A White and Bright House Tour

A Minnesota family happily waits out arctic winter temps in an upbeat home where HGTV Magazine saw energizing colors pop up in every room.
By: Kathleen Renda, Jennifer Berno DeCleene, and Styled by: Elizabeth Demos

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Cold Minnesota Weather

Winter hibernation starts about mid-October for Minneapolis, MN, homeowners Mekea and Tim Duffy. With the short, dark days already in full effect, they’re hunkering down inside their five-bedroom, 3,700-square-foot home that they purchased new in 2012. But becoming seasonal shut-ins doesn’t induce claustrophobia, thanks to airy rooms with mood-boosting colors and crisp white walls (Super White by Benjamin Moore). An attached two-car garage doesn’t hurt either.

The Happy Family

“When the Minnesota cold is numbing, you can be stuck indoors for weeks,” says Mekea. “I didn’t want to feel like we were cooped up in a cave.” Unafraid to mix prints in adventurous combos or throw in a decor curveball such as a well-worn vintage piece, she’s designed a comfort-first home that can accommodate the antics of three daughters under age 9. It’s also great for casual get-togethers with her younger brother, older sister, and parents, all of whom live in the neighborhood. “For entertaining and real life, this place is perfection. It’s our forever home.”

Living Room

In the open-plan living room, a sophisticated zebra stripe rug is teamed with mod geometric prints, including those on the Room & Board armchairs, chevron pillows from Target, and Duralee fabric shades. Piling on vibrant, nonmatching pillows helps loosen up the straight-lined sofa, which is from the local Room & Board outlet. The battered trunk, scored at a local antiques mall, stows extra blankets and is painted Mekea’s favorite shade, a citrus orange. The two-tier coffee table is from IKEA. Sleek Carrara marble is installed around the fireplace.

Work Station

Outfitted with nook-spanning Carrara marble and a CB2 stool, a niche off the living room is Mekea’s command-and-control central. “I keep track of everything here,” she says. Magnetic paint turned the wall into a thumbtack-free bulletin board for the girls’ artwork.


Because the home was still under construction when the Duffys bought it, Mekea was able to personalize the kitchen with a wish list of features. Her upgrades: inlaid cabinets stretching to the ceiling, low-maintenance Argento granite counters that mimic the look of cement, and sleek egg-shaped brass knobs. Adjustable-height stools from the Room & Board outlet let the girls sit comfortably at the island for their morning meals. A West Elm triple-arm metal chandelier blends in with the ceiling, and a fuchsia cotton runner from IKEA pops on the hardwood.

Dining Room

Since the dining room sees daily action, Mekea opted for kid-proof practicality: wipe-clean chairs—clear plastic from IKEA and blue wood from Design Within Reach—with a pre-distressed farm table built from rough-hewn barn doors. Overscale mustard-yellow blooms on the simple window shades put a fresh spin on florals against the bright white walls and trim (Super White by Benjamin Moore). The dangling crystals on the glass Ochre chandelier are shaped like elongated water droplets.

Guest Bathroom

Two of Mekea’s friends were so wowed by her choice of bold botanical wallpaper—Succulent by Makelike handcrafted on recyclable paper—that they decided to hang the same pattern in their own homes. A retro sconce by Artemide illuminates the wavy-edge mirror from Wisteria.

Master Bedroom

“I’m most at peace in an all-white room,” Mekea says. The gentle curves of an upholstered One Kings Lane headboard fit perfectly under a trio of low windows. A Restoration Hardware faux-shearling throw cozies up the bed, which is dressed with a Pottery Barn coverlet and a Restoration Hardware linen bed skirt. The flush-mount Anemone ceiling light, inspired by the spindly sea creatures, is by Robert Abbey. Custom linen curtains and a Target sham resewen to fit a boudoir pillow personalize the space.

Frances' Room

As a way to streamline decorating, all three girls’ bedrooms are variations on a theme: Each one includes slightly different versions of hand-drawn Hygge & West wallpaper by Julia Rothman on the ceiling, origami-inspired hanging pendants, and Mom-crafted fabric name banners. Frances’ bedroom has a Serena & Lily upholstered bed and an IKEA scrollwork-motif rug. The six-year-olds room also includes a Pottery Barn quilted comforter and a framed Andy Warhol poster.

Mary's Room

Mary, 4, like youngest kids everywhere, has hand-me-downs in her bedroom. But since the pieces are timeless, like the toddler bed and the multicolored striped rug from IKEA, nothing looks dated. The flower-splashed PBteen beanbag is the sisters’ designated spot for belly-flopping, wrestling, and reading. A Serena & Lily blue-and-green Euro pillow sham adds even more color to the room, and a double-wide dresser from Young America can grow with Mary.

Grace's Bedroom

Grace, 8, a voracious reader, props her current favorites on five floating shelves, transforming the book covers into a changeable, colorful art display. Mekea spray-painted the curlicue wicker headboard a pretty coral and paired it with a Serena & Lily elephant-patterned bedspread. An overdyed wool rug from One Kings Lane works with the room.

Girls' Bathroom

Cascades of flamenco-worthy flounces make the ombré shower curtain a showstopper. Chartreuse walls, a tart lemon-yellow salvaged metal letter D for “Duffy” (a housewarming gift from Mekea’s mom), and marine blue Rejuvenation glass knobs introduce even more colors in contrast to the white penny tiles on the floor.

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