Designers, decorators, remodelers offer indoor home tips for spring

By Sue Webber

Contributing Writer

John Kraemer, owner of John Kraemer & Sons in Edina, says remodeling is “hot again.”

“During the recession, no one was building new,” Kraemer said. “Then new construction got crazy around town. Now we’re getting calls for remodeling, from people who are staying put.”

Nowadays, people are opting for the look that flows from room to room, he said. “They’re doing away with the formal dining room, and choosing instead an informal eating space in the great room and kitchen.”

People who are remodeling their homes also often request that the bathtub be removed in the master bathroom, preferring instead “a really nice shower,” Kraemer said.

“The younger generation likes modern interiors, with clean, crisp lines,” Kraemer said. “We’re still seeing timeless white enamel.”

Natural, open spaces with a pop of color and plenty of light– These elements make for an easy, updated look to your home.

Technology now “pretty much is ruling new homes,” according to Kraemer. “It’s getting more innovative,” he said. “Smart homes are still huge. You can control the whole house from your phone.”

Outdoor living is still big, and the indoor-outdoor connection still is popular, he said, noting that a screen porch added to the back of a home is likely to have a fireplace and grill, plus motorized, retractable screens.

“During the 40 years we’ve been in business, it’s been about 50 percent remodeling and 50 percent new,” Kraemer said. “We’ve always been busy with both. But people sat tight during the election because they were uncertain about what would happen. Now that the election is over, the phone is ringing again.”

Other experts had a few style tidbits to divulge to those with a remodel in their future.


Dawn Gertz, owner and designer at Kitchens By Design in New Brighton, said that white kitchens with some gray tones are popular now. “Steel finish is in right now, too,” she said. “We’re seeing some painting or new fresh woodwork.”

“The nice thing about these days is that anything goes, as long as it’s put together right,” Gertz said.


Emily Thull, a designer at James Barton Design in Apple Valley, said, “There’s definitely a trend toward more neutrals, not necessarily a lot of color. People are more interested in blending of materials to create interest: stone with natural wood.”

Blending of styles, such as vintage with mid-century, or antique with a clean or sleek look, is popular, she said.

“It’s sometimes out of peoples’ comfort zones,” Thull said. “If they choose brushed nickel bathroom fixtures, they think it needs to be consistent. But as a designer, I think you don’t need to do all the finishes the same. It’s more interesting to blend more finishes that complement each other, to create more interest.”

Greenery – having something with life indoors – is still popular, according to Thull. “It’s always good to have life within the home,” she said. “It adds a textural element.”


Shelly Reilly, owner of Shelly’s Interior Concepts in Maple Grove, said navy is the new black, and that teals and grey are color trends in 2017. “We are also seeing shades of pink with grey as a complementary color,” she said.

She suggests Endless Sea paint by Sherwin Williams as a color to express calm and confidence. “With confidence comes bright accent colors and unique pattern and textures,” Reilly said.

Technology being integrated into homes includes PowerView window treatments from Hunter Douglas — shades that can be controlled by iPhone, according to Riley.

“Subway tiles are still the rage, along with tiles that have that rustic grey wood look to enhance any flooring area,” Reilly said. “Carpet styles are low and short, with a blend of textures.”

Old furniture can be repurposed with paint and transformed into a new piece, she said.

Customers are gathering decorating ideas from such online sites as Houzz and Pinterest, according to Reilly.


Laura Sherlock, interior designer with Martha O’Hara Interiors in St. Louis Park, said using gold can often scare off clients who fear that it’s going out of style. However, she added, “The gold we’re seeing today isn’t polished and doesn’t have that golden glow of the ‘80s. Gold that’s brushed or in a satin finish is a timeless choice, and a design trend that looks great in every room and pairs well with a variety of palettes and styles.”

“When it comes to paint colors, bright whites are an appealing alternative to gray,” Sherlock said. “Our aim is to select a bright white with warm undertones that foster feelings of hospitality. A favorite of ours is Benjamin Moore White Dove because it’s bright and lustrous without feeling stark and sterile, like a hospital room. In the kitchen, match your white walls in the same color tone as your trim, millwork and cabinetry.”


Vintage overdyed rugs showcase textiles as a work of art, according to Sherlock. “Turkish overdyed rugs are extremely popular right now,” she said. “We enjoy them because they represent an adventurous spirit and a love of rich color saturation. The process involves rescuing traditional Turkish rugs that have lived full and long lives, washing and bleaching them, and then overdyeing the rug with vibrant, bright colors where the original vintage pattern still shows through. Each rug takes the dye differently, which is why they are all so unique.”


Tasha Schultz, also an interior designer at Martha O’Hara Interiors in St. Louis Park, commented on velvet fabrics, colored cabinetry and rattan materials.

“Velvet fabrics in soft pastel hues are on the rise in interior design,” Schultz said. “Rather than the forest green and rich navy velvets that were exceptionally popular a few years back, today we’re loving pastel tones like blush, silver, winter blue and mint.”


“Some of our most daring clients are willing to let us push the boundaries of color when it comes to kitchen cabinetry,” Schultz said. “We recently selected a fun green tone, Bunker Hill Green, for a kitchen on the Spring Parade of Homes. Other color combinations we’d recommend include shades of blue [from indigo to navy] and greens, like hunter or emerald green. For clients that aren’t willing to paint their entire kitchen cabinetry, we’ll often use a punch of color in the kitchen island or nearby hutch or buffet.”


“Rattan furnishings are warm and nature-based [the material is made from a plant] and we love using this material, with a texture similar to bamboo, when we’re looking for a reprieve from typical wood-based furnishings,” Schultz said. “It can accompany casual coastal and bohemian styles or add playful interest to a more traditional look.”