From Minnesota, With Love: The Venue

“Alisa” dress ($4350) by YolanCris, Austen Belt ($750) by Johanna Johnson, vintage accessories, and custom veil (pricing available upon request) from The White Room. Photography by Matt Lien Photography

“Alisa” dress ($4350) by YolanCris, Austen Belt ($750) by Johanna Johnson, vintage accessories, and custom veil (pricing available upon request) from The White Room. Photography by Matt Lien Photography

Each wedding begins with a vision. Some people have a whole vision scrapbook put together, others have a Pinterest board. No matter what pieces are included in your vision, you’re well-aware that the venue sets the tone for the whole event. As the backdrop against which the entire wedding is set, it is often what most couples lock down first.

300 Clifton could be that place. The house was built in 1887 by C.M. Douglas, who owned a coal delivery business. Built in the Queen Anne style, with prominent porches and a turret in the southeast, the mansion has gone through many lives.

The house was purchased in 1905 by Eugene and Merrette Carpenter and was owned by the family until 1948. This constitutes the historically significant time period. Eugene Carpenter and Merrette Lamb came from lumber milling families and were owners of the Carpenter-Lamb Lumber Co. of Minneapolis. The Carpenters were also significant patrons of the arts and Eugene Carpenter played a pivotal role in establishing the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Since then, the home has switched residents multiple times (even had a stint as an office building for awhile), before current owners Norman and John bought it in September 2013 with a vision.

“While doing research before purchasing, we discovered the home’s amazing backstory,” Norman says. “We decided it would be too selfish for us just to live here by ourselves, so we decided to tell the story through the bed and breakfast.”

In 2014 the couple legally changed the use of the house back to a residence and established it as a bed and breakfast. It is currently a six-room bed and breakfast, complete with a salon/spa, which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2015.

Norman and John’s passion comes from the guests’ enjoyment of the space as well as giving back not only to the neighborhood, but Minneapolis itself. This commitment to guests is clear throughout their entire practice. They offer a completely customizable experience: with no preferred vendors, guests are encouraged to bring in whoever makes their event the wedding of their dreams. Guests are also welcome to decorate as they wish and Norman and John will rearrange any furniture for special accommodations.

That being said, not much outside decoration needs to be brought in, the mansion itself provides a lot of that already.

“Our main mansion has its original 1906 layout complete with formal dining room, library, grand drawing room, front and side hallways, second floor library, grand staircase, oak paneled hallways, Tiffany fixtures, and crystal chandeliers,” Norman says. “We are one of the very few mansions restored on the Loring Hill. Most venues get very commercial, we are and will always be a house.”

With that mansion aesthetic in mind, guests are sure to love all of the touches throughout the space. Namely, the main house interior is lavishly decorated with period lighting and crystal chandeliers, the outdoors lit with lamp posts.

Furniture rearranging is not the only way the owners are willing to customize the space. Which rooms are used for what is also up to guest discretion. Although they recommend the grand drawing room for a band or dance floor, the rest of the space can be utilized as the guest sees fit. For example, all of the bed and breakfast’s guest rooms can be used for many different things, from getting ready the day-of to overnight guests. Norman and John are ready and willing to help you see how every aspect of your wedding can be done at 300 Clifton: rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception…the options are endless.

Even the size of your event is up for negotiation. Norman says that they’ve housed up to 300 people before. Although smaller crowds may be most comfortable in the space, larger sizes are also doable, depending on the flow of people and the use of space.

To set up an appointment, contact 300 Clifton at 504-450-1466.
300 Clifton Ave., Minneapolis

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