Interiorssneak peeks

A Little Slice Of France In The Heart Of Minneapolis

by Shannon Grant

Moving to a new city can be daunting. If that city happens to be Minneapolis, and your only visit to the area prior to moving was in cold February, the prospect of transitioning can be a tough sell. This was the case in 2006, when accessories designer Talin Spring and her husband Arthur relocated from Marseille. Born in Istanbul, but having spent most of her life in France, it was hard for Talin to leave her dream home in Provence. Arthur chose the Minneapolis home, while Talin only saw it through photographs before moving. He said it was the closest one he could find that resembled their home in Marseille. It was close to water (Lake Calhoun), walking distance to the movies, cafes and restaurants — ostensibly as close as it could be to a European lifestyle.

Once they moved in, the couple set upon renovations almost immediately. “It took me [a] very, very long time to feel at home in this house, to really own it.” says Talin. The house had gone through a lot of cheap remodeling and had lost most of its character. They started with the basics, painting every room and getting rid of the popcorn ceiling. Two years later, they renovated the entire second floor, which contained two bedrooms, a family room, a sunroom/guest room, and on the exterior, a deck. New hardwood floors, cabinetry to display treasures collected from around the world, and a wood-burning stove provided a huge improvement. Out on the deck, the wood lattice fence now allows great air flow as well as complete privacy. A few years later, Talin and Arthur tackled the kitchen and the guest bathroom. They installed IKEA cabinetry and new hardwood floors in the kitchen. The guest bathroom was finished in Marmorino stucco (a plaster made with a mixture of crushed marble and lime putty), which is one of my favorite parts of the home. Talin learned the technique in Avignon, and it truly looks like a little piece of France transported to the Midwest.

There are still areas that they would like to renovate, but their main objective — to create a house that felt like them — has been met. Talin loves the multiple common spaces, whether she is reviewing prototypes for her accessories line, Spring Finn and Co., sketching out future projects, or planning the next big dinner or trip.

The aspect of her home she is perhaps most thankful for is that there is always a sunny room. A self proclaimed “sun animal,” Talin loves that there are multiple areas of the home where she can enjoy the sun. Since the couple’s daughters have grown and moved out, Talin added a table in front of the living room window, where she can bathe in the sun for lunch. A little slice of that Provence sunshine right in her own Minneapolis home.Shannon

Photography by Colleen Eversman and Mary Jo Hoffman

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The dining room. Against the wall is Talin's collection of Uzbek bowls gathered in Istanbul. "They are all comfortably settled in the vintage French post office piece bought at the Marseille flea market. Our table traveled from Paris to Marseille and now Minneapolis. During our first move Arthur wanted to get rid of it, it didn't happen. Not only does it fit perfectly in every place we settle, but everybody who sees it adores it. It will probably go back to its birthplace with us." says Talin.
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Dining room looking into the living room. The table and the lamp are from Architectural Antiques, a great salvage store in Minneapolis.
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A room full of well-traveled furniture. "Our couch has been shipped from Los Angeles to Marseille and back in the United States. Next to the door is one of our three pieces of cupboards from the Swat Valley bought from the Paris flea market in the 90s. I adore them all. Red and white seats from Room and Board."
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Here is an alternate view of the kitchen, with the little couch covered in an old French sheet and pillows made out of indigo fabric that Talin bought in China from the Miao. The steel bookshelf was shipped by Talin's sister from New York. It holds her Russian tea set and some nice china and glasses gathered from estate sales and her favorite antique store in Minneapolis, H&B Antiques.
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The music room overlooks the lake. It has a piano, and their daughter Nina's bass. Vintage chaise bought in Aix, table made by a student of a local design school, MCAD. Finally, the Chinese chest was bought in Singapore during a business trip.
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View of the dining room from living room. Pillows made with Nicole Fabre's beautiful fabrics, and a school bench from the St. Paul public schools purchased at a vintage store.
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"My Romanian Piano, bought by my father in Istanbul when I was 6 that has traveled the world with me. It had been transported to our first apartment in Montmartre through the third-floor window with one guy on the street and two on the roof... two more apartments in Paris, then Marseille and now Minneapolis."
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Beloved objects collected over the years. "All kinds of things gathered that I love, from a horse tail to Chinese stone stamps, Balinese baskets and silver dishes from my mom."
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The guest bathroom, next to the kitchen. "Marmorino walls, lighting from Schoolhouse Electric and an IKEA sink that my mom and I camouflaged with a nice linen skirt."
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The kitchen: lighting from West Elm, a little vintage high chair, everything else is from IKEA.
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"My collection of Illy cups that I adore from the days when Arthur used to work for Illy."
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Family room on the second floor. Arthur's American desk is from the Paris flea market and the couch from the Minnesota-based furniture company, Room and Board.
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The bookshelf in the guest room is from H&B antiques, with an Indian family, Russian dolls and two llamas brought back from Argentina.
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Another view of the guest room. The curtains are made from old sheets bought in Provence. Talin loves the framed photo of New York, that was shot by her sister. The glass lamp was bought for eight dollars at an estate sale.
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Alternate view of the guest room.
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Loucine on the Indian bed cover.
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Master bedroom. "The bed is from a French catalog AM-PM, it has seen many homes.. but I still love its simplicity." Summer bed linens are Khadi brought back from India.
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"The other piece I had bought in Singapore that year, 48 drawers, it drives Arthur crazy when I look for something. My original bag is part of the decor filled with vintage French linen and our friend Marcelino Truong's drawings."
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Bedroom wall detail with a Buddha from Siam Rep.
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More bedroom detail. Another piece from the Swat Valley and an old Miao indigo coat that Talin bought in Beijing and Argentinian pompoms.
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The deck. The bench and milk pot were bought at estate sales and sit on top of a Moroccan carpet brought back from a stay in Rabat while Talin was pregnant with Nina.
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Furniture is Fermob, the umbrella Room and Board.
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Talin's studio on the third floor, overflowing with leather accessories and hardware.

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  • That blue Russian tea set is lovely. I’ve seen it before somewhere. Where did you purchase it?

    • Hi Jessica, It’s from St Petersbourg years ago (from the Russian imperial factory) but they are still making them and I know Mariage Freres (the tea company in France) sells the set.

  • I love the look of the entire home. So warm and welcoming. Where is the living rug from? It’s beautiful.

  • I loved this tour of one of my favorite homes, lit from without by gatherings from the entire world, lit from within by its creative and loving family. Just beautiful.

    • Thank you Kristin, yes we are not 20 something anymore, over the years we have gathered things all over and every piece has its story making it harder to change or get rid of. Just like most people (who dont inherit anything) we lived many years with ikea furniture in our first Paris apartment.

  • What a perfect home. So beautiful! Every object and piece of furniture looks treasured and unique. You can really tell this is not the home of a 20 something couple…it’s the home of people who’ve spent some time collecting and traveling and really living in it. I love it!

  • I have all those balls too, as everybody else I know in my town in Greece. Migrants from former Soviet Union after its collapse used to sell them in open-air markets all over Greece. There were millions of them with those same patterns, produced in several factories I suppose. I don’t know why you call them Uzbek. Are they produced in Uzbekistan only?

  • You have such a beautiful home.
    Can you tell me where you bought the rug in your living room?
    Thank you.

  • Hi Talin,

    Just saw your amazing house, so nicely decorated, by combing old furniture bought from all over the world and basics, like element from Ikea. I understand now where you find your taste and inspiration for your bag lines Spring Finn & co.