I wanted to add lots of detail,” he explains.
Kading started with the kitchen sink, which quickly became a focal point. Specially chosen for its deep, dramatic size, the apron sink is set into a custom-built walnut cabinet that oozes with sophistication. Its two pilasters flank the white basin, while elaborate trim frames the entire console. “I wanted it to look like an antique piece of furniture,” he notes. “It adds a sense of history.”
Known for his layered approach, which expertly blends antiques with subtle variations of color, texture and form, Kading has an encyclopedic knowledge of design periods. So it’s no surprise he brought that same rigor to his own kitchen, where dozens of aesthetic touches add up to a nuanced whole.
Case in point: The upper cabinetry is painted a soft white, while the lower cabinetry is just a hint darker, all to add a subtle play of tone. The glass tile backsplash shimmers in gradations of blue, gray and aubergine (Marcia’s favorite color), lending a vintage vibe and blending softly with the adjacent dining room. Above the stove, a custom hood gleams with a burnished pewter patina. One thing you won’t see here? The dishwasher, which is hidden behind a faux panel that looks like three drawers; same goes for garbage storage.
But what’s perhaps most appealing is the diminutive nature of the space — too small even for a center island. Kading has certainly designed spacious kitchens for clients, but he’s quite happy to honor the original size of his own. After all, bigger isn’t always better. “It functions quite well; I can walk two steps to get anywhere,” he observes. “There’s a lot of interest in smaller, cozier kitchens again, because with an open kitchen, it’s harder to hide the mess.”
And while this space is indeed on the petite side, the design packs a very big punch. The walls are painted a rich aubergine, offering a vibrant pop against the otherwise neutral palette. Turns out there’s a story behind that color (Benjamin Moore Black Raspberry 2072-20); it was inspired by a piece of pottery the couple purchased on a European vacation back in 2005. “We were in Italy and bought this pot with bright sunflowers and shades of aubergine and plum,” Kading recalls. “We always said we were going to design our kitchen around it.”
So they did just that. The beloved vessel now has a special place in the updated kitchen, lovingly tucked on an upper shelf — a keepsake of the Kadings’ love of travel and food. It’s one of the many reasons this space has quickly become a family favorite, the ideal gathering spot where the couple can entertain their daughter, son-in-law and seven grandchildren. It’s living proof that even after four decades, good things do indeed come to those who wait.