Lake&Home Magazine May/June '23

Page 90

YEAR 24 | ISSUE 3 MAY / JUNE 2023 Subscribe at
YEAR 24 • ISSUE 3 • MAY / JUNE 2023 subscribe online at: CONTENTS 56 FEATURE HOME Coastal Vibes ON LITTLE PINE by Patrice Peterson
12 MEET OUR STAFF 14 FROM THE OFFICE by Dawn Duncan LIGHTING 16 FOCAL POINT LIGHTING The Jewelry of the Room by Alicia Underlee Nelson INTERIOR DESIGN 26 FOLIAGE OR FAUXLIAGE? The Growing Appeal of Houseplants by Erin Foley INTERIOR DESIGN 36 A NEW VIBE Adding Color & Texture For Seasonal Impact by Erin Foley EXTERIORS 48 RETAINING WALLS Precision Landscape & Irrigation by Pat Morstad RECIPES 56 STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE JARS Recipe by Ashley Sornsin 90
Cover photo by Kip Johnson
16 RECIPES Strawberry Shortcake Jars by Ashley Sornsin LIGHTING Focal Point Lighting THE JEWELRY OF THE ROOM by Alicia Underlee Nelson EXTERIORS 58 EMBRACING SUSTAINABILITY The Rise of Native Plants In High-End Landscapes by Katie Dubow RECIPES 66 TRAIL MIX COOKIES by Ashley Sornsin PRODUCT SHOWCASE 68 MUST-HAVES Garden Tools by Dawn Duncan FEATURE HOME 76 CHAPEL HOUSE Old Church, New Life! by Dawn Duncan RECIPES 86 4-LAYER BEAN DIP Recipe by Ashley Sornsin FEATURE HOME 90 COASTAL VIBES On Little Pine by Patrice Peterson FEATURE HOME 100 JUST RIGHT The Rutten Home on Marion Lake by Alicia Underlee Nelson 116 SERVICE DIRECTORY 118 FEATURE LAKE Little Pine Lake 100 FEATURE HOME Just Right THE RUTTEN HOME ON MARION LAKE by Alicia Underlee Nelson
What's Inside



LAYOUT & DESIGN - Aaron Burgener


Jerry Shea • 218.205.7454 •

Becky Haarstad • 262.994.8744 •

Renee Redenius • 701.212.7227 •

Terri Jo Peery • 320.491.5618•


In the U.S., one year $24.95; two years $43.50; three years $55.00. Elsewhere add $5.00 per issue. Back issues are available for $5.00 per issue, plus shipping and handling. Subscriptions can be purchased online at

& HOME MAGAZINE Published bimonthly by Compass Media | 126 S Vine St | Fergus Falls, MN 56537
24, Issue 3 • MAY / JUNE 2023 Unless previously agreed, all rights remain the sole property of Lake & Home Magazine. ©2023 Compass Media. Except for purposes of review, material contained herein may not be reproduced without prior written consent. Printed by LSC Communications.
12 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023

From the Office

Spring is finally here and we have another winter behind us. Along with the general mood boost of this change in seasons, our living environments also shift and get ready for warmer temperatures. From landscaping to entertaining, remodeling to decorating, our homes and vacation dwellings take on a new look and feel; it’s time to turn up the beauty of Minnesota and what makes it special to live here.

This issue, we focus on landscapes and exteriors, plus color in our homes. Plants are a focal point, including real and faux, and we

begin to explore ways to change our yards to work best with our properties and create visual impact. Whether it’s a small or large project you’re planning, there are unlimited resources in this region for supplies, contractors, and options for adding punches of color and appeal. Make sure to check out our guest article on retaining walls and also explore ways to include houseplants (including the new types of faux foliage) in your interior décor, as houseplants are always a great idea, both visually and health-wise!

Additionally, we bring the beautiful outside in with our story on how to add pops of color and texture to take your rooms from the sleepy, cozy winter vibe to a fresh take on

all-things-summery. It may seem bold to include brights in your home’s décor, but with the right color pairings and coordination with furnishings, striking hues are a quick and easy way to liven up a home and tie its look to the new season.

Now is the time to sketch out the plans you want to complete while the weather is warm; whatever you choose, the reward will be rich as we celebrate nature, sunshine, and of course the beautiful lake culture that makes Minnesota a standout. Don’t miss all of the touchpoints of creative inspiration packed into this issue and be sure to check out our stunning feature home and its unique design points. Enjoy spring and welcome this new, glorious chapter of 2023! It’s finally here. L&H

14 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023
See more from this home on page 100 Photo by Kip Johnson

It’s a liberating time to pick out new light fixtures. Designers and new technology give consumers more options than ever before. Showrooms are bursting with new and interesting styles, so you can choose unique focal point lighting that showcases your own personal style. Anything goes!

PHOTO © 2023 Ashley Furniture Industries

“It’s a changing scene these days, because we’re seeing people go for unique things,” explains Todd Rasmussen, President of Valley Lights in Fargo. “People want different shapes. They’re not into the cookie cutter styles. They want something that’s visually interesting.”

embrace your style

Focal point lighting isn’t only about function. Think of these fixtures more like a work of art that will draw the eye and attract attention.

“Lighting is the jewelry of the room,” says Tracy Anderson, Interior Designer at Fergus Home and Hardware in Fergus Falls. “A well-chosen light fixture can take a classic, understated room and give it a voice or style. When selecting accent light fixtures for your home ask yourself what are you trying to say with your décor.”

Lighting is an easy way to experiment with shape, scale and color in a low-risk way. Edgy and artistic types can experiment with bold, sculptural light fixtures. Minimalists and traditionalists can update a classic lighting style with a fresh finish. And fans of natural textures and environmentally friendly materials will find a plethora of options to choose from.

try gold or brass with black

The rise of the farmhouse interior has made homeowners much more comfortable with mixing metals. Now a new combination is increasing in popularity.

“Gold or brass finishes have been fairly popular in conjunction with black,” Rasmussen explains. “We see it in traditional as well as contemporary items, so it’s all across the board.”

The contrast between the deep black and warm gold tones makes this look really pop. If the word “brass” conjures up images of dated interiors, don’t worry—this is a fresh finish that works with today’s looks.

MAY / JUNE 2023 17

“It’s not like the brass of past decades,” Rasmussen insists. “It’s not the old shiny or antique brass, but more off a brushed brass that’s a little more sophisticated.”

get curvy

Tough, industrial looks like cage lights have been trending for months. It’s no surprise that many homeowners are ready to shake things up and move in the opposite direction.

Anderson is seeing a return to shapes and textures that are “soft, light, airy, feminine.” If this describes your aesthetic, then Anderson advises going all in.

“Light colors, curves, and interesting shapes are lovely,” she says. These design elements layer nicely and never feel like too much.

select sculptural LED shapes

Homeowners looking to add a major drama and dimension to a room will love shopping for integrated LED fixtures. Designers are providing a huge range of options to choose from.

“With the advent of LED light sources, there’s more ability to create interesting styles and shapes,” explains Rasmussen. “So, we see sleek lines and really contemporary shapes that are more common and more mainstream with the linear LEDs—and LEDs in general. The light source itself is smaller, so designers can use their imagination a little more to create interesting pieces.”

These shapes include chandeliers and flushmounted fixtures that swoop and whirl across the ceiling, as well as long, rectangular banks of linear lights for a cool, graphic look. LED lights are incredibly long-lasting (they’ll keep on shining for an average of 40,000 to 50,000 hours) and they waste less energy than traditional bulbs.

18 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023
It’s not like the brass of past decades.
With the advent of LED light sources, there’s more ability to create interesting styles and shapes.
“ “

group pendant lights

If one unique accent light is intriguing, more than one can make a real statement. If you like the look of a focal point light fixture, consider repeating it for dramatic emphasis.

“It’s about thinking outside the box of using a single light to do just one job,” explains Anderson. “For instance, the Calette pendant is a natural, airy, textural hanging light fixture that, by itself, is lovely. However, when you group it in threes at different levels over a dining table, it makes a bolder statement.”

This technique works well in interior spaces. It can also work outdoors.

“If you are lucky enough to have a sheltered outdoor space where you want to add some texture and romantic lighting, you could layer possibly seven of these along a wall at different levels,” she adds. “This is a statement wall with texture, light and something that is inexpensive to do with a large impact on design.”

embrace natural materials

The fixture Anderson referenced is a good example of another trend—a return to materials found in nature. They integrate indoor and outdoor spaces and provide a cozy, tactile accent that many homeowners appreciate.

“We do see more natural materials like rattan and wood,” agrees Rasmussen. “It gives you a feeling of warmth. And people are becoming more environmentally friendly, so those natural materials—which, in some cases, are even made from recycled materials— are appealing.”

It’s about thinking outside the box of using a single light to do just one job.
MAY / JUNE 2023 21

banish the bulb

The exposed Edison bulb and industrial style cage lights have had quite a moment. But, every trend eventually produces a countertrend, so it’s no surprise that many designers are experimenting with shades again; that’s not the only way to pull focus from the light bulb itself.

“Does seeing a bare bulb bother you?” asks Anderson. “If so, find a fixture with a shade or one that shines up toward the ceiling and the light washes the room in a softer way.”

select smart sconces

Task lighting doesn’t have to be boring. Designers are playing with sculptural scones in every shape you can dream of—from spheres, swirls, and seashells to strong, graphic lines, geometric shapes, and elegant birds. Some of the smartest sconces don’t just look fetching— they’re adjustable, too.

“Bedside sconces with articulating arms are nice because you can move the light around and adjust it,” explains Rasmussen. “It works well because you can fold it back against the wall when you’re not using it. Over the kitchen sink is another popular location.”

PHOTO © 2023 Ashley Furniture Industries

glass bell pendants

Classic clear glass looks fresh when it’s paired with the warmth of natural materials and it plays well with a variety of aesthetics, from highly textured Scandinavian interiors to rooms with a free-spirited, bohemian vibe.

Anderson advises coordinating the shape of the pendant itself with the look of the room. More streamlined shapes look sharp with clean-lined interiors, while curvier pieces enhance the softness of a space.

“If you compare the Faiz and Farica pendants, they seem very similar at first glance,” she says. “They both have the soft natural wood tone but the shapes give them a different feel. The Faiz pendant has sleeker lines for a more modern feel, where the Farica has beautiful curves that soften the space where they will be used.”

MAY / JUNE 2023 23
They both have the soft natural wood tone, but the shapes give them a different feel.
PHOTO © 2023 Ashley Furniture Industries PHOTO © 2023 Ashley Furniture Industries

mix and match

If you can’t decide which focal point lighting options you like best, don’t be afraid to try them all. Mixing and matching according to your own personal taste is how you create a space that’s uniquely your own

“Be creative! Use lighting and light fixtures as your art statement,” advises Anderson. “Be bold! It’s your story you are creating in your home.”

And if your story changes somewhere along the way, don’t worry. It’s easy and cost effective to switch out accent lights. Rasmussen says that today’s homeowners aren’t afraid to change their light fixtures as their tastes evolve and this simple shift can make a huge difference.

“People are changing or updating more frequently,” he says. “They want to have things that look fresh. You can change the look of your house just by updating the light fixtures and paint. You don’t have to redo everything.” L&H

24 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023
Be creative! Use lighting and light fixtures as your art statement, Be bold! It’s your story you are creating in your home.

April showers bring May houseplants? Why not!?! The outdoor growing season is just around the corner, but the indoor growing season, thankfully, never ends. Whether you are a seedling to the plant scene or a seasoned green thumb, plants are inescapable! They are in a variety of stores, on every social media platform, given and received as gifts, and of course, in greenhouses. There are even plant cutting parties and exchanges among friends! The growing trend in house plants has evolved over the years with more people working from home, creating an environment to uniquely suit each individual's needs. When looking to add a few verdant touches to your house, ask yourself some questions and factor in faux compared to real.


How often are you home? If you are a traveler and are gone for extended periods of time with no one to watch your plants, caring even for the most low-maintenance live plants may be a challenge and may not be the best option for you. The same applies to a less traveled, but busy lifestyle. Choosing a low-maintenance or faux plant may be not only the best option for you, but the plant as well.

What level of maintenance are you looking for? Some people have the time to devote and desire to care for plants on the intermediate to high maintenance level, starting from a small plant, growing over time into something large and lush. Giving the care and attention to something they received as a gift, found in a greenhouse, received as a cutoff from a friend, or rescued from the garbage, they love to nurture a living plant. They gain a real connection, satisfaction, and sense of giving when caring for another breathing entity. They may want the instant gratification of a large plant and buy or receive one already in a mature state. Neither is wrong, but research is key in caring for your new living housemate, especially knowing the correct lighting, watering, and soil for each individual plant. The only maintenance required of the faux variety is removing built up dust and replacement from sun damage.

MAY / JUNE 2023 27

What curious critters do I have in my home?

Whether it be the four-legged or two-legged variety, being cognizant of what plants you bring into the house is very important. Some real plants are poisonous to both humans and animals and should be out of reach. The same can be said about faux plants; they are not only poisonous, but also a big choking hazard.

Where am I going to put my new plant?

This is a question to keep in the back of your mind when bringing anything into your home, from plants to furnishings to décor. With living plants, make sure you have the correct lighting and space for them to grow.

Benefits of real house


• There are many reasons that house plants are beneficial. Whether you are in a nursing home or a toddler learning the difference between scratchy and soft plants, living plants can be a great tool. Teaching students where we get our food, and cleaning the air we breathe while providing us with the necessary oxygen are just a few positive effects that faux plants can't give.

• Reducing stress levels, bringing a soothing sense of peace, comfortability and safety into the home or workspace.

• Therapeutic effects of digging in the dirt include that it may help those struggling with anxiety, depression, or dementia.

• Improved air quality. We have been hearing the benefits of this from scientists for years. Air improves not only the emissions from the plants themselves, but from the soil and roots of the plant as well. Certain plants can produce cleaner air and decrease the amount of dust and mold in a room, potentially providing some allergy relief to plant owners.

Benefits of faux plants:

• No more forgetting to water your plants or overwatering your plants.

• No potential for pesky bugs making cozy little homes like in live plants.

• Aside from dusting on a regular basis, there is no worry of a mess if your plant accidentally gets bumped or knocked over.

• They survive in any lighting. There is no worry about finding the right light for a faux plant. They can be placed in a dark room and still look as fresh and green as if they just came from the greenhouse.

Looking to add some real plants into your life? Look no further! Spider Plants, Philodendron varieties, Zamioculcas Zamiifolia (commonly known as the ZZ Plant), and most any succulents are a good place to start. These varieties are very forgiving if you forget to water them, as both the Spider Plants and the ZZ Plants have tuberous root systems that allow for the plant to store water. By far, these are also the most popular plants, along with Aloe Vera plants, English Ivy, Snake Plants, and fern varieties.

There is no lack of fun and interesting real plants to bring into your home, each offering something different to suit the individuality of each person and the environment they are creating for themselves.

Mary Ohe of Natures Garden World in Fergus Falls, MN comments, “It’s important to note that everyone’s house is different. Whether the soil is a bit too heavy for the plants or the temperature is set to fluctuate when family members

are home or if you have limited lighting, each household needs to find the right houseplant for their microclimate. While succulents in one house may tend to die, the next door neighbor can't seem to kill them.”

Additionally, she remarks, “The difference could be something as simple as the temperature and humidity that varies from house to house.” If your house is cooler and you struggle with succulents, ferns may be a better option for you. If you have limited sunlight or heat, get a small glass terrarium. It’s like a tiny greenhouse that allows the plant to create its own moisture and heat so it can thrive.

“It’s important to note that everyone’s house is different.”
“The difference could be something as simple as the temperature and humidity that varies from house to house.”

“Owning plants," Ohe adds, "means you may kill a few plants here and there. Some plants are just not compatible with your house but keep trying and talking with people about their experiences and what works well with them.” Each house is different and with that brings different types of plants. “It’s important to not give up if you love it and you may be surprised one day when you look back and realize that you’ve had that plant in your house for 10 years!”

Faux plants are no longer exclusively at your local craft store. You can find them at every turn, even in some greenhouses! The choices are endless, whether you prefer the look of succulents, leafy greens, trailing vines, or flowy leaves. You will want to avoid a faux plant that your grandmas had back in the day; today’s plants are stunners that so closely resemble the real version that it is sometimes difficult to see the difference.

Look for types that have a realistic looking stem or trunk, imperfect leaves, an eye catching pot, and something that resembles soil. An excellent rule of a good faux green thumb, is to avoid characteristics of fake raindrops or a glossy finish. The more organic it looks, the more realistic the replica will appear.

No matter what trail you walk down, the benefits of bringing one or many plants into a home or work environment are endless and they will add that extra pop of color sure to create impact in all of your favorite spaces. L&H

34 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023
It’s important to not give up if you love it and you may be surprised one day when you look back and realize that you’ve had that plant in your house for 10 years!

With spring and summer upon us, the urge to change things in our homes may be the result of withstanding another Minnesota winter and spending ample time indoors. There are no rules when it comes to the depth of self-expression and revamping your home to reflect who you are, and with simple and often inexpensive alterations to décor, your home can take on a new vibe entirely.

Paint is the base coat to your personal style and is the silent star in the background, there to showcase and bring light to the individual pieces of your home that serve as focal points. It’s the easy way to quickly change a room’s appearance and it brings a freshness to the dwelling that can take it from dark to light, moody to invigorating. The colors available on today’s market are endless, and custom shades are easily created. Choose your shade(s) and sheen and it’s ready to go, whether a DIY project or something outsourced to professionals. Either way, your room will look different in a short amount of time and offer inspiration for new décor.

MAY / JUNE 2023 37

Pantone’s color of the year 2023 is Viva Magenta, a dark crimson pink embodying a vibrant and empowering color of strength. Everywhere you look, this bold shade is being incorporated into the vast world of interior design. Paint, wallpaper, textiles, rugs, and everything in between are showcasing this color and for good reason. This vivid pink stimulates a romantic feel that spreads warmth and vitality to everything it touches. Incorporate it with complimentary pink hues to accentuate everything this powerful descendant of red family has to offer, or use it to seasonally punch up a neutral aesthetic. As rich and bright as it is, it pairs well with most tones and definitely adds an eye-catching boost to any room.

photo taken at The Market

Confident colors are dominating right now, pushing our comfort zone and celebrating their wonderful dynamism. Bold, warm earth tones such as a dark olive green, stormy teal, or plumb clay work perfectly for accent walls, trim, or cabinets. Dark and slate blues offer a softer, modern look without dramatic severity of black. A statement choice for those looking for something unique is aubergine. Commonly known as eggplant, this deep purple/plum tone will add dimension to any space and, although it is darker, it still brings a punch of violet that can span the seasons. When it comes to true sunshine in a room, the palette of yellows and golds runs the gamut and a yolk-hued shade is a recipe for a mood booster.

Along with this, lighter yellows and metallic golds can lift any room’s vibe and coordinate well with neutrals, dark blues and grays, and black. These are easy to add in small or large doses as décor that can be changed out once winter approaches and holiday decorations are implemented, but they will pair well with autumn shades of orange, rust, burgundy, and brown, so their look can remain relevant well past the summer months.

40 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023
photos taken at The Market

Clean and crisp walls will perpetually be a classic look, never going out of style. For those who prefer a white canvas, a “greige” tone works well and provides a backdrop ready for many different colors to be used together or changed out through the year as accents. The perfect warm and soft balance of beige and gray will give you the bright and open feel you are looking for with a softness to lay the base for your layers of uniqueness to be showcased.

Textiles follow suit in the addition to bringing a pop of color into your home. Earthy hues and natural textures bringing a more unrefined look that appear to be cut straight from a loom are beautiful when layered with bits of color reflective of the season. Layering beautiful fabrics in diversified patterns and textures brings an expressive look in rich color and dynamic print.

MAY / JUNE 2023 41

The key to linking them together is to go by the scale of each pattern and layering them with a combination of different sizes, drawing the eye to what you want the statement pieces to be in the room. Sustainability is becoming a universal trend, far from going away, including in the realm of interior design. Creating and using products such as recycled materials and bio-based fabrics made from plants are just the beginning of a new era of sustainability.

Artisanal techniques have made a comeback over the years with a version 2.0 upgrade. Handmade, traditional techniques are dominating the industry right now, paying homage to small batch textile manufacturers and individual artisans who are specialists in their field; these offer a handmade feel to your space. One example is through hand-embroidered pieces, such as throw pillows or linens that bring a touch of color without overpowering the room.

photo taken at The Market

The feel of Mother Nature continues to encompass our indoor life with her natural elements. Perfectly imperfect pieces of driftwood, stone vases, end tables made from fallen trees, and wooden bowls filled with stones are stunning touches that bring life to a space, especially in the summer months when we can see nature in its entirety. Color meets soothing energy with the addition of plants, whether real or faux, and tie the outdoors to the interior to the home. Green is always a good idea when it’s in the form of plants, and these add depth and liveliness to rooms, especially those that are minimally decorated.

44 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023
photo taken at The Market photo taken at The Market

Spring and early summer offer us a time to purge the heaviness of winter. Another way to lift the overall impression of a home is through decluttering; change doesn’t always have to be in décor and design. Bringing new life to a room or rooms is an opportunity to release and say goodbye to the things in our home that aren’t serving us anymore. Donate, sell, or recycle anything that no longer adds to the joy of a room or that detracts from its design. This is an opportunity to make way for a more clutter-free environment or to bring in some new items that are updated and even trendy. The warmer months in lakes country are a time to celebrate and enjoy a lighter feeling in our environments; take things up a notch with whimsical, bright, or more modern items that showcase personality and fun!

No matter what route you choose, 2023 is all about self expression. Homes don’t have to follow strict themes; they can be changed as the year goes along to reflect personal reactions to seasons, holidays, and trends. Whether you are traditional, midmod, bohemian, farmhouse chic, or a little bit of it all, eclectic is refreshing and there are many facets of individuality. Express yourself and let the sun shine in a bit as you enjoy this season of warmth and color. L&H

MAY / JUNE 2023 47

The National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) sets strict design, construction, and maintenance criteria when it comes to building and maintaining retaining walls in the United States, including the Ottertail Minnesota Lakes area. Regardless of the type of retaining wall – cantilevered, gravity, or stepped retaining walls – all walls must be firm and secure.

By carefully selecting the design and materials for a retaining wall, it can boost the visual appeal of a property and create a secure and pleasant outdoor environment. This can also convert previously unusable or hazardous areas into stunning and practical spaces..


The proper installation of a retaining wall is critical for the longevity of a wall; it won’t last if it’s not properly installed and supported. Cantilevered, gravity, or stepped retaining walls with a base consist of two components: a footing and a stem wall. The footing serves as the bottom portion, while the stem wall creates the upper portion. It’s also important to note that a footing should be located below the frost line to prevent shifting of the wall due to the ground freeze/ thaw cycle and are usually poured solid concrete walls. Segmental retaining walls are a popular choice for outdoor structures due to their durability, versatility, and aesthetic appeal. These walls are built on a solid base that has been compacted to meet industry standards, ensuring that they are stable and able to withstand the weight of soil and other materials. However, even with a solid base, segmental walls also possess a slight degree of flexibility that allows them to adjust to minor movements in the ground, preventing any damage or collapse.

In addition to being built on a solid base, segmental walls located in the Ottertail Minnesota Lakes area must also comply with the drainage requirements established by the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA). These requirements mandate that a proper drainage system be installed behind and next to the wall to prevent water buildup, which can cause significant damage to the structure over time. By following these guidelines, segmental retaining walls in the Ottertail Minnesota Lakes area can enjoy a longer lifespan and maintain their structural integrity for many years to come.

MAY / JUNE 2023 49

The benefits of a properly engineered and built retaining wall in the Ottertail Minnesota Lakes area can be aesthetically pleasing. The addition of retaining walls can add much needed elevation change to a property which, when combined with the interesting shape of these walls, can create an interesting focal point in any landscape design. Moreover, retaining walls can also provide a good foundation for a driveway or paver patio. As such, homeowners can opt to add in a retaining wall for practical reasons as well, while enhancing the look of their home’s exterior space.

Overall, retaining walls provide homeowners with multiple benefits. From protecting homes from hillsides to adding an aesthetic appeal to the landscaping of a home – these retaining walls are built both to

50 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023

retain soil and to defy gravity. With proper planning, design, construction, and maintenance, in accordance with NCMA standards, a retaining wall can increase the value of a property.

When considering installation of a retaining wall, the design and materials are well worth considering for any backyard renovation project. From use of small segmental concrete blocks that can be arranged in interesting patterns to large heavy-duty concrete blocks that provide stability, retaining walls can be customized in such a way to provide desired looks, textures, and colors to create the desired outdoor living space.

Another popular option is metal wire mesh gabions for adding texture and interest to a wall, as well as for providing additional support. The incorporation of wire mesh gabions filled will rocks and other appealing

features like plants and natural elements adds to the interest and provides essential benefits to birds, bees, and other types of wildlife.

Finally, concrete forms can also be used to create a specific shape for a wall. Studies have proven that humans can benefit greatly from taking time outdoors to enjoy the natural environment and the addition of retaining walls can make this time safe and enjoyable.

MAY / JUNE 2023 53

Whichever design chosen, it is important to remember that type and quality of materials used, and the condition of the ground the wall is being built on factor into the longevity of the wall and its ability to protect from the conditions presented by hillsides, water, drainage, and soil erosion. When constructed correctly, retaining walls can last a lifetime and improve property value, and aesthetic appeal. L&H

54 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023

indulgence a Lake HOME



320 calories SERVINGS 6


1 cup oat flour

1 cup almond flour

¼ cup tapioca flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup coconut milk (solid from can)

2 cups strawberries, sliced

Coconut Whipped Cream

Coconut cream (solid part from 1 can

full fat coconut milk, chilled overnight)

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

The perfect dessert to take on an adventure!  These strawberry shortcake jars are so fun to make; they’re made with nutritious ingredients to help fuel your adventure, are incredibly delicious, and are perfectly portable!


Preheat the oven to 400F.  In a mixing bowl, combine the oat flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and maple syrup. Mix with a fork until crumbly.  Add the coconut milk and using a spoon, mix until combined.

Using a large cookie scoop, scoop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 12 minutes. While baking, you can prepare the coconut whipped cream (see recipe).  Once shortcake is done, remove from the oven and cool.  Place one shortcake in bottom of Mason jar, then layer with coconut whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries and repeat on top. Enjoy!







photo and recipe by Ashley Sornsin

As concern for the environment grows, more people are turning to native plants to create sustainable, beautiful landscapes. These amazing specimens are perfectly adapted to their local environment, and form symbiotic relationships with the wildlife that inhabits that area. So, not only will the garden be a lush oasis, but it will also be teeming with life!

58 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023 EXTERIOR

And although there’s plenty of water in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, planting native plants in Minnesota means less watering for you. High-end landscaping, traditionally focused on exotic plants and intricate designs, is now embracing the natural beauty and ecological benefits of native plant species. Newer breeding is creating cleaner and tidier plant species, and designers are finding new and creative ways to incorporate these plants into luxurious outdoor spaces, from wildflower gardens to green roofs and retaining walls.

According to Shubber Ali, CEO of Garden for Wildlife, native plants are proving to be an elegant and responsible choice for modern landscape design. "Using native plants in high-end landscapes is not only environmentally responsible, but it also creates a sense of place and connection to the local ecosystem. By incorporating these plants into designs, you are not only creating beautiful outdoor spaces, but also providing essential habitat for wildlife and promoting biodiversity. It's a win-win for both the environment and the homeowner."

And the best part? Minnesota has its own unique preference for native plants. Garden for Wildlife reports the five most popular native plants in Minnesota:

Foxglove Beard Tongue

Foxglove Beard Tongue, also known as Penstemon digitalis, is a beautiful native wildflower that is well-suited for Minnesota gardens. This perennial plant produces tall spikes of white or pink flowers in late spring or early summer, attracting hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden. Foxglove Beard Tongue is drought-tolerant and prefers well-drained soil and full sun to partial shade. Ali suggests using it in borders, rock gardens, and naturalized areas. This low-maintenance plant grows 2-5’ tall and attracts native bees, hummingbirds, caterpillars, butterflies, bumble bees, moths, birds, and beneficial insects.

Using native plants in highend landscapes is not only environmentally responsible, but it also creates a sense of place and connection to the local ecosystem.
Shubber Ali CEO of Garden for Wildlife

Smooth Blue Aster

Smooth Blue Aster, also known as Symphyotrichum laeve, is a delightful perennial perfect for Minnesota gardens. This plant produces a profusion of small, light-blue flowers in the fall, attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators to your garden. Smooth Blue Aster prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil, and it is tolerant of drought and a range of soil types. It is a low-maintenance plant that can be used in borders, along retaining walls, and meadows, adding color and texture to any space well into the fall. Grows 1-3’ tall and attracts birds, caterpillars, butterflies, and native bees.

Lanceleaf Coreopsis

Lanceleaf Coreopsis, also known as Coreopsis lanceolata, is a hardy and versatile perennial well-suited for Minnesota gardens. This plant produces bright yellow flowers with dark centers from early summer to early fall, attracting butterflies and other pollinators to your garden. Lanceleaf Coreopsis is drought-tolerant and prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. It is a low-maintenance plant with a long blooming season. It grows 1-2’ tall and attracts native bees, bumble bees, and birds.

Grayleaf Goldenrod

Grayleaf Goldenrod, also known as Solidago nemoralis, is a wonderful native perennial. This plant produces clusters of yellow flowers in late summer and fall, supporting bees, butterflies, and other pollinators in the later season. Grayleaf Goldenrod is drought-tolerant and prefers full sun to partial shade and welldrained soil. Ali suggests this plant for its hardiness and adaptability to the changing climate and soil conditions of Minnesota. It grows 1.5-2’ tall and attracts: native bees, butterflies, and birds.

Whorled Milkweed

In 2022, milkweed was the best-seller across the US, and for good reason. With the Monarch butterfly now on the IUCN Red List, the survival of this incredible species rests on our shoulders. The good news is you can help! Milkweed is the only host plant for the Monarch caterpillar, and there's a native species available for every state in the US. Minnesota is lucky to be able to grow orange milkweed or whorled milkweed, but avoid the tropical kind. Grows 1-3’ tall and attracts Monarchs, native bees, bumble bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects.

"Incorporating native plants into our landscapes not only supports the unique biodiversity of Minnesota, but also creates a thriving habitat for wildlife and a beautiful environment for us all to enjoy," Ali explains.

Help Minnesota wildlife and enjoy the beauty of nature when you add these native plants to your landscape this spring.

62 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023
MAY / JUNE 2023 63
Incorporating native plants into our landscapes not only supports the unique biodiversity of Minnesota, but also creates a thriving habitat for wildlife and a beautiful environment for us all to enjoy.
Shubber Ali CEO of Garden for Wildlife

Katie Dubow is the president and second-generation owner of Garden Media Group, a women-owned and run public relations firm specializing in the home and garden industry. She is the author of the annual Garden Trends Report, guest host on QVC for Cottage Farms, a judge of the Philadelphia Flower Show, and an award-winning professional in her industry. She previously worked for CBS Studios in NYC and was a public relations and marketing manager for Monet Jewelry. She is a communications graduate from Northeastern University, where she was a Division 1 rower on the crew team. She lives and gardens in West Chester, PA with her husband, two daughters, one dog, and six chickens. Her goal is to convince people that brown thumbs can, in fact, be turned green!

Follow Katie: @KatieGMG and on Facebook at KatieGardenGirl


MAKES ................ 12

FUN TIP ....................

These are customizable, so you can use different nuts/ seeds/dried fruit.  I went for some festive patriotic cookies using cranberries, sliced almonds, and blueberries, but use whatever you have on hand!



173 calories

A summer hit, these Trail Mix Cookies make for the best treat or even breakfast!  Whether you’re out exploring or relaxing at home, these sweet goodies are delicious.  Not only are these cookies flavorful, they’re filled with good for you ingredients, like nuts, seeds, oats, and dried fruit.


indulgence a Lake HOME



½ cup nut butter (I used ¼ peanut butter and ¼ almond butter)

⅓ cup maple syrup

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp sea salt

1 cup oats

1 tbsp chia seeds

¼ cup sliced almonds

¼ cup dried blueberries

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup dark chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Add all ingredients into one bowl and stir well to combine.  Using a large cookie scoop, place cookies on prepared baking sheet and flatten with palm of hand.

Bake for 12 min.  Let cool and enjoy! L&H

66 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023 RECIPES
photo and recipe by Ashley Sornsin

Whether you’re brand-new to gardening or a seasoned pro, having basic tools is essential to success from seed to harvest. With just a few key items, you will be well-equipped to plant and maintain flowers, shrubs, vegetable gardens, and flower beds, lessening the intensity of work and having more time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. In this month’s Product Showcase, we feature a selection of tools available at Natures Garden World (Fergus Falls). As your interest and skill level grows and as you expand your garden footprint, it’s easy to add more tools for specific, detailed jobs that best suit your plants. Here are some must-haves to set you on the road to happy gardening this season and beyond:


Hand Trowel:

Trowels are a gardener’s best friend, as they come in various sizes and some include a serrated edge, ideal for cutting into hardened soil or moving away debris in the planting process. A trowel is used when planting or doing transplanting. A comfort grip handle makes long hours of planting a bit easier, however, the main idea in choosing a trowel is to find one that is sturdy and that will withstand digging into many types of soil with ease. Start with a medium or larger trowel and add smaller ones to your collection as needed. ($19.99)

Scott’s Weed Out Instant Weed Remover:

A mainstay in the gardening world, Scott’s is known for variety and quality in products and tools. The Weed Out makes weed removal easier (not easy, but easier), which is essential when it comes to keeping gardens looking great all season. ($27.99)

MAY / JUNE 2023 69

Small Serrated Trowel: A serrated trowel is a handy, versatile digging tool. The tough "teeth" allow you to break through roots and hard soil and also works well for weeding. ($9.99)

Small Rake/Cultivator: Having a cultivator on hand is key to break up soil while avoiding plant roots. Its four strong tines allow you to avoid weed seeds and also mix in fertilizers and other soil additions easily and without damaging your plants. The cultivator or digging fork is especially effective in breaking through tough, rocky soil. ($9.99)

70 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023

Standard Bulb Planter:

Planting bulbs is easy with a planter tool. It’s designed to perfectly measure a hole for a bulb to go into in terms of width and depth and has a solid handle for easy grip. Once soil is loosened, push the planter into the soil to the desired depth and then lift out; the bulb can then be placed in the hole, covered, and watered appropriately. ($3.95)

It’s easy to expand a pruner collection, as there are so many uses for different sizes. From rose bushes to shrubs, tree branches, and various plants, pruners are essential for proper plant care. Keep the pruners clean, dry, and locked shut to ensure long life and safety. (Set of two: $11.99)

Copper plated planting line:

This is a rather fancy version of a basic concept for gardening, but provides a visually-appealing and strong holder for twine. The twine is used to map out garden rows for straight row seed planting and can be used repeatedly. When marking a row, drive the tent peg into the ground where you want the row to start then mark the end of the row with another peg before unwinding enough string to extend between them. ($22.99)

72 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023
Anvil Pruner Set:
MAY / JUNE 2023 73

Plant Food:

A favorite line of gardeners throughout the nation is Osmocote, which is offered in different size containers (1-2 lb. mainly) and designed for flower and vegetable strength and sustainability. Using this when planting and periodically for feeding can help plants withstand temperature and moisture changes, as well as retain proper amounts of water to keep plants healthy. Osmocote Plus (1 lb. $8.99) is good for indoor and outdoor use. Regular Osmocote (2 lb. $13.99) is a staple for flower and vegetable feeding.


Kneeling Pad:

Having a pad for kneeling makes gardening much more comfortable and keeps your knees from getting scraped while tending to plants. The pads come in several colors and varying sizes and degrees of thickness. ($6.99)

74 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023
76 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023 FEATURE HOME
photo by Paulette Hagen

What started as a rather uneventful day of golfing at Forest Hills Resort transpired into a life-changing investment and project for Audubon, MN residents

O’Mara and Adam Dunnigan two years ago. The couple, originally from North Dakota, attended UND and launched into full-throttle, successful careers.

O’Mara, having earned a degree in Marketing and Management and Adam holding bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering, were excited to embark on their paths in the corporate world, which they did, gradually building their resumes and life experiences and eventually starting a family together.

O’Mara, now a REALTOR, licensed in three states, and Adam working in engineering, were made aware of an upcoming real estate listing that would soon be hitting the market. Although they already owned a home and investment properties, this one was completely different; a historic chapel, perched high atop a hill, located

just south of Forest Hills. “We saw it while golfing,” O’Mara explains, “and we thought it was beautiful. We didn’t know anything about it, but it had been previously listed as commercial space, so traditional mortgage financing would not have been approved.” The property lacked insulation, heating, air conditioning, and also did not include bedrooms or a kitchen. O’Mara just happened to be searching for a commercial garage space for a client when she saw that first listing in the MLS.

Fast forward to visiting the property and the Dunnigans were instantly awestruck by the history and potential of the unique property now known as Chapel House, formerly dubbed Chapel on the Hill.

As O’Mara excitedly comments, “She was worth saving! From the second we walked

into the great room with the high, scalloped ceilings, it tugged at our heart strings. We were hooked. Plus, it had a solid foundation, a good roof, and a great parking lot.”

From there, after purchasing the chapel through the listing agent, Detroit Lakes REALTOR Marlys Ailie of 108 Real Estate/eXp Realty, the Dunnigans began crafting the elaborate plans to completely renovate the chapel, top to bottom, and turn it into what it is today: an event venue and boutique vacation rental that opened in September of 2022. Since then, Chapel House has been booked nonstop, for everything from wedding vow renewal ceremonies, family gatherings and reunions, birthday parties, retreats, classes, and as a fun getaway for tourists looking to explore the lakes region and experience a different type of accommodation.

"From the second we walked into the great room with the high, scalloped ceilings, it tugged at our heart strings. We were hooked."
photo by Jill Ockhardt Blaufuss
MAY / JUNE 2023 79

The most challenging aspect of the project, O’Mara states, was that there was nothing existing in the chapel; it required a full overhaul and they had to start from scratch, less the foundation that was in good shape. “Deciding how to utilize the space and what the layout should be was the hardest,” she remarks. “At the core, any church, regardless of religious affiliation, is a place to gather. We wanted the chapel to be used once again, to have new life breathed into her.”

Originally, O’Mara’s honed real estate brain went towards making the chapel into a residential space. “I focused on how to make the space a functional and really cool home. But, from the start, with folks stopping in daily to see what was going on, Adam and I could see how important the chapel is to the community. So, we pivoted.” Next, they decided to not only have it function as a home, but as an entertainer’s dream home, a private event center.

“Chapel House is inviting, welcoming, and grand all at the same time,” O’Mara comments as she reflects on the chapel’s transformation. “The smiles, the ‘this is SO cool’ comments we hear, and the memories made here is what this is all about and we love it.”

By far, the biggest hurdle in the renovation was the full reconstruction of the chapel’s steeple. It required top-level construction and carpentry skills and also engineering on a mass scale. As O’Mara explains, “It was rotted in all four corners, top to bottom, from several decades of water and snow infiltration.” Additionally, the west corners had even fallen through part of the roof as it was not properly supported. It required what the Dunnigans call “a Jenga-like approach,” replacing one area at a time and carefully so. “In the end, it took a 65-foot boom lift over several weeks to rebuild and encase it, wrap it with Tyvek, spray foam from inside, and put a new roof on the landing.” The cost to save a steeple is what the Dunnigans laughing call “priceless,” or, simply put, $30K.

photo by Jill Ockhardt Blaufuss photo by Paulette Hagen
"Chapel House is inviting, welcoming, and grand all at the same time; The smiles, the ‘this is SO cool’ comments we hear, and the memories made here is what this is all about and we love it."

O’Mara loves design and was able to apply her innate skills on creating the vision for the chapel’s new aesthetic. “The design is all me,” she says, “but every decision was run by Adam to ensure we both liked the ideas. We wanted to go grand or 'castle chic' as we named it, to feel we were creating a space that was a bit over the top. Who’s going to say you decorated your chapel wrong?!”

Once O’Mara found pieces of furniture she liked, artwork, tiles, and a color palette, she used these as the launchpad for her design work. “From there, I connected the next piece for a cohesive look and feel. For this project, it was the kitchen backsplash tile. We have also traveled a lot and we always gather ideas wherever we go, including countless cathedrals throughout Europe. Plus, I show about 500 homes a year, so I get an abundance of ideas!”

Since changing careers and leaving a high level corporate sales job in the tech sector in 2013, O’Mara has spread her wings in real estate, never looking back, as she has found her calling. “I decided to try something new after my company was going through an acquisition. In 2016, with two kids in town (Ryan was 2 and Kinley, 4 at the time), the next big move was to return to the Midwest from where the Dunnigans were living in Maryland. “It was time to make our dream come true and own a lake home.”

However, upon their return and purchasing property where they began building their home, their contractor left half-way through the build. “We were crushed both emotionally and financially, but we were determined NOT to build our home on a foundation of hate. We had worked far too hard to do that.” Instead, the Dunnigans rolled up their own

"We wanted to go grand or 'castle chic' as we named it, to feel we were creating a space that was a bit over the top. Who’s going to say you decorated your chapel wrong?!"
photo by Paulette Hagen
MAY / JUNE 2023 83

sleeves and went into full DIY mode. “We did everything we could do by ourselves; we built and installed beams in our vaulted ceilings, installed hardwood flooring, did trim work and caulking, and knew when it was time to reach out to professional trades.” HVAC, concrete, garage door installations, and other projects were outsourced and in the end, the Dunnigans have a quality build that suits them.

It was this harrowing experience with their home build that gave them the courage and fearlessness to tackle the renovation of a chapel. Although resilient, it was disconcerting for the Dunnigans when setbacks transpired during the project. “The church’s bell, which was not original, was actually stolen in 2022 from the job site,” O’Mara adds. The original bell sits (broken) in Hamden Slough cemetery and thieves attempted to steal it while it sat abandoned, sometime in the early 70’s.

Chapel restoration or projects of this magnitude aren’t for everyone, but for O’Mara and Adam, it has been a richly rewarding process, one resulting in a special offering for the community and for those visiting the area. “We make a great team,” she says, “and although the way my brain works versus Adam’s methods are very different, it’s a positive foundation for success. My real estate background makes me adept at identifying opportunities and running the numbers, while Adam’s gift is seeing how we are going to execute a project; in this case, it was how we’d take a chapel apart and put it back together. We just love to create unique, beautiful spaces.”

Certainly Chapel House is rooted in interesting history and rich with stories, including its resurgence as something more glamorous and utility as a space beyond a traditional church. The versatility and flexibility of the space lends itself to all types of events, all rooted in the Dunnigans simple idea to gather. As they put it, “That’s what life is all about.” L&H

" this case, it was how we’d take a chapel apart and put it back together. We just love to create unique, beautiful spaces."
photo by Jill Ockhardt Blaufuss photo by Paulette Hagen
MAY / JUNE 2023 85


Tortilla chips are naturally gluten-free. With health-focused snacks, tortilla chips brands are offering protein and fiberboosted flavors.


84 calories

86 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023 RECIPES
SERVES ................ 16

This is the perfect dip for summer! It’s my go-to recipe for any backyard party or day at the lake. It’s a crowd favorite and no one even knows it’s healthy! It’s dairy free, but the nutritional yeast gives this dip its cheesy flavor. You can find nutritional yeast at the grocery store or health food store.

Continued on page 88

MAY / JUNE 2023 87




Refried Beans:

1 can refried beans (mix with ¼ c water)

Cashew Queso:

1 c cashews, soaked for 1 hour, then drained

¼ c nutritional yeast

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp water (may need 1-2 Tbsp more)

½ tsp sea salt

Blend ingredients, then stir in:

½ c salsa

Easy Guacamole:

1 avocado, mashed

1 tsp lemon juice

¼ tsp chili powder

¼ tsp sea salt

Simple Pico de Gallo:

1 c chopped tomatoes

½ c chopped red onion

¼ c cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp chili powder


Prep each layer separately, then in a baking dish or large container, layer the refried beans, cashew queso, guacamole, and pico.  Top with additional cilantro and serve with chips! L&H

MAY / JUNE 2023 89
FEATURE HOME 90 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023


After spending their first summer together as a family at their remarkable new vacation home on Little Pine Lake, Nick and Cassie Horob can agree that the design and completion of this home “exceeded our expectations.”

As Cassie relates, “We spent more time there last summer than we did at our home in Fargo.”

When they purchased this lot two years ago, they knew they would someday have to replace the dated structure, but they loved the level lot and beautiful beach. That day came sooner than expected after it became uninhabitable due to severe water and mold damage over the winter 91

Since this lot was also narrow and angled, with a limited building footprint, they had already been attending home builders shows to gather ideas for a future structure.

“We were drawn to one particular lake home on the same kind of lot, which was designed and built by Alan and Kim Hochhalter, of Building Concepts in Fargo,” says Nick. “Although we didn’t want that same floor plan, we liked the rooflines, angles, and vertical expansion, so we decided to work with that architect and builder.”

Kim Hochhalter says that Alan has designed all the homes they’ve built in the lakes area over the past 34 years in business together.

“To get more space on the Horob’s limited footprint, we had to go up, and we were able to play with it vertically to make it more interesting,” she says.

“We try to focus on a unique design in all of our homes, and we haven’t built the same home twice.”

Nick says they understood that if they wanted to get the sleeping space and number of bedrooms desired, this house would have to be a bit taller than average.

“With that in mind,” he adds, “we also had this idea of a walk-out porch on the highest level, and were able to incorporate that into the design.”

A friend of the homeowners, Kristen Carlson, was the Interior Designer for Building Concepts at the time. Cassie says that the opportunity to work with Kristen also influenced their choice of builders. Kristen has since opened her own firm, and is now the owner and Principal Designer at Studio Rogue Interior Design in Moorhead.

“That 3rd level loft area was designed specifically for them – not only for the great views, but also for the flexibility that would give Nick the space to work remotely while at the lake,” says Kristen, who worked

closely with Cassie and Nick on all their design choices, using a 3D design program. “From the beginning, they were looking to go in a different direction from the normal cabin look. They wanted modern and clean lines on the outside, along with a coastal vibe on the inside, and I was able to let them visually ‘see’ the effect of each of their options.”

The Exterior

Clean lines and angled roofs define the unique exterior of this lake home. With that desire for a modern look outside, and a more coastal look inside, choosing the exterior materials and colors was a major undertaking.

“Frankly, they gave us quite a few different color options to choose from,” says Nick with a laugh. “With the three levels creating some expansive walls, we had to find a way to provide a bit of contrast, with a mixture of different materials and colors.”

The wood-look siding they chose is actually steel siding. It’s from the Harrywood Collection of MAC Steel Siding in a color called Scandinavian Fir. The other exterior siding material is LP SmartSide, in the color Tundra Gray.

MAY / JUNE 2023 93

According to Kristen, the black trim is all a mix of steel or LP, depending on where it is used on the house, and it’s all topped off with a black shingle roof.

The Pella windows were selected to enhance the lake views from each floor of the home. Sliding glass doors open from the living area to the patio on the lake side. Specialty accordion doors lead from the dining area to a covered porch area on the side of the house.

“We chose the specialty folding doors instead of sliding patio doors for that opening to create a wider opening and increase the view,” Kristen explains. “These doors fold into each other, making the outside and inside feel more seamless as you move through from one area to the other.”

That outdoor covered porch was also designed as a screened-in porch. With remote-controlled retractable Phantom Screens (sourced through Minnesota Screens), the “walls” roll up and down like shades, providing a bugfree environment at any time.

Nick says he liked the idea of a screened-in porch, but had no idea how much they would enjoy it. “It was probably the biggest positive surprise since we completed the house,” he says. “We didn’t think we’d use it as much as we do, but we have almost all of our meals out there, and we love it.”

The Interior

Cassie and Nick knew they wanted this lake home to have an airy, open floor plan, along with lots of sleeping space and bedrooms.

“It was really great working with clients that I already knew,” says Kristen. “I always want to make sure I’m delivering the product that any homeowner can want and enjoy. In this case, it was so rewarding to create a home and environment for Cassie, Nick, and their young twin boys.”

The open floor plan they had in mind begins in the kitchen, dining and living area, which is definitely bright and open, with a vaulted ceiling and high angled windows in the living room to take advantage of the lake views.

The “coastal vibe” Cassie mentioned could be described as a design element influenced by the textures and colors of the surf, sand, and sky. Examples in this house are the kitchen’s white cabinetry, along with the wall color, “Repose Gray” by Sherwin Williams, and the “Garner Oak” laminate flooring from Nature TEK.

Kristen Carlson || INTERIOR DESIGNER

“The perimeter countertop is a quartz by Caesarstone called ‘Raw Concrete’ to bring in that modern look,” Kristen explains, “and a white herringbone tile backsplash completes the white-on-white look. The island countertop, a quartz by Silestone called ‘Pietra’ in a suede finish, serves as a focal piece, and it also brings all the subtle colors together in the kitchen – from the floors to the walls to the tile grout.”

Some natural wood elements that were incorporated into the design include the fireplace mantel, a reclaimed piece of wood that the homeowners picked up at Dakota Timber in Fargo. Kristen says the mantel ended up being the inspiration for the choice of flooring on the main floor, which also has in-floor heating..

A Few Distinctive Rooms

During the architectural design phase, Nick and Cassie weren’t sure if their request for five bedrooms would be attainable within their budget and space limitations. “Somehow, Alan pulled it off, though, and we got our five bedrooms,” says Cassie. “We have two on the main floor, and three upstairs.”

With the kids in mind, one notable space designed just for the Horobs is the Bunk Room on the second level. Kristen worked with Cassie’s ideas, and Building Concepts designed and built the Horob twins their own personal bunk bed structure. Lining an entire wall of the bedroom, this oversized set of beds – two full-sized

96 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023

beds, with two bunk-sized beds above them – are divided by a wide stairway leading to both of the top bunks. It’s a fun and functional area that’s perfect for young children, along with sleepovers for family or friends.

The other special room was built mostly for Cassie. “Since storms scare me, one other thing on our wish list was a tornado room.” It couldn’t be built underground near the lake, so they asked Building Concepts if it could be part of the design.

“We were able to special order a metal enclosed room to fit strategically under the stairs, and it is accessed through the laundry room/mechanical room on the other side of the kitchen wall,” says Kristen. “It is enough space for all four family members and has some limited power and a light.” 97 “

A Local Connection

Since all the home building projects they design and build are detailed and distinctive, Kim says one of the main goals for Building Concepts is to find “true craftsmen” in the area.

“Alan is the architect and works on the design, our interior designer works with the homeowners on all the selections, and I work with the scheduling,” she says. “In the Perham area, we worked closely with businesses and people, like Esser Plumbing & Heating, Finck Drywall, Nick at One Electric, Scott Van Watermulan, the excavator, and Pettow Construction for concrete and framing. They all did what I consider “master” work, and we wouldn’t hesitate to use them again on any future projects.

The local area has been a good fit for Nick and Cassie, too. “Nick always wanted to be on a lake with a restaurant on it, and we have that with Zorbaz, along with all the restaurants, coffee shops, and gift stores nearby,” Cassie adds. “We both love fishing and the opportunity to spend so much time on the lake doing something we truly enjoy.” L&H

Building Concepts | BUILDER, DESIGNER

• View our ad on page 93

Elsner Well Drilling | WELL

Polar Insulation | INSULATION

Northern Stone | COUNTERTOPS

Esser Plumbing & Heating | HVAC

• View our ad on page 99, 116

Grant's Paint | PAINTING

Carpet World | FLOORING, TILE

Finck Drywall | DRYWALL

One Electric | ELECTRIC

• View our ad on page 97

Van Watermulan | EXCAVATING


• View our ad on page 13, 55


• View our ad on page 93

Clearwater Cabinets | CABINETS

Twin City Garage Door | GARAGE DOOR

• View our ad on page 99


All New Gutter | GUTTERS

Ottertail Glass | SHOWER DOORS

• View our ad on page 57

MAY / JUNE 2023 99
Couldn't have done it without:

A remodeling project always presents a few challenges, but thankfully Peggy and Chris Rutten had the experience and expertise they needed to solve theirs. They regularly help customers tackle remodeling projects in their work lives.

“We are owners and operators of Lumber Depot in New York Mills,” explains Peggy. “It’s quite common to see projects like this remodel come our way. We really enjoy helping clients with every step of their project.”

The first step in their own remodeling project was to purchase the right property. They found it along the shore of Marion Lake near Perham.

“Like they say, when you know, you know! We stumbled on a real gem when we found this property,” says Peggy. “Although it was in need of a down-to-the-studs kind of remodel after purchasing it in 2016, it was a project that we were excited to personalize to fit our lifestyle.”

The Ruttens were able to keep many of the key tasks in-house. Lumber Depot handled the building plans, from drafting all the way to interior design. It was a family affair.

“We were excited to engage our in-house designer and drafter (and son), Isaac Rutten, to draw the plans for the transformation,” Peggy explains. “Both Chris and I have been working with design and materials selections for many years, so we couldn’t wait to dig in and get this project of ours underway.”

102 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023

The couple hired two builders, RL Miller Construction in New York Mills, and Jim Wurst Construction in Pelican Rapids, to make their dream home a reality. The team worked together in two separate phases to create a roughly 2,000 square foot home that provides the comfortable, versatile space that the family needs. The first phase involved building within the house’s existing footprint but adjusting the living space to focus on new priorities.

“Throughout the remodel we focused on maximizing the social areas of the home as well as views of the lake,” explains Peggy. “Using the original footprint of the home for the remodel, most of the space in the

main living area (facing the lake) became ‘flexible;’ we can quickly expand an area to accommodate guests or activities with the quick turn of a swivel chair. We found that we prefer to gather in cozy spaces to enjoy each other’s company. The home has an open-concept floor plan where you can flow from one room to the next without even knowing you left the room.”

Those rooms include three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the main floor. A very popular sunroom offers lake views just off the open plan living and dining space.

“One of the favorite areas in our home is the three-season porch which was transformed

104 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023
"The variation in color and texture is essential in this kitchen. It keeps things interesting, not so cold or sterile. That vibe suits our family well."
Peggy Rutten / Homeowner

to a four-season sunroom,” says Peggy. “The former single-pane storm windows in the porch were replaced with insulated Andersen windows and the walls were properly insulated, which alleviated the need for a door separating the sunroom from the main living area. This light and airy room is likely where you’ll find us enjoying morning coffee while the grandkids tinker in the toy box.”

The interior spaces are all light, airy, and welcoming. That’s very much by design. After all, Chris and Peggy are pros.

“Thanks to the large south-facing windows on the lake side, there is an abundance of natural light-filled space in the main living area that is inviting year-round,” says Peggy. “You’ll find a balanced blend of wood tones and white or neutral tones in the decor. Black accents and seasonal pops of color ground the scheme, which feels like a friendly combination. Live greenery in each room keeps it feeling fresh and alive.”

The Ruttens are wood experts, so of course they paid special attention to the flooring and wood accents in their home. But they’re happy to share their secrets—and why they chose them.

“The rustic alder doors are pre-finished with a charming nutmeg stain,” Peggy explains. “The distressing of the alder wood allows it to blend well with the more rustic open wood grains in the Karndean LVT planked flooring and the texture of the rustic pine ceiling in the main area. Too many bold,

open wood grains can compete for attention in the same space, so the mood was softened with a buffer of neutral painted cabinetry and trim.”

Semi-custom cabinets from Yorktown provide just such a buffer in the kitchen. Brushed bronze cabinet hardware by Schaub is echoed in the soft gold tones of light fixtures, wall décor, and serving ware throughout the home. For a rich contrast, the kitchen islands are both stained a deep shade of charcoal.

“Oak is a very durable, hard wood, and typically it’s more on the economical side, so it’s a perfect choice for a well-used area such as islands in the kitchen,” Peggy explains. “Darker stain colors seem to be more forgiving than dark painted colors. And who doesn’t love to see the texture of the wood grains come through to add some visual interest in stained wood?”

The double island set-up combines form and function. One area is for prep and eating, the other is for serving. Peggy says the bench is a favorite spot for the littlest members of the family.

“The bench and nook are a grandmother’s dream: breakfast by morning, coloring and crafts by day, and game table by night,” she says. “And the added beauty is the good fit for all those grandbabies to crowd in and join the fun.”

Peggy knew this set-up would work, based on prior experience. The bench and nook weren’t the only element the couple borrowed from their previous home.

“We had a similar bench and nook area when our children were younger, so this one is back by popular demand,” she says. “As are the stay-awhile chairs on casters by the

dining room table–a family favorite that our kids remember from their childhood.”

The kitchen is clean-lined and neutral, but it never feels stark. That’s because the couple focused on texture to add visual interest and warmth.

“The neutral toned quartz countertops from Hanstone complement the cabinetry for a cohesive look that pairs well with the tiled backsplash in a textured brick pattern,” Peggy explains. “The variation in color and texture is essential in this kitchen. It keeps things interesting, not so cold or sterile. That vibe suits our family well.”

MAY / JUNE 2023 107

The new house was such a hit that Peggy, Chris, their four grown kids, and their children’s families came back to the cabin often. They spent the summers on the pontoon and relaxing on the beach. Winters were perfect for snowmobiling and ice fishing. There was plenty of time for bonfires with neighbors, friends, and family in every season.

This wasn’t just a summer house anymore. So the second remodeling phase began in earnest.

“When we realized that we loved the home enough to move here full-time, we also realized that an attached garage would be necessary to survive our lovely Minnesota winters,” says Peggy. “We call this a hardworking addition, because it really solved a lot of challenges of living in what was a seasonal lake home. The addition features a slightly oversized two-car garage, a covered porch and grilling area on the lakeside, and a spacious family suite on the second level. The whole package added so much essential living space to an average sized home.”

108 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023

Their choice to maximize this often-overlooked space paid off beautifully. That’s not the only eye-catching entertaining space that the Ruttens chose to expand. The outbuilding that the couple call The Lounge originally had a very different purpose.

“It was a detached two car garage, that we turned into a multi-use building,” says Peggy. “With a quick cosmetic fix, the space now provides a stainless steel fish cleaning area, a lawnmower and garden tools storage area, and a pub-style party room to catch a game on TV or sing karaoke with our family and friends. The building was insulated and new Andersen windows installed, along with a Midland FullView overhead garage door to create curb appeal and let in natural light. The upgrades and functionality allow us to use the building year-round.”

A boathouse by the water also got a makeover. Now it’s the perfect place to relax by the water with family and friends or to enjoy a moment of solitude as the waves crash against the shore.

MAY / JUNE 2023 109
"Thanks to the large south-facing windows on the lake side, there is an abundance of natural light-filled space in the main living area that is inviting year-round."
Peggy Rutten / Homeowner

“There aren’t many boathouses left on area lakes, but we were lucky enough to find one with some good, strong bones,” Peggy says. “A few window cutouts and a quick facelift including new siding and shiplap interior walls was all it needed. The original concrete floor is still intact. The closet for lake toys near the beach and the firewood stacked close to the bonfire pit are quite handy. Add some comfy rocking chairs and a gas fire pit for pure enjoyment with exceptional views of the Marion Lake.”

All of the buildings are finished with LP Smart Side in a quiet gray to unify every structure on the property. (The Ruttens also used LP Smart Side wood column covers to mimic the look of natural wood without the maintenance wood

requires.) This soothing shade serves as a backdrop for the cheerful day lilies, dahlias, and black-eyed Susans that bloom in abundance and reflects the calming color of the water.

Now that Chris and Peggy Rutten are in residence all year long, there’s plenty of time to savor those exceptional views of Marion Lake. The thoughtfully crafted home this couple created contains so many special spots to relax and connect with the people they love. L&H

110 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023


• View our ad on page 103

RL Miller Construction | BUILDER

Jim Wurst Construction | BUILDER

Hanson's Plumbing & Heating | HVAC

Paul Hoyhtya | DRYWALL

Voltedge Electric | ELECTRIC

Cassidy Thiel | TILE WORK

James Olson | TILE WORK


United Community Bank | FINANCING

• View our ad on page 5, 107

Warner Garage Door | GARAGE DOOR

• View our ad on page 111

MAY / JUNE 2023 111
Couldn't have done it


409 W Stanton Ave | Fergus Falls, MN


Tuesday - Friday Open 10am to 6pm and Saturday Open 9am to Noon


328 MN Hwy 78 | Ottertail, MN 218-367-3900

Open 7 Days a Week | Mon thru Sun | 10am - 5pm

Memorial Day to Labor Day | 9am - 6pm Daily

A little off the beaten path, but well worth the trip.

Open the door to a shop with beautiful quality merchandise and a few surprises. You will be sure to find just the right piece for your living room or bedroom. You can even have that perfect picture framed for your living room with personal service.

Beyond the Mitred Corners, Fergus Fallsthe shop you will be glad you stopped.

Welcome to Periwinkle! All Things Lake!

Periwinkle Marketplace is an Ottertail city shopping favorite. Find women’s clothing, jewelry, kids, home décor, and all things lake! Stephanie Ellingson Dykhoff and her crew are known for making a walk into the store a great experience!

“It’s been 23 years (since 2000) and it feels like only yesterday that we started Periwinkle in Fergus Falls! Thanks for supporting our stores throughout the years! We would not be here without you! You are the reason we continue to grow!”

Beyond The Mitred Corners is a locally owned and operated custom framing and gift shop. Owner, Lisa Anderson, will help you with a personal touch. She will assist you every step of the way with all of your framing needs. One stop shop for Fusion Mineral Paint!

112 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023 L LAKE GIFTS | SHOPPING | LAKE GIFTS


46461 295th Ave | Vergas, MN 56587

(218) 342-2681 |

Open Memorial weekend through Labor Day weekend

Tues – Sat 11-5 | Sun 11-3 | Closed Mondays

After Labor Day through the end of October

Open Weekends: Sat 11-5 | Sun 11-3

Open by Appointment Also | Follow us on:

Forest Edge Gallery is a fine art and fine crafts gallery just 4 1/2 miles northwest of Vergas, Minn. The gallery features the artwork of the owners – Patrick Shannon and Helena Johnson, as well as artists from the area and across the U.S.

You will find metalwork, pottery, paintings, jewelry, fused and blown glass, laser art and much more from many talented artists. The gallery has beautiful floral gardens with Patrick Shannon’s copper and steel sculptures on display.


122 Lake Ave S | Battle Lake, MN 56515

218-864-2555 |

Follow us on:

Summer Hours: May: Friday & Saturday 10 am - 4 pm

June thru August: Tuesday-Saturday 10 am - 5 pm

Stop by The Market of Battle Lake and pick up your items for Summer and home décor at the lake.



148 1st Ave S | Perham, MN 56573 | 218-346-4180

Dot & Minnie's is a true boutiqueyou'll find Joseph Ribkoff, Sympli, Luukaa, Kozan, Tulip, Bodil, Chalet, Fenini, Cut Loose, Liverpool, FDJ, and many other unique lines all in one store in downtown Perham. Explore a wide range of classic styles and an unbelievable variety of jewelry.

Not quite your style? Try our sister store across the street, Level iii. There we stock trendy styles in an industrial setting. Whatever your style, we have something for you!

Most of our styles are available for purchase from our extensive websites, and Shop by type of item or by brand; have it shipped, or held for pickup! Need additional information on an item? Email or call and you’ll have your answer within 24 hours—we try on more for customers than for ourselves!


21697 US 71 | Park Rapids, MN 56470

(218) 732-3860 |

Summer Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 am - 5 pm

Sunday Noon - 3 pm

Utke’s Country Pine Furnishings is your cabin décor headquarters! Opened in 1996, we offer a variety of pine, cedar and hickory furnishings, from log to traditional. Along with our distinctive furniture, we have a great selection of “up north” gifts and accessories. Always something new to see!

114 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023 L LAKE GIFTS | SHOPPING | LAKE GIFTS


516 Broadway St | Alexandria, MN | 320-762-8786

Open seven days a week | Follow us on

Located in beautiful downtown Alexandria, we are a lifestyle boutique featuring home decor, clothing and gifts. We’re proud to offer cute, comfortable and affordable styles helping women look and feel their best. You will also find home decor items that feature many of the Minnesota lakes, candles, vases and floral. Our children’s section has continued to expand, offering infant and girls’ clothing, blankets, toys, accessories and books. We will be moving into our NEW LOCATION this summer! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest new arrivals, sales, events and opening details. Shop with us online at or shop seven days a week with us in store!



215 W Lincoln Ave | Fergus Falls, MN


Open Mon thru Fri 10am - 6pm | Sat 10am - 4pm


“Radiate Compassion”

(218) 290-4599 | Shop online:

43005 US Hwy 59 | Pelican Rapids, MN 56572

Grand Opening of Marcella Rose Studio on Prairie Lake June 30th - July 1st.

Marcella’s inspirational fine art encompasses original oil paintings, bronze sculptures, sculpted sterling jewelry — and archival limited-edition gicleé prints. Set up a private appointment to shop available art, or to commission an original painting.

The Bric in downtown Fergus Falls was again voted Otter Tail County’s Best Woman’s clothing store! We offer extra small3xl, but the fun doesn’t stop there. We continue to expand your shopping experience with...

• Baby Gifts

• Girl Friend

• Bridal

• Kitchen

• Anniversary

• Gourmet/Candy

• Jewelry

• Shoes

• Bath & Body Gifts for men, women and children as well as special occasions like birthdays, showers, weddings and anniversaries. As always, the latest decor trends too! You’ll find unique, on-trend décor throughout both levels of our store! The only disappointment our customers ever experienced is not having enough time to stay longer! And if that happens, we invite you to stay connected with us on Facebook and Instagram.

Shop The Bric in downtown Fergus Falls.


Little Pine Lake is a 1,969-acre mesotrophic (moderately fertile) lake located in northeastern Otter Tail County approximately two miles north of Perham, MN. Little Pine Lake is a part of the Otter Tail River Watershed and is connected to Big Pine Lake via the Otter Tail River. The Otter Tail River inlet is located along the west shoreline of the lake while the outlet is located along the southeast shoreline. The Otter Tail River is navigable by boat upstream of Little Pine Lake. The maximum depth of Little Pine Lake is 63 feet; however, thirty-five percent of the lake is less than 15 feet in depth. The secchi disk reading was 7.0 feet. Previous secchi disk readings ranged from 5.5 to 18.5 feet.

The shoreline of Little Pine Lake has been extensively developed. Homes, cottages, and resorts compose the majority of the development. A DNR

Size: 2079.52 Acres

Max Depth: 63 ft.

Shore Length: 7.28 mi.

Clarity: 8.7 ft.

Source: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

owned concrete public access is located off of County Road 8 along the southeast shoreline of the lake. A city owned (Perham) concrete public access is located off of County Road 51 along the west shoreline of the lake. Remnant stands of hardstem bulrush and common cattail are located in the area near the Otter Tail River inlet. Emergent aquatic plants such as bulrush and cattail provide valuable fish and wildlife habitat, and are critical for maintaining good water quality. Emergent plants provide spawning areas for fish such as Northern Pike, Largemouth Bass, and panfish. They also serve as important nursery areas for all species of fish.

Little Pine Lake is a popular angling lake during both the open water and ice fishing seasons. The lake has a reputation as one of the premier Walleye fishing lakes in Otter Tail County. L&H

118 Lake & Home Magazine MAY / JUNE 2023

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.