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When the family returned to Minneapolis, Kirsten started redecorating their 1,700-square-foot home, trying to emulate what she'd seen abroad. She was bold in her paint-color choices—rich chocolate brown in the family room, pumpkin orange in the entryway, a dark gray-green in the living room—and mixed her newly acquired antiques with modern pieces that run the gamut from pricey Kartell lamps to cheap-but-chic Ikea finds. In her son's room, she installed a German-made spiel bett, a bed built to look like a ship.

In the breakfast nook, a vintage mirror becomes a functional message board. The owners of the antiques store where Kirsten purchased the piece broke out the mirror and then sprayed the backing with chalkboard paint. She sits on a slipcovered Ikea storage bench at her breakfast table—an affordable take on an iconic Eero Saarinen design—also from Ikea.

Scattered throughout the house, these flea-market flower paintings might come across as mere kitsch. But grouped together, they make a strong graphic statement. Kirsten propped the paintings loosely atop two Ikea floating shelves to let guests know that she knows the pictures are more about fun than fine art.