As a surface pattern and graphic designer, Kimberly Senn of Senn & Sons spends her days steeped in punchy colors and energetic patterns. But when it came to redesigning her personal sanctuary — a drab bedroom and cramped bathroom in her contemporary Craftsman home in Edina, Minnesota — her design instinct veered in another direction. “I needed a place to rest my eyes,” says Kimberly.
In swooped Victoria Sass, principal and design director of Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Prospect Refuge Studio . “It looked very… 2006. That is to say, dated and a bit dark,” says Victoria. “The wall paint was a dingy taupe, the frieze carpet had seen better days, and the fireplaces were clad in an applied slate tile that had no magic about it.” Yes, fireplaces – plural. Sort of. A two-way fireplace between the bedroom and bathroom provided a challenging opportunity for two complementary tile designs.
Together, the duo created two mellow, tranquil spaces for Kimberly and her husband, Marty – and occasionally their sons, Hugo and Freddie, and pup, Ruthie, too – to ease into each morning and wind down each night.
Scroll on to see more of Kimberly’s oasis!
“I exhale deeply every time I walk into our room at the end of the day,” says the homeowner. While the overall look is neutral, Victoria and Kimberly still found subtle ways to inject graphic touches into the room, like the banded rug from Etsy. On the more neutral side of things are layers of textured linen bedding from Hale Mercantile and the Serena & Lily bedside table.
Kimberly, pictured above, had no trouble choosing a designer for her bedroom suite project. “Prospect Refuge Studio designs always feel so fresh to me, with a definite preference for unique materials, thoughtful vintage, handcrafted elements and a hefty dose of quirk,” she says.
For the bench at the end of the bed, Victoria collaborated with Minnesota-based Gather Table Co. to create a custom waterfall design in a clear-coat ash. “It’s a solid piece of wood and weighs a ton,” says Victoria with a laugh. Of all of her designs, this is one of the pieces Victoria gets asked about the most. “The honesty and simplicity of the design is what I think really resonates with people.”
“We wanted to be sure the spaces felt like an extension of the existing home – not like a portal to another world,” says Victoria, pictured above. “The subdued nature of it really balanced the enthusiasm and energy Kimberly brings to her daily life and work.”
The bedroom walls – painted a custom creamy color, which Kimberly jokingly named “Winter Thighs” – are intentionally bare. “We didn’t even add art to the walls to keep the visual energy to a minimum,” says Kimberly.
The warm rusty tone of this velvet swivel chair by Four Hands is as colorful as the bedroom gets. Along with the leather footstool, the space makes for a zen place to unwind. “ We didn’t want a lot of clutter, so we kept the grouping minimal with a small drinks table and floor lamp,” says Victoria. This is one of Kimberly’s favorite parts of the space because, as she says, “It creates such a lovely little spot to stop and just be still for a bit.”
“The bathroom needed some serious work,” says Kimberly. “We had an enormous jetted tub with a bulky enclosure, and the shower was heavy brown textured tile and very dark. It all felt very chopped up and incredibly cramped.” Victoria came up with a plan to maximize the daylight and views of the fireplace because, she says, “It’s not everyday you see a fireplace in a bathroom!”
By creating a bathing platform, Victoria designed an open but defined space for showering and bathing while maintaining sightlines to the fireplace. “We wanted to provide some division to the space without a wall or partition,” she says.
“It was quite a compositional feat to make it all feel this harmonious ,” says Victoria of the bathroom’s smorgasbord of terrazzo, vertical offset bond and handmade tiles, inspired by the use of hollow structural terracotta blocks in Spain and Portugal. “The devil is in the details, and the pièce de résistance is the handmade fireplace tiles designed and crafted in collaboration with Clay Squared . They were designed to mimic the look of structural clay tile blocks — a look that always reminds me of warm climates.”
“It’s kind of unexpected doing a big open shower like this in a cold climate like ours, but we just flip on the fireplace, and the heated floors keep the room so cozy year-round,” says Kimberly. “It feels quite luxurious.”
“Almost all of our vanities are custom – it’s really the best way to get exactly what you want and need from a space,” says Victoria. This custom design is made of plain sawn white oak, furnished in Rubio Mist and topped with Calacatta Gold marble in a honed finish. “ Choosing a plain sawn cut for the fronts allowed us to emphasize the continuation of wood grain across all the drawers,” she says.