Edited by Kelly Ryan Kegans
With contributors Caitlin Abrams, Ashley Camper, Anni Caylor, Gina Czupka, Liz Gardner, Shawn Gilliam, Eliesa Johnson, Allison Kaplan, Jennifer Blaise Kramer, Yena Lee, Amanda Lepinski, Rebecca Lubecki, Ceciley Pund, Taylor Selcke
Anju Kataria says that when a person walks into her shop, Khazana, making a sale isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. “We want them to be comfortable, we want to have conversations,” she says. It might sound dubious coming from some retailers, but spend a few hours in Kataria’s company and you’ll believe her. Chances are, you’ll also find something among the shop’s exquisite textiles, jewelry, and folk art—sourced predominantly from India but also places such as Uzbekistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines—that you can’t leave behind.
Before she moved to Minnesota in 1978, Kataria was born and grew up in India, mostly in Delhi. Ask about the origins of her passion for textiles and she recalls the sari wallahs (sellers) and traveling Kashmiri shawl merchants arriving to the family’s home with bundles of goods, direct from the craftspeople who wove, embroidered, and embellished them by hand. Her mother bought frequently, expanding her trove of textiles, and young Kataria took note. “I always saw her contributing...it stayed with me. She’s 82 years old and when she goes to India, they still wait for her to come.”
The shop has been at its current location since 2010, but for years before that, its 9th-and-Nicollet Mall storefront was a cultural gathering spot for local creatives. Kataria forged close ties with fiercely loyal customers and her collections of authentic textiles and art, which grew with frequent travel, became a resource for Twin Cities arts organizations (she regularly works with Ragamala Dance Company, Mia, and the Minnesota History Center, among others).
Those travels also brought Kataria in direct contact with artisans and helped her chart the course for Khazana’s future. “I wanted to connect directly with the artisans or people who work with them and source things ethically,” she says. The shop also has regular events, including a “Tea and Textiles” series every other month, that help customers understand the shop’s beautiful objects in context. 2225 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls., 612-339-4565, khazana.com
Shout out to Twin Cities designer Mary Jo Hoffman, who had a busy year translating her beautiful nature photos onto bedding (right) and pillows for Target, while simultaneously launching a wall art collection for West Elm. stillblog.net
This April, Jessie Jacobson purchased Tonkadale Greenhouse from her grandparents. The nursery, which dates back to 1947, has been a longtime backyard brand for many residents west of the metro, and Jacobson literally grew up in the business. Now at the helm, she’s splashing in new inventory and livening up what she calls a design-driven garden center.
“Our new mission is to make gardening approachable for gardeners of all levels,” she says. “We have customers from all life stages and we want to be available and approachable for the beginner, the new homeowner, busy families, and busy professionals, and also have something new and interesting for the seasoned gardener.”
By keeping on top of trends, Jacobson plans to infuse Tonkadale with new merchandise to appeal to both new and longtime customers. Seasonal container gardens on display arbors will be updated frequently to show how to pull elements together—plus many of the containers are available already completed for the do-it-for-me crowd.
“Going into the fall and winter, there will be a greater focus on really cool indoor foliage including succulents, air plants, and what I like to call ‘hipster houseplants.’ Houseplants are cool again and an integral part of a well-dressed home,” she says, recommending textured ferns and tall sansevierias for those ready to move beyond the fiddle leaf fig.
Behind the scenes, Jacobson is also involved with insect and disease management in the greenhouse and supporting the community through their Give and Grow and Loaves & Fishes programs. She also hopes to expand Tonkadale’s online presence with more blog and video content. But don’t expect to find her back in an office. She adds: “I’d much rather be at the potting bench than sitting over a spreadsheet.” 3739 Tonkawood Rd., Minnetonka, 952-938-6480, tonkadale.com
Aimee Lagos broke into the home and design business in a roundabout way. Trained and working as a lawyer, she was craving a career change to stimulate her creative side. When an opportunity arose to become a U.S. distributor for Denmark-based home brand Ferm Living, she—along with childhood best friend Christiana Coop—jumped. Although they only worked for the company for a year and a half, they fell in love with the Danish design aesthetic and used their experience to launch their own wallpaper brand: Hygge & West (hygge, pronounced hoo-ga, is a Danish term that loosely translates to “cozy, warmth, enjoying life’s pleasures”). Since launching in 2008, the duo has grown the collection to include fabrics, collaborating with more than a dozen artists and brands, such as Rifle Paper Co., Emily Isabella, Eden & Eden, and North Loop’s own Askov Finlayson (see the full collaboration in Products: Minn-spired Wallpaper). Although her business partner is based in San Francisco, Lagos works from her Calhoun Isles home, where she lives with her husband, two teenage sons, and three dogs. “I love living in the Twin Cities because I meet people all the time who are doing awesome, exciting things. I find inspiration everywhere,” she says, citing the Blu Dot Outlet, Room & Board, Hunt & Gather, and Pharmacie as some of her favorite local home décor shops. Of course, inspiration strikes from her own work, too. Lagos recently refreshed her dining room, pictured here, with a wallpaper—called “Foret (teal)”—from Hygge & West’s collaboration with artist Julia Rothman. “My job has definitely encouraged me to be more daring with color,” Lagos says. But beyond her work life, Lagos fully embraces the hygge lifestyle at home. “The dining room is our favorite room in the house, and a great example of hygge. It’s big and feels connected to the kitchen and family room. One of our first big purchases for the home was a huge dining room table. We love that it’s a place where we can have a bunch of friends over for dinner.” hyggeandwest.com
What began in slow steps over the course of Elijah Neumann’s creative career evolved into his current design company, NEU Design, and it’s still growing. Neumann started making furniture for his college classes and was already filling orders shortly before graduating. This led to the official launch of his business in 2014, where he designs minimal, yet practical furniture with his wife, April. Their typical designs are crafted from leftover steel, woven cotton, and wood. Inspiration for his work comes from Charles and Ray Eames, Herman Miller, and Dieter Rams’s “10 Principles of Good Design.” The driving force behind Neumann’s midcentury-style furniture is his love of architecture, spontaneity, and creative freedom. Neumann is passionate about keeping his products locally made, which is in his hometown of St. Paul. He hopes his work will help people differentiate the value of a craftsman-made product versus a mass-produced one. neudesign.co
The Plant Whisperer
Follow Rachel Andrzejewski on Instagram (@rachelalicia) and you’ll get why her air plant installation at Golden Rule, (right) was called Verdant. You’ll also pick up some great tips about caring for air plants (give them a good soak in water once a week) and maybe talk her into making some more of her sold-out succulent terrariums.
Julia Moss Designs
Julia Moss Designs
This is not your grandmother’s silver. Well, technically it is, but refreshed for a new generation. Julia Moss began her antique silver makeovers after discovering powder coating. Once she strips silver pieces to remove gunk and tarnish, they are sprayed in fun, modern colors (think Tiffany Blue, Rose Quartz, Plum Crazy, and FDA-safe white and black) and baked, resulting in a glossy finish. Since Moss began her business in December 2014, and opened her Uptown shop in April 2015, Julia Moss Designs has grown to include five collections, with pieces ranging from vintage horseshoes and catchalls to coffee table trays and mirrors. But beyond her ready-made pieces, she also takes custom orders on family heirlooms, so you can finally throw that polish away. Prices start at $28. 2508 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., 612-361-7050, juliamossdesigns.com
Twenty-five years into her tenure as a European decorative arts curator at the Art Institute of Chicago, Ghenete Zelleke decided to make a bold move—to Minneapolis. As the new James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture and head of the Department of Decorative Arts, Textiles & Sculpture at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Zelleke isn’t only heading west, but also beyond her previous European scope.
“As I get older, my interests are growing broader,” she says. “There couldn’t be anything better for me right now.”
Overseeing the 18,000-plus works in Mia’s collection of European and American decorative arts represents an exciting new chapter for Zelleke, who grew up in New York to diplomat parents (her father was Ethiopian, her mother American). And while professional pursuits will focus on bringing the best decorative arts to Minneapolis, Zelleke’s sights are also set on trying out local Ethiopian restaurants and finding a home suited to entertaining. “My dining table is big enough to land an aircraft, so I need to have space for that,” she says.
Style and design in a snapchat: Locals to follow
“I’ve always been grateful for this advice from [late designer] Tom Gunkelman: When you make an investment in a classic piece of furniture, even if it feels a little extravagant, it becomes that special piece that moves with you from home to home.”
—Interior designer Lucy Penfield
“I enjoy helping people find an elegant solution to their design goals based on what’s truly important to them, especially given all the ideas out there.”
—Architect Christine L. Albertsson
“Some people think about sustainability and green design as having a certain look—and it’s our goal to get people to understand it can be beautiful.”
—Landscape designer Steve Modrow