Governor’s Residence Offers Holiday Tours

Photo Gallery: Governor’s Residence Holiday Tour

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s one of the biggest houses on Summit Avenue in St. Paul — and it’s the place Minnesota’s governor calls home.

A few times each year, the doors of the Governor’s Residence are opened to the public for tours.

It’s also an interior designer’s dream assignment. Six local designers each had a chance to decorate a room inside the house for the holidays.

Being treated as a guest inside a mansion is a great way to get in the holiday spirit. In the dining room, the table is set with china that was actually used in the 1920s.

Designer Debra Antone of Scusi in Excelsior did the decorations. Amanda Simpson, the manager of the Governor’s Residence, described the designer’s theme.

“She wanted it to feel like old world charm and elegance, the way the home would have looked when it was built,” Simpson said. “So she decorated with reindeer, different natural ornaments.”

In the solarium, you’ll find the work of Molly Yee of Studio Emme in Minneapolis. But many of the ornaments on the Christmas tree were made by young patients at Minneapolis Children’s Hospital.

“When they first approached us I felt horrible. I thought, ‘Oh no, we can’t ask you to do something like that for us.’ It turns out that they’re kind of looking for activities for the kids to do, and they were thrilled to do it and we’re so honored,” Simpson said.

The drawing room gets the least amount of sunlight, a challenge that was met by designer Ryan Smith from Holiday Bliss in Woodbury.

“He did an amazing job. He had the idea of doing the flocked Christmas trees and then carrying that look over the mantelpiece. He also has the chorale singers on the piano,” she said.

We found a lot of admirers here. Claire Duren of Bloomington thought this room was particularly nice.

“I think it’s so warm and cozy, just a comfortable room, you can play the piano,” Duren said. “I wish it was my home!”

She also liked the Western theme created by Quince in St. Paul, featured in the living room on the lower level.

“I can see where you’d get comfortable and watch TV down there,” Duren said.

The house is 16,000 square feet and was donated to the state of Minnesota in 1965 by the Irvine family.

The third and final holiday tour is next Tuesday, Dec. 16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and it’s free.

Public tours are also offered twice a month in June, July and August. Click here for more information.

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