With his trademark round glasses and easygoing charm, Bruce Kading has a knack for infusing his work with a spirit of place. Be it an airy loft in Minneapolis or a historic brownstone in New York City, he fills these homes with countless design details, resulting in an environment that’s at once layered and livable. “I try to create an ambiance that is elemental to the client and enhances their life,” he explains.
To be sure, an encyclopedic knowledge of decorative arts is at the core of it all. Kading has a lifelong passion for touring historic estates — from the Hearst Castle in California to the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina — whose key design principles and architectural elements have seeped into his aesthetic rigor. “A sense of history is always what grounds a project,” he says. “It’s what gives the home a soul.”
With a mighty four-person team, Minneapolis-based Bruce Kading Interior Design is equally at ease with historic renovations or new construction. The firm has received numerous accolades during its 11-year tenure, including both Best in Show and first place in the 2020 ASID MN Awards for a South Dakota residence that has all the romance of a French chateau.
Most recently, Kading’s team set its design sights on a 12-year-old Medina home originally built in the style of the American West. The idea was to lighten up the interiors and infuse them with a sense of classicism and timelessness, evoking the feel of a European estate.
That concept came alive in the sunroom, where Kading replaced the former terra cotta tile on the fireplace with a rich marble and clad the walls in linen damask with muted whispers of gold and gray. For a nuanced shift, he had the stark white woodwork glazed with a softer, creamier white — as if it had gently faded over time. “The room feels different throughout the day as the sunlight changes,” he observes.
Artful attention was lavished on the kitchen, which was transformed into a modern space with European touches. Antique-mirrored backsplashes bounce light into the room, while a pewter-topped island invites casual dining. But the focal point, no doubt, is the custom wooden door and frame concealing the refrigerator. Exquisitely hand chiseled by woodcarver Erik Wyckoff, the striking cartouche sets a regal tone. Decorative painter Jennifer Raskob Kranz added layers of aged, muted color, reflecting the essence of an Old World interior. “I wanted it to feel as though an old door or perhaps the front of an armoire was brought in,” Kading notes.
All this design magic has created a loyal following. Past clients are always calling Kading to refresh their interiors or to reimagine a vacation retreat in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho or California. But of all the requests, he’s especially honored when children of longtime clients ask him to help with a new construction or renovation project. “I’ve known them for years and watched them grow up, so it’s a real compliment to be invited to design a legacy home for a new generation,” he concludes.