Stuffed geese, poised in flight and decked with ribbon, greet you in the foyer. They’re your first cue that this is no cookie-cutter condo you’re entering, but a Parisian-inspired pied-à-terre.
“I’m obsessed with Marie Antoinette,” says owner and stylist Richard Staab. “She tied ribbons around geese’s necks. It’s my homage to that.”
Step inside, and you’ll find more vintage taxidermy, salvaged church artifacts and other offbeat collectibles, all curated by Staab, who lives in an 1892 brownstone on the edge of downtown Minneapolis and operates Salon Rouge on its lower level.
“I like things that are mildly spooky and creepy, a little uncomfortable,” he says, along with birds, “anything French” and everything old. “I love the patina of things.”
A bedroom decorated with Jesus, Mary and a wild boar’s head is not everyone’s cup of Bordeaux, but Staab is fine with that. “It’s not pretty. It’s just me.” Surrounded by things he loves. Lots of things. “I love to layer, and create little vignettes,” he says. “I’m the antithesis of midcentury modern.”
He’s been to Paris six times and shopped its famed flea markets. But he also finds treasures closer to home, at favorite shops including Clarabel, A Rare Bird, Hunt & Gather and Isles Studio. His recipe for creating distinctive decor:
Paint old furniture: Breathe new life into vintage pieces with fresh colors and finishes.
Combine fine with humble: “I like high-low decorating — things that cost a lot with things you find by the side of the road.”
Try unexpected materials: The textural accent wall in Staab’s bedroom is covered with upholstery webbing (the stuff on the underside of chair seats). “I got a big roll from an upholsterer and stapled it to the wall.”
Mix refined and organic elements: “I love ‘fancy’ things mixed with natural,” he says. Like his chandelier. “It was gold but I painted it and glued shells on it.”
Make your own artwork: To create an inexpensive but arresting wall collage, Staab cut up a book about butterflies, then framed the pages in simple frames from Ikea.