City Spaces: Unbeatable location meets playful modern style in this East Isles home

Lucy Hawthorne

Lucy Hawthorne

Location is reason enough to love this house.

The East Isles neighborhood in Minneapolis is one of the city's most walkable, sandwiched between Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun, and the shops and restaurants of Uptown proper.

But Brad and Elyse have spun a favorably located house into something even more golden: A warm, welcoming home emblematic of their eclectic personal style. Check out our slideshow for the full tour.

Elyse and Brad
Where: East Isles neighborhood of Minneapolis
How long you've lived here: Since July 2015

Favorite thing about your space:
The natural light in this house is a dream. It gives us so many more lighting options; now we're able to use lamps, rather than relying solely on harsher overhead lighting. It's truly a luxury. This house we owned before this one was adorable, but we really compromised when it came to natural lighting. The house had so few windows, which not only affected the brightness of the space but also made it very hard to own plants. Never again will we underestimate the importance of natural lighting.

Least favorite thing about your space:
Our house was built in 1899, so it has a lot of quirks. While most of them are charming, things like radiators and uneven floors can also be limiting when it comes to design and the overall use of space.

Design inspiration:

Of course there are the usual suspects like Pinterest, Instagram, and design websites, but we try to pull from a wide variety of places. We like magazines and books like This Old House, Elle Decor, Remodelista, The New Bohemians; brands like Anthropologie and Lulu & Georgia; and designers such as Emily Henderson, Kelly Wearstler, and Justina Blakeney. We also incorporate our personal travels (France, Morocco, Iceland) and our friends into our decor. For us, design is a lot of mixing and matching...trial and error...and that's the joy. Mixing styles, colors and textures and then changing our minds four months later.

Trend(s) you love:

Long, dangling plants (and lots of them), marble (it's classy AF), layering funky textures, all brass everything, neutral walls (we love starting with a clean slate and then layering in color, texture, and visual interest).

Trend(s) you hate:

There isn't one particular trend we hate. That said, it's a design bummer when people force a trend they like into a space that doesn't work with that particular style. It's also frustrating when people get overly fixated on a period or style like midcentury modern. There are lots of beautiful mid-century modern pieces, but it's easy to go overboard and make things look cheesy.

Show and tell:

We're obsessed with this big marble and hot pink coffee table we bought at Pharmacie, here in Minneapolis. It's truly one of a kind. We fell in love with it as soon as we saw it. It's the perfect amount playful and funky, but also seriously designed and elegant. It's our favorite piece of furniture we've ever bought.

Best memory here:

The first thing we did when we bought the house was take down all the window treatments (there were TONS of blinds) and paint the walls white (each room featured a different, brightly colored wall color). We wanted to start with an absolutely clean slate and feel like we owned the space. In the same spirit, we invited a few of our closest friends over the first weekend we owned the home, when everything was still in boxes. We thought it was important to reclaim the house and set a positive, new tone.

If you had the budget, what you would do to your space:
We're definitely itching to refresh the kitchen. Since it already works well from a layout perspective, we anticipate just updating the appliances, countertops, and cabinets. However, this will probably still be a few years down the line, as it took us about 8 months to renovate a dinky 6x6 bathroom.

Where you shop:
Locally, we love PharmacieFoundry Home GoodsHunt & GatherMartin Patrick 3, Forage Modern Workshop, and random antique shops in Stillwater, MN. Outside of the Twin Cities, we like Schoolhouse Electric, Lulu & Georgia, LEIFTerrainAnthropologieCB2, West Elm, and Etsy. Craigslist & Ikea are also great for low-risk design hacking.


Have a home you'd like featured in City Spaces? Email us.