Alma Brings Understated Boho Vibes to the Midwest

Photos by Bodega Ltd.
exterior
credit: Bodega Ltd.

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.

room
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credit: Bodega Ltd.

Each room features a queen bed and has a cozy, slightly bohemian vibe.

room
credit: Bodega Ltd.

Desks were created and designed by Marvin Freitas, a Twin Cities resident. "He does beautiful work," said Roberts. "Our stuff is just a small look at what he's done."

room
credit: Eliesa Johnson

A Japanese-style closet door that slides open and lacks doors contributes to the minimalist sensibility in each of the rooms. Exposed-brick walls and light-colored fabrics and woods create a lofty, airy feel.

toiletries
credit: Bodega Ltd.

Toiletries crafted by Roberts' wife — under the business name Bespoke Body & Wellness — are tucked into storage containers woven from natural materials.

bath
credit: Bodega Ltd.

The idea, explained, Roberts, in decorating each bath was to create a "modern, plus classic, vibe with old materials." Brass fixtures, floating stone shelves, and an all-white aesthetic hit the right notes.

restaurant
credit: Bodega Ltd.

Breakfast from the restaurant downstairs is delivered to each room, with pastries artfully arranged in a basket. "We're baking the stuff right before and bringing it right up to the room."


Kristine Hansen

Kristine Hansen

Based in Wisconsin, Kristine Hansen covers art, architecture, travel and food/drink, and lives in a 1920s bungalow.