Design Mashup: a Classic Twin City Tudor With a Modern Edge

  • 01 of 06

    A Classic Twin City Tudor With a Modern Edge

    Allegra Muzzillo is the owner and proprietress of the Brooklyn-based boutique, You & Yours Fine Vintage. This design maven has been a writer for Real Simple and Cottages & Gardens.

    In this installment of the Design Mashups series, we spoke with Andrew Flesher, the interior designer behind this warm, modern four-bedroom Tudor home in notoriously chilly Minneapolis, gives us the lowdown on what makes this space so inviting.

    Part of being a good designer is being able to read clients—who they are, what they're interested in and how they live. Though Flesher had free rein, the homeowners’ collection of contemporary artwork (including Banksy and more) was the strongest clue as to the couple's preferred aesthetic and directed much of the designer's work while creating their perfect space.

    The home still retains much of its original detailing and architecture throughout. Even the boxy cerused-oak hearth merely hides the living room’s original mantel and wood-burning fireplace and is designed to be easily removed in the event of the home’s sale or another redesign. Though this is the family’s formal living area, rich, tactile finishes and sumptuous and bold-colored fabrics give it a decidedly relaxed, informal air. The two oversized floor pillows are a perfect example, providing the ideal spot for an impromptu lounge on the floor.

    Another case in point is the gray A. Rudin sofa. More reminiscent of a comfortable day bed, this piece was custom-designed by Flesher with a cut out silhouetting the large double-hung window. The purpose of the piece, the designer suggests, is to offer a moment of peaceful repose to any member of the household or guest. “Anyone can lie down and relax here while looking out onto the lawn,” he says.

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  • 02 of 06

    A Classic Twin City Tudor With a Modern Edge

    The sleek fireside bench was another Flesher design, inspired by the lines of a cast bronze bench he discovered in his travels. “When I can’t find what I’m looking for in the marketplace – and it happens a lot,” Flesher reports, “I design it.”

    Even the pieces which weren't designed personally by Flesher required a bit of care before taking their places in the completed rooms. The Tommi Parzinger-style coffee table, which acts as a centerpiece in this room, was purchased via 1stDibs in fairly rough condition. Repainted in stark white, it provides a delicious contrast to the room’s dark wood finishes and gray oak floors.

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  • 03 of 06

    A Classic Twin City Tudor With a Modern Edge

    Once relegated solely to the couple’s living room, this redesign project ended up migrating into every other space in the house. As a result nearly everything except the homeowners’ accessories and artwork is new to the home, whether procured or created by Flesher. The two major exceptions to this household rule are both located in the dining area. There, the exquisite wrought-iron gate separating the home’s entry from its formal dining room grants entrance to a spacious eating area presided over by a low-hanging 20s era French chandelier, which is also original to the home.

    The fun, hand-carved Michael Taylor table, resembling a charred tree trunk, is arguably the focal point of the room, vying for attention with the chandelier and the rooms many other breathtaking features. A heavy-looking centerpiece, its hardwood construction and organic lines make it the perfect counterpoint to the eye-catching, tie-dyed area rug and ultramodern chairs. “I like it when things are just a little mismatched here and there, reveals Flesher, “It looks unfussy and relaxed.” The formality of the gate and chandelier juxtaposed with the unpretentious feel of the table and rug is perhaps the best representation of the mingling of classic and modern elements to be found in the home. “The pairing of these items,” Flesher asserts, “is like wearing a mink coat with blue jeans.”

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  • 04 of 06

    A Classic Twin City Tudor With a Modern Edge

    Flesher affirms the fact that fundamental design principles such as scale, color or proportion are always key in any design. He describes his approach to design as being that of a curator—rather than a collector—of beautiful things and says that he intentionally seeks to marry old and new in his work.

    “I love using vintage pieces,” says Flesher, “because you’ll never walk into your neighbor’s home and see the same thing there.” It’s a really good way to give the house a storied, aged look that always feels authentic.

    The gold-tone accents seen in the bedroom’s furniture, lighting, and smaller accessories, round out the scheme. According to Flesher, “Finishes make all the difference.” The designer eschews more common metallics such as brushed nickel and stainless steel in favor of the classic luxury of gold which he posits, “is more exciting to me,” and arguably more impactful for the finished space as a whole.

    The bedroom's Venetian-plastered walls add immense depth and texture to the space, almost disappearing as they give way to ceilings that are a little on the lower side. Some might see such proportions as a disadvantage, but Flesher did not find the dimensions to be at all daunting. He chose an ornate Casamidy hammered-tin headboard (covered in gold leaf) that stretches to maximum ceiling height, and a stunning, 62-inch Global Views lighting fixture that hugs it tightly.

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  • 05 of 06

    A Classic Twin City Tudor With a Modern Edge

    The cavernous master bedroom includes a sitting area which is itself a study in scale and proportion. Linen curtain panels finished in a Schumacher by Mary McDonald grosgrain trim are hung high against the moldings to give the illusion of added height.

    At first glance, the Rorschach-inspired Aubrey Angelo wool rug might feel out of place, but Flesher sets it off with accessories in juxtaposed patterns with different-yet-complementary grays and oranges. When selecting textiles with different patterns, Flesher follows this rule: “You have to balance organic shapes with geometric ones, and vary the scale.”

    Before it found its final home in Minneapolis, the 1970s vintage side chair (covered in ratty gold bouclé fabric) was purchased from a shop in Stamford, Connecticut. “It had to be reglued, oiled, and reupholstered,” says Flesher. “It was in such rough shape when I found it.”

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  • 06 of 06

    A Classic Twin City Tudor With a Modern Edge

    The final stop on this tour of classic-modern style is the office, where an extra-long metal credenza by USM is set below the slightly ominous close-in photo of a black crow. The impressive table space works double-duty serving as the homeowners’ bar and file storage system. Here, the built-in shelves are original to the home and offset by Fortuny-style gold foil wallpaper. A rustic, antique wood table acts as a desk, offset by a Saarinen chair by Knoll, covered in gray velvet. Finally, a high-tech task lamp sheds some light onto the work surface, while an original mid-century Foscarini glass-disc chandelier shines overall.

    Flesher has a clear knack for odd pairings that work undeniably well together. His professional training provides a strong background of technique to support his penchant for the sort of trial-and-error mixing that most of us tend to try—an approach which the designer himself is very supportive of. “Some people can get a little uptight about the possibility of making the wrong decision,” Flesher says. “There is room for error, and in some ways, that error makes everything a bit more interesting.”

    Mixing styles and influences can be a high-wire act. It takes time to get the effect that you're after and can become even more complicated when trying to find different ways to spread that same effect throughout an entire home. Although it’s a whopping 6,000 square feet in size, every room of this unapologetically modern 1920s Tudor feels intimate and cozy thanks to Flesher. “I have a theory that there’s not much that’s new,” he says. “Mixing styles and eras—here, mid-century lines with modern artwork and edgy accents—makes things more exciting, and is really the secret to making a design young and fresh.”