If there's anything Rosie Lebewitz and Joel Lebewitz know about working together, it's to stay in their own lane.
"I'm the decorator. He's the books guy," Rosie said.
The two did exactly that when they joined forces to revamp the family home in Minnetonka after their parents died.
Joel planned to move into the 5,000-square-foot-house in the Cedar Pass neighborhood, where their parents had lived for 25 years. But the house was full of Sherm and Bobbie Lebewitz's furnishings.
"My mom was a collector. She collected everything — antique and contemporary," Rosie said. "There were more than 20,000 knick-knacks and antiques … gemstones, glass things, bells, music boxes, pillboxes, Asian vases. The house was like a museum."
They needed to make that museum into a comfortable home for Joel, while honoring their parents' legacy.
Rosie, who is the owner, buyer and interior designer at Rosenthal Interiors, furnished the home.
"Rosie and designers from Rosenthal helped us pick out all the furniture and accessories from the store and did a great job," Joel said. "Rosie has always decorated the places I've lived in. She has a good eye for space and design. And she's known me long enough to know what I like."
Joel, the store's financial operator and strategist, got the majority of their mom's collection — one-of-a-kind pieces from all over the world — ready for auction.
"Once the house was emptied, we refurbished the walls and the floors. We decided we were going to be much more minimalist," he said.
Something old, something new
So what does a home curated by siblings with art and design in their blood look like? A distinctly modern showplace with antiques expertly woven in.
"We kept a few pieces that my mom had and all the heirs got something," Joel said. "We've blended it with what is a pretty open contemporary space."
Prominent pieces from their mother's collections can be spotted in the dining room, where Erte paintings and sculptures have found a perch. There's also a crystal decanter set etched in Hebrew from her Jewish collection. In addition, other antique and fine art pieces that have been handed down in the family are displayed in the foyer, living room and other parts of the home.
As far as furniture goes, the home is a Rosenthal Interiors showcase of sorts. Taking center stage are hard-to-come-by brands that Rosie personalized by choosing custom colors, textiles and finishes.
The centerpiece of the dining room is a remotely operated expandable glass table by Naos of Italy . A Calligaris buffet, also Italian, and a chandelier from Vermont-based Hubbardton Forge complete the room, along with their mom's antique glassware, paintings and sculptures.
In the living room, a leather L-shaped sectional from Italy's Gamma Arredamenti adds to the contemporary feel. In the foyer, a Bluetooth cabinet with cymbal-shaped speakers from the Italian line Miniforms can be found.
"The sound is amazing and you open it up and it's set for a minibar with a light," Joel said.
For the love of art
Joel did stray from his lane when it came to selecting the paintings that would hang in the home. In addition to pieces from his and his mother's collections, his girlfriend, Emma Page, contributed a large watercolor she had done, as did Joel's son Danny.
"We picked a lot of the art ourselves," Joel said, referring to him and Page. "We had a lot of stuff of our own."
The home has an Asian flair, including Schumacher wallpaper from the Chiang Mai collection, a colorful, whimsical print of pomegranates and monkeys that Page picked out, plus art from a relative of Page's who lived in Japan.
The next chapter
The siblings have decided to sell the remainder of their mother's collections. For the antiques, they've hired K-Bid to hold online auctions for what they're calling the Laverne Wylie Collection, after the name their mom used when she ran estate sales.
A third installment of a series of auctions is currently in the works and, once posted, can be viewed through the Estate Sales Minnesota website. Some of the contemporary pieces currently can be found at the two Rosenthal Interiors stores and through the website.
Meanwhile, the family business founded in 1895 by their great-grandparents, Aaron and Rose Rosenthal, continues to evolve.
Even before Rosie purchased the business from her parents in 1999, she worked to transition the store's offerings to unique contemporary furnishings. She also added interior design services.
"It's a little bit of a fear factor to change to all contemporary. You have to know how to do contemporary and do it right," said Rosie, a longtime member of the national Contemporary Design Group.
Joel, a longtime accountant and adviser to Rosenthal Interiors, officially joined the family business last year after retiring from a 45-year career in accounting. He's helped breathe new life into the operation in the throes of the pandemic.
"I had always wanted him to work with me in the family business," Rosie said. "We probably would have been out of business if it wasn't for him."
In the spring of last year, they opened a 7,400-square-foot store and showroom in Minnetonka near Ridgedale Center. And the long-running downtown Minneapolis store continues to shift with the times. During the pandemic, the store changed from predominantly special order to selling furniture off-the-floor at closeout prices, so buyers could avoid lengthy waits due to supply-chain issues.
Rosie said the 17,000-square-foot downtown store has more space than they need, so they're leasing some space to a company that makes CBD products.
"We own the building," Rosie said. "So what we're thinking right now is we rent a little of the space to people who have a license to do CBD. And they make it there some days and it smells like pot when you're in the store."
And for a family that loves art, Rosenthal Interiors continues to tout local art through its stores.
"It's all local art and artists so they have a place to show their pieces," Rosie said. "The artists get recognized and they get the commission."
When Rosie and Joel aren't working, the siblings, who live a few miles apart, also spend time together.
"When my mother got sick, we really bonded," said Rosie.
Rosie is happy that she can walk into her family's longtime home and find it still filled with memories.
Joel "always loved the fine arts, so that was a given," she said. "But then when you see her little knick-knacks displayed throughout the house, too, it's really touching."