It was a sparkling new Edina home, framed by great bones and full of gorgeous millwork. And a family was eager to move in and make it their own. But once they got settled, it felt like something was missing. Eventually, the owners realized the residence lacked soul, those hard-to-define aspects that make a house truly feel like a home.
Enter Lisa Peck and Ally Partain of LiLu Interiors, two designers who live for making the intangible tangible — introducing those little details that ensure an abode is not only alluring but also reflective of its residents.
“The owner has exquisite taste and the shell was there, but the home didn’t reflect their family values or their love of music, books and artistry — all the things that are important to them,” Peck notes. “Building the home was step one, then giving it a real soul was where we came in.”
The family had a distinct point of view: traditional and refined yet open to whimsy and the unexpected. “We looked at ways their home could support them beyond just being beautiful — a place where they get to be themselves, where the needs of their soul are met,” explains Peck. “Like when a visitor comes in, they understand you in a whole new way.”
The interior design started with the sunroom, which ended up featuring a resin table with a bubble texture. “It’s unexpected and artful for a very traditional home to have that contemporary feel,” Peck says. Bingo: It showcases the owners’ love of surprise and bespoke details. The project took off from there.
The formal living room needed to be lightened up — after all, two boys live here. The LiLu team shopped around for sofas but ultimately realized they’d need a custom-built frame to really match the scale of the space. They tapped Patricia Edwards for that job and opted to upholster it in a beige plaid fabric.
“It was a little out of the comfort zone, but it creates a more casual feel,” notes Peck. “A plain beige sofa would have a different formality than one featuring a light, playful plaid.” So formal enough, but not too formal. There’s even a feet-up ottoman. “Those little things make a difference,”she adds.
A soothing color palette of sage green and chic blue are pulled through the 3,600-square-foot abode, creating a serene and grounded sanctuary. But they were still willing to take some risks, such as the bold teal animal-print game chairs or the floral Norwalk Furniture ottomans in the lower level family room.
In other spaces, Galbraith & Paul wall coverings adorn the walls — the yellow entryway is a standout — and complement other scene-setting elements like a custom Dunes and Duchess drink table in the living room and Italian draperies with specialty linings throughout.
Peck and Partain interviewed the tween twins to get their take on what their dream bedrooms would look like. Even at their tender ages, they had charming, articulate answers: One is an outdoorsman who loves Jackson Pollock, while the other wanted a space that felt like a “gentleman’s room.”
The Pollock fan got splatter wallpaper on the ceiling, along with a large desk and oars decorating the walls. The gentleman got a plaid upholstered club chair with a leather ottoman, a navy tweed headboard, and natty gray-and-red fabric shades. Both rooms reflect their current loves but can grow with them, owing to the classic refinement of the design choices. “The rooms have a little touch of playful, a little unexpected, a little whimsical, but all in a very refined way,” says Peck.
All of which perfectly reflects LiLu’s philosophy here: to create a gracious, welcoming home that mirrors the clients’ values and personalities. “Clients are usually trying to address a deeper need or concern with their interior project,” Peck concludes. “In this case, it was giving their home soul.” She thinks the blend of furnishings, colors and textures did just that.
But that’s not just her post-design analysis — the client wholeheartedly agrees: “Everything in our home now has a story behind it and was designed just for us.”