Wendy and David Coggins have lived in their Minneapolis home for 41 years. They raised a son and daughter — and now their third child, a Bernese mountain dog — and collect books, art and even rocks from vacations. “Our house is very full,” she laughs. “Marie Kondo would have a fit.” Here, Wendy takes us on a tour…
On a “full” house: I don’t think we have much choice! We love our memories. David and I will travel and find this and that. When you have children, you gather things, and it just keeps escalating! But I think that everything is still considered; it’s just fuller than many people might like.
Artwork over fireplace: David Coggins.
On seasonal decor: Right now, in the middle of winter, we have lots of red and green around the house. Then, in the spring and summer, I put linen slipcovers on the chairs and change the pillows to lighter ones. I also take up all the rugs to reveal the hardwood floor. So, all of a sudden, it’s a much lighter place and feels more spare.
Paint: Pink Ground.
On paint that glows: Most people carry lipsticks or pens in their purse, but I carry a Farrow & Ball book of paint samples. In museums, I’d pull it out and see which color they had on the wall. We chose Pink Ground for the dining room. We don’t have an overhead light, we just have a candelabra — plus candles everywhere on the table. The whole room really glows.
On unexpected artwork: We hung a painting on the back of the door. When you have a lot of pictures, you have to start hanging them wherever you can.
On a romantic traditions: For Valentine’s Day and Christmas Eve, David makes cheese soufflés. We cook lots of things on the grill in the summertime. In the winter, it’s time for soups. We love French and Italian food, and cookbooks by David Tanis, Yotam Ottolenghi and Alice Waters.
On a ceramics collection: Our daughter, Sarah, will say, no more pitchers! We get them on our travels here and there. We use them for milk, sauces, flowers, everything.
On a burst of Champagne corks: It’s funny, we had a little wall space between these two doors, so we squeezed in a spice cabinet. We keep Champagne corks from different celebrations! And David painted our first dog to hang up.
SON’S FORMER BEDROOM:
On sharing names: It’s tricky having my husband and son both named David. But it was a requirement from my mother in law, and you have to listen to the mother in law!
Chair: Frank Gehry.
On a childhood relic: Son David’s old bedroom is full of his childhood stuff. There are tennis rackets and a fishnet! He sleeps here when he visits — not necessarily happily in the twin bed.
On children’s books: At Christmas time, son David will pull out his picture books from childhood. Tiger Voyage is one that young David loved dearly. And I like to give books as baby gifts, so I choose ones that were my children’s favorites, like Make Way for Ducklings or Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes, which are Beatrix Potter’s short poems. The size of the book is perfect for a pocket. We can all still recite them.
Paint: Borrowed Light.
On an airy bathroom: When guests come, even my kids, I always have flowers and extra toothbrushes and toothpaste, just in case. With this bathroom, I love the tile — they were done by hand, so there’s variation and little mistakes. We chose the pale blue paint to complement it.
Paint: Farrow’s Cream.
On a special bed: This is the guest bedroom, but it’s also the bed that Milo the dog sleeps on most of the time! He’s our third child. He’s very spoiled, but he’s just a love. He brings people happiness.
On choosing a book: We both love reading. When I travel, I choose mysteries because they’re so entertaining and easy to pick up and put down. I’ve been liking the Donna Leon series. I think about Venice when I read them and imagine walking through the streets.
On an old-fashioned bed: Our headboard is an old Dutch piece. In Europe, lots of times you’d have a bed in a cupboard; you’d climb in to get to the bed inside.
On marriage advice: My husband David and I met in college. Our 49th wedding anniversary is this year, and we’ve been together for 51. We know everything about each other. When it comes to advice, I’d just say, make sure you really listen to each other.
On Marie Kondo having a heart attack: When friends come over, they say, It’s so full, how can you clean it? But it’s a very personal house. It’s layered because it has been done over time. To someone else it might look like a mess, but I would tell Marie Kondo, everything here sparks joy.
(Photos by Wing Ta for Cup of Jo.)