Vadnais Heights Family Home Gets a Scandinavian- style Makeover

Light walls, understated accessories and furniture that will stand the test of time, are a few of the elements found in this makeover.

Getting a fresh start can mean a variety of things: moving to a new place, getting all the house chores done before the start of a new week, getting a fresh haircut before starting a new job, or redecorating the house. And for one Vadnais Heights family, their fresh start came in the form of a renovated home with a clean new style.

Cheryl Whitmore’s home of 23 years was tired and in need of a pick-me-up after a generation of children grew up there. From beat-up furniture to traditional décor, Whitmore was ready to make a change and freshen up, particularly in the lower level.

Enter interior designer Christina Miller of Christina Lynn Interiors, who had already worked with the Whitmore family on the renovation of their main floor. There, she pulled from a few pieces of their existing furniture and styled a Scandinavian look throughout the home—light, bright, natural wood, simple and minimal lines, all with top-notch craftsmanship. It was only logical to continue this style into the lower level.

“[Cheryl] wanted to make it nice, start fresh, and create an overall inviting space that she likes,” Miller says.

So they removed all the furniture from the lower level and designed a new look—from dark blue walls to a crisp white, from a traditional oak mantel to a custom (and locally made) live-edge walnut mantle, and from tired lighting to soft, antiqued brass light fixtures. The color scheme is simple, pulling white, black and soft tones throughout the room.

Having been in design for 20 years, Miller says what excites her about interior design is doing something outside the norm—and this project is no exception. “Being from Minnesota, everything is traditional,” she says. "So to be able to do a design that steps out of the norm is very fun for me as a designer.”

Work in the lower level began the first week in March, and Miller says a design project can take up to three months, including the initial meeting, the creation of the design, painting, ordering custom furnishings, and ultimately bringing everything together.

When jumping into a project like this, Whitmore says it’s easy to worry about bringing in someone with outlandish and expensive ideas. But working with Miller allayed these worries, as her ideas coincided with Whitmore’s budget and vision.  

“She has a wonderful sense of overall design and color, and she really works with you on what you want,” Whitmore says. “She’s a delightful person to work with.”

Elements of Scandinavian Style
If you’re looking to redecorate a room or your whole home in this appealing and subtle style, here are some elements Miller suggests to look for:

  • Light and bright wall color. Avoid dark blues and other colors on the walls, and instead go for crisp, light colors.
  • Natural wood. Whether that’s the hardwood floors, tables or accessory pieces, avoid dark wood stains and finishes.
  • Minimalistic furnishings and décor. Scandinavian designs are meant to be non-intrusive and scaled down.
  • Functional and built-to-last furniture. This type of design strives to use furniture that doesn’t impede daily life and will not need to be replaced.
  • Pops of color in some accessories.
  • Tie in some color in accessories like rugs and pillows to brighten up the room even more.