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Janice Randall Rohlf


Alyssa Lee


Minneapolis, MN

Brooke Voss is enthusiasm personified. A conversation with the Twin Cities-based interior designer is upbeat and punctuated with laughter. “Don’t get me wrong,” she says, “I take my work very seriously. But if we can’t have fun doing it, then it’s not worth it.”

Voss takes this approach with every project she undertakes. In the 12 years she’s owned her business, Brooke Voss Design, and the decade before that spent learning from “truly amazing mentors,” she has amassed a portfolio that acknowledges the wide variety of her clients and their unique personalities. “What keeps my job so interesting is that no two projects are alike,” she says. “I think it’s such a thrill to make a client’s project the very best version of who they are, not who I am.”

In the case of this elegant suburban-Twin Cities house designed by James McNeal Architects and Designers, Voss’s clients were a multi-generational family originally from Abu Dhabi who own a food business. Sophisticated and well-traveled, the husband, wife, their four children, and the wife’s mother and sister all live comfortably under one roof, a common arrangement in their culture. The spacious house was designed to graciously accommodate each member of the family, with areas for both private retreats and public gatherings.

Brooke Voss

Brooke Voss was a KDC finalist for her kitchen design in this home.

Voss explains that “having a Mediterranean-style home was really important to them, but they didn’t want a traditional home; they wanted a much cleaner, modern spin on that.” And while the exterior boasts authentic accents like a red clay roof, baroque balcony, and roof finial, much more liberty was taken with designing the interior spaces, which are spacious, sleek, and modern. Voss sourced unique pieces at both local showrooms and companies in Europe, with an eye to respecting the wife’s chic style, worldly sensibilities, and thoughtfulness about the provenance of each piece.

For this elegant and expansive suburban home, designed by James McNeal Architects and Designers, Voss created a sophisticated interior, well suited to the lives of a multi-generational family.

While the second level is dedicated to the children’s bedrooms and bathrooms, the lower level is the grandmother’s domain, an extensive suite just for her. In between, on the main level, the kitchen is where the family heads when they want to be together and to prepare food from scratch using recipes passed down through generations.

“Cooking is key in this home,” says Voss. “So many of their family traditions revolve around food and preparation.” Accordingly, her kitchen design process started with the appliance selection. A wide 60-inch Wolf range allows room for two full-size Wolf ovens below, one for precision cooking and the other for precision baking. “We also needed a lot of workspace so two people could be doing kitchen tasks at the same time and not get in each other’s way,” says Voss. “The big sink underneath the window has two taps so two people can be cleaning, rinsing, prepping. There is a pair of dishwashers as well.” The grandmother does a considerable amount of cooking in her own wing of the house, where, in addition to a bedroom, bathroom, and laundry, there is a second kitchen, fully equipped with Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances.

Entire dining room wall opens to stone patio and pool deck

One entire dining room wall opens to the stone patio and pool deck.

Voss shares that while sometimes her clients tend to be design-driven about a kitchen and care less about its actual function, for this family, the opposite was true. “We had to ensure they got exactly what they needed in order for the kitchen to perform optimally.” Only then did the designer start thinking about the aesthetic essence of the room.

“We didn’t want just a white kitchen, but we also knew that we didn’t want a lot of adornment,” says Voss. For example, the designer explored how to “add a shadow line, a little bit of interest, without tipping the home into the realm of traditional. When you’re looking to have a home lean a little more modern, details really matter.” Details like, for instance, what countertop material to use. The client wanted marble for its appearance, yet the natural stone’s likeliness to stain and chip was not a good fit for this workhorse of a kitchen, where oils and spices are used with abandon. In the end, the client’s persistence to find a marble that performed like a quartz led Voss to Azerocare, a treatment for natural stone that not only made the marble stain- and etch-resistant but also water- and oil-repellent. Eight full slabs of marble were used in the kitchen, a portion of it for the statement architectural hood wrap.

Intentionally Chic

Sub-Zero refrigeration and freezer units are seamlessly integrated into the design.

The full-size Sub-Zero refrigeration and freezer that bookmark the kitchen take up a significant portion of the room, so the decision was made to panelize them to make them “recede a little bit in terms of size and scale,” says Voss. A large dish cabinet in the kitchen to display and organize the client’s beautiful china and other tableware was intentionally designed to have the same size and depth as the Sub-Zero refrigeration. Equally careful thought was given to lining the cabinet with handsome wood to make it as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside.

Sub-Zero refrigeration and freezer units are seamlessly integrated into an open kitchen design

Sub-Zero refrigeration and freezer units are seamlessly integrated into the design.

A jewel box of a pantry for storing dry goods is entirely clad in white oak paneling. Says Voss, “It’s meant to be a beautiful moment when you move from the big, open kitchen with tall ceilings and large windows into the lower-ceilinged pantry, which is smaller and more intimate.” Here, there are black marble countertops, a coffee and tea station, and a Wolf Convection Steam Oven tucked in and out of the way from the main kitchen, where the client didn’t want any wall appliances.

The kitchen opens to the dining room, where a pair of large bifold doors open up the entire wall of the dining room to a beautiful stone patio, the pool, and the pool house. Eliminating the separation between inside and outside is dramatic. Here as elsewhere in the house, “We used the landscape as art,” says Voss. “Simplicity was key.”

A jewel box of a pantry for storing dry goods is entirely clad in white oak paneling

A jewel box of a pantry for storing dry goods is entirely clad in white oak paneling

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