Interiors

A Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures & Blended Styles

by Sabrina Smelko

Having grown up in Seoul, South Korea, when artist Sé Young and her now-husband, Christopher Kipp — who grew up on a 400-acre dairy farm in Wisconsin — married three years ago, two worlds collided. For the happy couple, home represents their eclectic personalities and, as Sé puts it best, “is a reflection of our marriage and the integration of our lives.”

Built in the 1920s, their 800-square-foot apartment in Minneapolis, MN is, in a few words, airy, experimental, and filled with only a handful of simple pleasures. Having moved in less than a year ago, the process of decorating and furniture shopping was (and continues to be) one wrought with making changes, rearranging furniture regularly, making returns to the store, and selling some items on Craigslist that just didn’t work. “I would say the whole process took 4-5 months,” Sé says. “As an artist, it was an incredibly stretching experience to work with such a broad medium outside of the canvas I’m used to.” But beyond surface-level design decisions, making their house a home was also a learning experience for their relationship. Where Christopher tends towards practicality, Sé leans more towards aesthetic expression; where Christopher flourishes in a consistent, Sé craves changing it up; where Christopher finds calm cooking in the kitchen, Sé gravitates to canvas and paints.

As Sé explains, “We see the world so differently, and I think making a home together has been a reflection of us integrating our diverse perspectives and preferences,” and as such, within their home you’ll discover aspects of their love of history, such as a bookshelf that Christopher’s grandpa built, as well as plenty of contrast, an element that they also see reflected in each other. And through this ongoing process of merging their lives and curating a home together, they were inspired to start whenwewed.co (coming soon) to share more about how they’ve cultivated their marriage, growing from two individuals into one family under one roof.

A space that inspires the couple daily — and one that makes room for both of their personalities — their humble abode is a sanctuary and a beautiful reflection of their relationship. As Sé describes best, the process was “one of the greatest adventures of my life,” and has resulted in a space that’s “simple, humble, and fits us well.” What more can you truly ask for? –Sabrina

Photography by Laura Rae

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The living room is open to their front entry, so Sé opted to add a wall of shelves and added plenty of plants to balance out the visual clutter of shoes and coats. The white chairs are from AllModern.com and the wall shelves and lamp are from IKEA.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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The happy couple, resting on their sofa. "When we had moved here less than a year ago, I started becoming interested in interior concepts," Sé explains. "I had not fully developed my style, and my husband has always appreciated a well curated home made of old books, furniture with a story, and functional spaces. He is one of the most consistent people I know, so I drove him crazy for a few months while I experimented by buying furniture, re-selling it on Craigslist, rearranging almost daily, you get the picture!" The sofa is from AllModern.com and the marble coffee table is from CB2.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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In the living room, the couple's love for local goods is displayed: the leather backpack was made by their good friends at LeatherWorks Minnesota. The artwork is by Sé.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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On the other side of the sofa is a simple display of books, which the couple truly sees as art.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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In a smaller space, using furniture is a great way to define or separate areas. This reading chair helps separate the dining space from the living room. "My favorite part of this photo is our Shakespeare books [beside] the chair," Sé says.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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Their apartment may be small, but there's still ample space for everything they love. Although, as the cook of the family, Christopher would appreciate a larger kitchen and more counter space.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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The dining room may not be large, but by using a circular table, they're able to squeeze some more room out of the nook. Sé explains, "It’s not a lot of space, but the conversations we’ve had over that table means more to me than the square footage."
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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"We enjoy food and how it brings people together," Sé says.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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One of the couple's favorite simple pleasures in life is enjoying slow meals at this table on weekend mornings.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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"This is the bookshelf made by Christopher’s grandpa. It sits in our dining room and it slowly started collecting drinks," Sé notes.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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Their kitchen is just wide enough to allow for the oven door to open, and despite it being annoying at most times, "I’m completely in love with that," Sé admits.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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"Since our kitchen is so tiny, we’ve had to come up with creative counter space, like this windowsill."
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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By painting everything white, their charming kitchen feels much bigger.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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This is a full view of the couple's bedroom. "We get the morning and afternoon light through those windows," Sé says, "and we’re not complaining one bit!"
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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This chair in their bedroom was passed down from Sé's mentor. "She is practically a second mother to me, so I cherish this corner very much!" she shares.
Two Worlds Contrast and Collide in This Humble Minneapolis Apartment Filled With Simple Pleasures
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"This corner of our bedroom is often hidden by the door, but I love how the piece pairs so nicely with my laundry basket," Sé says of her own creation.

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