Just a short drive from Wabasha, MN and over a bridge that straddles the Mississippi River, we quickly found ourselves smack dab in the middle of small town Nelson, WI.
With a population of about 374 people (give or take), we were met with Mayberry-esque quaintness as we drove down State Road. Matt and I were visiting my cousin Bob, who owns a year-old pub in Reads Landing, MN (aptly named Reads Landing Brewing Company), and he suggested we cross the border to have a look-see at Nelson’s famous creamery; their cheese curds being somewhat legendary.
Uh…yeah, he had no problem twisting this girl’s rubber arm to try a sample or two!
Purveyors and makers of cheese for over 100 years, Nelson Cheese Factory had us at hello. The surprise was when we entered the place. My mouth began to water, not just from the curds and delicacies displayed with temptatious abandon, but because of its fabulously designed interior.
Founded in 1911, this factory smacked of early Americana with an industrial design edge – clearly built with functionality and durability in mind. Each corner we turned had more unexpected decor treats and soon its modern bones began to emerge.
The newly constructed dining room and redesigned/repurposed cheese and wine tasting bar still kept its vintage/industrial point of view, but from a contemporary pair of eyes. Sounds scrumptious? Well, yes it was. Why not have a look-see yourself?
Sorry, free cheese samples not included.
There is definitely industrial design at play here with these vintage stools. The wide hooped foot rest also speaks of intelligent ingenuity…comfort being an absolute consideration here.
The crafter in me was salivating at these wooden cheese boxes. They had how-to projects written all over them. I especially appreciated that these were not just for display but for carrying food items home.
Once a space for cheese making, the now dining room wears its history with divinely exposed brick and stone walls. The original hardwood floors complement the different shapes and woods of the tables. The bling of this room are the oh, so trendy industrial design Tolix chairs…it wasn’t just the cheeses and meats that had my heart a-beat’n.
Wishing I could have taken this modern rooster lamp home, I settled for a photo memory. The all white porcelain base brings a 21st century aesthetic, all the while keeping with the culture of Nelson’s farm community.
I’ll bet this butcher block table was an original resident of Nelson’s creamery. If furniture could talk! Patinated to perfection, here is a quintessential example of wabi-sabi.
Cheese was once made in this now wine and cheese tasting room. Modern certainly melts perfectly with its original functional industrial design. The result is a fabulous atmosphere that is unique and authentic.
High beamed ceilings and mimicking arched windows and mirrors give hints of new construction. Still, the decor ties in the rest of the factory’s style with Tolix chairs and wooden tables you’d find in most farm houses.
Weathered industrial design styled furniture placed on an old world vintage brick patio sure is inviting, especially when accompanied by warm sunlight and some tasty wine.
HomeJelly thanks the Nelson Cheese Factory for their hospitality and delicious fare.
All photographs by Skaie Knox, HomeJelly.com