Photos by Wing Ta
Midcentury home in Golden Valley
If ever you’re lost searching for the home of Kyle and Katie Cannon, simply look for the pop of color that stands out in their quiet suburban neighborhood.
“We’re the orange door,” says Katie of how they introduce themselves to people. Not only does it provide a striking contrast to the navy siding and black trim, it also hints at the couple’s funky aesthetic that’s alive in every corner once you pass the eye-catching threshold.
When Kyle, an accountant, and Katie, a photographer, were ready to leave their downtown Minneapolis condo for something that would give them and their 4-year-old daughter, Paige, more room to grow, they were drawn to the midcentury look and feel of the 1950s and ’60s. They fell in love with a North Tyrol home, but when their offer didn’t pan out, they went back to the drawing board with a new strategy. Instead of looking only for places that fit their ideal description, they sought out fixer-uppers they could mold to make their own. That’s when they stumbled upon a buttercream- and maroon-colored house in Golden Valley.
“When Kyle first showed me this house, it was a disaster,” says Katie of the foreclosed property. “It had not been inhabited for two years. It had no heat. None of the utilities were working. It needed a new roof. So it took a lot of vision, but we saw it.”
The Cannons mix and match pieces from both national and local makers, like the credenza from Minnesota-based Eastvold Furniture and the light fixture from Jonathan Adler.
They envisioned clean lines and white walls—a Scandinavian, minimalist aesthetic—but also let existing features in the home lead the remodel. For example, when they pulled back the carpet in the bedroom to find untouched oak wood floors from the ’50s, they refused to let them go to waste. “We already put enough stuff in the dumpster renovating that we wanted to keep as much as we could,” Kyle says. “That’s what’s different when doing a remodel. If the point was to start from scratch, we might have ended up with something very different.”
Rather than complete the remodel in one fell swoop, the Cannons, with the help of Rehkamp Larson Architects and Theisen Renovations Inc., divided the renovations into chunks—a decision that they say allowed them to evaluate how they were using the home and make smarter decisions about each space. Phase one, which included the main dining room, kitchen, upstairs living room, hallway, and entrance, began shortly after they closed on the home in March 2012, and was completed by June that same year. The basement, mudroom, laundry room, bedrooms, and bathrooms came later. In all, it took about two-and-a-half years to complete renovations, which wrapped in December 2014.
“Yeah, it’s annoying that we had construction ongoing for a couple of years, but when you live in a house for a while, you start to see things that drive you crazy,” Kyle says. “You could really see how you live in a house and then, as you’re remodeling, adjust and fix all that stuff.”
Katie adds, “You don’t have those little nuances that annoy you because you know the reason why you made the decision. I wish I had a little more pantry space, but I know what I got in exchange of that.”
In that case, it was the kitchen, which, because of the remodel, is now open to the dining room. Katie loves to cook, and wanted a huge blank canvas. That’s reflected in a white HanStone quartz island that dominates the space, offering a color contrast to the surrounding stainless steel appliances and dark wood cabinetry. In the dining area, yellow and blue add pops of color to the neutral surroundings.
The white tub from Aquatica—which the couple found on Amazon—provides contrast to the walnut wood paneling in the master bathroom (above), which the Cannons built by combining two bathrooms into one.; In the master bedroom and bath, the Cannons used walnut flooring as paneling on the walls. Below, the buffalo photograph in the bedroom was taken by Katie at Prairie Heights Bison in Luverne. The image also appeared in the Minnesota Cooks calendar she photographs every year for the Minnesota Farmers Union, which is distributed at the State Fair.
The master bedroom is another example of the Cannons working with what they had. When Katie and Kyle first bought the house, they weren’t thrilled with the original layout. Instead of completely altering the bones of the space, Kyle had the idea to fashion a wall at the entry of the bedroom—essentially making a hallway—that gave them more storage space and privacy than the original open layout. “It kind of created a room within a room,” says Katie.
Throughout the entire process—whether it was combining two bathrooms into one to make a master bathroom or tearing down walls to give the home more of a “community” feeling—Katie relied on Kyle to bring their ideas to life, while she used her eye for design to make each room their own.
The Loopy Lines wallpaper from Graham & Brown (above), inspired by the ‘60s modernist movement, freshens up the new master bath.;
To add playfulness in 4-year-old Paige’s room, the Cannons found hot-pink heart decals from Etsy, and enlisted their daughter’s help to haphazardly scatter them on the walls in her room.
“Kyle has a great vision when it comes to what he wants something to look like, and I’m the other half making it work décor-wise,” she says. “I like having free rein. I bought things, but didn’t show him piecemeal what I’d purchased. I remember the day when the bedroom got done, I was really nervous to show him. That was a fun reveal, and we haven’t changed anything in there besides adding a few pictures. I still walk in there every day like, ‘I love it.’”