Stephanie Shimp beamed at the dazzling bell-shaped crystal chandelier above the center island in her remodeled kitchen.
“I really wanted a big piece of jewelry here,” she said, “like your great-aunt’s cocktail ring.”
It doesn’t matter to her that the opulent fixture might look more at home in the lobby of a fancy hotel than in her century-old Colonial’s kitchen.
It’s just one of the ways that Shimp has infused her lively sensibilities into the recent transformation of her home’s interiors by Vujovich Design Build.
Shimp is co-owner of the Blue Plate Restaurant Co., which operates the Highland Grill, Freehouse, Edina Grill and other Twin Cities eateries. Her plate’s also full with two teenagers and a dog.
In 2016, Shimp enlisted Vujovich to bring her Kenwood home up to date with smart, functional enhancements, such as a transitional mudroom, a main-floor powder room, a luxe owner’s suite, and, finally, a kitchen worthy of a restaurateur and gourmet cook.
Thanks to meticulous design details, the house still retains its 1915 vibe. But now there are also endless storage cabinets and an electronic charging station.
The house has been refreshed and renewed while honoring some of the original Art Deco-style details that enchanted Shimp back in 2008 when she bought it.
You can tour Shimp’s house, the Dream Home among 63 projects featured on the Remodelers Showcase, March 23-25.
In addition to the new spaces, you’ll see Shimp’s jazzy style everywhere — from fun hot-pink knobs on the Blue Star range to a zebra-print stair runner in the foyer.
Her final flourish was to dress up the stately Colonial’s front door with “flame red” paint.
“It makes it feel welcoming,” she said. “And red is a lucky color.”
Elegant Art Deco
Shimp bought the early 1900s gem in 2008 in the Kenwood neighborhood for its “Norman Rockwell feel.”
“There was an elegance to this house,” she said. “It had Art Deco details and yet with a light, clean simple feeling.”
But like most homes from that period, rooms were cut off from each other, with unnecessary staircases.
“The home was a good size,” said Lori Balestri, project director for Vujovich Design Build of Minneapolis. “We just needed to refresh existing spaces, and with a small addition, we could add more functionality and better flow.”
Small addition, big impact
A mudroom, as well as a main-floor powder room, were on Shimp’s long must-do list.
“With a busy family and a dog in this climate, we needed a mudroom for my sanity,” she said.
Vujovich tore out a rear ramshackle open porch and built a 100-square-foot addition. The new space is organization central with a drop zone for school and sports stuff, coats, shoes, the dog’s food bowls — and lots of storage cabinets.
Shimp added a pop of personality to the mudroom with “Feather Bloom” pink-accented wallpaper on the ceiling.
In the new powder room, they recycled one of the home’s original leaded-glass windows.
Kitchen refresher course
The dark closet-sized kitchen, which Shimp guesses was remodeled in the 1980s — was cut off from the rest of the house.
Vujovich took down several walls and a back servants’ staircase to open up the floor plan, while adding more space to do a complete makeover.
The new graphic black-and-white kitchen offers day-to-day modern functionality, yet kept the old-house character with a classic subway-tile backsplash, Carrera marble countertops and matte French gold cabinet pulls.
While the upper cabinets are painted a fresh white, the lower cabinets are a charcoal hue, which “feels more grounding,” said Shimp.
The kitchen centerpiece is a three-tiered curved walnut island reminiscent of an Art Deco bar, said Balestri.
There’s plenty of work space for Shimp to whip up spinach frittata and eggs Benedict for brunch.
“I spend so much time in restaurants all day that I treasure the time I get to cook at home,” she said. “And now we can all be together.”
Shimp works long hours and looks forward to escaping to the upstairs bedroom sanctuary, appointed with a to-die-for spa-style bathroom.
A gilded gold pendant is suspended over the bubble-jet soaking tub with Carrara marble surround. The heated floors are covered with vintage-style, floral patterned tile. And accessible shelves hold Shimp’s many pairs of shoes inside a spacious walk-in closet with space-saving built-ins.
Grand first impression
The original front-entry staircase was pie-shaped with steps that were steep and hazardous. Vujovich built a new Art Deco-inspired, curved split staircase, and Shimp covered it with a zebra-print runner. The home’s original glitzy Art Deco chandelier welcomes guests in the foyer.
New, old house
The Vujovich remodeling echoes many design details of the 1915 Colonial, including crystal doorknobs, double-hung windows and wood molding.
This creates a cohesive continuity, so “you can’t tell where the old part stops and the new part begins,” said Balestri. Except now there are big closets, a luxe owner’s suite and a cook’s dream kitchen. “That original character is what makes the house feel good,” added Shimp.
Shimp’s blueprint for decorating her home is to treat it like her wardrobe.
“I change out the jewelry, add color with pink heels — but keep the rest classic,” she said.
In fact, her cool eyeglasses and heels match the many hot-pink accents throughout the spaces — from the painted dining-room table to patterned area rugs. The jewelry is the mixed-metal trimmings and glittery chandeliers.
“It feels like me,” she said.