Conventional wisdom holds that lofts are open and airy, an idea you’d think would ring especially true in a two-level loft with dramatic views of downtown Minneapolis, the Guthrie Theater, and the river. But this space is different. “There are more walls than you’d typically see in a loft, and that’s what is powerful about it,” says architect Matthew Kreilich, design principal and partner at Snow Kreilich Architects.
That’s because the walls don’t simply divide spaces, but they also serve as backdrops for an outstanding collection of contemporary art and 20th-century Scandinavian furnishings. Yet the design team did not set out to create a museum-like space. “We really wanted to make a home in which they could display their art in a beautiful and thoughtful way,” Kreilich says.
Wall finishes by painting designer Darril Otto play an important role. Venetian plaster with a slightly reflective, textural quality covers most surfaces, but the finish shifts to flat paint for art niches. An extruded aluminum reveal marks transitions between the two surfaces. “It’s almost like they stitch together in a very thoughtful way,” says lead architectural designer Aksel Coruh.
A similar level of thought extends to other details, including pocket doors that completely hide away, continuous ceilings, and recessed orb LED lighting by TM Light that can be precisely angled to illuminate the art. “These sorts of minimal details are really the ones that are hardest to achieve, and it takes a real craft,” Kreilich says.
Ian Alderman, senior project manager with Streeter Custom Builder, agrees. “There’s no base trim or casing in the entire loft—it’s very clean and minimal,” he says. “That’s also what makes it difficult. Trim covers any irregularities you might have, but that wasn’t an option here.”
Still, woodwork played a role in balancing the seamless white surfaces, with work by Hurley Custom Cabinets that includes painstakingly slip-matched veneers of white oak on cabinetry in the library. “That dialogue between the white surfaces and the wood helps ground the project and makes it feel residential,” Coruh says.
Collaborating from the start with interior designer Anne Klemm Rogers of Danish Teak Classics ensured the space felt welcoming and residential, too. “We worked with Anne very specifically around the furniture pieces, almost to the degree that we considered them art,” Kreilich says.
Scandinavian pieces from the 1930s to the 1960s make up a good share of the furnishings, with contemporary and custom pieces mixed in. The blend relaxes and distinguishes the look. “For an urban space like this to have some soul, you need to leave some room for the unexpected to happen,” Rogers says. “And that can simply be a beautiful piece of furniture.”
Although the owners’ art collection is notable, the design team wasn’t after an art gallery look. “It’s a home,” interior designer Anne Klemm Rogers says. “It has an impressive quality, but the mix of vintage items and new and custom pieces is very inviting. Everything feels like it was acquired over a period of several years.”
Understated architectural finishes were key to the design. “Here, you have the world of amazing views and the world of the collection within, and I think the architecture tries to mediate between those in a very subtle, restrained way,” says Aksel Coruh, project lead designer. “Having three voices would have been too much.”
“The architecture and interior design came together beautifully, creating a quiet and restrained place for art and conversations.” — Architect Matthew Kreilich
Interior design: Anne Klemm Rogers, Danish Teak Classics/DTC Interior Design, 1500 NE Jackson St., Mpls., 612-362-7870, danishteakclassics.com // Architecture: Matthew Kreilich, FAIA, and Aksel Coruh, Snow Kreilich Architects, 219 N. 2nd St., Ste. 120, Mpls., 612-359-9430, snowkreilich.com // Builder: Streeter Custom Builder, 18312 Minnetonka Blvd., Wayzata, 952-449-9448, streeterhomes.com