This Designer's Colorful Forever Home Is Filled with Collected Treasures
The homeowner's adventurous spirit infuses every room.
Lucy loves color. And travel. And action. In fact, Minneapolis designer Lucy Penfield does not easily sit still. Depending on the season, she might be hiking in the Superior National Forest, playing pond hockey with her two grown daughters, or plotting her next weekend getaway. So when it came time for Lucy and her husband, David, to build their forever house, Lucy drew on their many adventures to map out a vibrant design in the exuberant color combos she favors.
Lucy always knew her dream house would be outfitted in vivid hues, but it wasn't until relatively recently that she decided on Cape Dutch-style architecture to frame it. "When I visited my daughter, who was studying in South Africa, I fell in love with the understated, serene setting of the wine country," she says. The architectural style (noted for whitewashed walls and symmetrical arched gables) and Lucy's neutral furniture provided "a quiet backdrop that sets the scene for the fun," she says. "It's like desert sand that lets the cactus blooms pop." With the crisp white, sand, and black base in place, Lucy says, "the color palette unfolded like opening a wrapped present. All my textiles, pillows, and found objects tumbled out."
Like the rest of their Wayzata, MN, home, Lucy and David's kitchen has multiple inspirations. The soapstone counters remind Lucy of the agates she used to hunt near her great-grandpa’s cabin. The green tiles echo pottery spotted in both Morocco and Mexico; they also speak to Lucy's practical side: "I found these hand-glazed Mexican tiles for $6 a square foot." Cutout handles further simplify the sleek fronts of the larch wood cabinets.
The rooms weave together teal, green, earthy rust, and yellow, representing visits to Minnesota's North Shore, Arizona, South America, and beyond. "When I’m on a trip, I buy not always knowing where things will go, but knowing I will use them someday either in a client's project or at home," she says. In this house, Lucy was finally able to pull all those collected pieces together into a kind of three-dimensional scrapbook of her life story.
Her art, the vintage furniture, the baubles she displays on stacks of books, and yes, even the architecture, all have a story and remind her of a place visited or a time gone by. "We know this style isn’t for everyone, but it's authentically us," Lucy says, underscoring her belief that home should be a reflection of the people who live there.
The exterior establishes Lucy's palette and love of far-flung influences. The ornate gables, a design she picked up in South Africa, reappear inside, as does the scheme of white, black, and beige.
The neutral colors support layers of styles and eras, like the living room's balance of Moroccan fabrics with framed Pop Art. The clean lines of the wood-burning stove make it more modern than rustic.
Lucy turned bedspreads from India into draperies for the dining room, where a simple Parsons table accommodates the Penfields' frequent taco parties and happy hours. Lucy pulls in more chairs as needed: "I like to mix old classics with new finds," she says.
Mimicking the exterior Cape Dutch gables, an alcove in the master bath surrounds a soaking tub. Water-resistant banana leaf wallpaper and the stool's faux animal-print upholstery channel a tropical vibe. Heated porcelain tiles are a welcome comfort during harsh Minnesota winters.
In the guest bedroom, Lucy flipped her color story to deep teal walls (Slate Teal 2058-20 from Benjamin Moore) behind crisp white furnishings. Above the headboard, Lucy hung a foldout party invitation. "I love a mix of high and low art," she says.
"Mudrooms and laundry spaces are used so frequently that I don't think of them as castaways," Lucy says. Palm frond wallpaper and leafy plants turn the laundry room, complete with potting bench, into a breezy getaway. There's even a "puppy den" for Winnie and Pooh Bear. Woven shades provide privacy; uncovered transom panes let in constant light.
The kitchen's breakfast area and the mudroom, which is tied to the neighboring laundry room with vintage globe lights and terra-cotta floor tiles, also nod to the exterior gables. Painted black and sporting hefty leather-and-brass handles, the twin storage armoires have the finished feeling of furniture. "I've never had a mudroom, so I thought, We’re stepping this up. I want to be happy when we come in the back door," Lucy says.