Patti & Her Home
When wife, mother and decorator, Patti Wagner and her husband were house hunting, they were drawn to Minneapolis because of its mix of city life and slow living. The house they decided to buy was a bit of a fixer upper, but they were determined to restore all of its original character and make it their own in the process. The result is stunning, and we love the old-meets-new vibe seen throughout. In this home tour, you’ll not only get to see firsthand the beautiful home Patti shares with her husband and two little girls, but you’ll find out what she has to say about decorating a home. She advises filling a home with only things that you find useful or love, and one thing’s for sure, Patti’s home is not only full of useful and cool things, it’s also full of love. Enjoy!
We love your beautiful home! Tell us about your neighborhood. What drew you to Minneapolis?
Thank you! We were drawn to Minneapolis for many reasons. It’s a mix of city life and slow living, if that makes any sense. We have an excellent and diverse food scene and I love all of the eclectic neighborhoods. The downtown area is lively, the uptown neighborhoods have quirky personalities and yet, the lake is just minutes away. We don’t take nice weather for granted and it really makes up for the brutal winters. Before my husband, Brian, and I were married, we chose our neighborhood specifically because of the proximity to all of these things. It was important that we could walk or bike to places. Now, that we have two kiddos, it makes it even better!
Your home has that great white, bright and airy feeling without feeling empty. What’s your number-one tip for the aspiring minimalist?
Brian and I purchased a fixer upper and we put so much of our time doing the work ourselves. But the character inside of old homes is stunning and it was rewarding to restore it back to life. After putting so much effort into the restoration, we didn’t want to fill it with objects we didn’t love. My number-one tip is to not rush to have your home feel complete. Take your time. I’m sure many of you have heard this, but I will repeat it because it’s so true. Try to fill your home with only things that you find useful or love. We have rooms, like our dining room, that are pretty bare for that reason. We also love owning pieces that tell a story. Whether it’s something we purchased on a vacation, discovered through Etsy or Instagram, found at a garage sale or made ourselves. Right now, I’m on the hunt for the perfect kitchen rug and it’s taking forever! I’ve been working with Laura at The Southern Loom, who I connected with through Instagram, and she’s been so patient in helping me find the right one. We’re getting so close and I do believe that good things come to those who wait. I had an old boss that kept this quote from William Morris up on his desk “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” and it has stuck with me.
My number-one tip is to not rush to have your home feel complete. Take your time…Try to fill your home with only things that you find useful or love. We have rooms, like our dining room, that are pretty bare for that reason. We also love owning pieces that tell a story. Whether it’s something we purchased on a vacation, discovered through Etsy or Instagram, found at a garage sale or made ourselves.
We love all the greenery in your home! Where is your favorite place to shop for plants?
I never even realized all the plants I had accumulated until my husband pointed it out to me! My collection grew over time and it started out with three potted jade plants from IKEA. Then my mother-in-law, who has a green thumb, gifted us a large jade plant. From there, I became this crazy plant lady and actually enjoy caring for them. Our house lacks a lot of décor, which is probably why I like filling it with plants—it gives it some color and depth. I love popping into our local floral shop at Brown & Greene Floral. It has the most perfect-looking house plants and that’s where I picked up my fiddle leaf fig two years ago. My other go-to places are Wagners Garden Center near our house, our local IKEA, which has great selections of succulents and large plants like my bird of paradise, and The Home Depot because we’re always there!
You’re a designer and have created some really beautiful products for stores like Target. Where do you find your inspiration when designing something new?
Inspiration can come from anywhere when I’m designing. It’s all about curiosity. Besides attending trade shows and reading up on trend services, a lot of it comes from traveling. There’s so much excitement, energy and inspiration when lifted from our normal routine to explore new places. But because I can’t travel all the time, I find lots of inspiration from bloggers and local establishments. Right now, I’m inspired a lot by food bloggers. I love seeing how they plate their food, and there’s so much passion in their work. It’s contagious. I’ve also been inspired by our home and its architectural elements. I designed a lamp, that is patent-pending, inspired by our door knobs and keyholes. For me, it’s important to continue to be curious because inspiration comes in all forms.
How did your work as a designer influence the process in decorating your home?
My philosophy is to establish and design foundational pieces first before identifying accent items to layer, and that certainly applies to how I go about with our home. If your foundational pieces don’t pull it all together, people aren’t going to buy the accent pieces.
Another thing as a designer is that I’m constantly trying to identify what people like or want through trends and that has influenced me to really dig deep into what I like or want. If I don’t love something that I’ve designed, I question if it should be in the stores and that’s the same mentality for our home. It’s better to furnish your place with a few loved items versus a lot of items that you sort of like. On that note, growing up in a lower working-class home, one of my design philosophies is that good design can still be attainable. It doesn’t have to be expensive for you to love it. I find it so rewarding discovering items that I absolutely love at a great value.
You have some really fun odds and ends. How do you shop for those smaller pieces when you’re styling a vignette?
A lot of our décor pieces are from our childhood, hand-me-downs, vacations, garage sales and thrift stores. For newer pieces, there has to be some emotional connection because décor pieces aren’t necessarily useful. I like to search out books, candle holders and vases. Then I’ll mix the old with the new to create the vignettes. Some of our newer pieces are from Target, HomeGoods, West Elm, IKEA and local shops like Brown & Greene Floral.
You utilize a lot of really cool tile applications in multiple rooms. Any tips for homeowners looking to switch it up with tile?
A lot of our tiles are original to our Tudor Revival home that was built in 1927. We preserved every single piece that we knew to be original to the home. There are a few cracked pieces that we restored, and although it’s not perfect, we admire their imperfections. Old homes open our eyes to appreciate things that are worn and weathered. So, when we remodeled our kitchen, we decided to forgo the expected wood floor route, and picked something unexpected for what you find in the Midwest and went with terracotta tiles from Seneca Tiles in the brick pattern. I’m not an expert on tile by any means, but my two tips would be 1) if you have an older home, don’t rush to get rid of those green or blush-colored tiles. Instead embrace them, and 2) don’t be afraid to make your home your own. Pick an element like tile, to make it unique. Use it on your bathroom or mudroom floor/walls, and if you don’t mind taking risks, go all out in the kitchen floor! I’ve seen some great ones from Riad Tile and Fireclay Tile.
Your daughters share such a sweet space. What was the inspiration when designing their shared room?
Ava’s room was designed with the thought that she would share it with her little sister before Livy was even born. Our house isn’t very big, so we had to be smart about our planning. We set the foundation with the two beds. After searching a while on Craigslist, we came across these from Target online and knew they were perfect at such a great value. From there, with no theme in mind, I slowly chose pieces that felt livable for me, yet fun for her. And over time, I let her choose small pieces that she loved like the accent pillows. We are super excited for Livy to move out of the nursery soon and share that room with her big sister. Having the two beds there has truly prepared Ava for her future roommate.
Where is your favorite place to shop online for home décor?
I actually don’t do a lot of online shopping for our home because I’m one of those people that needs to touch and feel before I can fall in love with it. For someone that designs home products, I’m an indecisive fool about purchasing them. But if I had to name some, I really like perusing through Schoolhouse for lighting, The Southern Loom for rugs, Anthropologie for small décor items, Target for just about anything, The Foundry Home Goods for unique pieces and several Etsy shops for throws and pillows.
…one of my design philosophies is that good design can still be attainable. It doesn’t have to be expensive for you to love it. I find it so rewarding discovering items that I absolutely love at a great value.
Tell us about the design inspiration behind your bedroom. It feels so calming and cozy!
It’s the room we’ve given the least attention to, so thank you! Besides the fact that toys get tossed in here frequently by the girls, our bedroom is very simple and that’s how we like it. It’s nowhere near completion, but there are lots of great architectural elements included here like the French doors and interesting ceiling lines, which means we can get away with doing less. In terms of furniture and décor, we really like our Portica Bed that Brian purchased a while back from Room and Board and have added pieces to build onto it. Our latest item is our rug from Well Woven and the colors are very soothing and pulls the room together. In general, less is more here. However, we have big plans to remodel our bedroom someday. The French doors open out to a sleeping porch that never gets used and we believe every room should have its purpose and be used. Our plan is to convert that room into the master bathroom because we currently share the only bathroom upstairs with our daughters. We also have little closet space and would like to add some beautiful built-ins for wardrobe storage—just another project to add on our list! No big deal, right?
What’s your best piece of design advice for a new mom looking to update her home?
Most of us don’t think about the safety factor of our home until we are parents and the baby becomes mobile. I cringe at all of our furniture pieces with sharp corners like our dining room table. Why didn’t anyone warn me about that? My best piece of advice is to think about the function (including safety) over form first when deciding on each big item piece. With that said, your home should always reflect your style, so have fun with it but be prepared for a lot of mess. Keeping some cute storage baskets around the house is an easy way to toss in toys for an easy pick up. And this one isn’t design advice, but really encourage your kids to pick up their toys after every play time. They’ll get it eventually. Our oldest, who is three now, loves a clean house just as much as we do!
Livy and Ava’s Room:
Kids Rocking Chair
Illuminated Star Décor
Bear Stuffed Animal
Kids Rug (similar)
Round Wicker Mirror (similar)