When Alex Roberts opened his restaurant Alma in Minneapolis's riverfront Marcy-Holmes neighborhood in 1999 he knew the second floor would make a perfect cozy urban inn.
"It's an exceptional space with extremely high ceilings," he told Hunker, due to the building's beginnings as a fire station. But, like all good design ideas, a vision needs time to percolate. First, he had to get the restaurant up and running, create a buzz, and build his staff. There was also a little snag: He didn't own the building.
In 2016 — with decorating help from Talin Spring of Spring Finn & Co. — Roberts's dream was finally realized when he bought the building. Seven rooms above Alma now book overnight guests in a European-style format where the lodgings are not fussy or fancy, but definitely high on style and sparse in decor. James Dayton Design, a local architectural firm, modernized the historic building's bones.
Spring, an Armenian who grew up in Paris, lent an eclectic, global aesthetic through textiles, furnishings, and art. "She has an interesting perspective on design, form, shape, and feel," said Roberts. "Every room has the use of a different textile and different types of art, [including] carvings that are food-related, and these old sketches from the '50s by a nun in the Middle East capturing people with food, bread production, and some markets," he explained.