It’s Monday morning, and while some might be catching their breath and sipping their coffee in yoga pants after the mad dash of getting kids off to school, Anna Lyon looks like she could hold court in a room of fashion notables. Leopard-print heels, leather-trimmed sweater, bold statement jewelry, and a big, beautiful smile.
“We like to be dressed up,” she says of her family, which includes husband Chris, a software executive, and daughter Petra, 10. But beyond the high style that defines her wardrobe and home, Lyon, a community volunteer and involved mom, has a conspiratorial warmth that makes a person feel like they’ve been a guest in her home many times before.
This latest project—which had her obsessing on Pinterest and over wallpaper samples for months—is a 4,400-square-foot white brick-and-shake 1946 sountry home perched on an expansive hill in Wayzata. Original wide-plank pine floors, a bluestone terrace that runs the length of the home, and the open, ambling layout helped sell the Lyons on the house. The couple had been looking to move from their traditional Kenwood home in favor of more spacious pastures and a fresh design slate.
“Our old home was like a Traditions showroom. Gilding, brocades, velvets, red,” says Lyon, who had worked over the years on toning down that Old World aesthetic and transitioning it to a more contemporary one. Her friend, interior designer Brandi Hagen of Eminent Interior Design, helped her in the process. The pair found they had good chemistry, with a tendency to finish each other’s thoughts.
Above: The couple purchased this custom Stephanie Odegaard rug nearly 15 years ago. ”It started in the living room of our old house, then we moved it to the dining room,“ says Lyon. “We wanted to move it back to the living room for this house and we loved Brandi’s idea of bringing in color from the rug.“
Below: Hagen made models for every room in the house, which helped Lyon figure out what pieces to look for to fill in the furniture blanks. One online shopping trip yielded these lucite and chrome bar stools from the ’70s, which were recovered with cowhide. A cluster of lights from Arteriors boost up the glam factor as you enter the home.
“I remember bringing a wallpaper sample to our dinner club, and that’s where we started in the old house,” Hagen says. “We kept trying to make the home work with small projects because we loved it,” adds Lyon, “but there were things I wanted that I couldn’t have unless we did a huge project—an eat-in kitchen, a master suite, a sectional. I had total sectional envy.”
“She did,” Hagen adds. “The first thing Anna said when she walked me through this house was, ‘I can get a sectional in here.’” They customized one from Hickory Chair, and it now sits in a prime corner of the sunroom. Hagen accented the sectional with pillows covered in floral Schumacher fabric with turquoise and fuchsia flowers. That print inspired the home’s white-with-bright color scheme. To make the white sofa friendly for the family’s dogs Fletcher and Leo, Hagen “Nanotex-ed” it with a treatment that bulletproofs against spills “so Anna wouldn’t hate me for the dirt stains,” Hagen says.
The home had been well taken care of before the Lyons bought it, but, says Lyon, “my design mantra was taking it from Pottery Barn to Elle Decor,” with bespoke wallpapers, risky color choices (hello, hot pink!), and sophisticated furniture. With their “dream team,” including contractor Jeff Haight from Advanced Home Works and wallpaper and paint expert Kevin Pettis with Pettis Decorating Services, they gave the cottage a cosmetic lift, enameling the trim and cabinetry white, replacing lighting and hardware, and adding detailed millwork.
“Brandi made models for every room, then I went looking for furniture,” says Lyon, who had fun during her hunt for unusual pieces. A set of lucite and chrome bar stools from the ’70s for the kitchen island was shipped from West Palm Beach, and a ’60s hutch with Greek Key flourishes became the storage center for barware. The pair gave the hutch extra panache by adding antique mirrors to the doors and painting the inside of the piece turquoise.
Darker hues imbue a sense of calm, richness, and depth to the dining room and master bedroom. The Greek Key motif in the wallpaper, left, is picked up in a vintage hutch retrofitted with mirrors that reflect the surroundings. In the master bedroom, a cluster of chandeliers was something Lyon had admired in another home and couldn't wait to install.
Lyon was undeterred when design challenges arose. For example, when she wanted to hang a mirror above the fireplace in the master bedroom to reflect a cluster of crystal chandeliers, but Chris wanted a TV, she found a company—Seura— that makes vanishing mirror displays, the kind you might see in a luxury hotel bathroom. When Lyon didn’t like the frames they offered, she had Grand Frames create a custom silver one. Walking in, you’d never know you could switch the mirror “on.” “Isn’t that the best?” she asks.
The master is enveloped in a vinyl navy wallpaper, making it feel luxuriously cozy in contrast with the crisp, white-beamed ceilings. “This is the perfect house for wallpaper because of the independent rooms and because the ceilings aren’t too high, which would be too much for the bold choices we made,” says Hagen, who went to town choosing a variety of papers. In the master bathroom, a leopard print from Schumacher and a funky green and blue botanical print by Christopher Farr vie for attention. A charcoal bird and Greek Key paper from Osborne & Little adds richness to the dining room. Petra, a dog lover, consulted on the wallpaper in her room featuring dogs in silhouette form. “Petra had her own meeting about her room,” says Lyon. “She had a definite point of view, and we were aiming to make it not too little girl and not too teen.”
During the year that the Lyons have lived in their cottage-style home, they’ve enjoyed entertaining several gatherings, including a nonprofit event for 125 people. That kind of party would have been considerably more challenging space-wise in their former home. “This space really lends itself to being scalable,” says Lyon, who is pleased with the move and especially the flow she now has to accommodate guests. Still, there comes a time after the party is over when Lyon needs some downtime to enjoy the space she now calls home. That’s when she heads over to her favorite sectional with a stack of magazines, and finally kicks those heels off.
“Paradiso" wallpaper, by Nina Campbell, available through Scherping Westphal, IMS, 612-822-2700, scherpingwestphal.com
“Leopold Schiaparelli” wallpaper, by Designers Guild, also available through Scherping Westphal
“Best in Show” wallpaper, by Osborne & Little, also available through Scherping Westphal
“Carnival-Grass” wallpaper, by Christopher Farr, available through Blended Blue, IMS, 612-455-6132