The Anselmo family of the 2016 Mpls.St.Paul ASID MN Showcase Home in Edina.
Meet the Anselmo family: Aidan (14), Dario, Ali (12), Jeanne, and Andrew (15), photographed outside of their Edina home on March 30.
It’s mid-March, just over two months until the Mpls.St.Paul Magazine ASID MN Showcase Home Gala, and construction at 6301 Knoll Drive South in Edina is in full swing. Wallpaper is being peeled from the master suite, floor boards are being removed piece by piece, and architect/builder Bill Worms, of BayCliff Homes, is walking on barren concrete with a measuring tape, estimating the size of the yet-to-exist deck. Everything is coming along smoothly, but the process for homeowners Dario and Jeanne Anselmo has been anything but ordinary.
Construction and remodeling is stressful no matter what the budget or timeline—but imagine working with a team of 20-plus designers and only having weeks to make decisions on a home you’re planning to live in for the next 10 to 15 years. That’s the challenge this family of five faced—but they are taking it all in stride. “You know what? It’s not as challenging as you would think,” says Jeanne, who is herself a designer. “Because of the condensed timeline, the designers were coming directly to me, as opposed to the ASID committee. I got to really talk one-on-one with them about our color palette, ideas, mood boards. It’s definitely been a team effort, and that makes it more fun.”
Jeanne and Dario know what they like, and it’s their decisiveness and unwavering vision for the home that has kept the project on track since they officially signed on as this year’s Showcase Home in January. “Tradition with a twist” has been the go-to phrase when describing the house, referring to the Anselmos’ mix of European-luxury-meets-modern-family furniture and décor. “It’s a little bit rustic, a little bit elegant, with a little bit of an updated look,” Dario says. “It definitely has a European flair, but we don’t want it to feel too formal. We want it to be nice where it’s supposed to be nice, and kid-friendly where it’s supposed to be kid-friendly.”
The vision is a departure from their previous house, which was “very much a French style,” Dario says. They sold the six bedroom, six bath, 9,500-square-foot estate in 2014, when Dario, the former Fine Line Music Café owner, was running for Minnesota House District 49A (he’s running again this year). They didn’t want to leave Edina—where they’ve lived for more than 15 years—but they did want to simplify. So Dario and Jeanne—along with their kids, 12-year-old Ali, 14-year-old Aidan, and 15-year-old Andrew—moved into a rental while they waited for this year’s Showcase Home to be completed. “We had a great feeling,” says Jeanne, who instantly fell in love with the neighborhood, backyard, and natural light. “We knew we could make what we wanted to be our home out of any house. But we knew we couldn’t take a location and put it anywhere.”
Although some of the renovations have been extensive—they completely gutted the home, added onto the back, and installed solar panels—the Anselmos were adamant about avoiding a complete teardown. “We really like the idea of preserving homes that were built solidly,” says Jeanne. “Even with this house, there were definitely some surprises, but the foundation is really strong. You can build upon it and not have to tear it down and start from new. We feel like it has some quirkiness and charm to it.”
“This is our kind of dream home,” Jeanne says of the nearly 6,000-square-foot project. “It’s simpler living, more modernist, and more long-term. I felt like we could stay here when our kids are gone, because it’s not too much upkeep. This was our idea of a dream home, more modest living.”
Foyer, Living Room, and Stairs
2016 ASID Showcase Home living room rendering
Allied ASID designer Jennifer Austin-McGrath, of Fine House Interiors + Design, LLC, and ASID designer Angela Parker, of Interior Places and Spaces, LLC, believe in making a statement with your home as soon as guests walk through the front door. They applied that philosophy when tasked with designing the Anselmos’ foyer, living room, and staircase. Setting the tone for the “tradition with a twist” theme that flows through the rest of the house, the foyer floor is custom-painted in a geometric pattern that adds visual interest, while the ceiling is covered in a metallic silver wallpaper. An elegantly textured look in the living room caters to both Dario’s and Jeanne’s wishes—he wanted a comfortable sofa to relax and watch movies; she desired an open-flame fireplace, courtesy of Twin City Fireplace & Stone Co., to unwind at the end of the day. The challenge was the layout of the space, which features an asymmetrical floor plan. “It was hard to create unity and balance,” Austin-McGrath says. They created a furniture arrangement—like the petrified wood–topped table and sofa upholstered in wool fabric that demonstrates the “old meets new” look—that made the space feel balanced and welcoming.
- Be brave and mix styles. Blend traditional furniture outfitted in modern fabrics.
- Wow your visitor when they walk in the front door—whether it’s with unusual finishes or by combining old and new pieces that create an unexpected, but comforting feel.
- Have a good design base. The bones of the design—walnut floors, traditional hardware, white walls—give you flexibility to change simple elements like accessories or lighting.
--Jennifer Austin-McGrath, Allied ASID, Fine House Interiors + Design, LLC, 651-497-6398, finehouseinteriors.com
--Angela Parker, ASID, Interior Places and Spaces, LLC, alparker-ips.com
The sponsors of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine ASID MN Showcase Home Tour share design trends influencing their work.
Meet the companies and people behind this year's Mpls.St.Paul ASID MN Showcase Home Tour.