Minneapolis style guru’s eclectic decor hits the mark

For a recent MN Fashion Week event, interior designer Richard Anderson donned checkered shorts, a checkered shirt in a different pattern, and tie-up shoes. He managed to create a cohesive whole from the competing pieces using a red, white and blue color scheme.

When the Twin Cities-style stage light isn’t making a fashion statement, it makes an impression with the seasonal decor and floral arrangements it creates as the owner of Richard Anderson Designs.

Those who listened to HGTV in its early days might recognize Anderson from “Decorating Cents”. Those who enjoy the Twin Cities nightlife might recognize him for his stage work as a drag queen.

Anderson’s eclectic personality and finesse in decor is evident in his modest South Minneapolis home, which is outfitted in grand style. The decor is a mix of items he has designed or purchased over the years, as well as heirlooms and pieces from around the world given to him by friends.

In a way, it makes everything work together.

“I prefer things with a bit of imperfection,” he said. “There is a way to do things imperfectly. Nothing is symmetrical. Everything has to work together as in a still life.”

Sense of decoration

When it comes to landscaping and landscaping, Anderson’s philosophy is “everything is inside out”.

He decorates his garden in the same way he would decorate his house. The outdoor spaces can be easily switched from one to the other. A chair and table set is topped with a straw umbrella, lending a tropical vibe to happy hour. Beyond that, a wrought iron trellis with perfectly pruned vines arches over another seating area prepared for a blended tea. A side deck has fountains, Romanesque statuary, potted plants, and candles for a distinctly Zen feel.

The garden paths lead to an eclectic mix of flowers and plants, ranging from coral, bright pink and red dragon-winged begonias to orange canna lilies and bright yellow sunflowers, some even taller than the 6-foot-tall frame. ‘Anderson. Stone statuary – including a large sculpture of a lantern of Anderson’s maternal grandmother – and fountains add to the outdoor oasis.

The setting is also perfect for her dog, Angel Maria, a Belgian Malinois mix, to walk around.

Once inside, it’s easy to see Anderson going all out here too.

The kitchen, featuring vintage orange wallpaper in a classic Italian motif, serves as a cozy backdrop to the dining area.

“I would say my decorating style definitely has a European and American bohemian edge,” he said. “I like a room to be warm. It’s intimate for me.”

In the living room, an 1813 sofa that Anderson had reupholstered and restored by Carter Averbeck of Omforme Design coexists with a Burrow coffee table and medieval lounge chairs. Above the fireplace is a large mirror which Anderson says dates from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Above this, the face of a whimsical figure with antlers looms.

The guest bathroom is to reuse – a nod to the HGTV show Anderson aired – while another bathroom is covered in brocade for a glamorous style.

For Anderson, elegant and grand can be mixed with fun and funky.

“If you look around there is also a whimsy. I mean, you are in my living room sitting on a 19th century chair decorated with a koi fish pillow,” he said.


Anderson’s love for style extends to fashion.

“That’s why I have too many closets filled with way too many clothes,” he said.

His style changes over time and what inspires him right now, he said. When he lived in New York City in his late twenties, his dress code was edgy.

These days, “I’m often inspired by military and urban styles,” he said.

Miss Flowers, Anderson’s drag queen, has her own style.

Since making a splash on the stage three decades ago, Miss Flowers has become a staple in the Twin Cities, regularly hosting events such as an annual Pride Party and performances at the Varsity Theater, in which the competitors of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” are guest artists. .

Anderson devotes a room in his house to her drag queen wardrobe, wigs, and makeup. There are feather boas, blonde and neon pink wigs, 70s and 80s punk outfits, dresses and more. Like Anderson, Miss Flowers’ style has evolved over the years.

“When she was young she was a nightclub girl with slip-on dresses and combat boots,” Anderson said. “The old version of her is somewhere around [interior designer and fashion icon] Iris Apfel and Elizabeth Taylor. “

Rooted in tradition

Anderson, who grew up in Chaska and Prior Lake, said his love for gardening, decorating and fashion started at a young age.

“My country grandmother introduced me to gardening. She was a farmer’s wife in Chaska and she had exquisite tastes. Decorating was a big deal,” he said. “She was also a costume designer.”

He became the kid of the neighbors hired to decorate their Christmas trees. As a teenager, he began styling windows for the Burnsville Center and Eden Prairie Center stores.

Her love for gardening and decorating evolved from working in flower shops, designing arrangements. Anderson eventually moved to New York City, where he worked for the celebrity event planner, the late Robert Isabell.

His made-for-television personality led Anderson to become a staple of HGTV’s “Decorating Cents”. The popular late 1990s series, hosted by Joan Steffend, encouraged homeowners to spruce up their spaces for less than $ 500.

“Working with Joan Steffend was a dream and the whole team has become a family and we continue to keep in touch,” he said. “The show really piqued my creativity as it turned pumpkins into horse drawn carriages on a budget.”

At 57, Anderson continues to do what he loves, decorating homes seasonally as well as creating displays and decors for retailers and restaurants.

His work can be found in dining venues such as Meritage in St. Paul, Cov in Wayzata and Edina, 6Smith in Wayzata, and Baldamar in Roseville.

For Anderson, the holidays are his favorite time of year because it can be overkill. He is already considering how he will decorate for his clients.

“My clients – residential and commercial – really want to get big this year. They feel like Christmas 2020 has never happened in a lot of ways, so they really want to get big,” he said. “It’s definitely in my wheelhouse.”

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