Jay Nuhring doesn't mind bringing work home. After all, he runs an interior styling, architecture and arts consulting company.
"That's been my go-to business for close to 25 years, mostly just helping people use what they currently have in their home and restyling what they have and then supplement that with things that maybe they want to replace," he said.
So when Nuhring and his partner Jerry Daigle bought a first-floor condo unit at Bridgewater Lofts across from Gold Medal Park in Minneapolis two years ago, it was destined for a design makeover.
"I took it as an opportunity to make it something experiential — really changing the whole dynamic without really having to gut the entire space," said Nuhring, also a listing agent for Prudden Co. real estate and head of its home styling department.
"In a typical builder-grade, developer-style property, with really thoughtful changes and the right finishes, you can make it look like something entirely different," he said.
Nuhring and Daigle bought the unit, built in 2006, painted red and tan and trimmed in blond wood. Nuhring got right to work on making the spaces more functional and distinct.
New heights, pocket change
The condo's 13 ½-foot ceilings gave Nuhring space to work with. He removed the 7-foot-tall wooden French doors to the primary suite and replaced them with taller steel-framed ones.
"There was a disconnect with the scale and the space," he said. "It was really important for me to get that scale, so we had 9 ½-foot-high custom glass French doors put in that were more proportionate with the height of the ceiling," said Nuhring.
He also replaced the doors in a second bedroom that also functions as a den. But in this case, he opted for sliding glass doors to break up the traffic jam in the hallway, which also housed the front entrance as well as doors to a second bathroom and closet.
Increasing the height wasn't his only goal. In the kitchen, he put in a soffit that lowered the ceiling.
"The kitchen, living and dining room are all in one space. It just all kind of blended together and they didn't have their own identity," he said. "So by lowering the ceiling over the kitchen and by changing the color of the kitchen, it created a room within a room."
Color was a key component in giving each space its own identity. Wallcoverings were added or spaces were painted.
"I was thinking about the contrast between light and dark. The boundary of the kitchen was defined by the dark color choice. It's in the middle of the living space so the idea was to make the kitchen step back out of the limelight and let the living space shine," he said. "I wanted the rest of the space to be warm and luxurious, but not as dark, so I chose mid- to lighter-toned neutrals [for the living and dining areas]."
He also painted maple doors dark and put in new lighting for every room.
"Lighting, to me, is like the jewelry of the home. It makes such a difference in making a space feel highly personalized and updated."
For the light fixtures, he looked to the sites around him for inspiration.
"I was channeling being near the Guthrie and what I would call a cultural district in the Mill District, theater district. The idea was something more dramatic in look — a little more glamorous, a little more experiential, a little theatrical — but livable," he said.
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In his work, Nuhring strives to make a home functional. And he did that in the home he has shared with Daigle.
"It's really important for me that when I work with clients that they live in every square inch of their home, that no space goes unused," Nuhring said. That meant creating some multifunctional rooms, such as a bedroom/den with a sleeper sofa and desk.
While they love the space, it's time for Nuhring and Daigle to move on to the next place they can transform.
"My partner and I love to do projects," Nuhring said. "He's always loved remodeling houses and it's something that we share in common."
So they've listed the 1,240-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo, which also has a private terrace.
The building includes a rooftop pool, fitness center and two-story community room overlooking The Commons park and U.S. Bank Stadium.
"We absolutely love living across from the park," Nuhring said. "It's just incredible views."
Jay Nuhring (firstname.lastname@example.org; 612-229-1854) of Prudden Co. has the $599,000 listing.