Design

St. Paul House Tour

St Paul home tour

Family therapist Kari Jensen lives with her husband and her three daughters in St. Paul, Minnesota. The self-described homebody has made the space feel shabby chic, with homemade furniture and floral wallpaper. Here’s a peek inside…

LIVING ROOM:

St Paul home tour

On white walls: When we moved in nine years ago, the walls were beige. But about two years ago, after being inspired by all the amazing design on the internet, we decided to paint them white. I was surprised by how much it brightened up the space. The house felt so much bigger, like we had bumped out our walls a few feet.

St Paul home tour

Floral art: Thrifted. Horse print: HomeGoods. Couch: Room & Board. Throw pillows: Target, IKEA and HomeGoods.

On family pictures: We used to have family photos on our gallery wall. But then I decided to choose pieces of art that would represent our family members, rather than be of them. For example, the floral art is a picture that my five-year-old and I picked out together. She loves flowers; she’s always picking them. And my husband and I call our two-year-old our wild horse — she’s like the wild horse that can’t be broken! — so the horse painting represents her.

St Paul home tour

Coffee table: Bloom Handmade. Chair: vintage. Rug: West Elm.

On movie nights: Every Friday, we have a family movie night to welcome the weekend. The girls really look forward to it. They get to pick the movie and the meal — usually tacos or nachos. We recently watched ET, and the new live Cinderella is really popular around here.

St Paul home tour

Pallet bench: handcrafted. Mudcloth pillows: Maewoven.

On their first baby: Our nine-year-old dog, Jazzy, take naps on the daybed. She used to be super spoiled, but now that we have three children, she doesn’t get quite so much attention. My parents, who live close by, sometimes take her so she can have some respite from little kids wanting to play all the time. She’s a trooper!

On traveling with children: We brought the blue blanket home from a family trip to Puerto Morelos, Mexico, a few years ago. It was the first time the girls had been on a plane. When traveling with kids you can’t have too high expectations. It can be a bit of a dance, but I try to be be patient and embrace the chaos with humor. Also, we always bring a bag of books and activities that are new to them.

DINING ROOM:

St Paul home tour

Wallpaper: Hygge & West. Table: handcrafted. Chairs: family heirlooms.

On kids’ art: The girls love arts and crafts. If you bring out paints and give them any task, they’ll go to town. They’ll spend hours at our dining table — which is great during long Minnesota winters. I try to incorporate their art around the house. The watercolor piece at the bottom of the living room gallery wall is by our five-year-old. They get a kick out of it when we hang their stuff up — there’s a real pride and thrill in it.

St Paul home tour

On cooking at home: I need to follow recipes, but my husband can cook up the most delicious meal out of basically nothing. We met working at a restaurant — he was the manager and I was a server — and we worked every day except for Sunday. Sundays became our day; we would always grocery shop and make dinner together. Our favorite meal then was turkey meatballs and marinara. We always go back to that meal, it brings back memories.

On picky eaters: My daughters have recently become really picky, and we are learning as we go. What has worked lately is going to the grocery store and letting them choose something them themselves. Now that it’s farmer’s market season, they also pick out veggies and fruit there every weekend. Being a part of the process gets them more excited.

St Paul home tour

On making furniture: We always wanted a farmhouse table, so we made one for the dining room with wood from my grandmother’s barn. She is going to be 88 this summer, and she has lived on her farm for over 30 years, but we think it might be her last year living there. The barn is still standing, and we took pieces from the inside to use for the table as a keepsake.

On summer trips: We love to visit my grandmother’s farm, which is three hours west of us. As kids, we’d spend a couple weeks out there every summer. We would go swimming, ride the horses, play in the garden. Those are some of my best childhood memories. Now I love to take my own children.

MASTER BEDROOM:

St Paul home tour

Quilt: Anthropologie. Floral pillow cases: Bloom Handmade. Hanging vase: Object Enthusiast.

On books: At night, once the kids are asleep, I like to curl up with a book. I love anything by Brené Brown. I am also re-reading, for probably the third time, Simplicity Parenting. Our two-year-old is going through some growing pains, so I am going back to an old favorite.

St Paul home tour

Dresser: family heirloom. Shelves: handcrafted.

On family projects: I made our bedroom pillow cases, along with everything at Bloom Handmade. My mom taught me how to sew, and we make clothes for my girls, too. I also love having family heirlooms in our home. The dresser was from my husband’s grandmother, and we’ll never part with it.

CHILD’S BEDROOM

St Paul home tour

Headboard: thrifted. Duvet cover: IKEA. Floral pillow cases: Target. Toy unicorn: Dainty Cheeks.

On essential oils: The whole family uses Young Living Essential Oils. It’s part of our nap and bedtime routine. I’ll spray their blankets and sometimes pajamas with a linen spray — usually lavender and sometimes orange. I’ll do the same for myself. They have a scent called Gentle Baby I love for our youngest. We’ve seen them sleep better since we started using them. It’s calming and relaxing and sets the the tone for bedtime.

St Paul home tour

Nightstand: handcrafted. Lamp: Target.

On sharing beds: Our older girls have shared a bed for over a year. It happened naturally. My husband’s work schedule was chaotic, so he was rarely home for bedtime. So, I’d read to the girls together until they both fell asleep. Then I would put my two-year-old in her crib, but she started waking up in the middle of the night asking where her sister was. So, one night, I just kept her snuggled in the bed, and it started a ritual. They love sharing a room and a bed — it’s really cute to watch them cuddle each other in their sleepy state.

St Paul home tour

Dresser: Young America. Rose knobs: Pottery Barn Kids. Mirror: IKEA.

On ‘K’ names: My mom’s name is Karen, and I’m Kari. So I started looking with K’s and we liked Kaia. When we found out we were having a second girl, we decided to keep with the Ks and named her Kendi. And when we had a third girl, we knew we had to go with K again or she might feel left out. So, she’s Klo.

NURSERY:

St Paul home tour

Crib: Young America. Rocking chair: thrifted.

On finding out the sex of the baby: We found out the sex of our first two daughters, so for the third, we wanted it to be a surprise. I wanted to have the experience of finding out in the delivery room at least once. The first two pregnancies were identical, and my third was not — I wasn’t nearly as sick in the first trimester. So, I was actually surprised it was another girl.

BATHROOM:

St Paul home tour

Shower curtain: Target.

On being homebodies: We’re homebodies, and our girls are, too. We’ve spent the last nine years fixing up our house, and we’ve put our whole heart into it.

St Paul home tour

Thank you so much, Kari!

P.S. More house tours, plus tips for living in small spaces and affordable art.

(Photos by Colleen Eversman of 2nd Truth Photography for Cup of Jo. Interview by Megan Cahn.)

  1. Judith says...

    Can you tell us where you found that gorgeous modern curtain rod in the master bedroom?

  2. Gayle says...

    I came here from cup of Jo! Love her, love your home, love Mn. We just buit a small cabin west the Twin Cities. We were born and raised in western Mn. ( maybe close to your grandmother!).

  3. chris says...

    I love the wall sconce in your master bedroom! Where is it from?!

  4. This is such a beautiful home! You can really tell the amount of love and care that was put into it.

  5. This is such a beautiful home! And I have an aunt named Kari with a daughter named Kaia! :)

  6. What a beautiful space. I love the white walls with the wooden floor and furniture. The brown tones with the white washed space look lovely. Thanks for sharing!

    Fariha | http://www.farihawajid.com

  7. This is seriously one of my favorite blog posts ever. I keep coming back to it and it makes me smile. That Go Dog Go open letter! Ha!

  8. so light and airy- i’m loving the dining room with the farmhouse table and the bench!

    hammyta.wordpress.com

  9. I love how fresh and light this beautiful house is, thanks for sharing it!

  10. Jen says...

    Thank you SO much for sharing your home! I live in a house of similar character and have been trying to convince my husband that we should paint the whole thing white. He has resisted for fear that it would look like we were trying too hard to make it something that it is not (ultra modern). This home is a perfectly beautiful example of how well the white can make the space fresh and clean while still honoring the original style. After seeing these photos he finally agreed to the white paint!
    Your home is fantastic, well done!

  11. Katherine H. says...

    This is beautiful! I grew up in the Como Park neighborhood of St. Paul, so the house’s exterior was instantly recognizable and nostalgic for me. Thanks for the peek inside!

  12. Everything is so bright, fresh and clean. I love the white mixed with wood and the dining room table is gorgeous. What a wonderful story to go with it as well!

  13. So gorgeous <3

  14. Angela says...

    Loved it! Feeling inspired! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Laura says...

    Just lovely, all around!

  16. Alana says...

    I love the white and clean lines. They have a very beautiful home

  17. Brandi says...

    Such an amazing home. I love all the white with the original wood. Such a beautiful and calming design. I too have my walls White Dove and trim Simply White. I love the combination.

    If anyone is interested in Young Living Essential Oils, I use them as well and absolutely love them. You can order them here if you’d like to give them a try. http://yl.pe/3h98

  18. Sabrina says...

    Lovely home!
    Thank you for another Minnesota post! I lived in St. Paul for 10 years and it’s still my favorite city in MN.

  19. Kate says...

    Your wallpaper…… I love it and am searching for something exactly like it. Would love to know where you got it and what it’s called. I’m a local Minneapolis girl :)
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful home with us!

  20. Amanda says...

    Love this house tour! It looks like it’s of the same era and style of our home (1932 tudorish) and so I love to study how others live in their houses from this era. I see that your dining table is pushed to the side…mind blown. Our dining room is the center of our house. We usually enter from outside through the door into the dining room and it’s the main pass through, so having the large table in the middle of the room is such a space hog. But, it also serves as a centralizing family space, so I’m always torn on what to do. Has yours always been like that? Or did you build the bench? It looks fantastic and has my mind spinning on how to adapt something similar to our home! Thank you for sharing your space!

  21. elizabeth says...

    It is a beautiful home and her choices are all lovely! Like others, I do find myself wondering where all the “stuff” is. Toys? (I also always wonder if there is a no scotch tape rule when I see kids bedrooms online. My daughter loves to “decorate” her room.) I find so many home tours fascinating for what I don’t see. It is like I’m visiting another planet :) I would love another post with Kari talking about her organizing and editing skills… does she let the kids have anything plastic? (That’s not meant to be snarky, but you get the idea. When the goody bag from the birthday party comes home with little plastic widgets, does she make them disappear?) What has her journey been to such a streamlined picture perfect home? Maybe there has been no journey, she’s just super neat and edited by nature and it would be a better question for another parent/home tour post. Her instagram feed is also a testament to perfection. I’ve “Kondoed” as much as I can, but I still wonder how other mom’s do it!

    • t says...

      I think it is likely a combination of making it picture-perfect for the photo shoot and not being one to clutter. In my home we put everything away (and everything has a spot in which it is put away) every night. The next morning when the kids get up the perfect look gets a little destroyed – pillows fly off the sofa sometimes, forts are made, toys come out and get played with- but then everything is put away. We only keep stuff that we ultimately have a storage space for; so, if we get a new toy that can’t fit in the toy cupboard without something getting donated then something gets donated. And yes, those little plastic toys from birthday parties or dollar stores almost always get tossed after a day. Hope that helps.

    • Kate says...

      I think this too when I see house tours with little children. My 2 year old would have unpacked that open side table/block she has in the Master in about 5 seconds flat. Perhaps it’s just styled for the photoshoot?

  22. Tricia S says...

    LOVE! Is it possible to find out where they got the hardwood flooring that is in the Master? I am about to put in new hardwood and I am in love with those master bedroom floors.

  23. Rachel says...

    Oh, goodness, I love that unicorn doll on the bed! And so would my 3-year-old. But $139? :(

  24. I really liked the mix in the dining room-the wallpaper picked up the brass in the shelf supports. A little detail but it caught my eye. And I envy your plant game!

  25. Elizabeth says...

    This house tour just gave me a serious case of home envy! So calming and serene. I’d love to know what is bordering the front door, it’s so unique, and the house exterior would look totally different without it.

  26. I am obsessed with this space – the brightness, the wood moldings, the bedding. Beautiful!

  27. Mallory says...

    My husband and I have been house hunting. We are not skilled or handy individuals. My husband is a lawyer, and I am soon to be a lawyer. One house that has our eye is an older home. However, so many older homes seem so dark. This home gives me such inspiration. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I would love to see more midwest on your blog! We love you here in fly over country :)

  28. Favorite home tour yet, right here!

    She seems so lovely and her style resonates with me so much — bright and airy, heirlooms and a bit of whimsy.

    Thank you for sharing your magnificent space with us, Kari!

  29. Nina says...

    very pretty. I have a similar dresser from a great aunt…well actually that is the man’s bureau which my dad still has, I have the bed frame and women’s dresser which is 3 side by side drawers. I love the swoopy lines. Its very dark…wonder if I could strip the stain? I like the natural wood color better. and the top drawers have small round trays for jewelry built in the top of them at the front.

  30. I love the decor and style of this home.

  31. Cynthia says...

    Her house reminds me of mine with the archways, hardwood floors, and slanted upstairs ceilings! In fact, it could fit right in my neighborhood. I have a mix of family pieces and newer things, too. My husband and I have done a lot of things to our house, too.

  32. Grace says...

    I love home the home tours especially those venturing outside the usual NYC/Cali locations!
    I would love to see some homes with a little more color too. I get a little clean, bright whited out. Haha!

  33. love the white walls and the wooden windows.

    Shruthi
    http;//nyambura.co

  34. Michelle says...

    WOW at the number and quality of handmade furniture in this house. Stunning xo

  35. Amanda says...

    I loved this house but I would love to see more of the outside space and the kitchen. I like getting the “whole picture” so I can get ideas for my own home. 😊

  36. Anna says...

    What a beautiful home! I love the white walls, wooden surfaces and furniture and mix of old and new. Wonderful taste and style.

  37. Karina says...

    Beautiful home. And the story of your eldest daughters sharing a bed is just the cutest thing. I love that small sink in the bathroom. Was it originally there? If not, can you tell me where you purchased it?

    • thank you! we bought the sink at a local salvage yard, actually. we had it professionally resurfaced to bring its charm back to life. We loved the idea of a wall hung sink to free up space. We’re now able to store a stool underneath for the girls to pull out to wash hands and brush teeth, etc. which i love. unfortunately we were still in the process of finishing up our bathroom during the time of the photo shoot, but plan to have an full update and reveal on our blog soon! xo – kari

  38. Sara says...

    Would love to know what white paint she used! I’m trying to pick a white.

    • White Dove by Benjamin Moore for the walls + Simply White by Benjamin Moore for the trim!

    • Lisa says...

      You’ve created such a lovely home environment. We’re starting to paint our new-to-us 1930s farmhouse this upcoming weekend and would like to try White Dove and Simply White after viewing this post! Could you share what you used for the ceilings? And what type of finish (flat, eggshell, etc) for the walls, trim, and ceilings? My husband and I plan to paint the entire interior ourselves and can use the advice! Thanks!!

  39. M. says...

    I love seeing my hometown featured. I 💜 STP!

  40. Jenn says...

    Love your home! It is always amazing to me how old and new, and hand made can be so well fit together. Where are the signs from above the kids beds and cribs? I love them!

  41. WashDC says...

    Beautiful house. Would love to know where the pillow on the left side (when looking at the screen) on the pallet bench is from. Thank you!

  42. I loved this house tour!! Great mix of handmade, inherited and Ikea!

  43. Such a gorgeous home!! I love the little personal stories about each part of the house, especially about the art on the walls in the living room. So inspiring!

    Such beautiful photography too. I just wanted to make one quick comment about that — I find the photos much too overexposed, much too bright, so much so that I find it difficult to get a real sense of the room which is being depicted… I find this happens in quite a few home tours! I know that’s the overall style of photography of your blog, but when the rooms depicted have white walls and white furniture, I find that the exposure/brightness is just a little too much sometimes… Just a thought! I’m not sure if I’m the only one to feel that way, but I just wanted to mention it just in case.

    Keep up the great work, am such a loyal reader of Cup of Jo! xoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your feedback, emilie! i appreciate it!

    • Jamie says...

      Emilie your suggestion is the type of thing that brings a design from very good to great!

  44. Marcia says...

    Love that you featured a Midwest home! I’m from Omaha and it’s fun to see a space that is similar to mine.

  45. Catherine says...

    Gorgeous photos, Colleen!

  46. This is one of my favorite home tours to date. Live the light in all the rooms, what a warm fresh inviting home, really enjoyed the interview too. It makes me want another baby (maybe in 2yrs) so our daughter (only 7mo) can have a sweet little sister to cuddle with. Really inspiring home saving this for future reference to use in our new home.

  47. Andrea says...

    I have friends who similarly have really, spare edited spaces. To a person, they have a basement or an attic where the unattractive, day to day stuff is.

    • Maggie says...

      This makes me feel better – I know I sure have a lot of day-to-day stuff! Mostly kid stuff but still…. stuff.

  48. Anela says...

    this home is beautiful…it had a calming effect just to read about it!

  49. I love how you’re representing Minnesota again! As a Minneapolis girl, I approve :)

    And what a gorgeous home! I love the fresh white walls, although I swear with little kids even our grayish walls are constantly dirty with little toddler fingerprints!

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  50. Cynthia says...

    I can certainly understand being homebodies with a home this serene and lovely. Kari and her home radiate simplicity and calm. What an aspiration in these tumultuous times. Thank you for a great tour!

  51. What a bright, beautiful house!

  52. Lauren E. says...

    Wow, this is absolutely gorgeous. Everything feels so airy and bright and happy and serene. Beautiful.

  53. Karen says...

    Very beautiful! I just wonder where the kitchen is and how she looks like?

  54. It was nice to see the exterior, and I loved the woodwork throughout. The white walls really help the trim and baseboards pop!

  55. heather says...

    This house is beautiful.

    But also: Is there a picture of the garage where all of the kid stuff is hidden? The kid stuff is hidden, right?

    I have 3 small children and every other week I go KonMari on our house and get rid of trunk-loads of STUFF, but I swear it all grows back over night like some kind of aggressive fungus. I’ve actually started taking photos for a collection I call “#MessesIHaveLoved” and trying to see all the bright piles of legos and laundry as the testaments to life that they are. Still, I’d love to see a home tour with kids with just a few more books and toys scattered around.

    • heather says...

      Have now gone down a rabbit hole looking at Kari’s gorgeous instagram photos. I cannot get over how many things in this home are handmade and how beautifully they are executed.

    • caroline says...

      The house is gorgeous, love the wood trim and neutral feel. But I do love the house tours that show a little more clutter and real life! As beautiful as the house is I think it’s styled within an inch of its life…which is exactly what I would do if a professional photographer came to take pictures. I would put most of the toys away for sure! I would make every bed, declutter every counter, and style it half to death. So while I like ‘real life’ photos of houses, I also totally get the styled lived-in look.

    • We have toys, of course! and we have our fair share of clutter at times too! We actually have a little nook underneath our stairs, unfortunately the photo wasn’t included here, but that is where we store some of the girls’ toys. especially the ones they are really in to and play with every day. there is a basket next to the couch seen in one of the images here that actually has baby toys in it. of course, you wouldn’t see that because there is a blanket on top, which we tend to tuck away in the basket also. we have many baskets throughout our home that are used for all things kids related… they just tend to be stored in something that disguises them well ;)!

    • Katerina says...

      So true! I’ve definitely been there!

  56. I love the idea of using representative art for each family member!

    Such a bright happy home! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  57. Court says...

    My heart jumped to see a home tour in my favorite place in the world. Thanks for featuring my beloved hometown, this is such a lovely home!

  58. Res says...

    I’d move right in! What a beautiful and home-y home!!

  59. Helen says...

    Beautiful house! Especially love the accent wall in the dining room and the rug in the girls’ room is super cute. Where is it from?

  60. really nice and gorgeous home. but where are the kiddos?! Love seeing the tours with the whole fam ;)

    • We use lots of baskets shown about our home that we use for you storage. We also have a little nook (not pictured here, bummer! but I’d be happy to show you or you can peek on our Instagram page) underneath the steps that is used for toy storage. – by Kari

  61. Heather says...

    Gorgeous home. I want to paint my walls that beautiful, clean white, but my husband isn’t on board quite yet. I’ll have to show him this set of photos!

    And I wholeheartedly second the love of essential oils. If anyone is interested in learning more, check out http://www.planttherapy.com . No “middle man,” a super helpful blog and free shipping. =)

  62. Oooh, this house is all types of wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  63. Whitney says...

    I love Cup of Jo house tours! It’s a great little snapshot of how other people and families live and cultivate “home”. Thank you for the work you put into each feature.

  64. Nyree says...

    Could you share where you keep all of your toys? Your home looks so serene and calm, and I have a hard time managing the toys with 2 boys!!

  65. I really love seeing the Target pieces mixed in. You’d never guess!

  66. What a charming and beautiful home. I love how light and airy it is. Thank you for sharing.
    XOXO, Amy @ Jeans and a Tea
    http://www.jeansandatea.com

  67. stephanie says...

    please give some info on the rug in the girs’ bedroom!

    • ks says...

      it’s a nate berkus for target rug, though I’m not sure its still available.

  68. It is a lovely light filled home. I love that it is so uncluttered and serene with all the light. In a place where they must grow very sick of winter, all that light must be wonderful for them.

  69. Such and airy and warm home!

  70. Mary says...

    Could you please tell me what white paint you used?
    Loved your home!!!

    • Megan Cahn says...

      Kari used White Dove and Simply White by Benjamin Moore.

    • Nicole Brant says...

      Thank you, I was about to ask the same question :-)

  71. Thank you for highlighting a home in St. Paul rather than Minneapolis!! StP doesn’t get NEAR as much love as its shinier twin and it sucks – I prefer StP over Mpls by a long shot!

    • i hear ya, girl! st. paul has our hearts!

  72. S says...

    What a beautiful home! I would love a tutorial on the pallet day bed, what a great piece. I am so impressed with so much white in a house with three little ones running around.

  73. Meghan says...

    Such a lovely home and wonderful antidotes about their family life! I also have all girls (4!) and I really enjoyed this! Some great ideas I might start doing in our house 😍

  74. Amy says...

    Lovely. Everything about this is inspiring, and pretty too.

  75. Lauren says...

    This house is stunning! I’m so envious of the gorgeous woodwork all over, that’s one of my favorite qualities of a home :-) I also love the bright, white walls, and the gallery wall- so interesting that they pick art to represent everyone, I love that idea! And I also adore that they included their child’s artwork, framed, as part of it.

    Using wood from her grandmother’s barn for the table is also so lovely- I’m very sentimental and love when you can add that to your home or life in some way, especially something that’s been such a significant part of your life. Wonderful tour!

    • Thank you! It is one of my favorite pieces in our home!

  76. What a happy, welcoming home. Great job!! Lots of personality, not cookie-cutter copied from the same over-pinned pictures. St. Paul is a wonderful place to live, too–I lived there for a while, near College of St. Thomas. Congrats on a job well done.

    • that’s so fun! we are live near there! such a wonderful, beautiful campus. I jog around the grounds often.

  77. Liza says...

    Finally a home tour I love! Their home is beautiful. Modern and minimalist, but still cosy and classic.