The story of the Kraus Kaplan home begins at the front steps of their house. The 1913 Tudor-style home in Kenwood is situated in lush landscaping, in keeping with the neighborhood’s established homes that exude charm. But look closer. There’s an unexpected exterior detail—a boldly painted teal blue front door.Like any good tale, that surprise detail has a foreshadowing effect and hints at what’s beyond. “The front door is like the beginning of the story,” homeowner Heidi Kraus Kaplan says. “Our house tells a story as you go through it.”Step inside, and sure enough, it unfolds, illustrated room after room by interesting textures and pattern mixing, art collected over time, laid-back furnishings, but most of all, healthy strokes of color. The couple bought the house a few years ago after deciding to move closer to Minneapolis following a stint in the western ’burbs. They fell first for the family-friendly neighborhood, then for the house itself—its beautiful millwork, lots of windows, and rooms they can each make their own. “We love the old bones, and this house had a great layout and tons of natural light,” says Michael Kaplan, a small business owner.
The couple, who has two children, Izzie, 4, and Rocky, 1, wanted to respect the historic architecture but put a younger spin on the interior so it better fit their active—often downright hectic—lifestyle. They worked with interior designers Lisa Peck and Christina Rymer of LiLu Interiors to reimagine their home. But even before creating mood boards or shopping for fabrics, Peck and Rymer talked with the couple to learn more about the family’s lifestyle: How did the home need to function best for its new occupants?
“We really focus on making sure floorplans work for how you intend to live your life,” Peck says. “We think about how you actually envision living and using your space. We want to make sure that all the things you want to do in your home aren’t an afterthought.”
First and foremost, Heidi says, kids needed to be welcome in every room. Rooms also needed to stretch to accommodate professional gatherings and casual entertaining with visiting families. In addition to planning the design of the spaces to meet these needs, Peck and Rymer showed the couple how spaces could flex and rearrange.
“Heidi loves having a seat for everybody no matter what the occasion," Rymer says.
That means that the colorful fringed floor cushions in the living room are just as comfy for kids to jump on as they are for guests to pull up near the coffee table for board games. The settee at the dining table seats the couple’s children and their young cousins for leisurely dinners with extended families. And finding a place for Michael’s weekly poker night and Heidi’s getaway office were just as important as choosing new draperies for the living room and paint color for the walls throughout.
The Kraus Kaplan family’s fun-loving personality and sense of humor were equally important to express in the home’s design. Heidi and Michael’s shared enthusiasm about color guided Peck and Rymer’s plan. Happy hues of teal, green, and lavender brightened up what once was a more formal, even stuffy-looking, interior when the couple first bought the house. “The house had a tired feel and was on the market for a while,” Michael says. “But it had great light and we were able to tone down the formal. The rooms start to feel more intimate once you get color and texture in there.”
Going against the trend of an often-sought-after open floorplan, the Kraus Kaplans appreciated that their house had separate rooms yet still felt contiguous. “We were really excited about having pockets in the house. We all have our own little space,” Heidi says.
“Finding an intentional use for every inch of space was a priority,” Peck adds. The sunroom that once housed boxes and used furniture was remade with bright color on the walls and floor. It’s now a favorite room, becoming a fun zone for children’s birthday parties and crafts by day, or a beautiful space to enjoy cocktails with friends by night.
Even a hallway closet that once stored luggage became the children’s Harry Potter nook for a playroom. “Our whole world is our kids,” Michael says, “so having different nooks for them to engage in destructive activity was a big deal.”