Design & Living Apr/May 2020

Page 1



HOME How Fargo-Moorhead has embraced living, loving and working at home.



Nicole Rousar Client Services 701-478-3341

Charles Peterson AFM Farm Management 701-478-3340

Kelly Steffes JD Trust Management 701-478-3339

Rick Thoreson CFA Investment Management 701-478-3338

Dusty Richter CFP Financial Planning 701-478-3344

Confidence is just one reward for doing things right. When we provide dedicated stewardship and a commitment to treating people right, the rest falls into place and confidence builds. Confidence in what we know and customer confidence in what we do. It proves out. Confidence is a great reward.



Dedicated financial stewardship. 210 Broadway N, Fargo, ND • CONTACT US 701-361-2498 5622 53rd Ave. S. Fargo, ND 58104

Now Offering

Fences, Decks, and Pergolas

Always In Our Element



DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0


Clean Living


EPIC Communities: A Beacon In the Heart of West Fargo


Safe and Sound


Artist Feature: Mothership Workshop


Melanie Iverson: A Life Dedicated to Building


Building with the Mullers: Phase III

Spring cleaning means giving your home a much-needed refresher, complete with sanitizing products, vacuums and mops. But this month, we are thinking of spring cleaning in a different way: we are thinking about clean-living as a whole. Trending globally are discussions of how to be more eco-conscious and energy-efficient, so this month, we dove into how we've seen these practices enacted in our region. From decorating with reclaimed goods to constructing with sustainable materials, we took a look at the variety of ways you can incorporate clean living into your space.

People are demanding more out of their spaces. Epic Companies' newest project, The Lights at Sheyenne 32, is an answer to this rising demand. See why the coexistence of living, working and playing all in one sphere is so important and how The Lights is achieving this balance perfectly.

We teamed up with photographer Nicole Mendoza of Nicole Midwest to present a local take on the "Front Porch Sessions" that are trending nationwide. Take a look at how a few local families have been embracing staying safe at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

ON THE COVER Moorhead-based photographer Ria Czichotzki of rialee photography sent in this photo of her workstation and pup, Herbie, and we loved it so much we had to put it on the cover! We loved seeing our our readers were making the most out of working from home this month. To see more of her work, visit her online at

Meet Mike Nelson and Josh Zeis, the two friends who make up Mothership Workshop, an art and furniture design studio. These two design, build and create works of art together, specializing in incredible concrete pieces.

As a reader of this magazine, you might know Melanie Iverson for her work as the Lead Designer and CoFounder at Mosaic Design + Build. If that wasn't enough, in 2020 she added two more titles to her resume: Mrs. North Dakota International 2020 and the Founder of She Overcomes.

In our recurring series following a custom home build from start to finish, we follow the Muller family as they work with Benjamin Custom Homes. In this phase of the process, we discuss the selling of their current home, bids coming in, the virtual reality walk-through and the couple's general design inspiration.


Introducing Sokul Surfaces


Spaces that Work: The Wellness District

Birthed from Grand Forks-based Brockmeyer Tile & Stone is Sokul Surfaces, a brand that will change how you think about sinks.

Gorgeous offices need love too! Join commercial interior designer Becky Muller as she tours the brand new Wellness District alongside interior designer Monica Hart.

For more exclusive, original content,

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @designandlivingmagazine


home L E T ' S

I'm embracing the Work-From-Home life and enjoying my "soft office," as I call it. Luckily, my new "intern," Tofu has been keeping me company and ensuring I stay on top of my deadlines!

I always have a difficult time writing the "From The Editor" portion of the magazine each month. It's often the last thing I write, and by then, my brain is pretty drained and I'm ready to send the issue out into the world. But this issue, I'm having an even more difficult time constructing this letter than usual.

know that the safety of our staff and our community are of the utmost importance to us. Photos in homes or in our studio were taken before COVID-19 hit the state of North Dakota and before such important precautions were being enacted. If you have any concerns about this, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

As we are all aware the whole globe is feeling the effects of COVID-19. We are taking all necessary precautions, working from home, disrupting the flow we are so accustomed to and for some, morning the loss of loved ones. These are terribly unprecedented times. Times no one could have totally prepared for. In the heaviness of the current climate, it's hard to sit in the comfort of my house (which I'm especially grateful for now), writing about the latest in homes and interior design.

That being said, our original issue was slated to be a "Clean Living"- based issue. We were focusing on eco-friendliness, energy efficiency and how to live a more conscious life. As the times change, we switched around some content and added additional stories that we knew could be executed while practicing social distancing. Many of the original "Clean Living" stories remain, and we hope you readers will still enjoy this content—as we enjoyed making it and learning all about ecoconsciousness!

I feel fortunate, yet enwrapped in melancholy. I fully believe we, as members of the media, should be taking the situation at hand seriously and we should be ambassadors for living safe and healthy lives. This is why we have taken to share a few stories relating to the current situation, showcasing how people have made the most of it. However, it is also unhealthy to 100 percent envelop oneself with the devastation that surrounds us. A lot of news you've been reading probably has been scary and dark. And yes this news is important, but I also think it is important to still celebrate the good things in the world and to continue to share the stories of our community. Much of this issue was already created and written before quarantine struck. I want you readers to


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0


As lovers of all things "home," we hope you are making the most of staying indoors right now. However you are spending your time at indoors, please continue to do so. By ensuring the safety of our families, community and nation now, we can enjoy the beautiful spring that is coming our way soon. Happy Social Distancing,


Continuous Beauty

Three Styles and Many Color Options Available Full Service Design & Landscaping Stamped Patterns Available

4401 12th Ave N


Fargo, ND





Design & Living Magazine

Becky Muller Social Media Coordinator North Dakota Interior Designers

Melissa Rademacher President & CEO Downtown Community Partnership

We at Design & Living Magazine want to make sure that our content is accurate, unbiased and reflects the local home industry. That is why we meet with our Editorial Advisory Board, which is made up of representatives from local, statewide and national organizations. Each month, we listen to their feedback and discuss innovations in local art, architecture, home decor, interior design and landscaping.

Photos by Hillary Ehlen and J. Alan Paul Photography

Editorial Advisory Board

Rich Lahren Hardscape Committee Member, Past Board Member & Past President North Dakota Nursery, Greenhouse & Landscape Association

Chris Hawley Licensed Architect/Member American Institute of Architects

Krista Mund Executive Vice President Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead

Dayna Del Val President & CEO The Arts Partnership 12

DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0



























APRIL/MAY 2020 Design & Living Magazine is a free publication distributed six times a year. Our mission is to showcase all that the Red River Valley has to offer in terms of interior design, architecture and landscaping, profiling the people that make these possible. We also strive to provide a quality and fun reading experience and improve the way of life in our community. The publication is mailed to homes across the US and has stand distribution throughout North Dakota and Minnesota.

Publisher EDITORIAL Editorial Director Editor Graphic Designers Photographer Contributors

INTERACTIVE Business Development Manager Inbound Marketing Specialist Videographers Executive Sales Assistant Graphic Designer ADVERTISING Senior Sales Executive Sales Executives

Mike Dragosavich Alexandra Martin Alexandra Martin Christy German, Kim Cowles Kayleigh Omang Christen Anderson, Bryce Johnson, Nicole Mendoza, Becky Muller, Jackson Strom, Gary Ussery Nick Schommer Kirsten Lund Tommy Uhlir, Laura Alexander Kellen Feeney Ben Buchanan Paul Hoefer Zach Olson Matt Becker

Client Relations

ADMINISTRATION VP of Human Resources


Jenny Johnson

Colleen Dreyer

Account Strategist

Cassie Wiste


Jay Borland


Bruce Crummy, John Stuber, Craig Sheets

Design & Living Magazine is published by Spotlight, LLC. Copyright 2020 Design & Living Magazine & All rights reserved. No parts of this magazine may be reproduced or distributed without written permission of Design & Living Magazine and Spotlight, LLC is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to, or reliance on such information. Spotlight, LLC accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.


ADVERTISING: 701-478-SPOT (7768) Send change of address information and other correspondence to: Spotlight, LLC 15 Broadway N. Suite 500, Fargo, ND 58102 or

DESIGN & LIVING TEAM At Design & Living Magazine, our goal is to create a publication that is just as much fun to read as it is to view. Here are the writers, designers, photographers and contributors who so affably use their time and talents to tell a story and give our pages purpose.


Kayleigh Omang is a Fargo native, photojournalist and dog trainer. She studied photojournalism and entrepreneurship at Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Outside of photography and dogs, Omang enjoys thrifting, playing bingo and hanging out with her two Siamese cats.


German is the marketing designer for Spotlight Media. She is a native of Watertown, S.D. and Northern State University graduate with a BFA with an emphasis in Graphic Design. In addition to designing marketing materials for print, she also is the graphic designer behind Design & Living.


Becky Muller is an Interior Designer at ICON Architectural Group and Social Media Coordinator for North Dakota Interior Designers with a passion for designing commercial spaces. In her spare time, the South Dakota State University graduate travels with her husband, visits breweries and record stores and spends time with her family and friends.


With over a decade of experience, Strom’s passion for the architectural profession led him to found Strom Architecture in 2019. Within his new firm, Strom Architecture strives to elevate the ordinary elements that exist in all projects. Outside of the office, Jackson loves to spend time with his wife, Lindsey, and their son, Sully.


Anderson is a Minnesota native with an eye for decor and design. She is the owner of Live Christen Joy and is known for her exceptional remodels, expert staging and accessorizing high-end living spaces. Anderson is also a passionate art collector, world traveler and home cook who frequently entertains friends.



By Bryce Johnson Home Builders Association of F-M CEO

Bryce Johnson has been with the HBA of F-M for 26 years, serving as its executive officer over the past 20 years.

"Green" BUYING



ncorporating eco-friendly products and designs into your home is not only good for the environment, but it can also be helpful for your wallet, too. A sustainable home can reap cost savings in the long run. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders, home buyers, on average, are willing to spend an extra $8,728 to save $1,000 a year on their utility bills. An investment of that size would essentially pay for itself within eight years. NAHB’s home buyer preferences survey also asked consumers to rank green features according to desirability. Top results included: 89% - Energy Star windows 86% - Energy Star appliances 81% - Energy Star rating for whole home 77% - Efficient lighting


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

77% - Windows with triple-pane insulating glass 73% - Insulation higher than required by code 63% - Water-conserving toilets 62% - Windows with Low-E insulating glass 61% - Tankless water heater Two common rating methodologies allow home buyers and owners to see how their homes measure up when it comes to energy efficiency and how much money they could potentially save by living there: • A Home Energy Score, a score of 1-10, is given to a home based on its energy use, with 10 being the most efficient. As with a miles-per-gallon rating for a car, the HES is based on a standard assessment of energy-related assets to allow for easy comparisons across homes in the housing market. This is a Department of Energy program often used for existing homes.

• A score of 0-150 is given to a home based on an energy audit and report, with 150 being the least energy efficient. The scoring system compares your home to a home built to code in 2006, which is known as the reference home. The reference home would score a 100 on the HERS index, whereas a newer home or one built to a green standard might score a 60. This is a Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) program often used for new homes. If you are purchasing a new home, there are many programs that measure energy efficiency including National Green Building Standard, Energy Star and LEED. The terminology and ratings for energy-efficient homes can be very technical and confusing, so NAHB has provided resources at sustainability.

Home Builders Association of F-M Nurture a thriving, innovative and diverse housing industry in our community.

For more information, contact: HBAFargoMoorhead


Spotlight's Other Magazines

From crafting construction paper hearts and posting them in our windows to picking up a new hobby we "never had time for" before, creation abounds behind our closed doors right now. Come with us as we meet four local makers and see how their creations are brightening the Fargo-Moorhead community. In these unprecedented times, support your local doers and makers if you can and, who knows, maybe you'll even be inspired to start your own line of creations.

The 2019-20 athletic year did not end the way anyone wanted it to. Seasons and careers were cut short due to a global crisis. While it is an incredibly hard pill to swallow and overcome for NDSU student-athletes, coaches, administration and fans, we want to try and remain positive at Bison Illustrated. The past decade has brought wonders on and off the field of competition that no one ever thought possible. The next decade is sure to provide more incredible moments at NDSU too. We recall some of our fondest memories in hopes that it will give you a smile during this tough time. Together, the Herd is strong and regardless of circumstance, it is together that the Bison will forge ahead.

After three full years in office, Governor Doug Burgum has a lot to say about business in North Dakota. Our Owner Mike Dragosavich sat down with the Governor and successful entrepreneur to learn more about what is going on at the state level that directly affects our region's small businesses.



IN THE HEART OF WEST FARGO BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Kayleigh Omang


eople are demanding more out of their spaces. EPIC Companies' newest project, The Lights at Sheyenne 32, is an answer to this rising demand. See why the coexistence of living, working and playing all in one sphere is so important and how The Lights is achieving this balance perfectly.

DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

This project is a public-private partnership between the City of West Fargo, West Fargo Events, and EPIC Companies. The City of West Fargo owns the parking ramp and the plaza space and they have hired nonprofit West Fargo Events to manage these spaces.

Just a short time ago, the idea of a thriving, vibrant West Fargo scene seemed like just a dream. However, a lot can change in a brief period of time, as the current state of downtown West Fargo is booming. Partially to thank for this upsurge of interest in the city is EPIC Companies and their downtown West Fargo development along with The Lights at Sheyenne 32 project.

Construction for this exciting undertaking happened in two phases, the first one kicked off in the fall of 2018 and the second phase began in early 2019. The final project is four mixed-use buildings surrounding a central plaza. The bottom floors of these buildings are beginning to fill up with retail shops, offices, dining options and other various commercial tenants. The rest of the five-to-six story builds will be dedicated to apartments with the potential to have condos in the future.

The Lights is a mixed-use commercial, residential and active living space that is soon to be filled with over 20 businesses and nearly 300 residential units. The location off of Sheyenne and 32nd Avenue in West Fargo also features a transformable plaza, ideal for entertaining and socializing.

The Lights provides all you need, in one beautiful spot. You can live there, you can work there and you can play there. This essential "Live, Work, Play" framework is what the district was designed around will contribute to its success.

The vision for The Lights evolved from wanting to bring a mixed-use district to the Red River Valley, inspired by the likes of those in Kansas City's Power and Lights District or Rosemont outside of Chicago. People are demanding more out of their spaces and desire for a district that provides entertainment, living and work all in one.


Art by Rando

LIVE Gone are the days where your residence is just a place to lay your head at night. The apartment you choose to live in is your shelter, and a place to unwind, entertain and even work from. If you don't love the place you're coming home to every day, the rest of your quality of


two-story units. Some of the two-story units at ECHO at The Lights will have the bedrooms upstairs while the kitchen and living space are downstairs. This helps ensure that the noise being made above you is your own, making it feel more like condo living. All-inclusive costs for the units include heat, water, sewer, garbage and internet, making payments simple and easy.

WORK ECHO at The Lights is anchored by a Bell Bank branch with eight other divisible units open for leases on the second floor, perfect for office or retail spaces. EPIC at The Lights building is anchored by Bar Down, a new sports bar and grill. The remainder of the commercial units in the EPIC building vary in size and space, allowing flexibility for whatever businesses plant roots there. The Lights' commercial units have the benefit of a built-in customer base. While we expect the businesses anchoring the residential units will attract people from all over town, tenants are likely to be dedicated patrons. life will follow suit. This is why EPIC Companies ensured their new apartment units be modern, but also the perfect blank slate for tenants' own styles. To live at one of The Lights' 300 residential units is to sacrifice nothing. Built around an urban lifestyle, these residential units are nestled in the middle of one of the fastest-growing communities in West Fargo. For convenience and security, the buildings have fob access, underground parking, skyways to The Lights' other buildings and the public parking ramp. Living at The Lights, you are only steps away from all you could want and need.

To have your business take root in one of the Lights' commercial units comes with a bevy of perks. One of which is that potential clients will have no trouble finding parking when they come by, thanks to the cityowned 400 space parking deck anchoring the north end.

PLAY The Lights' entertainment space lives in the stretch between the plaza's three structures, creating a tuckedin zone designed for year-round programming and

events. Opportunities for live music, ice skating, outdoor patios and beyond abound. From tailgating before the big game to hosting concerts for up to 3,000 occupants, EPIC Companies designed the space to fill a myriad of interests and purposes. With a goal to host over 100 events a year, the space will provide the perfect backdrop for community-building opportunities. With West Fargo Events managing the city-owned plaza outside the buildings, there will be many exciting events taking place in this transformable plaza. The concept of mixed-use developments is not new across the nation, yet our region is just dipping our toes into it now. In larger metropolitan cities, these developments are thriving, and West Fargo looks to create that same environment. EPIC Companies' decision to establish West Fargo's very own mixeduse development will certainly be a game-changer for the region. Imagine your life just a skywalk away from your office, an elevator ride away from local dining and entertainment with views of live concerts below. To make that dream a reality, imagine yourself at The Lights.

The Lights 3150 Sheyenne St, West Fargo ND 58078 Architect: ICON Architects Construction Manager: Gehrtz Construction Services Building Management: EPIC Management Plaza Management: West Fargo Events Parking Ramp and Plaza: City of West Fargo owned

Opened March 1 was the first residential building, EPIC at The Lights, which has 49 units. In addition to the convenience of the location, the units' finishes are thoughtful and on-trend at EPIC at The Lights. Such features include tile backsplashes, quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances and a butcher block island in the kitchen; a private balcony; industrial accents, underground parking and hard-surface flooring. ECHO at The Lights will feature black stainless steel appliances, upgrade quartz, LVT, and cabinet colors. One exciting aspect is that the units are pet-friendly. Because, for many, what is "home" without a furry friend to share it with? Just imagine all the cats and dogs admiring the bustling views of the plaza from each unit's floor-to-ceiling balcony doors. A treat for humans and pets alike! In the fall another phase of The Lights will be complete. This will include ECHO at The Lights, which will have 36

WEST FARGO FACTS: Population: 37,000+ Metro Population: 245,000+ Projected to gain 400 students a year 1.75% Unemployment $73,400: average income of a West Fargonian




PHOTOS BY Nicole Midwest

We teamed up with photographer Nicole Mendoza of Nicole Midwest to present a local take on the "Front Porch Sessions" that are trending nationwide. This movement stemmed from local photographers wanting to use their skills to provide some smiles during the time of COVID-19. By photographing families from a safe distance, cutting out all contact (including hugs, handshakes and even knocks on the door), community members were able to briefly step away from the melancholia and focus on happiness. Little pleasures and joys matter now more than ever, so if you can achieve that safely, we celebrate that! We here at Design & Living fully believe that your home is an extension of you. We found these sessions to be a wonderful way to embrace your home, the people you share it with and how you spend your time in it. Just because we are quarantined for the safety of our nation, doesn't mean that relationships, conversations, creativity,


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

self-care and love are also put on hold. We encourage all of you to find ways to embrace staying at home, much like these featured families have. Take in the aspects you love about your shelter. Have quality conversations. Enjoy movie marathons. Start a new craft. And keep on fighting to ensure the safety of our families. For once, we have the opportunity to bring our community closer by staying farther away from each other.

*Note: We ensured complete safety and awareness in executing these sessions. In a time that is dark and uncertain, we were inspired to find the silver lining and embrace our loved ones (that we are spending A LOT more time with as of late!) If you are looking to book a Front Porch Session with a local photographer, please be respectful of distance and safety at this time. Do not go get a haircut for the session. Do not pick up a new outfit. And do not cross into anyone's six-foot bubble. If your state has a stay-at-home mandate enacted, abide by it. Set boundaries and enforce that the photos be captured from a car or sidewalk. These sessions are intended to make the most of a difficult time and are to be done responsibly and to each involved party's comfort level.

THE IEPSONS Elisabeth, Brett, Clark and Miles @elisabeth.eden

Brett and Elisabeth Iepson are quite accustomed to living and working from home. Brett and Elisabeth run their own business, Elisabeth Eden (, a photo, video and small business marketing resource. Their sons, Clark (5.5) and Miles (3.5) are homeschooled. Since they are used to staying at home often, they used the current quarantine to embrace even more indoor activities. This meant spring cleaning, creating stacks of items to donate, cooking, art projects, Disney+ viewings and taking on a big, family puzzle. In this time of staying home, the Iepsons are thankful to have two levels of their home, creating separate spaces for work and play. This way, there is an easy escape for when things get a little too rowdy on the main floor. They also have been especially enjoying the location of their home and how their backyard views are open prairies and beautiful sunrises.

THE BALDOCKS Kate and Josh @katembaldock

Kate and Josh Baldock have been making the most of their time social distancing. Kate is an artist and has been able to continue her work as usual, as her studio is in her parents' basement. Josh, a sales agent at a bank, has kept busy working in the home office they just built for him in their spare bedroom. Not sitting out this quarantine alone, the Baldocks are happy to share their home with their two cats, Stella and Ollie. "I think our animals definitely make our house feel like a home! We could not be without our animals. They are comforting, sweet, and ease some of the anxiousness," said Kate. Outside of work and quality-time inside, they have enjoyed taking advantage of the rising temperatures. One weekend, they took a day trip to Walhalla, N.D. to hike and enjoy the great outdoors on their family's private hunting land. They are both quite social and are greatly looking forward to being able to socialize face-to-face again. Kate can't wait to meet with potential customers over coffee and install her artwork into homes and Josh is looking forward to being back at work and meeting clients face to face.


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

TERESA O'DAY @t.oday / @proper.shops

With her sister Ashlie, Teresa O'Day owns and operates Proper, a women's clothing boutique with locations in downtown Fargo and Minneapolis. Being a small business owner, much of her time has been spent trying to adapt to keep the shop going during this uncertain time. "We've been changing up our social media plan and getting more products online than ever. Also, we are offering free shipping online for as long as this goes on. I've been busy editing photos, loading things on the site and packing up orders," she said. Teresa shares her home with her two cats and has been busy with "virtual hangouts" with friends and family, even taking a virtual watercolor class with Unglued via their Facebook page. She's worked hard on perfecting some of her all-time favorite recipes and diving into some online shopping to support other fellow small businesses in the area. Excited to return to normal life, she said "I can't wait to see Downtown Fargo come alive again! I'll make the rounds to all my favorite local businesses."

Not wanting to capitalize on the situation at hand, Nicole Midwest used these sessions as a way to raise money for The Ronald McDonald House Fargo and The Great Plains Food Bank. Instead of charging subjects for the photos, she instead encouraged them to donate to one of the two charities.


THE SULLIVANS Katie, Daren, Eva, Kristian and Isla @prettydomesticated

"Normally, we live a pretty busy life and don’t have a chance to all be together all day every day unless it’s the weekend or we are on vacation. We are taking this as a chance to connect with our kids and tackle some of our home to-do list," said Katie Sullivan. With her husband, Daren, and three kids, Eva (5), Kristian (2) and Isla (5 months), the Sullivans are using this time at home to bake, make crafts, indulge in some Disney+ viewings and work on some home projects (with supplies they already had). They've poured their blood, sweat and tears into transforming their house into their dream home. So now, they are making the most of their time in the place that reflects them as a family so much. Like many homes across the nation, the Sullivans took part in #AWorldOfHearts. This nation-wide trend stemmed from a Facebook group started by a North Dakota family who wanted to share love by posting cut-out paper hearts on their street-facing window. Now, families like the Sullivans are spreading positivity and love, while also creating a craft for the whole family to enjoy. We must say, the outcome is pretty darn cute!


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

THE COLLINSES Troy, Victoria and Meredith

Troy Collins, a DJ/MC at Harmon Entertainment, is adjusting away from being the life of the party. While he looks forward to returning to enlivening weddings, he's been relishing his days with family, especially having some good laughs with his two daughters, Victoria (11) and Meredith (8). "[I'm] enjoying and spending quality time with family, making homemade goodies from noodles to juices, and taking a step back to 'smell the roses,'" said Collins. The family has embraced wearing pajamas all day and not worrying about appearances. An added bonus to make their life a bit sweeter indoors? Collins' wife has been filling the home with delicious Scentsy wax-melt scents. Combine those with all the cooking being done, and it doesn't sound like the Collins home is bad place to be quarantined in.


The New


s professionals across the globe are settling into workfrom-home routines, their houses are adjusting as well. We asked our readers to send in photos and share their own work-fromhome office set-ups. Some are seasoned veterans in the homeoffice life while others had to get creative to make a dynamic desk space. Check out how these Design & Living readers are making the most of these ever-changing times and staying productive.

ELISABETH IEPSON Owner of Elisabeth Eden Running her photography and content creation business, Elisabeth Eden, from home is the norm for Elisabeth Iepson. She's taken this time to spruce up her workspace, adding some new paint and keeping things tidy. Even for those who are accustomed to having a home office, this has proved to be a time to refresh their desks and get organized.


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

RIA CZICHOTZKI Photographer at rialee photography Ria Czichotzki is a Moorhead-based photographer and owner of rialee photography. She has set up a station in her dining room alongside her furry "office assistant."

LORA LARSON Development Coordinator at Downtown Community Partnership "I gathered some items from around my house to create a clean and simple work station in the guest room. I placed the desk near the window as natural light keeps me charged up and the salt lamp, candle and Palo Santo incense are for good vibes and the bonsai for wisdom during this stressful time."

ANNIE GOLDADE Registered Nurse at Sanford Home Care As Spring returns to Fargo, Annie Goldade enjoys working from her screened-in porch during this time. She also has spent time working in her kitchen. It's all about finding these small pleasures to delight in and embracing the changing times.

CHRISTEN ANDERSON Owner of Christen Joy "As a creative that works from home and is constantly looking for inspiration, I knew my office had to ooze personality and functionality. My oversized desk, that is actually a dining room table, has ample space for floor plans, oodles of coffee, fresh flowers and a scented candle – all the necessities for a great day of working from home!"


TRAVIS AND JENNIFER KLATH Owners of Untitled Design & Woodworks Travis and Jennifer recently moved from their tiny house in Minnesota to a more traditional sized space in Oakport. Owners of Untitled Design & Woodworks, they're now working from their loft office and garage/workshop and continuing to make some wonderful creations.

KARLY PIERCE LYSTAD Dance Instructor "I'm a dance instructor at a private studio and NDSU, and we are now holding virtual classes via Zoom or Blackboard, so this is my home dance studio. All of the artwork on the wall was created by my students and given to me as gifts — even the green dragon (which has moveable legs). My cat, Cat, enjoys watching me teach and has tried to steal the spotlight by walking in front of the camera numerous times."


with joy

livable LUXURY BY Christen Anderson | PHOTOS BY Kayleigh Omang


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0



e all have rooms in our homes that need a little love. I’m talking about rooms that are structurally sound but could use some design attention. So where do you start if you want to make the biggest impact? Surprisingly, in your bedroom.

Your bedroom is the place in your home where you start and end each day. It supports you, calms you and sets the stage for your dreams. It’s the one room you should most love being in. A retreat refresh is exactly what a West Fargo couple wanted when they called upon Christen Joy. They had ideas but welcomed my direction to curate a space unique to them. Upon walk through, the adjustable bed was allowed to stay; the old furniture moved out. It was too small and no longer fit the aesthetic. In their new space, they envisioned texture, soft inviting colors, not overly modern finishes, fresh paint and a sprinkle of family photos. The list was set. Mood boards were created and approved showcasing colors, rugs, artwork and lighting options to ensure alignment on the look and feel. Because correct scale was important in this refresh, I also had elevations drafted so they could experience how the space would feel when standing in the room and looking at the headboard and nightstands. PRO TIP: Draw a floor plan to scale on grid paper to test furniture options. It allows you to experience how the space will flow. Use the results to limit your shopping list to key furniture pieces. Eliminate anything too big, small or unnecessary.

FURNISHINGS & FABRICS The first furnishing item selected was the headboard/ bed frame. It’s actually tricky to find one guaranteed to fit an adjustable mattress! The large off-white velvet headboard brings just the right amount of elegance to the room, and leaves enough space for other furniture. It also supports an airy mix of crisp cotton pillows. The neutral off-white color makes it a forever-piece that supports any future color change in the room. A heather wool rug in cream and oatmeal tones makes a stunning textural play off the velvet, adding a subtle moodiness to the crisp chicness of the bed linens. Light oak nightstands and a low dresser brilliantly combine modern storage with relaxed, natural aesthetics to complement the airy design of the exotic fabric on the duvet and pillows. The furniture pulls made of acrylic and polished nickel are perfect ‘jewelry’ adding crisp sparkle.


For the bedding, I proposed a bold pastel pattern and was thrilled when the homeowner was open to it — as long as it stayed in her color palette. The batik-like pattern, based from a southern artist’s paintings uses romantic pinks, purples, greens and blues to add dimension and a serious WOW-factor! During this process, we were hyper-focused on the bedding fabric — not only the look of it but also the feel and crispness. As someone who has been known to iron their bedding, I get it! We found a fresh linen that’s comfortable to sleep in and stays crisp and clean once you’ve made the bed. And we selected airy cotton sheets and luxe pillowcases in pale blush pink matched to the duvet. COTTON VERSUS LINEN 1. Durability. Cotton has more stretch and flexibility than linen but is not as durable. Finer cotton, like Egyptian cotton, is made from long-staple cotton fibers, which makes it softer and more durable than standard cotton, but still not as durable as linen. 2. Longevity. Linen is much more rigid but lasts longer because the cellulose fibers in linen yarn are slightly longer and wrapped tighter than those in cotton yarn, which increases its strength and longevity. 3. Softness. Cotton is softer to the touch than linen because flax fibers are rougher than cotton fibers. For example, cotton sheets are very soft right out of the box and can last around five years, but linen sheets become very soft after several washes and last longer...up to 30 years! 4. Texture. Cotton is a smoother fabric, while linen has more of a rough, textured pattern as a result of the looser weave. 5. Appearance. Cotton pills more than linen, as cotton fibers are weaker. Both cotton and linen wrinkle easily, as they are made from natural fibers, but linen wrinkles slightly more due to the stiffness of the fabric. 6. Hypoallergenic. Both cotton and linen are hypoallergenic; however, linen is slightly better for people with allergies as the lower thread count and the loose weave is less likely to trap dust and particles. 7. Absorbency. Both cotton and linen are very absorbent, and water strengthens both linen and cotton fibers. Cotton is slightly more absorbent, as cotton can hold more than 25% of its weight in water while linen can hold up to 20% water.


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

8. Water-wicking. Linen also has natural water-wicking qualities, which means it draws water (or sweat) out of the skin and dries quickly. Cotton also wicks moisture well, but it doesn’t have the same natural wicking ability that linen has. 9. Breathability. Both cotton fabric and linen fabric are breathable, though the breathability of cotton depends more on the weave of the fabric rather than the fibers themselves. 10. Warmth. Cotton does not conduct heat and it has similar insulating properties to fiberglass, the material used to insulate homes. Linen flax fibers are hollow, making it very cool for the summer, but should be layered in the winter months. (Source:

ART & FINAL DETAILS The wall art had to complement the bedding, not compete with it, therefore, two abstract pieces were selected to highlight its tones. One adds the sparkle of brass to bring out the furniture while the suede-textured watercolor mimicked the bedding. Both pieces quietly add to the ensemble without demanding the spotlight. The substantial piece of greenery is a fool-proof detail to add life to any design. The best part about this one? It’s faux but with the beauty of a fiddle leaf fern that has been well taken care of for years. White matte frames incorporate family photos or favorite vacation spots. The photos live among pops of greenery in polished nickel decorative vases layered on a polished nickel tray with acrylic hardware. Lastly, lamps adorned with the same silver-toned finish create the perfect lighting for morning or night. Pastel bound coffee table books and delicate pottery or beads to add subtle color and dimension for texture and warmth. The final piece needed was a comfortable swivel chair that was stylish and welcoming. The warm oatmeal tone can be dressed up with colorful pillows or throws. It’s the perfect cozy spot to curl up with your early morning coffee or to finish the last few chapters before heading off to dream about your next room refresh!

Meet Christen Anderson of Christen Joy: Inspired Interiors & Events Anderson is a Minnesota native with an eye for decor and design. Christen Joy specializes in new-construction commercial projects, exceptional remodels, furnishing high-end living spaces and creating memorable special events. Anderson is also a passionate art collector, world traveler and home cook who frequently entertains for friends.

Join me on Instagram and Facebook to see my latest projects and email me at for design inquires.


clean L I V I N G

BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Kayleigh Omang


pring cleaning means dusting the baseboards, degreasing kitchen appliances and switching out your wardrobe for the season. As spring peeks it's head back into our lives and the snow melts in our yards, there's a buzzing excitement about this new chapter. Visions of linen curtains floating in the breeze and the scent of fresh-cut grass have us placing ourselves on the set of an air freshener commercial. But this month, we are thinking of spring cleaning in a different way. We are thinking about clean-living as a whole. Trending globally are discussions of how to be more eco-conscious and energy-efficient. This month, we dove into how we've seen these practices enacted in our region. From decorating with reclaimed goods to constructing with sustainable materials, we took a look at the variety of ways you can incorporate clean living into your space.


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0



I M P E C C A B L Y S T Y L E D 38

DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0


hat Amanda Rydell's downtown apartment lacks in square footage, it makes up tenfold in style and personality. Using a couple coats of fresh paint and selections from years past, she has successfully transformed her apartment into a home that feels modern and personal.

Sustainability doesn't have to be all solar panels and high technologies. Sustainability and living in an ecoconscious home can start with being intentional about what you decorate with. The popular adage of "Reduce. Reuse. Recycle." has become a part of our communal lexicon in the past decade, as we have become increasingly aware of our consumption. Some of us might have even held off on interior decor projects in an act of lessening our global footprint. However, inspired by Amanda Rydell's colorful living quarters, we are looking further into the "Reuse" and "Recycle" parts of those famous three R's.

One avenue to do this is to research the brands you are purchasing from. Are their employees paid fair wages? Do they use sweatshops abroad? Are the products made of sustainable materials? But a second, much more attainable way to think sustainably about your home decor is through second-hand and vintage goods, and a little bit of upcycling. Rydell is the perfect example of how you can achieve a stylish, personality-filled home with vintage and reclaimed decor. Originally from Minneapolis, Rydell has been living in Fargo for three years now. Lately, she's been working hard on the

launch of her brick and mortar store, Handpicked Goods, a downtown shop full of vintage and vintage-inspired goodies. She has a keen eye for style, is an expert on curating and knows her way around a good thrift store. Rydell was lucky enough that her landlord was open to her updating the rental apartment she'd been living in since her relocation to Fargo. In fact, part of her rental agreement involved her being able to make these cosmetic changes. "I think a of people think it's expensive to be putting so much money into a rental. But at the same time, you have to come home

to something you love. And for me, that was worth it," she said. When she first moved into the downtown studio apartment, Rydell recalls that everything was brown, from the walls to the floor to the cabinets. To create a canvas for herself to add personality to the space, she painted the walls white and updated most of the light fixtures. Adding more depth and texture to the newly white canvas, she installed white shiplap to the hallway and board and batten in the living room. Rydell noted that she loves white spaces, as it allows her the opportunity for more pops of color. In her


case, these pops of color come in greens, blush pink and gold. In the initial refreshing stages, she also painted all the cabinets white and added new, gold hardware. All the kitchen's hardware came from a thrift store for a dollar, making the refresh both easy and inexpensive. In the bedroom nook, she removed the original carpet and replaced it with wood tile flooring, which she purchased at the Habitat For Humanity Restore. "It's not a big space, so those scrap materials go a long way in a smaller space," she said. When decorating small spaces, a huge benefit is being able to take advantage


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

of extra materials from larger projects, whose fate lands them dropped off at second-hand stores. We are fortunate to live in a time where big-box retail stores do a lot of design work for us. Interior designers are always coming out with home decor lines, from Joanna Gaines' Magnolia collection to Nate Burkus' line at Target to Drew and Johnathan Scott's Scott Living line. These curated lines are a great starting point, but to graduate to your own brand of style, mixing and matching found-pieces is a pro-move. And one that Rydell has mastered. "You have to know your style and the

things that you like to be able to mix them in with new things. I think that's a big thing, learning how to mix new with old," said Rydell. " And not overdoing one side of it. Not overdoing too much vintage where it gets overwhelming. Just slowly mix in pieces and it really adds a major pop of something different and unique." To go into the vintage search blind is to set yourself up to be overwhelmed. By following Rydell's advice to define what styles you're drawn to can greatly increase your chances of coming across the treasures you seek. One element Rydell always looks for when shopping for vintage goods is art. She is particularly fond of old, completed

paint-by-numbers, saying, "No one else is going to have the same look. Someone can have the same print, but no paintby-number is the same. No one else is going to have it, that that is fun, and you save a lot of money." For those who enjoy decorating with vintage goods, this joy of having something completely unique is well-understood. In addition to the unique-factor, vintage artwork and decor are low-risk purchases, as they are easily interchangeable, and a good canvas can always be repainted and made into something new. Rydell also noted that she enjoys searching for knickknacks and small accessories to change in and out with the seasons. "Look for what


you personally love. Like, I love swans, so if I see a swan, I'm like 'I have to have that!'" Her rooted love for the bird can be seen throughout, in salt and pepper shakers, ceramic figurines, vintage prints and beyond. By collecting these swans over the years, she has established quite a bevy that captures her personality. In searching for and collecting objects she loves, she said, "You learn how to mix them in with your current decor. You just have to go and explore. Somedays you don't find things and some days you're like, 'Oh my gosh, I found it!'" Aside from sustainability and budget-consciousness, part of the joy of vintage goods is the hunt. Another thing to be noted about decorating with vintage is sometimes you luck out and find perfectly preserved


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

treasures, but sometimes you have to get a little creative. Rydell is no stranger to upcycling and transforming one man's trash into another's treasure. Over her years of experience in the vintage sector, Rydell has developed a good eye for deciphering what can be turned into an up-to-date accent. From a monochromatic pink chair she recovered from Fargo's Pick-Up week to the reupholstering of cushions on a midcentury wooden chair, her space is filled with upcycled projects that are uniquely her own. "I think vintage and handmade go hand-in-hand quite a bit," she said. "It's learning how to make and reuse things." She encourages people to give upcycling vintage goods it a shot, reassuring that even if it doesn't turn out as you envisioned, at least you tried and didn't

spend a lot of money in the process. "Not everyone has huge budgets to do huge renovations. It's important to be able to showcase D.I.Y.," said Rydell. Her feminine and chic living space is proof that D.I.Y. doesn't have to look elementary. When done right and with a vision in mind, incorporation of original and refurbished vintage goods creates a completely unique and personality-filled space. Rydell's eclectic and playful space also allows for talking points with guests. She enjoys the opportunities for storytelling that come with decorating with vintage goods. She gets excited at the prospect of telling guests when and where she found a certain treasure, and also the steal of a price she nabbed it for. "For people who don't do thrifting, because there are a lot

who don't, its a great conversation piece," she said, adding that she loves educating people about the wonders that can be found at thrift or vintage shops. In the season of spring cleaning, many of us are thinking about ways to spruce up our existing space. before you embark on replacing your plumbed toilet with a Loveable-Loo (worth looking up, if you're not familiar) in efforts to live more "green," consider taking some of these design tips from Rydell. Adopt these affordable and sustainable design practices into your own space and take those first steps to live eco-consciously. And it certainly doesn't hurt that you'll be achieving a nostalgic and fun aesthetic at the same time.

Soy foods have a powerful nutritional profile. High levels of healthy protein and fiber | Essential vitamins and isoflavones | Gluten-free Excellent source of B vitamins, iron and phosphorus | Low in sodium and fat Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas With Edamame Salsa INGREDIENTS Quesadillas 2 tbsp. vegetable oil 1 cup chopped onion 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 (8 ¾-ounce) can corn kernels, drained 2 cups shredded cooked chicken 1 ½ cups shredded Mexican four-cheese blend ¼ tsp. salt 6 7-8 inch flour Tortillas Salsa 2 cups frozen shelled edamame, divided 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered ¼ cup finely chopped red onion 1 tbsp. fresh lime juice 2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro ½ tsp. salt

METHOD Quesadillas Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally to soften, 2-3 minutes. Add corn and ½ cup edamame, cook 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a bowl and stir in chicken, cheese and salt. Mix well. Spread the lower half of each tortilla with ½ cup of the chicken mixture. Fold the top half of the tortilla over the filling to form a semi-circle. Repeat with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture.

Salsa Bring 2 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add edamame, return to a boil and cook until tender, 6-7 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water and drain again. Transfer 1- ½ cups edamame (reserving ½ cup to add to chicken and cheese mixture) to a bowl and stir in the tomatoes, onion, lime juice, cilantro and salt. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve. Yields 6 (7-8 inch) quesadillas. Nutritional analysis per serving: 486 Calories, 31 g Protein, 43 g Carbohydrates, 7 g Fiber, 22 g Fat, 9 g Saturated Fat

Wipe skillet with a paper towel and return to stove, medium heat. Add the quesadillas 2 at a time and cook 3-4 minutes per side or until lightly golden and hot. Divide among 6 plates and top each with ½ cup of the edamame salad.

For free recipes and more information on soy foods, visit or



E F F I C I E N T 44

DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0


hen homeowner Joan Quam was looking to build a safe, reliable home, she knew where to go. Working with Cornerstone Specialties alongside its president Gary Orth, Quam is now the happy owner of an energyefficient and perfectly practical home.

About Cornerstone Specialties

Since 1998, Cornerstone Specialties has been constructing exceptional, energyefficient homes. Under their president, Gary Orth, they continuously work hard to accomplish energy-efficient practices, adopting new technologies. With their eye for detail and dedication to quality control, Cornerstone Specialties has been committed to building high-performance homes with maximum energy savings. "When I started building almost 22 years ago, I said, 'If I'm going to build, I'm not just going to build the same

house everyone else is. I'm going to do something that will make a bigger impact on people's lives, that will provide them with a better alternative than what's out there,'" said Orth. There are numerous special features incorporated in Cornerstone Specialties homes that make them at the forefront of energy efficiency. Some of these technical specifications are ICF (Insulated Concrete Form) foam basements, air exchangers (HRV), and sealing the envelope of the home so the energy doesn't leave on its own.

"We approach a house from a wholehouse standpoint, not just one component. If you have an awesome product but it's not working in harmony with the rest, then it's just not going to function correctly," said Orth. Cornerstone Specialties prides themselves in their knowledge of how to put together all the energy-efficient technologies that are out there, ensuring they operate together and in harmony. Thanks to their dedication to these practices and the use of high-quality materials, Cornerstone Specialties is a Certified Green Professional, a

designation from the National Association of Homebuilders. They earned this certification over 10 years ago, attending a series of classes on how to build "green." Orth joked, "The classes taught a lot of the things that we were already doing. I felt I could have taught some of the course!" This certification costs money, but the payoff is invaluable. "There may be a few more steps you have to take, but it's not a huge expense. A lot of people think that if they get a high-performance home, they'll have to pay through the nose. But that's not the case. You have to look at what you're going to gain in the future. The payback makes up for it."


Choosing Cornerstone Specialties

A recent home that Orth and the team at Cornerstone Specialties have completed is the home of Joan Quam. Sharing the build with her son and daughter, she wanted a home that was reliable and completely safe. In her previous home in South Carolina, the homeowner had an unsavory experience. The home she lived in had countless major flaws, affecting the health and sanity of her family. "It was a very stressful, horrible ordeal. And a financial devastation," she added. So when moving to North Dakota and settling here, she wanted to feel full


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

confidence in her home. "I knew that if I built with Gary [Orth], that it would be a good structure. And that it would be energy efficient as well," said the homeowner. "I didn't know what I was going to get for sure if I bought an existing house, because of what happened before." The fear of not wanting the take a chance on purchasing another nightmareish home and the confidence she had in Cornerstone Specialties led her to the decision to build rather than buy. But where did this confidence in the builder come from? The homeowner came across Cornerstone Specialties in a way that they receive much of their business: a referral. Cornerstone Specialties built Quam's parents' home

about 15 years ago and they had rave reviews for the company and their home itself. "They've been living there since then and everything is great still — he just does everything right. You don't have to worry," Quam said.

Specialties' homes are built to save the homeowner money. The operating costs in Cornerstone Specialties' homes are noticeably less than the surrounding homes, thanks to the energy-efficient practices.

Orth takes pride in that he gets his business mostly from referrals. When someone has a good experience with him, it's the best way he feels he can advertise his services. "I feel a connection with my clients. If I build you a house, I want you to be happy with it, and you're not going to be happy if there are problems," said Orth.

An example of these practices come with the walls of the home itself. Cornerstone Specialties' walls are over a foot wide, stopping cold air from coming in from the outside. In a typical basement, the walls are constructed out of about eight inches of concrete, concrete being a good conductor and letting cold come in. In Cornerstone Companies' builds, the concrete walls have 2 1/2" of insulating foam on both sides.

Energy Efficiency & Dedication to Quality

Quam's home and all of Cornerstone

SINCE 1998


Specialties 701.729.9991

Picture putting your ice-cold glass of water on the counter on a hot summer day. What does it do? It sweats, causing the moisture from the air to condense (or sweat) on the cold surface. A similar process can happen in our homes, most of us just don’t know it. This process can lead to some homes having mold issues in their basement walls. In a typical (non-ICF foundation) basement, the outside walls are constructed with wood studs, fiberglass insulation, and sealed with a vapor barrier. If moisture is inside that wall assembly it will condense (or sweat) on the cold concrete wall behind it and lead to mold growth. An ICF foundation prevents this condensation from happening. Similarly, one might feel air coming in through outlets, switches, windows, and other penetrations on exterior walls. Quam’s house does not have this issue due to Cornerstone’s special sealing techniques.

never have to worry about water leaks or mold growth within your walls.

In most standard builds, code requires “damp-proof” walls, which means water can still seep through if the wall develops a crack due to soil pressures and settling. However, in Orth’s builds, he ensures the outside walls are water-proof, so you

It also allows the homeowner to learn a little more about the home building process. Learning what costs go into different elements and which aspects are more flexible for changes. By updating selections in real-time, the homeowner


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

Project Management

The build process was straightforward and easy, thanks to a dedication to customer satisfaction, but also thanks to an online construction management software system Cornerstone Specialties uses. This software allows for constant communications between builder and homeowner. Explaining the system, Orth said, "Say you have a question about your kitchen faucet, you can go to the section about plumbing and type in your questions. Then I get the information and I can post selection options. The homeowner can then select whatever they want, at midnight if they want, since it all goes through the online software." This software gives the freedom to not have to meet in-person for every single detail and it saves time on both ends.

knows exactly what they are getting in the house and at what costs. This ensures that there will be no surprises, something Quam was very thankful for. "It felt that we really had a partnership in building this house. It wasn’t just me saying, 'No, this is what we are going to do.' We worked through problems. I think it was a great build," Orth said.

Family Function

In designing and building this home, energy-efficiencies were guaranteed, but the Cornerstone Specialties team also ensured the home was efficient, in terms of how the family would use it. "We spent a lot of time up-front getting all the details right. [Orth] learned all about how our family functions and had a lot of suggestions and changes, in addition to making sure that I could sleep at night, knowing this place isn't going to fall apart like my previous house," said the homeowner. Included in the home is a workspace for Joan, a home gym for her daughter to practice her figure skating exercises and a main-floor bedroom available in case her

parents ever need to move-in later in life. There's an incredibly insulated basement with ample room for her children to have friends over in the long winters, even including a kitchenette area for pizza parties, baking and beverages. Quam's home has all the style and amenities of any modern-day constructed home, but with the added bonus of energy efficiency. This space is proof of the eco-options that are available in our region. Looks like you don't have to sacrifice style and taste in order to live consciously after all.

Cornerstone Specialties Gary Orth (701) 729-9991 Cabinets: Clearwater Custom Cabinetry Builder: Cornerstone Specialities, Gary Orth

sig eltade www.d





nts aseme


ce Rep




! R E A FT ns Kitche

Remodeling with Style! 701-235-1212 eltade d . w w w Š 2008-2019 Delta Design


D R Ă˜ M M E H U S


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0


n an unassuming neighborhood in Grand Forks stands the only LEED Platinum home in North Dakota. This sustainable and ecofriendly house is home to Betsy and Dexter Perkins. In January 2019, the home received the Platinum designation from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), becoming the only Platinum-certified residential build in the state.


The idea for building this "green" home evolved over a long Norweigan winter in 2016. The Perkins were temporarily living in Moss, Norway, as Dexter was working at the local university. During their time there, they lived a very eco-friendly life. They had no car, walked everywhere they needed to and spent a lot of their downtime in their apartment. During the notoriously long Norweigan winter, the couple had a lot of time to think. All this idle time lead to them fantasizing about their "drømmehus,"

or dream house. They began with lighthearted conversations outlining what they'd want in their ideal home, what would it look like? How would it be built? How could they optimize space? Soon this daydreaming turned into reality and, somewhere during that long Norweigan winter, they decided to build the house they were designing in their minds.

A Team Effort

First up in making this dream home a reality was gathering the right team.

When assembling a team for the home, the Perkinses did a lot of research. They needed to find people who were not only willing to put in the work to produce this vision but people who had the ability to execute it as well. In the beginning stages of planning, the couple visited John Bagu in Fargo, who has rooftop photovoltaic panels (or PV panels) on his home. Seeing his success with the system, they made their decision that they would incorporate a PV system in their home as well. When speaking to Bagu, he suggested they reach out to

Malini Srivastava, an architect at Design and Energy Laboratory (DandElab), who also had experience with passive solar homes. After consulting a number of other architects, they ended up hiring her and her husband, architect Mike Christenson, to design their home, as they aligned with the homeowners' values the most. More builder consultations lead them to Jeremy Hom, who was excited by the opportunity to build something truly different from anything he'd done before. Together, this team shared ideas and alternatives back and forth. Months of


consultation between the homeowners, architects and material manufacturers occurred before construction began in the fall of 2017.

Themes Throughout

While energy efficiency and green practices were the first priority, practicality was the secondary goal. Before building, the couple read Sarah Susanka's "Not So Big House," a book that emphasizes the principle of "build better, not bigger." Upon reading, they discovered a takeaway that was possibly unintended by the author. From seeing the stylish interiors within the book, the Perkinses determined that they wanted to make a home for living, not for show.

They wanted their dream home to be practical, one where all the space was used. This goal was successful, as the final product has no wasted space. There are no scarcely used formal dining rooms or an empty basement. They knew what spaces they utilized as a couple and decided to omit anything extraneous. "Use the space you have or don't have it at all," said Dexter. Other themes continued to emerge while they were planning. They wanted to emphasize nature and natural materials. Whenever possible, they used recycled materials and the home is virtually free from plastics and synthetics. Elements used included about a dozen different

types of wood, sandstone, natural light and plants. The idea of the outdoors being part of the indoors also carries throughout the home, which they achieved by making the south wall of the combined living room dining room and kitchen mostly glass. "We really wanted the outdoors to be part fo the indoor decor," said Dexter. "So for me, the number one most successful part of the house is that the outside becomes part of the inside." This is achieved through strategically placed triple-paned windows, allowing in views and ample sunlight. Instead of a sod grass lawn, their front and backyard are comprised entirely of native vegetation, with a sea of

wildflowers growing up to six-feet tall in the summer, with butterflies and insects finding solitude in the environment.

LEED Platinum Certification

Along with everything else that's incorporated into the design, the most important theme to the homeowners was that the home be LEED Platinum Certified. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or "LEED" is a national certification system developed by USGBC to encourage the construction of energy and resource-efficient buildings that are healthy to live in. The way that LEED certification is


This U-shaped 1,879 square foot home includes a 540 square foot garage and 297 square foot workshop (to eventually be transformed into a first-floor master bedroom). Atop the roof on the east and west wings are photovoltaic panels (or PV panels), allowing the home to produce its own energy.

determined is through a system of points. These points come from practicing various green building strategies across a number of categories, including home location, biodiversity on-site, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials used and innovation. Based on the number of points received from such categories, projects can earn one of the four LEED rating levels (from low to highest): Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum. Point break-downs are as follows: Platinum: 80+ points earned Gold: 60-79 points earned Silver:50-59 points earned Certified: 40-49 points earned The USGBC website states their mission as, "We believe green buildings are the foundation of something bigger: helping people, and the communities and cities they reside in—safely, healthily and sustainably thrive. The heart of our green building community’s efforts must go well beyond construction and efficiency, and the materials that make up our buildings. We must dig deeper and focus on what


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

matters most within those buildings: human beings." With a dedication to providing humans safe and healthy places to work and live, this certification allows homeowners and builders to recognize practices that benefit our daily lives. With more and more citizens and builders acknowledging these practices, we have hope for cleaner, brighter and more efficient futures. For the Perkinses, the LEED Platinum certification wasn't a goal they strove to achieve, it was mandatory. Throughout the whole building and design process, the homeowners shifted and pivoted in ways to ensure that they would earn all the points necessary for their home to be awarded the Platinum certification.

Energy Efficiency

According to Nodak Electric, the Perkins' home is the only private residence in Grand Forks to generate its own power from rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems. Their system includes 30 PV panels on the roofs atop the east and west wings of the home. This system can store 10 kWh of electricity in their lithium-ion

battery, and in the summer and early fall, they generate much more power than they need, allowing them to sell it back to the electric company. As the days grow shorter in the winter and the temperatures drop, they do have to purchase some power, but it never is a lot. To keep their energy footprint low, they rely on their high-efficiency wood-burning fireplace, which includes a catalytic converter to eliminate pollution. This warms the house, but also provides a priceless ambiance to the living quarters. "The quality of life benefits are instantaneous. This is a happy and warm house compared to our previous one. Everyone would be so mentally and physically healthier if they lived in happy houses," said Dexter. The homeowners added, "We are willing to bet that we have one of the best insulated homes anywhere." One huge factor in making this claim was the use of Structural Insulated Panels, or SIPs. SIPs are construction materials that are made of an insulated foam core sandwiched between two structural facings, resulting in insulation that exceeds a standard

wall. These panels are one to two feet thick, depending on their location. This thickness, combined with the technology, makes them incredibly efficient. "All homes should be built with them," said Dexter. "The payback is immediate [...] This is one of the energy efficiencies where there's no excuse for anybody today to even think about building a home without using these kinds of things." The Perkins' SIPs have high R-values (a tool of measuring how well a twodimensional barrier resists the flow of heat), ranging from R-60 to over R-100. Dexter noted that, according to the engineering firm that prepared the paperwork for their LEED certification, this home is the "tightest" and best-insulated house they had ever seen. In terms of budget, building with SIPs costs about the same as building with wood frame construction and the payoff you'll see with energy bill savings are notable. The cost to build with SIPs balances out due to its ease of installation. "The house gets built faster because the walls of the house are made


2101 North River Drive, Moorhead, Minnesota

218.236.0100 | #LOVEMYMCC

in a factory with the windows and doors cut out and they ship the whole thing that way. The builder just puts it together," said Dexter. This pre-fabrication allows for less job site waste and shorter construction times.


Choosing materials for the home became a bigger hurdle than anticipated. "At first, we wanted to go with all local materials, but it turned out to be impractical, but we tried to do that as much as possible," said Dexter. They found that there's not a good central shopping place nearby for acquiring green and natural materials, and some of the desired materials were

hard to track down. This added time and design changes to the overall build process.

[...] The recycled and all-natural materials make me feel better. It's just a personal feeling."

In the path to choose materials that felt the best ethically, the Perkins saw the cost add up as well. For example, recycled materials were considerably more pricey than virgin materials, but this added cost was well worth it. "With all the materials being all-natural, with no plastic and that sort of do you figure out the financial payback on that? You're investing money to get what makes you feel good. And what you want to be living with," said Dexter. "Some say they can't afford it and I say you can't afford not to. You're talking about your life, your health.

When choosing such materials, the Perkinses opted for a variety of selections. "We could not decide what wood we liked best, so we used 'all' of them," they said. Throughout the home, there are 12 different kinds of wood, including maple, cherry and quarter-sawn oak cabinets; red oak windows and trim; walnut shelving and benches; maple on the main stairways and hickory, beech and bamboo flooring, the hickory and beech parts made out of recycled barn wood. Countertops in the kitchen are made from recycled paper and the mudroom floor

is made from recycled porcelain. Except for plumbing and electrical switch plates, there are no plastic or synthetic materials in the home. And even those few synthetic elements, they plan on replacing when funds allow it. "Some people have asked us what it cost us to build this house. And, we have avoided answering. Because you pay for what you want and different people want different things," said Dexter. "There is no way to attach a value to the benefits of the healthy and relaxing quality of life provided by living in a beautiful natural environment."



more than concrete:

MOTHERSHIP WORKSHOP BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Kayleigh Omang


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

"...Here I mixed the carbon black with the iron oxide black. One black pigment we use is super, super dark, it's a carbon-based pigment that can get almost a 'phantom black' black, but it's not UV stable. Then there's an iron oxide black, it doesn't get quite as dark, but it's 100% UV stable. So if [the planter] sits outside for five years, eventually the dark black will become lighter than the other black. I want to see what happens! It's a long game!"


ike Nelson eagerly explained his process of mixing pigments for a new concrete planter project. He's excited about the idea that, if he mixes these pigments, sometime many years down the road, the original piece could turn into something new. This exuberant thoughtprocess and zest for experimentation have become the standard within the walls of Mothership Workshop.


Together, Mike Nelson and Josh Zeis make up Mothership Workshop, an art and furniture design studio. Friends for over 15 years, these two design, build and create works of art together in their Unicorn Park area studio. While they dabble in a number of mediums, they specialize in concrete pieces, creating countertops, sinks, furniture, accent pieces, planters and more. Nelson and Zeis both have fine arts backgrounds, so they approach what is typically an industrial craft with the care and intent of fine art. Being classically trained in various disciplines, the two longtime friends are able to accomplish a broad spectrum of design possibilities. Nelson currently works for Prairie Supply, a local supplier of construction equipment and concrete materials. And Zeis's current job is at Hebron Brick, where he is a landscape coordinator. Zeis also teaches ceramic classes at the Plains Art Museum and sometimes teaches sculpture at NDSU. Josh Zeis was first introduced to the medium of clay when he was deployed in Iraq with the US Army. Hebron Brick has a process where they donate extra clay from their brick plant to NDSU. Some of this same clay was sent over to Iraq by Zeis's brother and Zeis became infatuated with the material while overseas. Coming back to American soil, his story comes full circle as he now works at Hebron Brick. In his career at Prairie Supply, Nelson became the designated expert in the decorative concrete pieces that architects and contractors were requesting. "More and more, we got to realize that there's not a lot of people doing high-end concrete furniture in the area," said Nelson. "People would ask if I knew anybody that could do certain things and Josh and I sort of decided we could be the one to do it." Having discussed the idea of finding a workshop and creating pieces together for nearly a decade, it wasn't until 2018 that they officially started Mothership Workshop. Nelson welcomed us into the storage-unit-turnedworkshop with a tiny glass mug of freshly-brewed espresso in hand and apologies about the clutter. Within their workshop, located just across the street from Drekker's Brewhalla, they've created a haven that is uniquely them. The front "office space" includes sample tiles of color variations, finished experimental pieces, a painted Iron and Wine-esque self-portrait of Nelson and multiple awards from Frostival snow sculpture competitions. The studio space itself is spattered with concrete dust and beautiful works-in-progress. Color and texture tests line the shelves, quietly showcasing all these two men are capable of executing. This process of testing different patterns, finishes and shapes is part of Mothership's DNA. They embrace the anticipation of varying outcomes and continuously work to think further outside the proverbial box. "We don’t like


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

precision, we like to leave at least some element of chance. Nothing is going to be perfect, the surfaces are always going to be a little bit flawed and that’s what makes it cool," said Nelson. "If we wanted a machinefinish, then we would do it with a machine." Mothership's time is split between custom commissions and personal experimentations. "In between jobs, when we are working on our own art and working on custom pieces, that's where we can kind of experiment," said Nelson. In their growing resume of commissioned projects, they've completed kitchen remodels, farmhouse sinks, custom furniture, large-scale planters and more. Their work especially lends itself to adjusting to unique measurements, curves and angles, perfect for tricky projects. "We like doing kitchen remodels. A lot of the time, the walls aren't perfectly right angles or there are sways, and we go in and template it and make sure what we make fits the curves and angles. I like having that and being able to make something so customized," said Zeis. The joy that problem-solving brings is part of what energizes the duo. Working to achieve the highest function in a space without giving up aesthetic or quality is always the goal. We've seen a shift in design and decor, where people have access to boundless inspiration, from television

shows to Pinterest to magazines. Dream-home mood boards and wishlists abound, and contractors are being asked to create more and more unique things. Mothership Workshop has positioned itself to fill this desire for locally-made and custom pieces. "We get excited about the people that are interested in letting us do our thing. We want to take what they want, hear what they have to say and then put it through our filters," said Nelson. "You can feel out the situations, but generally the projects that we have the most fun with are the ones that have the least structure. And with people that are willing to trust us." They hope that the more they create custom pieces and get word-of-mouth buzzing about their services, the more people will begin trusting them with creative freedom. With more people knowing their particular style, the more they are hoping clients will come to them and let them play a bit. The two insist that if a client has a vision, they can come up with a way to execute it. "We can carve it, we can stamp it we can stain it. As artists and people who have been in the construction industry, there's very little we cannot find a solution for," said Nelson. Next in the plans for Mothership is perfecting garden planters. Planters are something they get asked to create often and they are looking forward to putting their artful twist on the everyday object. As with many of the items they make from concrete, planters are something where it benefits the consumer to buy locally, as they won't have the paying for the cost of shipping the heaviness of them. Also in the plans for the Mothership men is expanding further into large-scale public art. They have experience with ice sculpture, winning a number of Frostival Ice Sculpture awards in the past and are hopeful to continue introducing their varying skill sets to the public. "We have the capability and the desire and the enthusiasm to want to make these large things," Zeis added.

Cabinetry • Windows & Doors • Roofing • Siding

Decking • Insulation • Lumber • Hardware

To name off services and products Mothership can create would be a disservice to the vastness of their abilities. But to give it a humble start, products include custom integral kitchen sinks, accent walls, benches, shelving units, conference tables, wall sconces, water features, standing fireplace bases and museum-quality sculptures. As their space-age name implies, Nelson and Zeis relish in mapping uncharted territories and conquering the unknown. Whether that unknown be how concrete adapts to new pigment blends or the joy of releasing a new creation from its mold. With the array of outcomes they can achieve, Mothership Workshop is successfully reinventing the way we think about industrial mediums like concrete.

Mothership Workshop @mothershipworkshop DETROIT LAKES • 218-847-2188 FERGUS FALLS • 218-739-4481 MOORHEAD • 218-233-2754

Oxbow choose

With our new clubhouse, resort-style pool area, and fully redesigned golf course completed in 2019, there has never been a better time to join Oxbow Country Club!

You will find that we offer a variety of memberships to fit each family or individual’s lifestyle. Visit our website or contact Mattie at to find out more information about what memberships we have available.

½ OFF INITIATION FEE Take advantage of our promotion before it ends on April 30th!

40 Clubhouse Drive Oxbow, ND 58047 | 701.588.4666



Families can enjoy a summer full of fun at Oxbow’s beautiful outdoor pool complex featuring a water slide, swim lanes and basketball hoop! Take advantage of our poolside food and beverage service, while enjoying entertainment and activities for the entire family! And when you need to wind down, our hot tub is a great place to relax!


Oxbow members are proud to play on a professionally-designed golf course created by one of today’s most accomplished golf course architects. You can also try your skills with our golf simulator we have inside. Our competitive tournament schedule, junior golf program, and social golf events ensure that players of any age and skill level can enjoy our championship course!


Members receive exclusive access year-round to Oxbow Country Club’s fabulous dining facilities. Besides our bar and restaurant, we also have a family dining room, an outdoor patio, and a pool deck with food and beverage service. Oxbow’s menu changes seasonally, giving members a wonderful variety of options for both casual and fine dining occasions.


Melanie Iverson: A L I F E D E D I C A T E D T O B U I L D I N G 64

DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

"I want to empower, equip and encourage other women because strong and intelligent women have done that for me."


s a reader of this magazine, you might know Melanie Iverson for her work as the Lead Designer and Co-Founder at Mosaic Design + Build. If that wasn't enough, in 2020 she added two more titles to her resume: Mrs. North Dakota International 2020 and the Co-Founder of She Overcomes.

There's no doubting, Melanie Iverson knows how to rebuild. In the platform statement she gave during the North Dakota International 2020 pageant, Iverson opened with, "In 2013, a wrecking ball crashed through my life, shattering my self-worth, marriage and family." Now, donned in the Mrs. North Dakota International 2020 crown and sash and with an impressive number of home remodel projects under her belt, Iverson has come a drastically long way since what inspired that statement. Following a divorce, alcohol abuse and the loss of two children in the adoption process in around 2013, her life as she knew it was over. But the perfect storm of misfortune that swung her pendulum the opposite direction led her to bounce back stronger. Four years later, she reconciled her marriage with her husband, James, and the two got remarried two and a half years ago. Much to their two children, Carter and Grayce’s, delight, the family is happily living under one roof again. In this time, the couple started their business, Mosaic Design + Build. Together they run this design and general contracting firm, creating vibrant and playful spaces and places all over town. Wanting to turn her troubled past into something good, Iverson felt a calling to help other women who have faced adversity. She believes that most women have something they need to overcome, whether that be poverty, abuse, mental anguish or simply feeling stuck in a rut. Iverson wanted to help others like herself not only survive but to thrive.


When Iverson saw a news report stating that North Dakota ranks last in the whole country for female entrepreneurship, she found a need in our community that she and her co-founder's expertise could help fill. Hearing this report sprung them into action, knowing they needed to help change this statistic for fellow women business owners. To do this, she founded She Overcomes alongside Jennifer Schillinger, owner of Strengths Advantages. She Overcomes is a nonprofit addressing the female entrepreneurship problem by investing capital, training and providing business mentorship to accelerate the work of female founders and entrepreneurs. According to an article written by Forbes titled, The Next Decade Will Bring More Venture Capital To Female Founders, female-founded businesses tend to deliver twice as much per dollar invested than those founded by men. If this is the case, then why are women-founded businesses invested in at such a lower rate? She Overcomes' hopes to change that, for the good of women, but also the community as a whole. “I was thinking about what I could add in our community to improve the entrepreneurial ecosystems and opportunities,” said Iverson to Fargo INC (March 2020). “There’s no reason we can’t have more female entrepreneurs in a community that is so entrepreneurially inspired.” While working hard on changing the blueprint for women in business, Iverson is also writing her memoir. Slated to be published later this year, the book outlines her experiences with faith, reconciliation and healing. She hopes that in writing this book and sharing her story—no matter how painful it is to tell at times—she can, once again, help other women. With running a design and build business, being a mother and wife, launching a nonprofit and writing a book, one would think that Iverson's plate would be full. But in 2019, she added one more thing. When Iverson was approached with the suggestion to run for Mrs. North Dakota International, she brushed it off. And if you asked her a year ago if she would run in a pageant, nonetheless win it, she would have laughed. She never grew up doing pageants and never saw herself as the type to fit into that scene, in fact, she had a negative stigma related to pageants altogether. But when she took the time to speak with Janelle Steinberg, the Executive Director of Mrs. ND International, she saw her negative prejudices dissolve. Steinberg opened Iverson's eyes to the purpose of the International Pageant System: platforms. This sect of pageants operates off of promoting individual contestants' platforms and them being role models, rather than based on more superficial matters. Soon, this platform-based program began to feel right to Iverson. The more she thought about it, the more she realized that it would be the perfect opportunity to spread her story and advance her non-profit and book. Not only that, but it would also be a way for her to reclaim her femininity and not shy away from the spotlight. Literally taking center stage, she saw this as a way to publically embrace the power of her story. In all her time working so hard to empower other women, this was a time where she could walk the walk and work on empowering herself. She shared on her blog, "I believe that when we can speak authentically about our past, our failures and how we overcame, that it shines a light into the darkness for other people who follow."


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0


your home with the experts GIFT CARDS AVAILABLE

AS ABOUT OUR 12-POINT COLD & FLU BUSTER PACKAGE • Light Switches • Door Knobs • Toilets • Faucets • Counter Tops

• Chair Arms • Railings • Drawer Handles • Remotes • Appliance Handles



TLC offers discounted rates for clients on a reoccurring schedule. Let us take care of your home so you have more time to relax and create memories with your family. We offer weekly, bi-weekly and monthly cleaning sessions.

In January 2020, Iverson competed in the North Dakota International pageant, coming home crowned Mrs. North Dakota International. In July, she will head to Tennessee for nation-wide Mrs. International Pageant, competing for the Mrs. International 2020 crown. With this, she hopes to continue to spread her message of restoring hope for women, redeeming marriages and reforming women leaders. Needless to say, Iverson is a powerful force. We in the home-community have long admired her for her fresh take on local interior design and execution of some incredible remodels. But as with many talented women, there's so much more underneath. Reading this, she'll probably laugh and roll her eyes, adding in some humble commentary. After all, for Iverson, being a business owner, nonprofit co-founder, mother, wife and Queen are all in a day's work. To learn more about She Overcomes, visit or See more from Mosaic Design + Build at

Melanie Iverson and her husband James Iverson, featured in Design & Living, June 2019.



Creating your



BY Jackson Strom, Principle Architect at Strom Architecture PHOTOS PROVIDED BY Tomlinson Schultz


rchitect Jackson Strom of Strom Architecture dives into a different, important design discussion each month. This month, Strom conversed with highly regarded custom home builder Mark Schultz of Tomlinson Schultz to share insight into what makes a lake home design successful.


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

East Pelican Lake modern home, built by Tomlinson Schultz. Architect: Peterssen Keller Architecture

Architect: BHH Partners

As summer approaches, the anticipation of lakes, boating and campfires are upon us. Whether spending time at the family cabin each weekend or visiting a cabin once a summer, the memories made at the lake linger long after summer passes. As an architect, the opportunity to work with a client to design and build a cabin where these memories are made brings an additional level of excitement to the project. The design and build of a lake cabin is a personal journey that often results in a project that will be handed down for generations, and because of this, clients tend to bring a flare and interest that may not exist in other projects. We had the opportunity to sit down with one of the area’s premier custom residential builders, Mark Schultz, a partner at Tomlinson Schultz, to get his expertise on two important elements that go into the planning of a successful lake cabin design and build. Establishing your Design and Build Team Establishing your design and build team early in the process is critical, and with a lake cabin, this is no different. The most successful cabins have the owner, builder and architect on the same page as early in the process as possible. As the team develops this relationship, it allows the builder and architect to learn more about the client and establish a trust that will continue throughout the project. “We want to spend time understanding how you live and how you interact at the lake,� said Mark Schultz. For example, is your vision traditional or contemporary? Cozy or grand? Do you want it to blend in or stand out? Do you plan on hosting friends, family and kids or will this be your personal place of refuge? We often see cabin owners focusing a large portion of their energy ensuring they are providing family and friends with great hospitality.

Architect: BHH Partners


Architect: TL Stroh Architects For over 30 years, Detroit Lakes, Minn.-based home builder Tomlinson Schultz has built and assisted in designing custom homes in western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. Tomlinson Schultz is known for its quality craftsmanship, honest practices and ability to meet the unique needs of each client. Partner alongside Dana and Rita Tomlinson is Mark Schultz. Schultz’s diverse background and entrepreneurial spirit make him an asset to the team and the mastermind behind many innovative projects.He believes meeting new challenges with excitement is what makes his team distinct and leaders in the industry.


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

Rec rooms, bunk rooms, screen porches and additional bathrooms are becoming more common as cabin owners want to treat their guests to an experience that may rival resorts. Small, yet comfortable bedrooms allow more time, energy and square footage to be spent on the common living spaces where friends and family will gather. “People realize the memories you make at a lake cabin are more important than a lot of things – these memories with our kids and grandkids are really priceless,” said Schultz. There is a lot that goes into the planning to create these meaningful spaces. What does this planning look like? Upon attaining the lake lot, the team works alongside the client to help start realizing their vision. “We often tour past projects with new clients to help them visualize similar features, size and feel,” Schultz said about this step in the process. In terms of design and style, anything goes at the lake and it’s often where clients feel they can have more design freedom. But with this freedom we also want to eliminate surprises. Before the builder lifts a hammer, they ensure the vision can be built as intended and within the planned budget. Schultz said, “You want the whole team to sit down to bless the design, site layout and budget.” The builder

will provide an estimate once the floor plan and exterior 3D model have been approved, but also long before the final construction documents are completed. “The client needs to know that we are in this to give them what they want, for the price they want,” he said. The quality of the relationship between the client, builder and architect is often what drives the success of the project. Between phone calls, emails and meetings, you often spend much time with the project team, and this level of communication in a project is often directly related to the project’s success. “I can honestly say that I am still friends with all of my past clients,” said Schultz. Developing your Site Design Understanding the exact details and conditions of your site is the second critical component. What are the minimum setbacks? What is the maximum impervious surface percentage of the lot your new cabin can cover? What are the existing soil conditions? How high above the ordinary water mark should you cabin sit? The builder and architect play a pivotal role in reviewing, documenting and providing direction to ensure the new cabin is in line with the county ordinances.


Architect: BHH Partners




701 - 232 - 1991 Construction/Remodeling • Run New Service • Add Circuits • Appliance Installation A site survey and soil testing are two upfront investments that are paramount in assisting with developing your site design. The site survey will document the exact property corners and existing topography. The soil testing details the soil conditions, informing the team of what resources they’ll need to properly execute the excavation and foundation. Schultz said, “You do not want to be building on unstable soil when you’re making a substantial investment into your new cabin.” “The site layout needs to account for the well and septic, in addition to the cabin and garage,” continued Schultz. It is important to have the cabin owner, builder and architect on the site during the design and development process to

ensure everyone understands the layout. A site visit allows the team to walk the site to discuss specific views, trees or elements that the client may want to maintain. “These are the details that we want the client to feel comfortable with prior to proceeding with the work,” said Schultz. Loving the Final Product “You’re investing a lot of hard-earned money, and our goal is that you love your cabin”, said Schultz. The process of planning a lake cabin can be fun, rewarding and engaging. If you have thoroughly reviewed your site and have the right team in place, you’re ready to start this exciting journey. And if you haven’t? Let me know, I’d be happy to help start you down this path.

• Add Fixtures, Fans, Switches, • Outlets, Dimmers, etc. • Add Landscape Lighting • Add Outdoor Security Lighting • And much more!

Repair/Maintenance • Power Restoration • Troubleshooting • Wiring Replacement • Grounding Existing Circuits • Switch, Outlet, Fixture Repair • Code Violations • And much more!

With over a decade of experience, Strom’s passion for the architectural profession led him to found Strom Architecture in 2019. Within his new firm, Strom Architecture strives to elevate the ordinary elements that exist in all projects. Strom Architecture STROMARCH.COM @STROMARCH

Building with the Mullers: Phase III

BY Alexandra Martin PHOTOS BY Kayleigh Omang and Hillary Ehlen


e've watched HGTV, we've created mood boards on Pinterest and we've, of course, carefully perused the pages of this very magazine to gather dream home inspiration. With such access to options and styles, many homeowners are attracted to the idea of going the custom home route, starting from scratch and having a hand in every step of the home-building process. But where do you even start? Sure the idea of a custom home sounds great, but that certainly sounds like a big undertaking for a novice homeowner. If you've ever considered building a custom home, or are just curious about the process, this series is for you. Join Evan and Becky Muller as we follow them from beginning to end of all that goes into creating a custombuilt home.

The Team Homeowners: Evan and Becky Muller Builder: Benjamin Custom Homes Realtor: Mari Santoyo Perry- SoliMar Real Estate- BHHS Premier Properties


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

This month, learn about selling their current home, bids coming in, the virtual reality walk-through and the couple’s general design inspiration.

PHASES I AND II In case you missed Phase I and II of "Building with the Mullers," we discussed who the homeowners are, getting financially pre-approved, lot selection, choosing Benjamin Custom Homes as the builder, putting their current home on the market, exterior renderings, the bidding process and product selection. To briefly recap, the homeowners Becky and Evan Muller are highschool sweethearts from rural South Dakota, now living in Fargo. Currently, Becky is a Commercial Interior Designer at ICON Architectural Group and Evan is a Financial Planning Analyst at Aldevron. They initially intended on Fargo being a brief interlude, but as they now both have jobs they love and are happy with the community here, they've decided that their "five-yearplan" of living here is now a forever plan. And with this plan to plant roots in the area, they've decided to embark on building a custom home. Since Becky is an interior designer and works in the industry daily, the couple had a head start in what to expect and what they wanted out of this process. Their vision has taken shape more and more as the months go by, and this month they were even provided a virtual reality tour of their soon-to-be home! Come with us as we see what steps in the process they are currently working on and how the home is coming together.

SOLD! Since our last check-in with the Mullers in February, they successfully listed their current home on the market and it sold within just three weeks. Their Realtor, Mari Santoyo Perry of SoliMar Real Estate, started this realty process back in June 2019. Then, they took photos of the home in the summer weather so that the couple would

(Left to Right) Kara Skarphol, Mari Santoyo Perry, Evan Muller, Becky Muller, Ben Anderson, Melanie Anderson, Adam LaPlante

have snow-less photos when they were ready to put the home on the market officially. Their existing home went on the market on February 12 and they had scheduled their first open house for the third weekend it was listed. However, they ended up getting (and accepting) an offer on it the Friday before the open house. Lucky for them, they had a lot of interest and people touring through, which was a big relief to the homeowners. One thing that will make this selling process a little out of the norm for the Mullers is that the buyers wanted a quick closing. With this, the Mullers must find temporary housing until their custom home is move-in ready. While there's some urgency in moving out and finding a new place to live, the couple acknowledges how nice it is to have the house sold and not have to worry about doubling up on mortgages. The process of moving into temporary housing, like a condo or apartment, is pretty standard in the custom home building industry, so this was a step the Mullers were prepared for.

THE BIDS ARE IN One huge part of the custom building process includes product selection and bidding. In this step, all the mood boards and wishlists came to life as the homeowners narrowed down which selections they wanted. While this daydreaming phase is exciting and fun, there also comes the practical side of it all: the cost.


When selecting products and finishes, the Mullers worked closely with the Benjamin Custom Homes team to determine the aesthetics and pricing as one. With spreadsheets of vendors and options, this was a detailed and important process. Once the decisions were made, they had to send out the selections to vendors for them to come back with pricing. This is a nerve-wracking process for many homeowners, as this is the time they really have to focus on their budget as see what visions can come to life and which ones have to be altered. With the Benjamin Custom Homes team by their side, the Mullers were able to assess the bids and strategically pivot as needed. "The bids came in and there were some that were pretty high. [Benjamin Custom Homes] made some really great recommendations on how to lower those. Not just by cutting elements, but even just going with a different vendor," said Becky. The uniqueness of the home design made some of the bidding guesswork tricky. So when the estimate from the bidding came in high, the Mullers weighed what was important to them and what could wait. "It was hard to guess with our house—since the roof has all these different angles—how it was going to price out. So when it did come in over budget, we made the decision to cut out the loft," said Becky. In the original design, the homeowners imagined a loft overlooking the main living area. But to keep to their budget, removing this feature put them back into a comfortable spot financially. "Instead of cutting a bunch of little things out, it was like, okay we can just take the loft out and then we can keep everything else the same," said Becky. However, this loft might not be gone from the vision forever. Benjamin Custom Homes also offers remodeling services, so if the Mullers ever decide they want to add the loft back in, the builders already have all the plans ready to go.

"I would say that's one big thing in building, is prioritizing the things that you can't change and discussing the items that could be done later, whether its basement finishes or a loft. They are maybe really big wants, but they can be added later at some point," said Santoyo Perry. The height of ceilings or location of stairs are not things that can be easily changed down the road, but details like flooring or other finishes certainly can be switched when budget allows. Working with such an established team as the one at Benjamin Custom Homes, they were able to make these educated decisions with clarity. "Now we are sitting really good and if we do end up coming in under budget, then we can finish our basement faster," said Becky. With custom building, it's all about educated guessing and strategic planning, so being able to make these decisions is instrumental in the success of the design. The Mullers also were smart to remember that on top of the building costs, they need to account for costs of furniture and landscaping, too. With this in mind, Becky and Evan felt confident in the measures they took to stay in the building budget.

VIRTUAL REALITY WALKTHROUGH It's one thing to envision your dream home, add inspiration to Pinterest and view renderings on paper. But the experience comes to life with being able to preview the home in virtual reality. Before breaking ground, the Mullers were able to "tour" their new home through Oculus Virtual Reality headsets and Benjamin Custom Homes' state of the art software. This type of technology offers visceral and lifelike experiences for homeowners, from custom build projects all the way to realty home tours. The process involves the


homeowners putting on the virtual reality headset and using a remote to guide them through the home. As they look around in their headsets, they get to see an accurate visualization of the layout, proportions and overall design of their future home. "I think for both of us it was really helpful to see the types of things we were getting in a real-life scale, rather than just a picture or rendering," said Becky. "[Benjamin Custom Homes] is so good with attention to detail. There are a lot of builders who just don’t do nearly this much work on the front-end for people to see exactly what it’s going to look like," said Santoyo Perry, who, as a Realtor, is accustomed to working with many builders and homeowners. "It’s more than just looking at a paper and imagining and trusting that it’s going to turn out that way that you want it. I think that’s huge and it’s impressive the amount of work that goes upfront."

DESIGN INSPIRATION Now that cost and overall structure are decided upon, the Mullers have begun to be able to really narrow down the design inspiration of the place. As finishes like flooring and paint are getting finalized, the homeowners have begun diving into what the overall mood of the place will be, in terms of design trends, decor and furnishings.

The couple describes their style as modern, with colors and tones borrowed from mid-century styles, but more modern shapes. The result comes to a contemporary design, leaning heavily on the contrast between crisp blacks and earthy wood tones. They initially were worried that their home would not "fit in" to their Kindred neighborhood, but the house plans were approved with enthusiasm from the neighborhood developer.

Throughout all steps of the process, the Benjamin Custom Homes designers and Becky have been dedicated to Pinterest. As Becky updated her Pinterest idea board, the team could pull in elements and create the aesthetic vision the homeowners desired. This not only helped Becky put all her ideas in one spot, but also gave visual notes to the designers to better understand ideas in a way that words sometimes cannot express.

It's much easier to make tweaks in these stages than after the construction begins. By doing a virtual walk-through, the Mullers got a realistic idea of what their floorplan will look like and they can go into the construction process confident in their choices.

Phase IV

This month we discussed selling their current home, bids coming in, the virtual reality walkthrough and the couple's general design inspiration. Up next, the Mullers get to deed over their Kindred property to Benjamin Custom Homes and break ground on the construction. With that will come discussions of plumbing, finalizing the exterior, finalizing the cabinetry and an electrical walk-through. The plan for the home has been approved by the city of Kindred and with the ground having less frost than anticipated, they are ready to break ground. Stay tuned for the next update, where the physical home will really start to take shape!


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0





f you're under the impression that all sinks are created equal, you're wrong. Showing you a new side of washbasins, Mike Brockmeyer and Carson Hoberg of Brockmeyer Tile & Stone have launched their new business, Sokul Surfaces. You're probably familiar with Brockmeyer Tile & Stone, as they've been serving eastern North Dakota, northern Minnesota and surrounding communities since 2001. The Grand Forks-based company is known for being one of the area's largest natural stone, quartz and tile suppliers, specializing in the selection of materials, fabrication and installation of said materials. This process of becoming leaders in the industry lead business owner Mike Brockmeyer to his new avenue: sinks. But these are not your standard sinks. With their new venture, Sokul Surfaces is revolutionizing the way we think about these everyday, essential appliances. Sokul has been in business for roughly a year now and has been steadily getting more and more attention. With a new

BY Alexandra Martin PHOTOS BY Gary Ussery


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0


website and marketing plan in the works, Brockmeyer is ready to grow this business even further. The vision for Sokul Surfaces as its own brand came about when Brokmeyer Tile & Stone found that a robust sink design they came up with was able to be shipped fairly easily. With that, they saw a chance to grow into their own online business. With nothing quite like it on the market already, this was an opportunity to expand on something unique. The original idea for the sink design was to make an all-in-one bracket that could be mounted after the wall finishes were done, allowing them to not have to put brackets in the wall before sheetrocking. The resulting sink is a wall-hung, “floating� countertop and sink combination that is minimal, with a unique, slanted basin that negates the need for an unsightly drain. "This is essential, especially in ADA situations when the exact height tolerances are very tight," said Brockmeyer. The fixture can be made of quartz or granite and is available in a number of color variations and finishes to match whatever the client's style is. "The design is not only meant to be stylish but also easy to install and very strong once it is attached to the wall. It is considered contemporary in design, but I feel it works in many applications," said Brockmeyer, expanding on its versatility. In-house, the Sokul team developed the patent-pending two-piece detachable drain and overflow. This drain allows the sink to be fully maintained and cleaned with ease. According to Brockmeyer, there's not other trough/ramp-like sink on the market that has this overflow and detachable drain. This integrated frame is the backbone of the product and is what makes it easy for a homeowner to be able to purchase and install on their own, quickly and easily with basic tools. But at the same time, this is no cheap, DIY product, as the final product is sturdy, being able to hold up to a quarter ton, according to their development tests.


As for the technical parts, the sink comes with installation brackets built onto the countertop, predrilled with holes at 16" on center. However, these holes can also be drilled on-site to accommodate stud locations. For the installation, the design uses spring-assisted fasteners to keep the sink level and prevent sagging, also allowing it some "give" for if weight is to be applied to it. The sink also comes with pre-drilled faucet holes marked with color-coded stickers so you can use any type of faucet configuration. "I feel we have a truly one-of-a-kind product that not only looks great, but is easy to install. Trough/ramp sinks are not new to the sink industry, but ours coupled with the overflow, detachable drain and overall skeleton make it unique in many ways. They're actually affordable when compared to a custom-made one from another source, too," said Brockmeyer. He noted that the sinks' potential applications are vast, from residential to commercial to hospitality to maritime. And with all the sizes and colors offered, the design is able to fit right into in any size, space or design. Overall, bathrooms everywhere are getting more simplistic and modern with their designs. Thanks to Sokul Surfaces, you can elevate your space with ease and style, all with North Dakotan made and designed products. @sokulsurfaces



Each month, we are excited to feature spaces that work. Design & Living has always been a community resource to all things home and design. As more and more outstanding commercial spaces throughout town have caught our attention, we cannot overlook them any longer! 88

DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

BY Becky Muller, Interior Designer at ICON Architectural Group | PHOTOS BY Kayleigh Omang



he Wellness District first started in September of 2011, when Medical Weight Loss Specialists first opened their doors. Spencer Barry, MD, is the Medical Director of The Wellness District and worked as a Family Physician for 25 years prior to opening the clinic. Seeing so many of his patients struggling with their weight-related health problems, it inspired him to spend more time on the science of obesity to make a difference in his patients’ lives, both physically and emotionally. DermPhilosophy began in May of 2016 and as both clinics’ services expanded and the number of patients climbed, the clinics were combined into their new location in West Fargo in December of 2019. The new space allowed them to add on more aesthetic services as well as adding on a nutrition bar to give not only their weight loss clients, but all members of the Fargo-Moorhead community, a convenient and healthy option for lunch or breakfast on the go!


ABOUT THE WELLNESS DISTRICT The Wellness District’s passion and dedication to their patients is what sets them apart in the F/M area for all of your aesthetic or medical weight loss needs. Providing care to all genders and ages, services on the medical side include creating personalized nutritional programs, metabolic detox, lipotropic injections and KE diet plans. On the aesthetic side, they provide Botox, dermal fillings, body contouring, Coolsculpting, Colorescience and skincare services. Their StrongPour Nutrition Bar supplies healthy meals, snacks and beverages that leave their clients feeling replenished, both physically and mentally. Their grocery section carries many specialty brands and their shakes were all designed by their Licensed Registered Dietician, Samantha Koepp. All of these services have allowed the staff at the Wellness District to help over 5,000 patients become happier, healthier and feel more confident in their bodies. A DIVERSE AESTHETIC With three businesses under one roof, it was important in the design for each to have a distinct look, yet feel cohesive as one space. Interior Designer, Monica Hart of Monica Hart Interior Design, Inc. was hired to create a beautiful and approachable space that was comfortable for both men and women. The overall color palette included shades of blue, white, green, black and warm grays. The blue in the logo was the first pull of inspiration and they wanted to tie in more colors found in nature to give an organic feeling in the public spaces.


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0

For the aesthetic side of the clinic, the design team wanted it to feel a little more glamorous. They used high-end wall coverings in the hallways and each aesthetic room has a fun accent wall and decorative light fixtures. For the Medical Weight Loss side of the clinic, they desired an understated medical feel while still incorporating warm colors and coordinated carpets to not feel too cool. The Nutrition Bar used some of the same finishes while adding their own touches of branding and biophilic elements, a design method that brings the outdoors in. An abundance of natural light, plants that inspire closeness to nature, stone that nods to natural landscapes, light wood-look flooring and dark cabinetry create a modern and organic atmosphere, relating directly to their natural food and beverage selections. ADDED SPACE, ADDED OPPORTUNITIES With the additional space came opportunities for additional growth in multiple areas. They were able to put all of their services under one roof, service more clients at once, add more display space for their weight loss and skin products, a larger Nutrition Bar and grocery space and add on more aesthetic services, including Signature and DiamondGlow facials and a more apt space for CoolSculpting. The Wellness District plans to continue the growth of its services with the ever-changing needs of its clients. Now that they are moved into their new space and fully functioning, Hart and the ownership team have a few

more walls where they want to add additional artwork and some before/after photos in both the aesthetic and medical weight loss sides. Doing this, they hope to inspire their patients further while designing with their own success stories. PAY A VISIT The Wellness District’s new space is not only beautiful and approachable, but practical for the services that they provide. The design is stylish and functional, but also comprehensive for the three businesses that are combined as a one-stop-shop for all weight loss needs. However, with changing times and today’s technology, they have now opened their online walk-in clinic. Anyone can visit with their physician from the comfort of their own home. It is the goal of The Wellness District to enhance their clients’ health, wellness and natural beauty while providing safe and high-quality care, weight loss education and modern aesthetic services. And now they have a gorgeous new space to help their clients look and feel their absolute best!

The Wellness District 435 32nd Ave. E., West Fargo 701-205-3088

Architect: Dovetail Development Project Management: Meridian Property Management Interior Designer: Monica Hart Interior Design Artwork: Monica Hart Interior Design Furniture: Melissa LaBay at InterOffice Flooring: J&J Flooring Group Invision Cabinetry: Braaten Cabinets


DESIGN & LIVING | A P R I L / M AY 2 0 2 0


ON YOUR SHELF STAY UP TO DATE ON CURRENT DESIGN TRENDS AND GET THE LATEST NEWS SURROUNDING THOSE AT THE FOREFRONT OF INNOVATIVE IDEAS. The unique tabloid size of the magazine creates keepsake value and readers are known for reading it from cover to cover and displaying each issue in their home.




Subscribe Today






MARCH 2019



A step into the past with the exceptional historic homes of the Red River Valley

historic homes of the Red River Valley A step into the past with the exceptional





Personality Personality



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