09 . 09

MINNA at Home: Audrey Leary

By Sara Berks

You may recognize Audrey from her instagram account @homerunballerina where she documents her colorful daily outfits in her equally as colorful home. Today we take you into her home and she shares how she brings MINNA home, her favorite ways to unwind (you guessed it, color is involved!), and her favorite thing to cook lately.
Journal | #MINNAatHome

Audrey Leary (@homerunballerina)in her colorful kitchen wearing the MINNA Utility Apron in Hibiscus

What’s your name and pronouns? Tell us about yourself.

Hi! My name is Audrey, she/her, I’m a restaurant owner, pastry chef, mom, painter, creative scatterbrain. My husband and I own and run a tiny dinner restaurant in the Northwest Corner of CT; we have two young kids, and I paint and create in my free time. (You can find our restaurant @blackberryriverbistro and my personal instagram for home & personal style is @homerunballerina.)

Where are you located, how long have you been making your space a home? 

We bought our house in Canaan, CT about ten years ago. It has been a constantly changing, evolving project ever since. I moved around a ton as a kid and into my twenties, and my husband had a job where he traveled for work before we met, so this is by far the longest I’ve ever lived in one place, and the first time I’ve lived somewhere that is truly MINE and I can do with what I want, so it has been an incredibly gratifying experience turning it into our home.

If you could describe your home in three words, what would they be? 

Colorful, idiosyncratic, and cheerful.

We love getting a peek into your closet every day! When did you start documenting your outfits and what inspires your looks? 

Thank you! I had a, for lack of a better word, “fashion blog” back in the aughts when I first moved to Brooklyn and was trying to keep in touch with my friends back in Chicago; it kind of started on accident, but I’ve always really enjoyed the creative process of getting dressed so I’d use a photo of my outfit as a jumping off point for talking about what I was doing that day (at the time, I was working as the office manager of a production company in Manhattan and going to culinary school at night, so there was always lots to talk about!)

I stopped for many years after we moved to Connecticut to start our bakery - we were just working too much for me to do anything else - and just started up again during the pandemic, out of boredom and nostalgia and missing a connection to people and feeling like myself by putting an effort into getting dressed every day. I know clothing can feel frivolous or unimportant to some, but I’ve always loved it as a means of creative expression - your first chance to tell the world who you are by how you are dressed. I think I go about it in a similar way to how I decorate the house - I love color and pattern, but I don’t take any of it too seriously. I want to make people smile, whether it be with an unexpected color combination or framing a funny note one of our kids wrote to put in the bathroom.

What are your favorite ways to recharge at home?

Truly, the most therapeutic thing to me is painting a room. I love how color can completely transform a space. Rearranging furniture also does the trick. But also just plain ol’ eating a bunch of popcorn and watching some tv or a movie at the end of the night!

What is your favorite meal or craft to enjoy at home?

I’ve been SO into making fresh pasta lately. I trained as a pastry chef at the French Culinary Institute and I think that pasta is the closest dinner food gets to dessert - you gently and carefully craft a dough, you have so much control over the color, shape, size, and final look of the food, all the fillings and toppings - it’s like crafting a beautiful plated dessert - but savory. I got really into paper mache at the beginning of the pandemic, and I really need to revisit that!

When do you feel your most creative?

It really goes in cycles for me - I have periods of time where I’m doing so many projects in the house and just have endless energy and ideas for what I want to do here, but then the restaurant will get busier and my energy shifts and I’m putting all of my creative juice into thinking of new desserts, dinner specials, decor ideas for the dining room. I love the way owning a restaurant lets you be creative in so many different ways - you’re the chef, the copywriter, the social media manager, the interior designer, the host. I love it all.

If you could have a sit down with any three people, someone you know/don’t know/alive/dead, who would they be?

Oh this is so hard! I have two answers, I guess - I would love to meet Andrew Bird, one of my favorite musicians (I’m a really good whistler and I’ve always been convinced if I could somehow meet him and he could hear me whistle he’d take me on tour with him) someone funny like Phil Hartman, and maybe an interior designer I admire like Meta Coleman - I think it would be an interesting group of people and I would love to pick their brains. But truthfully if I’m actually sitting down to a meal with any three people, I would probably pluck three friends that I never get to see anymore - spread across the country, busy with our jobs and families - and have a long, laughing, uninterrupted-by-children meal. That would really be wonderful.

Where can people connect with you and your work? 

I am probably too online @homerunballerina and post for the restaurant @blackberryriverbistro - you can find me at the Bistro when we’re open Thursday- Sunday 5-9 pm! We make a mean meal!

Shop Audrey's Home