Design & Living Aug/Sept 2020

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R E N O V AT I O N issue



The Renovation Issue


Designing with Joy

With more and more time spent at home, people are deciding to make the most of their houses, and for many, that means diving into home renovation projects. In this issue, we discuss remodels, refreshes, flips and more. Sometimes it is time for a change and who doesn't love looking at some jaw-dropping beforeand-after pictures? Come with us as we look at some impressive local projects that'll make you start planning your next trip to the home improvement store.

In each issue of Design & Living, residential and commercial designer Christen Anderson of Live Christen Joy showcases a joyful project of hers. This month, Anderson shows a main-floor refresh on the most darling, playful home.


Building with the Mullers: Phase V


Art Feature: of course, where else


Form & Function with Jackson Strom


ON THE COVER The kitchen of Haven Homes' downtown Fargo Airbnb. To see more of this oh-so-cute house, read "A Modern Meets Vintage Haven" on page 28.

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.

Park Rapids' Nemeth Art Center hosts a new group show with a fresh perspective on the place we call home. The exhibition features Alonzo Pantoja, Amber Fletschock, David Ruhlman, Galilee Peaches, Lauren Roche, and Meghan Duda, artists who represent a wide range of media and subject matter.

Architect Jackson Strom of Strom Architecture dives into a different, important design discussion each month. This month, Strom discusses his own family's kitchen remodel.

Spaces that Work: Henson Group

Gorgeous offices need love too! Join commercial interior designer Becky Muller as she tours the Henson Group's new Fargo Office, made possible thanks to Great States Construction and Christen Joy.

For more exclusive, original content,

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @designandlivingmagazine


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t ra d i n g

Flip Flops for


Summertime typically is a time of year where we put on our sandals and head to some warm, sunny locale. It's a time to relax, unwind and spend quality time with friends and family. But in the midst of this global pandemic, all of our plans have changed. We are embracing staying at home and getting a little creative in ways to still enjoy summer, but with necessary precautions. We have less face time and more FaceTime. Less zooming around in the boat and more Zoom. And in Design & Living's home-loving case, less flip-flops and more flip homes.

the not-so inviting front porch? It has new life now thanks to some lush new plants!

With extra time on our hands and our houses seeing more and more play-time, many of us have been led in the direction of home-improvement. Those dated kitchen cabinets? They got a new paint job! The spare bedroom that was once used for storage? It's now a gorgeous home office! And

To be honest, we already had planned on this being a renovation issue for some time now. But with more and more people deciding to make the most of the spaces they are spending the most time in, we knew this issue would hold a special, additional weight. As Tessa Beck said, it's

On a call about a new art exhibit with Tessa Beck of Nemeth Art Center, the curator encompassed this overall mood well, saying, "It’s surprising the economic impacts of all this, but at the same time, people are spending a lot of time at home and realizing how their home makes them feel and wanting to beautify their spaces. And just having time to think about how they feel and how their environment makes them feel – it is so awesome."

been an unexpected treat getting to rethink our homes. And while not all the of projects featured in this issue are total flips or were done during this COVID-19 timeline, we hope they inspire you just the same. We hope you'll start to think about what your dwelling means to you, and even come up with some small ways to make it feel even more like "home." Until Next Issue,


AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 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.


EDITORIAL Editorial Director Editor Graphic Designers Contributors

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

Mike Dragosavich

Alexandra Martin Alexandra Martin Christy German, Kim Cowles Christen Anderson, Hillary Ehlen, Darrick Guthmiller, Elisabeth Iepson, Nicole Mendoza, Becky Muller, Jackson Strom, Carissa & Gabriel Photography

Nick Schommer Kirsten Lund Tommy Uhlir, Laura Alexander Kellen Feeney Ben Buchanan

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Sales Executives

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Client Relations

Jenny Johnson

ADMINISTRATION VP of Human Resources

Colleen Dreyer

Account Strategist

Cassie Wiste


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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.


Nicole Mendoza is the founder and lead photographer of Nicole Midwest Photography. When she's not shooting weddings and capturing special moments, she can be found at the local plant nursery or the Hearth & Hand With Magnolia section at Target. She loves her rescue cats Milo Thatch and Darkness and keeping them in line is a full-time job itself.


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.


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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.



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Fall Parade of Homes & Remodeled Home Tour

By Darrick Guthmiller, Kochmann Brothers Homes, Inc. Home Builders Association of F-M President

Darrick Guthmiller is current Home Builders Association of F-M president. He is a partner in Kochmann Brothers Homes, Inc., specializing in new custom homes, remodeling and lake homes.


ven after postponement, the Spring Parade of Homes went smoothly in June! We applaud the public and our members for their support in following the event’s COVID-19 protocol to help make it safe. Builders on the Parade told us that interest was stronger than ever from those who want to invest in a new home. There has never been a better time to upgrade and take advantage of record low-interest rates! Your next chance to see all the trends is almost here. The Fall Parade of Homes runs two weekends, Sept. 19-20 and 2627, with the Remodeled Home Tour Sept. 26-27 only. Visit for all the details and guidance on how the event will be conducted in this everchanging pandemic situation. Just as coronavirus influences other areas of our lives, it has sparked home design trends! Look for these on the Parade and during the Remodeled Home Tour: • Modifying Mudrooms and Entryways. A simple area to take off jackets or rainboots when entering


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your home is no longer an afterthought. Now a focal point, home entryways and mudrooms are a space to drop off mail, collect groceries/delivery boxes, remove face masks and sanitize hands. Future home designs will automatically consider these activities when creating a functional, cohesive and comfortable entryway.

Incorporating Touchless/ Hands-Free Home Features. Copper and other materials have natural antimicrobial elements with the potential to reduce the spread of microbes. Doorknobs, kitchen cabinet handles and other home hardware with copper or other antimicrobial materials could grow in popularity. Touchless faucets, hands-free light fixtures or appliances may also gain widespread usage.

Creating Private Spaces. Getting homework, virtual playdates and work conference calls completed all in the same space at the same time is a challenge. New small, convertible spaces or nooks in homes can

help a full house function a bit better with an additional private or semi-private space. •

Finding Storage Solutions. From more space to store non-perishable food, home office accessories or items in the entryway, a place for everything is generating appeal for homeowners. With more time at home, additional storage space will be a valuable feature in future home designs.

We welcome you to the Fall Parade of Homes and Remodeled Home Tour next month! Remember, if you are uncomfortable attending in person, we have other options. Visit to view the homes, pick up a magazine available at all Hornbacher’s beginning Sept. 14 or consider contacting Parade builders directly to set up private appointments.

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

September 26-27

September 19-20 and 26-27

For more information, contact: HBAFargoMoorhead


Spotlight's Other Magazines

Stay tuned for a special edition of Fargo Monthly, coming mid-August! This issue will celebrate our local frontline heroes, essential workers, pivoting business owners and so many more. Get excited to read features on how our community has banded together to stay strong in the face of adversity.

Learn all about Amy Rorvig, a 4th generation rancher at Rorvig Ranch. Here, she talks ranching, marketing, family-life and so much more. Also inside this issue, read about farm asset planning, harvesting solar energy, the diversification of hemp, Plug & Play's new startup class and a new frontier of drone capabilities.

From a part-time hobby to a full-blown business, the Cboys have turned video making into a fullon entrepreneurial endeavor. Their YouTube Channel, CboysTV has generated over 118 million views and they have brought in millions in revenue because of it. Learn more about this wildly talented group in our latest issue.

Coming Soon!


with joy

fortune favors the


BY Christen Anderson | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen


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n West Fargo, sits an adorable two-story home that is well-loved by a family of a mom, dad and three young girls. The homeowner reached out to me, ready for a change – but wanting to stay in the great neighborhood they’ve called home for some time.

At our initial consultation, the client mentioned she had dabbled with the idea of a remodel and had reached out to Dave Anderson Construction for estimates. During our meeting, we walked through the home and talked about various ideas. We spoke about ways to use the existing cabinets by sprucing them up with paint and hardware, updating light fixtures, adding some new furniture and even some wallpaper. In this meeting I also shared my ideas on what she could do from a design standpoint – pointing out outdated cabinetry details, previous selections I’d update and "don’t think I’m crazy" type of concepts. I like to push my clients to see the potential of their homes and the potential of their personal style. I can tell you this: after waving good-bye after the initial meeting, I thought I’d receive the call to move forward with new paint for the existing cabinets and to find a few new rugs to spruce up the place. I knew it was to be a large project if she wanted to be bold and opt for any sort of remodeling and/or ideas I had thrown out. I also thought, "We will we be keeping the spraypainted fixture." Then one night, I received communication from the client saying the contractor will be demoing tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow. What did this mean? She was going for it! We were going down to the studs and opening walls, headed for a main floor remodel for the kitchen, dining room, powder room and mudroom. This client was ready to be bold in her home and wasn’t afraid of adding her personal style throughout selections...from the studs up.

MAKE IT FLOW – THE EXISTING SPACES We were off the selection races and one of the first things we needed to lock down was where would we stop – from a remodeling standpoint. If you’ve dabbled in your own projects, you know that there is a trickle-down effect with what you change. In this case, with the existing base trim and stained window and door casings in mind, we had to make the decision on if we should refresh the entire main floor, or if we should just focus on the to-thestuds remodel portion. The decision was made that we’d focus on the remodeled space, but ensuring there would still be cohesiveness throughout. When picking colors to start with, we opted for a shade of white for the walls, casing, trim and some doors. We picked a white that would be warmer in hue to create a warmth that would flow cohesively when you walked into the other spaces that had the stained woodwork. We also opted for a nutmeg color door for the entryway and dining room space to echo other stained doors in the existing spaces. The result was a perfect blend of white and stainedtones in each space. Lastly, we refreshed the non-remodel space with the same white paint used in the remodel space to create flow that’s undeniable when in the home. Pro Tip: Test white paints next to your existing casing or trim work to ensure the hue is a good match. Whites come in many different shades!

CLASSIC 101 If you know the Christen Joy brand you know that I love to integrate major personality. However, I want to balance that pizzazz with classic design elements that clients can love for years and years to come. Let’s be real, building, remodeling or refreshing a space is such a treat and, at times, an expensive one. So I always want to create a space that is timeless. With that theme in mind, I recommended a white kitchen backsplash, the aforementioned white paint (however, in different sheens than the trim, doors, walls and ceiling), white oakinspired flooring and quartz countertops with flecks of grey veining that are both durable and gorgeous. My client said she'd love to do the rainbow of colors for a backsplash (love her creativity!), and I reassured her that we’d add more than enough personality and color in the space to balance out all of the white. Pro Tip: What’s great about a neutral foundation is you can change color schemes, easily decorate for any holiday or season and, should you be ready to sell, it’s neutral enough for anyone to come in and fall in love.

PAINTED & STAINED CABINETRY We wanted to provide a more functional kitchen for this client. We worked with Wendt Custom Cabinets (my go-to) and came up with the plan of a classic white, a deep navy island and a stained mudroom and drop zone. The white kept the kitchen classic in design and feeling open and fresh. The navy island was a perfect balance with the white walls and cabinets and added a bold wow-factor to the space. It was also the perfect color to pop brass tones off of. We opted for stained cabinets in the mudroom, selecting the perfect stain to play with the white oak colored flooring. Pro Tip: Don’t fear mixing painted and stained cabinets. I, personally, like blocking the different selections in rooms to avoid a space feeling too busy.

WALLPAPER: MORE THE MERRIER Are y’all ready to really play? This client was! After the mudroom's white paint and a splash of blue to accompany the handsome stained cabinets, we were ready to talk paper. After locking on a board and batten wainscoting for both the bathroom and dining room, we knew we could use a bolder patterned wallpaper here, as it was balanced with the white millwork.



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I’ll tell you the truth, for the dining room wallpaper I said, "I just want a client to have the courage to do it, it’s fabulous!" and she said, "well now I have to!" Movement, texture and a beautiful pastel blue as the backdrop – it’s all there. The paper is derived from Japanese woodblock printing, which is a surface print that provides a wide range of vivid colors, glazes or transparency. This pattern depicts a swirling garden with a diagonal repeat – keeping your eye moving on the paper, while avoiding a busy feeling.

Oversized wall sconces in the powder room flank the brass mirror and continue to layer the elements of style and boldness in this space.

The powder room is always a place you can play – be adventurous and a little, shall we say, "out there." My client fell in love with this Birds & Butterfly wallpaper, which is inspired by a handprinted 1960s wallcovering from the archive of Schumacher, a well-known industry leader of wallcoverings. The white penny round tiles and wainscoting allow this paper to steal the show. Whimsical, playful and sure to be a favorite paper in this home.

This client went for it – literally preparing for demo in 24 hours and going with her gut on selections, staying true to her knee-jerk reaction to what she loves. She left me with this: "My parting gratitude gift to you – this commemorative can of spray paint. I am giving it up – you converted me."

LIGHTING (TOODLES SPRAY PAINT!) This client has a knack for creativity and told me the tales of all the things she’s spraypainted to make work for a little longer. A for effort, but gone are the days of spray-painting fixtures! When I say she tossed the can, did she! We agreed on brass fixtures for the kitchen, over the island and in the powder room. The kitchen is home to a globe pendant hung over the sink to create a focal point in the u-shaped kitchen. Large enough for a focal, but the clear glass allows it to be one with the space. Two lantern pendants over the island anchor this space and add a hint of femininity with the curved metal at the top.

Last by not least, a matte white chandelier in the dining room could be thought to be a set with the wallpaper but are actually from completely different companies. Movement, upward swirls and muted white complete the statement space.


So readers, now I leave you with this – a remodel may be something that you’re dreaming of, dabbling with or even starting now – just know that your only design limitations are yourself, so be bold or go home.

Sources General Contractor: Dave Anderson Construction Cabinetry & Countertops: Wendt Custom Cabinets Flooring & Backsplash: Carpet World Wallpaper: Gene’s Paint & Decorating Dining Room Furniture: HOM Furniture

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.


Providing a simple and enjoyable lake home building experience

Happy Camper The Iepson family took an early 2000s camper and turned it into the ultimate remote office for their business, Elisabeth Eden.

A Modern Meets Vintage Haven Haven Homes has created one of downtown Fargo's cutest Airbnbs out of a 1898 home.

Respectfully Preserved Holding onto the details they loved most, Dawson Schefter and Karly Palczewski infused their own personality into a 1922 home.





48 A Dash of Personality Dash & White's owner Kelsy Rasco and her husband Shawn Shackle have been taking on little projects everywhere to make their house complete.

A Dreamy Blank Slate With the team from The White House Company at the reigns, Ivy & Rose, a warehouse-turnedevent-venue endeavor, is sure to host a bevy of fashionable events.

60 Renovation Rewind Take a look at some of Design & Living's favorite flip projects from issues past.


Innovation With more and more time spent at home, people are deciding to make the most of their houses, and for many, that means diving into home renovation projects. Sometimes it is time for a change and who doesn't love looking at some jaw-dropping before-and-after pictures? Come with us as we look at some impressive local projects that'll make you start planning your next trip to the home improvement store.



Vintage Haven BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Nicole Midwest

Haven Homes, a newly minted residential renovation company, took on a historic home refresh with visions of making it downtown Fargo's freshest Airbnb.


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The Haven Homes Team: Daniel Landman, Haley Schmitz and Taylor Grogan

The concept of doing the bare minimum isn't something Haven Homes is familiar with. In the world of home renovations and flips, there's a huge difference between making a house up-to-date versus making it a home. And for the most part, the Haven Homes team has been successful in achieving the latter. However, just about a year ago the team took on a renovation without the intention of selling it, but rather keeping it and turning it into an Airbnb. A few coats of paint and over a dozen five-star reviews later, this Airbnb is a timeless, top pick in town. This 1898 downtown Fargo home was an opportunity for them to play with design and see a renovation through, from appliances to bed linens to art. Haven Homes' co-managing partners Daniel Landman and Taylor Grogan typically take on the lead, handling construction



Airbnb For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Airbnb is a hospitality service that allows people tolease or rent short-term lodging. Staying in an Airbnb is like staying in a hotel, except that your room may be a whole house, a private room in a house or an apartment.

and code. But since this home wasn't going on the market, Landman's fiancĂŠe Haley Schmitz got to have some extra fun in picking out special design details. Airbnb has become a source for oh-socute homes that make guests wish they could stay forever, so the team knew no detail could be spared if they wanted to be successful in booking it out. So what made the team switch gears and select this home as an Airbnb project? "Location," Landman said without a pause. Situated just steps away from downtown Fargo, the home is placed perfectly for a rental. Travelers who want the amenities and charm of a home but the convenience of being in the heart of the community can find it all in this historic home. "We thought, 'let's try to make an Airbnb out of this,'" said Schmitz, and her fiancĂŠ added, "We figured we would try it, and if it didn't work, then we'd just have a home for us." Not a bad Plan B!


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Haven HOMES Haven Homes is the residential renovation company of co-managing partners Daniel Landman and Taylor Grogan. With the design eye of Landman's fiancée Haley Schmitz, the team buys, renovates and sells homes with the utmost quality in mind. Friends since high school, Landman and Grogan had always talked about having a business together someday. About two years ago, Grogan was working in commercial construction but wasn't enjoying it. To test the waters, he tried his hand at residential construction instead, working with Landman on their first flip home. "We bought a house and worked on it in the evenings and weekends," Landman said. In doing this, it clicked that this was something they wanted to take on in a larger capacity. From there, they increased their workload and soon enough it became their full-time business. Grogan enjoys that residental constructions have much shorter completion schedules, so the outcome is revealed sooner. But this isn't to say that the projects are rushed. The team would much rather focus on quality over quantity.



Besides the obviously attractive location, the owners fell in love with the home's existing character. They noted that it was already pretty well taken care of over the years, so they knew a renovation wouldn't be a huge undertaking. When you're less concerned about redoing the foundation or rearranging the floorplan, there's more opportunity for some fun design choices and risk-taking. A lesson for any aspiring home flipper: take advantage of the mostly cosmetic flip opportunities. When a home already has character and good bones, it is a recipe for success.

From the street, the house boasts a sweet, light blue door that welcomes guests in, a fresh upgrade from the original black door. The front porch comfortably comes equipped with string lights, scents from the hydrangea bushes below and the distant songs of downtown. When the Haven team purchased the house, they were fortunate enough that a new porch had been constructed and all they had to do was stain and finish it. On the other side of the house is a serene backyard, an asset that is rare for the location. Complete with new landscaping, a

storage shed and a vision for a future firepit set-up, this lush, green space is the perfect spot to unwind while on holiday. Inside, thoughtful details abound. The first floor opens up to a formal living room that leads to the kitchen in one direction and a study in the other. Thoughtfully sprinkled are artifacts honoring Fargo, like a "58102" printed pillow, framed city photos from years past and Fargo Theatre coasters. Travelers often like being surrounded by notions of the city they are visiting, and these details check that box while still

matching the overall aesthetic. Such overall aesthetic can best be described as "vintage modern," which might sound like an oxymoron but fits the space well. Mid-century modern inspired pieces, such as a leather couch from Article, play with vintage pieces like refinished dressers and side tables. Schmitz has a close friend who owns a vintage store out of Mayville, N.D., so she enjoys the benefits of getting inside access to special pieces. A modern matte black and brass Sputnik chandelier illuminates the vintage books and globes 33

that decorate naval blue built-ins. The bookshelves themselves are made current with sophisticated brushed gold hardware. The juxtapositions between new and old showcase just how thoughtful and intentional each decor piece is. Much like the study and living room, the kitchen didn't see a major change. The footprint remained the same, but new appliances, fresh cabinet paint and new butcher block countertops made the room feel new. A full dining room set and a bar offer guests a cozy setting for meals and a door to the fenced-in backyard invites sunrise coffee cups to be had. From discovering the magic of Grout Renew to putting playful wallpaper over outdated nooks, the Haven Homes team enjoyed switching up their routine and diving into the details. Be sure to follow along with the team as they have a few other flip projects in progress. And if you're inspired to take a staycation at this downtown treasure, search "The 1898 House - Historic Downtown Home" on Airbnb.


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Camper BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Elisabeth Eden

As cliche as it is, sometimes home is about who you are with, not where you are. For the Iepson family, "home" can now be anywhere, thanks to their recent camper renovation.


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As you can see, design details from the Iepson's south Fargo home carried over to the camper, making for built-in design ideas and cohesion.

Blue wallpaper. Mismatched flooring. Musty velvet curtains. These are some features that the Iepson family's camper came with when they purchased it from Facebook Marketplace this past spring. Now, many COVID quarantine months later, the camper is a boho-mid-century oasis, ready to hit to road. Before adding kids into the mix, Brett and Elisabeth "Bethy" Iepson had a 1970s camper they used to travel south with in the winter. But after a few years of very little use, they decided to sell it. Now with two young boys, a baby girl on the way and a full year of both working full time for their own business, the couple decided now was the time to return to the camper life. Since owning their two previous campers, the couple has found great success in their photography and


creative agency business, Elisabeth Eden. Embracing the freedom that comes with running a business, they had plans of escaping somewhere warmer for the winter months. As the COVID outbreak began to really assert itself as not going anywhere, the family started actively keeping their eyes out for a good deal on a new camper. "With COVID, we figured if we were going to go anywhere this winter, we should bring our house with us," said Bethy. "With our business, we're really flexible to go to a warmer state and work from there if we want, so that is hopefully still the plan for this winter." Some online searching later, the couple drove out to a small, rural town in Minnesota to claim their chosen camper. What they found was a fifth wheel that had been sitting on a farm for a year, unkempt and marked by the cat. They knew they'd have some work to do, but for the right price, this was the one. When the coronavirus lock-down was in its height, the Iepsons took advantage of their extra downtime and dove into the camper renovation. When they purchased it, they knew it would need some work, and this extra downtime was the perfect opportunity for such. The initial stage was primarily taking out all the "ugly things" and prepping it for the good parts. Being that tearing things out isn't an expense, this was an especially COVID-friendly and budgetfriendly project. It wasn't until late July that the finishing touches were added, all the decor had been placed (much of which came from their house anyways!) and the camper was ready for family adventures. Thanks to some water damage, one of the first big projects included installing new flooring and subflooring. While this was a necessary update, it also was an opportunity for a cosmetic refresh. The original camper had three different types of flooring throughout, all of which the new owners did not enjoy. Now, the owners enjoy the warm wood-look of their honey-toned floors throughout. They knew that solving existing cat-urine damage was on the to-do list, but an unexpected task came with removing a mouse nest from behind the bedroom's wall. While this re-insulating wasn't planned, they ended up loving the


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wood panel they installed to replace the previous, damaged wall. "The wood wall behind the bed is now my favorite view, from standing in the kitchen looking into the bedroom. It is amazing because everything else is white and then there’s this rounded wood wall behind the bed and it’s so cool. It is something that we didn't plan on that I ended up loving the look of," said Bethy. "It was more work than we thought, obviously, but I feel like that's any project ever," she joked. As for design inspiration, the first goal was to make it look more spacious. Obviously, when it comes to a camper, it can only be so large, but some tricks of the eye helped achieve this goal. "I wanted it to look bigger, so I knew everything was going to be white, just plain white," Bethy said. With some coats of white paint and neutral, airy decor, a bright and inviting atmosphere was created. Following the vision of all-white, luckily the kitchen cabinets were already white, which made the owners happy to not have to take on the task of redoing all the cabinetry. To still put their own touch on them and give the cabinets a modern refresh, they opted for matte black hardware updates. This added bit of contrast coordinated with the new matte black faucet and light figures. "I struggled with picking out the knobs and fixtures because I had never done black before. I've always just done brass,

but brass would have made it look even more dated in here," said Bethy. Now loving the matte black, Bethy joked that she was tempted to change out some of her house's finishes to match. In addition to the touches of contrast, the kitchen was made brighter and fresher with a peel-and-stick subway tile backsplash. For not doing any huge undertakings, the Iepsons were really happy with how the kitchen update turned out. Add in some counter-top accessories and a matching matte black kettle, this kitchen is sure to host some memorable cups of coffee and family breakfasts together. Since working from the road was a lead vision from the start, they needed to prioritize making the camper a good mobile office. To do this, they included a desk area with two seats, nestled beneath a big, beautiful window. "A huge goal for us was to have our business be able to be remote. That we can live in the camper, but also have an office area," said Bethy. Having a designated office – and not just the camper's kitchen counter – ensures their business can be productive and successful, no matter where they are parked. When everything was finally put together, the result surprised even the owners. "I Facetime called Brett and I was like, 'This honestly looks like a camper I would save on Pinterest or Instagram. It looks better than I thought it would!" said Bethy. A lot of the camper's design details echo the Iepson's home, which made the decorating process come naturally. After months of demo, planning, design, installation and sweating in the heat while painting, the camper is ready to be home to many memories for the growing Iepson family. We cannot wait to see what magic the owners will create while working from it, both near and far.


Brett and Bethy Iepson's business, Elisabeth Eden, has been serving North Dakota and beyond since 2007. What began as a photography business for Bethy, Elisabeth Eden is now a full creative agency that offers photography, marketing, design, social media management and content creation. They also offer The Eden Collective, which is a monthly membership-based content agency that provides members with marketing consulting, photoshoots, social media tips and strategies and even a customized preset to ensure their feed stays cohesive. Elisabeth Eden works in all the facets of the brand year-round, but in the summer and fall, Bethy works especially hard on the photography side, so that when the winter rolls around, they can hit the road and draw all their attention to the marketing side.


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Preserved BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY KP Photography by Karly Palczewski

Engaged couple Dawson Schefter and Karly Palczewski's whole history has been written in North Dakota. And by renovating a 1922 home in the Clara Barton neighborhood of Fargo, they've taken some ND history and preserved it for even more memories to be written.


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The couple got engaged in the house, took their engagement photos in the house and have Schefter's proposal letter framed in the house...It's a house full of love and memories!

Photo by FloraPine Photography

Hailing from Langdon, Schefter claims he is a North Dakota boy throughand-through. He enjoys a challenging DIY project on the side while he works in consulting by day. Originally from Bowman, Palczewski is just as creative, working as a marketing graphic design specialist and also running a photography business, KP Photography. It is an ambitious task to take on a historic home remodel. But it is especially ambitious to do almost entirely without outside contractors... and still plan to get married after it all! Jokes aside, the couple worked well together through the process. Palczewski admitted, "I can’t take a lot of credit for the work, [Dawson] did most of that work by himself!" While Schefter took the lead on the remodel, Palczewski visited on weekends and offered valuable support and painting abilities.


If they wanted the look of a new, modern home, they would have purchased a new, modern home. The couple wanted to maintain the historic details while bringing the home into the modern age. "As creatives, when we walked in the door it looked like a blank canvas to us. A lot of people would have been scared away from it, but the original hardwood, windows, doorknobs and those kinds of things we loved," said Palczewski. In the remodel, those such elements were the ones they kept and gave special attention to. According to Schefter, the floors were perhaps one of the hairiest and most audacious goals of the project. Of course, they wanted to keep the original hardwood, but the refinishing process turned out to be a bigger bite than Schefter imagined. "I had never refinished a hardwood floor and I don't think I ever will again," he joked. "I didn't just do one room at a time, I did all 2,000 square feet of original hardwood floors. But I'm glad I did, it changed the whole vibe of the house." Originally, the floors were a warm natural to cedar tone, complete with the dents and scratches one would expect from a nearly 100-year-old home. Now, the sophisticated chocolate tone contrasts beautifully with the crisp white trim and walls. Another one of their favorite transformations came with the fireplace. It has been said time and time again that the fireplace is the heart of the home, and the homeowners wanted to make that true of this house too. In their floorplan, the fireplace is the first thing you see when you walk in the door. Its dark brick was painted white and the brassy casing received a matte black treatment, resulting in a brighter, more inviting feel. Throughout the house, Schefter added a number of smarthome technologies, and wiring up the fireplace's mantle for television was one of them. "We're fortunate that we've not run into any big mechanical issues. The prior owners had taken good care of it in terms of electrical service upgrades, drain tile and things like that. They did some of those fundamentals that allowed us to really bring the place up. It just reminds you that everything is temporary. So we're just taking care of the house for now – that’s how we look at it," said Schefter. 44

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On the few spots that weren't salvageable, like some of the trim work and an entire bathroom, the homeowners tried to pick finishes that matched and complimented the rest of the house. Using hexagon tile and paint colors that are timeless, they wanted to keep as much as they could looking like it was all from the same era. Besides the appeal of historic details like hardwood and doorknobs, the established neighborhood was a big selling point. "I wanted to be somewhat near downtown, and we are a few blocks away here. I love the community of Fargo and there are a lot of neighborhoods here, but I just love being able to come home and have the established trees and other young families here," said Schefter. An additional selling point of the neighborhood was the backyard and oversized two-stall garage. Having grass space and a cozy screened-in back porch

make for a perfect oasis in the quiet neighborhood. "When I was driving through the neighborhood to get a feel for it before I pulled the trigger [on the purchase], there was a block party and it just reminded me of small-town vibes. And I would say that was the moment that I knew. Because we love the house and love the character but it's important that you don't spend all your time in this 2000 square feet, but the neighborhood itself," Schefter recalled. As fate, luck or a really great Realtor (Mari Santoyo Perry) would have it, this home was actually the first one Schefter stepped foot in on his home search. Looking past all the work that needed to be done, it checked all the boxes and he knew this was it. Once the heavy lifting was complete and their vision had come to life, the homeowners continued to make

the place their own with decor and accessories. As with any house that becomes a home, this space is full of personal artifacts. Framed photos of Schefter's family's farm, hanging map prints of places they've lived, a prayer card from the church the Schefter family grew up in, a custom-made Grain Designs sign reading a favorite Teddy Rosevelt quote ("Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.") and just the right amount of photos of the couple. "We're both small-town North Dakota kids and a lot of our decor have stories behind them," said Palczewski. Schefter finished her thought, saying, "The stories are super fun, and we like having those touchpoints." Speaking of stories, on Instagram, the homeowners created a digital scrapbook of sorts for family and friends to follow along: @fargoremodel. "We just really

get a kick out of [the Instagram], because we never intended for it to become this thing that anybody would care about. It was just an easy way for us to show before-and-afters," said Schefter. Not only does the couple have easily accessible before-and-after images from throughout the process, but they also have amassed some friends and followers along the way. The Schefter-Palczewski home goes to show how personal a remodel can be. While bringing on a team of contractors and designers is an easy route, the DIY ambitions of a young couple presented with good bones are incredible. This care for detail and creative eye ensured the place perfectly melded the new homeowners' present with the historic past.


Kelsey Rasco and Shawn Shackle have a beautifully blended family, including two sons from Shackle's previous marriage and a new son and daughter together. Within their Moorhead rambler home, purchased in fall 2018, they echo this idea of being beautifully blended by tackling bite-sized renovation projects. The home that stands today has parts of the original home intermixed with new additions and fixes, creating a distinctly unique space.


Character BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY Kelsey Rasco

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are renovations. For the Rasco-Shackle family, bite-sized projects have been completed along the way, slowly piecing together the perfect, quirky home for this growing family. 48

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Upon moving into the home, they immediately got started with a few "must haves," like tearing up the carpet and changing up the paint colors. Once the home turned into a somewhat-blank slate they could work with, the piece-bypiece projects started to happen. Rasco's eye for design and impeccable taste guide these renovation projects. And it only makes sense, as she is the owner of mid-century, fun-loving home decor store Dash & White. Her mission with Dash & White is to spread joy and personality within the home. She is a firm believer in "treating yourself" and knows how important it is that you love the space you live in. Whether embarking on a complete renovation or taking it step-by-step, Rasco offers this advice: Spend wise. Fall in love with your home. Design with purpose. That being said, let's take a look at some of the Rasco-Shackle family refreshes.

No matter what the "during" process looked like, the "after" is a mid-century modern showstopper in a delicious navy blue with brushed gold and leather accents. On the inside, Shackle insisted on adding lights to illuminate the otherwise dark interior. Now, the various glasses and mixology tools are given the right attention they deserve, with the lights automatically turning on when you open the cabinet doors. A FUNKY LITTLE BAR CABINET What was once a $25 Facebook Marketplace purchase is now a sophisticated bar cabinet, thanks to $75 in paint, hardware and led lights... and some sweat equity. Rasco noted that she and her husband don't typically embark on furniture rehabs, but a mix of quarantine restlessness and being eightmonths pregnant made her talk herself into the idea. "We were looking for a funky piece of furniture to fill a corner. So we found this armoire and turned it into a bar cabinet," she said. Rasco had visions of slapping some paint on it and calling it a day, but Shackle wanted to do things right. This meant taking apart the whole piece and painting every nook and corner. Rasco joked that this project drove her crazy, but that makes for a good story, right?

Wine glass holders were installed to maximize storage and shelves were adjusted to ensure all sizes of bottles could be accommodated (yes, including Costco-sized bottles). Much of the barware inside and the decor adorning the top of the cabinet are from Rasco's store, Dash & White. Not in the cabinet itself, but certainly helping draw attention to the area is a stunning kudu skull. The kudu is a woodland antelope, typically found throughout eastern and southern Africa. While Rasco herself isn't a fan of game hunting, she had long been enamored by kudu skulls and their dramatic, gorgeous horns. After searching, she finally came across this one and knew she had to have it. Mixing a rustic animal skull with a modern environment makes for a unique, one-of-a-kind look.


VETERAN AFFAIRS Perhaps one of the most impactful and sentimental additions to the home is this custom built-in shadowbox. Originally, the home had a built-in shelving nook that Shackle loved and Rasco despised. Between deciding to sheetrock over it or keep it as-is, Rasco decided to surprise her husband with this magnificent shadowbox that showcases his Army career. "I used to be a custom picture framer for about 12 years, so I've worked on collages like this for a while," said Rasco. With this experience, she brought to life a keepsake that includes Shackle's old dress blues jacket, a framed letter from the senator, his dog tags, some of his metals and awards and even an acrylic brick encasing bullet rounds from his second Afghanistan deployment. All these artifacts are stored safely away behind a Plexiglass covering. This covering is conveniently removable so that the family can still access what is behind it and can add to the collection if wanted. Beyond being a beautiful piece of decor, it serves an educational purpose too. "Shawn was overseas when his kids were infants, and there will be a time when they learn that he wasn't around during their infancy and I just really want them to be educated on where he was and what's was doing," said Rasco. She believes it is important to have these types of things in the home.


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ODDITY CENTRAL This bathroom remodel was intended to be a weekend project, but of course, it extended beyond that. This process included tearing out the existing large mirror, removing a bizarre built-in scale, replacing the lights and fan, new paint on the walls and vanity, a poured epoxy counter, a new backsplash and new faucets. Phew! While the big things like new counters of faucets are exciting, it's the little details that make this space uniquely RascoShackle. "I love oddities. And frankly, that's what I promote at my store. Just to fall in love and enjoy your art and your home and your accessories," said Rasco about the fun nesting dolls and packets of old teeth that serve as decorations in the new bathroom. A MOODY & SOPHISTICATED SUNROOM The family bid a cheerful goodbye to the primary-colored, sports-themed sunroom once overlooked their swimming pool. When summer rolled around after they purchased the home in the fall, it was time to turn this juvenile spot into a sophisticated lounge. A perfect shade of dark charcoal replaced the yellow, blue and red beadboard. This color played well with the existing pine ceiling, giving it that desirable mid-century modern aesthetic. They played up the wood accents and also added a live edge wood bar to serve up food, drinks and style on. Add in some string lights, Sono's speakers and greenery and they had themselves one cool hangout spot.



Blank Slate BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Nicole Midwest and Gabriel + Carissa

The team at Fargo-based event rental company, The White House Co., are well accustomed to turning forgotten relics into contemporary treasures. So when they decided to turn an old warehouse into a crisp and clean event venue, no one was surprised and everyone was thrilled.


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In the world of remodels, it's common to hear something along the lines of: "We bought the place because it was a blank slate full of potential!" But in Ivy & Rose Warehouse's case, it was almost the opposite. 22 14 1/2 St N was once Lee's Roofing & Sheet Metal Co, an industrial warehouse full of texture, crumbling paster and scarce beams of light illuminating the debris. But from this earth-toned, mixedmaterial filled expanse came a vision of the perfect blank canvas. Ivy & Rose owners Samantha Klinkhammer and Katie Schiltz knew some coats of white paint, additional windows and some creativity could turn this industrial depot into a crisp blank canvas for events of all kinds. If the names Samantha Klinkhammer and Katie Schiltz sound familiar to you, it's likely that you've been to an event that they had a hand in. Some of the most playful, vibrant and visually delicious events in the greater FargoMoorhead area have been made possible thanks to their furniture and decor rental business, The White House Company. Lush velvet chaise lounges, antique chandeliers dripping in crystals and every color of candlestick imaginable are among the goodies you can find in their repertoire, giving them a distinctly recognizable aesthetic that is both timeless and contemporary. Thanks to this reputation they've made


These photos come from a number of styled-shoots Ivy & Rose has hosted. They are hoping to continue to host such shoots, giving local creatives a space to create and play.

for themselves, they've gathered some great connections. With hundreds of weddings and other various events under their belts, they've established relationships with photographers, DJs, caterers, event planners and more. The only thing they'd been missing in this lineup was their dream, minimalistic downtown venue. In fact, they even had been begging friends to jump in and establish such a venue, with no luck. So when your dreams aren't coming true, sometimes you have to make them happen yourself, and thus Ivy & Rose was born. The women behind The White House Co opening their own venue was marvelously on-brand. They had begun casually looking around, seeing if an ideal location would fall into their lap. The first spot they dropped by didn't check all the boxes, but it got their wheels turning enough to where the dream just had to become a reality. "We were looking at really big spaces, like huge warehouses and it was kind of scary, but it just sort of fueled that fire," said Schiltz. Huge warehouses were overwhelming and out of budget, and other venues weren't the right location or style. Finding something that could be the base of what they had blueprinted out in their minds was hard and they were almost ready to give up on the search. Until they found the old Lee's Roofing building, just steps away from Drekker Brewing Company off of 1st Avenue. With a close-to-downtown location, parking spots and a comfortable square footage, the women said, "Heck yes!" The women were smitten with the building, seeing it's potential and knowing it was just what they envisioned all along. The warehouse is comprised of two event wings, a bridal-suite area, a multi-use flex room (ideal for food prep, storage, groom's suite, etc.) two sets of restrooms and an outdoor courtyard. The smaller-scale size made it intimate and not overwhelming, while still having enough capacity to host a full wedding and ceremony. Once the building was found, they could really start to play. But in contrast to many remodels, where new details are added and added until it fits the desired aesthetic, Klinkhammer and Schiltz


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wanted to forego adding such additions. To keep it simple, they opted to paint everything white, as well as ordering white chairs and tables. "All white is what we are going for. Just a blank canvas, because everyone's style is different and there's no point in us picking out something and it taking away from everything else," said Schiltz. Their signature decor pieces are known for being vibrant, colorful and textural, and doing anything besides a blank canvas wouldn't have let those pieces sing. Every couple or event host have their own style, so the Ivy & Rose team wanted to create a venue that would allow each event host's own visions and personality to shine through. Whether that be rich and romantic, country classic, mid-century modern or bohochic, the space is a chameleon. To achieve the all-white, blank canvas of their dreams, the team enlisted Painting by Chaz Bombenger. Bombenger took on painting the ceiling, and with Klinkhammer and Schiltz wanting to be involved in the transformation, they suited up and painted all the walls (with Bombenger's supervision and help, of course). "It was rewarding to be the ones who painted it," said Schiltz, adding that as lifelong penny-pinchers and thrifters, it just made sense to have fun with this part. The women admitted that painting the

original brick was hard for them to do at first, but an all-white venue was what was missing in town and the void they wanted to fill. "We were like, 'We need an all-white place!' Those were our dreams and goals and we just needed to stick to them. And that’s what we did and we love it," said Schiltz. While in the grand scheme of things, the work that needed to be done on the building wasn't a ton, it did include some key factors. At first viewing, the team noticed some areas where windows could be put in and had the landlord install those before they moved in. These new sources of light will illuminate the rawness and beauty in the rest of the space. Another not-cosmetic, but oh-so-important renovation included a new roof. Someday the Ivy & Rose team plan on creating a rooftop patio on this new roof, but that is a project to be completed down the line. As people who have made their career off of turning one man's trash into another's oh-so-cute treasure, it only makes sense that the warehouse's name also comes from an advantageous second-hand find. When Herberger's department stores were closing in the summer of 2018, liquidation sales were offering deeper and deeper discounts each week. But in such an everythingmust-go kind of sale, this meant everything, including the iconic neon

rose from their storefront signage. The vintage-style rose made the teams' hearts pitter-patter and they snatched up four of them, with intentions of bringing them into their downtown retail storefront. However, by the time they found someone willing and able to repair the neons, the sisters had another vision in the works. With neon rose signs in hand, the women knew they wanted them to be included in the interior and exterior of their newly acquired warehouse. But it had to make sense. After some branding discussions, the name Ivy & Rose seemed to be the perfect fit. "Rose" to make their neon signs feel at home and "Ivy" coming into play with freshly planted hops climbing up the chainlink fence around the property. Respecting the building's past and leaning into the warehouse aesthetic, Klinkhammer and Schiltz envisioned their new namesake signage paying homage to the building's original Lee's Roofing sign. They wanted the signage to look like it had been there for years already, and with the help of Upper Hand Signs, they achieved that by mimicking the original font and black and white coloring. And they couldn't be happier with the result!

take on a different point of view. Schiltz said, "It's going to be so fun for us to be on the other side of it, to see what other people bring into the blank canvas. We've just longed for something like this for such a long time." While they, of course, will continue to play around with design options for different events, these two can't wait to see what goodies hosts will bring in to help bring the space to life. Keep an eye out for this venue, as it will be hosting weddings, workshops, photography studio rentals and more in the coming months. For more information or rental inquiries, reach out to them at Ivy & Rose Warehouse 22 14 1/2 St N, Fargo

CREDITS Neon Sign Repair: J&H signs Painting: Painting by Chaz Bombenger Signage: Upper Hand Signs

After years of bringing their decor into other spaces, the women are excited to



<<Rewind F

argo-Moorhead is no stranger to a good home renovation. Over the years we've been producing Design & Living, we've seen a lot of incredible transformations. Come take a look at some of our favorite before-and-afters!

The Callaway Farmstead Renovation, October 2019 Design: Aubrey Costello of Showplace Cabinetry Design Center Photo by studio three beau


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A Piece of History: A Modern-MeetsHistoric Refresh, September 2019 Home: Austin and Elaine Culp Photo by Hillary Ehlen

The Prettiest Airbnb in North Dakota, September 2018 Home: Rachael Steenholdt


Photo by Hillary Ehlen

On the Flip Side: A Midcentury Charmer, May 2019 Design: Mike and Sarah Liljestrand of Holland’s Landscaping and Garden Photos by J Alan Paul Photography


A Graceful Transition: Timberline Flip House Tour, October 2018 Design: Audra Mehl of Grace 1972 Photos by J Alan Paul Photography


A Handsome Interior, August 2018 Home: Aaron Karvonen Design: Refreshing Designs Photos by Hillary Ehlen


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The Cloud House, June 2019 Home: Meghan Duda and Regin Schwaen Photo by Hillary Ehlen

Designing With Joy: The North Fargo Flip, May 2019 Design: Christen Joy Photo by Hillary Ehlen

1970s Kitchen Gets Industrial Farmhouse Update, October 2018 Home: Sophie Syvertsen and Logan Smith T Lofts In Fargo Get Fun, Modern Makeover, May 2018 Design: Christen Joy

Photo by J Alan Paul Photography


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Photo by Hillary Ehlen

Renovation Inspiration: Amanda Rydell’s DIY Bathroom Makeover, March 2018 Home: Amanda Rydell Photos by J Alan Paul Photography


On the Flip Side: A Country Comfort, May 2019 Design: Jack Hoss and Josh Koth of Valley Property Partners; Chad and Esther Gunderson of New River Properties Photo by Hillary Ehlen

Building with the Mullers: Phase V

BY Alexandra Martin PHOTOS PROVIDED BY Becky Muller


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


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This month, we discuss the groundbreaking, electrical walkthrough, quartz selections, interior details and additional updates along the way!

" PHASES I - IV In case you missed the first four phases 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, appliance and cabinetry selection, a virtual reality walkthrough and finally breaking ground. 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 phase they finally got the satisfaction of watching the walls go up and making some big decisions. Come with us as we see what steps in the process they are currently working on and how the home is coming together.

A STRONG FOUNDATION Breaking ground on the Kindred lot got started in March. After months of planning and reconfiguring, it is finally all happening! Once the basement foundation and walls were poured, the framing and getting in the subfloor were the next steps. Then came building up the walls and roof trusses, putting up the sheetrock, getting insulation and vapor barrier in, installing windows and getting the home enclosed as soon as possible to keep it all safe from the elements. With walls and windows coming into place, the home really began to take shape and feel real. Even with just the foundation poured, Becky said she remembered walking on that platform and getting excited as she

envisioning the scale and layout. Especially coming from the twin home they owned previously, seeing this large square footage was a special moment for the couple. After the sheetrock was up and screwed in, taping and mudding came next. This means all the screw holes and seams between each panel of sheetrock got covered and smoothed with "mud." This ensures that the walls are seamless and smooth, even if you do intend on adding texture to the walls down the road.

It’s all a piece of the puzzle...but it's like a 5000 piece puzzle." - Evan Muller

All the sheetrock is up in the house, save for the basement ceiling. For now, this will remain unfinished so that the crew will have access to mechanical parts if needed.

IT'S ELECTRIC! Before the walls were put in, the Mullers completed a framing walkthrough to ensure all the blocking they wanted was correct. And at the same time as that walkthrough was also the electric walkthrough. In attendance of this electric walkthrough were Melanie Anderson, Kara Skarphol and Tim Engelking of Benjamin Custom Homes; Red River Electric, Mari Santoyo Perry of Solimar Real Estate and Becky and Evan Muller. Here, they looked at light fixtures, power switches and outlets, ensuring everything was as it should be. Most outlets are determined by electrical code, but there are some specific details that are up to the homeowners. For instance, the Mullers decided to have an outdoor outlet just below the roof, so that Christmas lights can be easily strung and connected when the season comes. Without all the furniture pieces and locations finalized yet, this step took some creativity and pensive decisionmaking. "[This walkthrough] was a long one, two to three hours! It was a long process, which you would expect, right? You're talking about every room and every outlet in a sense," recalled Evan. Perhaps the more exciting part of the electrical decisions came with lighting discussions. This included the locations of can lighting and ideas on what light fixtures would work in different spots. For instance, the Mullers were glad that they already decided on a dining room table, because now they were able to


position the statement light fixture centered around that table's measurements. Having an idea of what specific light fixtures they wanted really helped in this step. From knowing if they wanted one big fixture over the kitchen island or three pendant lights, to determining if they want sconces or a vanity light above the mirror in the bathrooms, this all got discussed. The same forward-thinking goes for wiring. Knowing where you want to put your TVs or speakers is important at this time. Evan has visions of home theater speakers that he wants to wire himself someday. This isn't part of the budget at the moment, but the Mullers wanted to make sure the wiring was ready to go for when the time is right. Thinking ahead to things like this saves a lot of time and money, by not having to break through walls or ceiling to get the wire in place later. All in all, the Mullers felt pretty good after this walkthrough. With the Benjamin Custom Homes team and their Realtor and friend Mari Santoyo Perry by their side, they were reassured that their choices were staying on budget.

EVERY LITTLE DETAIL Framing and electrical outlets are certainly important, but the fun parts of this process come with picking out the interior details. In perhaps one of the longest meetings yet, Evan and Becky sat down with Kara Skarphol, Melanie Anderson and Benjamin Custom Homes' project manager, Tim Engelking. In this meeting, they picked out bathroom accessories (mirrors, towel hooks, toilet paper holders, etc.), coat hooks for the mudroom, wall and ceiling textures; paint colors for walls, doors and bases and more. For the most part, these were all finalized during that one, long meeting. Some parts were easy to agree on. Bathroom accessories and coat hooks were decided quickly, as the couple already had in mind exactly what look they wanted. Even the paint and wall textures came together fast, as they – again – already had a good idea of what they wanted. Selected paint swatches included a crisp white, blush pink, sage green and cool-toned graphite that all worked great with their desired gray and black accents. Since lighting has such a big impact on a home, the Mullers are taking their time getting those fixtures finalized. With

some pieces on backorder or discontinued, they are keeping their eyes out for any possible look-a-likes and sales and specials. They have the luxury of time still on their side, so they have been sure to take advantage of Memorial Day or Fourth of July Sales and even some end-of-season specials. Staying on budget and getting exactly what you want is possible! In addition to determining the styles of the light fixtures, the homeowners had to keep in mind what Kelvin temperatures each fixture would run at. Some light fixtures produce warm-tones, some are pretty clear and others lean more cool-toned. If you were to intermix the those too much, it would greatly throw-off the cohesion...and just look bad! Even taking into account what bulbs are required, they considered things like longer-lasting LED bulbs versus cosmetic Edison-styled bulbs that tend to burn out quicker.

NO DRAB SLABS Not every meeting in this phase was a long one! When picking out countertop options, the decisions were made in one quick trip to Northern Stone. Originally, Becky had intended on using her work connections (that came with a generous discount) to order their quartz. However, once shipping got added into that cost, the price ended up being more expensive than purchasing locally. So instead of going through her original vendor, the Mullers opted to choose from the existing stock at Northern Stone. About picking from Northern Stone's remnant and in-stock selections, Evan said, "It was a really good recommendation from Benjamin Custom Homes. Doing so is a huge benefit for anyone looking to do an entire house, versus having to buy a whole slab elsewhere." Northern Stone keeps a sizable selection in-stock at their location, so not having to pay for freight also helps the convenience and overall cost. "It worked out well. A lot of the ones they had in stock actually were perfect and exactly what we wanted, so that


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helped bring down the cost a little bit," said Becky. The homeowners knew they wanted white quartz, so the hunt through Northern Stone's selection was made easier by already having a vision in mind. As for the fabrication, the Mullers decided on an extralarge double waterfall kitchen island. This was a more luxurious choice, but even at the early planning stages, this was a detail they knew they wanted. The couple was surprised at how much they were able to get out of the remnant selections at Northern Stone. They were able to get a few slabs, all in the same pattern/color and had enough to fulfill even their oversized island dreams. "After Northern Stone took our dimensions and figured out their existing slab sizes and everything, we had used almost every single inch of all the slabs we purchased. So it was pretty efficient," said Becky.

HURRY UP AND SLOW DOWN With the "big things" like foundation, framing and sheetrock already in place, a lot of the upcoming steps will come in smaller, less visibly noticeable waves. To put it in comparison, when the couple first started visiting the lot, it was just a flat property. Then all of a sudden, 80% of the walls are up and it was a huge noticeable difference. Now, the coats of paint, trim work and electric wiring will produce less of a wow-factor.

In the first months of construction, Becky and Evan enjoyed visiting the construction site and seeing how progress was going. But now that the walls are up and the space has become enclosed, the couple jokes that they have officially been "locked out." With more nails on the ground and potentially dangerous wiring in place, the site became more of a liability. While the Mullers enjoyed taking their dog, JoJo, to the site and exploring progress, now their visits will be less frequent and therefore they will see more visible progress each time. While they wait for actions to be taken on-site, the Mullers are actively looking for deals on furniture and decor. With paint colors decided on, they look forward to being able to make more furniture and accessory choices now. So far, they have made moves on ordering pieces like their bed frame and other furniture pieces that have longer lead times for delivery. They've taken advantage of many companies offering free material swatches, as they haven't been able to shop in person. "[The swatches] were good clarification when buying online, as opposed to going in and touching things. We have been buying a lot online, from places like West Elm, Article, Target and All Modern. We have just been shopping around," said Becky, then adding that Evan has been doing his best to keep her in line with all the purchases!

Phase VI

As you can see, a lot has happened since our last issue. And as mentioned, things will visibly slow down for a bit, as all the details come to life. But we have a feeling that by next issue, the home will look a lot different! Up next, the couple anticipates the installation of the flooring and seeing the paint go up. On the financial side, the Mullers recently locked in an interest rate at their bank, but are still shopping around and comparing what their closing costs would look like elsewhere. Depending on when their move-in date, they will decide what they want to do for landscaping. If their move-in date is sooner-than-later, they will be more inclined to get started on the landscaping right away. But if it's closer to October, they will decide to hold off until next spring. As progress is being made, there is more and more to look forward to. "I think what I am looking forward to the most [right now] is seeing the siding go up. Because you can see the interior lines and obviously there's a lot going on inside there, but getting the exterior is the next big piece that’ll put it together for us," said Evan. With most selections picked, all that is left for the Mullers to do is wait for construction to come together. Stay tuned for next issue, where we dive into what will come together in the next two months!


of course, where else

at Nemeth Art Center

BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY Tessa Beck


ark Rapids' Nemeth Art Center hosts a new group show with a fresh perspective on the place we call home.

"I don't know," I cried without being heard, "I do not know. If nobody comes, then nobody comes. I've done nobody any harm, nobody's done me any harm, but nobody will help me. A pack of nobodies. Yet that isn't all true. Only, that nobody helps me – a pack of nobodies would be rather fine, on the other hand. I'd love to go on an excursion – why not? – with a pack of nobodies. Into the mountains, of course, where else? How these nobodies jostle each other, all these lifted arms linked together, these numberless feet treading so close! Of course they are all in dress suits. We go so gaily, the wind blows through us and the gaps in our company. Our throats swell and are free in the mountains! It's a wonder that we don't burst into song." - Excursion into the Mountains by Franz Kafka, Translated by Willa and Edwin Muir For Nemeth Art Center's Gallery Director, Tessa Beck, the pressure for a good exhibit title is strong. She loves a good title, but it's not like she keeps a collection of them in her back pocket. But like some of the best things in life, the title for the Nemeth Art Center's 2020 exhibit came to her all of a sudden. "One night I was reading a collection of Franz Kafka’s fiction work, and there’s a piece with a line in it that says: ‘of course, where else.’" she said. "It struck me as this fresh, beautiful idea of addressing 'place' in that way. And once I read that, I was like, 'Ok there it is.'" 70

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Nemeth Art Center The Nemeth Art Center is located in the Historic Hubbard County Courthouse in downtown Park Rapids, Minnesota. The art center's mission is to provide exceptional art opportunities to the Park Rapids area community through exhibits, workshops, lectures, concerts and ​educational outreach. Nemeth Art Center is a seasonal operation, usually running from the start of May to the end of September. The center has a focus on community programming with a strong emphasis on a curatorial side. In recent years, they have expanded their youth programming and educational programming, while still maintaining that emphasis on really strong contemporary art shows. What some would call a magical hidden gem, the Nemeth has earned high words of praise thanks to the quality of their shows, especially from a regional sense.

With little fanfare, Nemeth Art Center opened its group show, "of course, where else" at the start of July. Opting to ease into the opening in light of the current pandemic, the exhibit debuted to a small collection of passionate viewers. Spending extra time with each piece in the show, viewers were extra curious and extra careful in their personal analyses, which is perhaps a gift in the midst of the coronavirus's presence. Encompassing the entirety of the Nemeth Art Center's stunning, historic gallery, this exhibit will run the length of their 2020 season, closing at the end of September. This group show features six artists, all living and working throughout the northern Midwest, but representing a wide range of media and subject matter. These selected artists were Alonzo Pantoja (Minneapolis, Minn.), Amber Fletschock (Fargo, N.D.), David Ruhlman (Sauk Rapids, Minn.), Galilee Peaches (Minneapolis, Minn.), Lauren Roche (St Louis, Mo./ Mora, Minn.), and Meghan Duda (Fargo, N.D.). "I just wanted to put them together and see if the conversation would come forward. And if not, it was still going to be a power-packed show of artists whom I think are really doing incredible work," said Beck. This show's inception began as a line-up of diverse artists, all with something different to say about the concept of sense of place. But as the show grew and shifted to become what it is now, a serendipitous

common thread emerged. With the tumult of 2020 rearing its head, ideas of healing, resiliency, comfort and ritual came forward. In curating this show, Beck asked herself what her dream regional show would look like. She envisioned the commonalities to be grounded in the idea of place and how that either directly or indirectly shows up in artists' work. "With the concept of living and working in a place like the northern midwest, I feel like there has to be some kind of residue that comes out in the work for being in such a distinctive environment," she said. She set out to find that residue and to see if a thesis emerged from it. "The idea of home, of comfort and connectivity, ritual and healing...all those things were present in the work and those interactions were already happening, but I think we are more keen to those ideas now, after what we have experienced collectively. That idea of 'place' I think hits a little bit harder now," said Beck. "I could never have predicted [the pandemic], but in a weird way, I feel much more attached to this curatorial expression than I would have before." Perhaps this is what the beauty of art is. This is why we are drawn to art – it communicates things we haven't thought and it shifts and changes in meaning, depending on the time, place and viewer.

and Amber Fletschock, there's a distinctive softness that comes with monochromatic works from Meghan Duda and Galilee Peaches. Lauren Roche's work spans both monochromatic and vivid and David Ruhlman's multi-medium works are textural and neutral in their palette. This array of colors and lack of color, texture and flatness, and tangibility and distance make your heart crunch, as Beck would say. There's a certain romance and sweetness to the role our home plays, as it hits so many facets of our well-being. The idea of starting and ending your days in a beautiful space is important. As we are all confined to the safety of our homes, many of us have found ourselves nesting – picking apart and putting together the artifacts that make up "home." The idea of "home" or "place" is our literal landscape, what is outside our windows in the northern midwest, but also expands to the feeling a place stirs up, the bodily lens we look at it through and an interconnectedness of shared – or unshared – experiences. Reflecting on how flexibility and creative intuition turned a great show into an even more impactful and relevant discussion, Beck mused, "I think things can come together if you are open to them." Because of course, how else?

Despite the vibrant colors in pieces from Alonzo Pantoja



Alonzo Pantoja

Alonzo Pantoja Untitled (rainbow #5) wall, 2020 Handweaving on stretcher bars


lonzo Pantoja is a queer, brown artist and educator. He recently earned his MFA in Fiber and Installation at Minneapolis College of Art and Design and in 2016, completed a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the Peck School of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Born in Chicago, he now lives and works in Minneapolis, where he continues to work in fiber and installation.

Artist Statement: How do we navigate spaces? How do we re-orient ourselves to physical and imaginary spaces? Broadly speaking, space is for gathering, but how do we gather? More specifically how do we navigate spaces as queer bodies? The queer body is adaptive when it comes to queerness and spaces. Navigation through a queer lens refers to the way we exist in queer spaces but fail in straight spaces. The work is an embodiment of queerness and comfort - addressing orientation, impermanence as a way to interpret how we as queers navigate and shape spaces. My approach to developing work is by making handweavings as a point of reflection for the comfort and discomfort in my life as a queer body. As I work on the weavings, I think about how elements of the architecture can be in conversation with one another and making associations. The weavings are rainbows. Rainbows to me symbolize so many things such as the queer community, hope, a journey, a spectrum to name a few. The rainbow in my work acknowledges queerness or an attempt to. The rainbow is stability, it keeps me grounded; its mere presence anchors a space for me. 72

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Alonzo Pantoja Untitled (Rainbow #2 Study), 2020 Sharpie, color pencil, crayon, graphite on paper

Amber Fletschock Looming, 2020 Papercutting on Crescent Hotpress Illustration Board, PVA


Amber Fletschock


reating isolated ecosystems within whitespaces on paper, Amber Fletschock has become regionally known for her intricate collage work. The artist considers her work a pause amongst chaos on the brink of transforming. She completed a BA degree in painting from Moorhead State University, although she primarily now works in mixed media. Fletschock’s work can be found in both private and museum collections including the permanent collection at Plains Art Museum. Fletschock is represented by ecce gallery in Fargo, ND.

Artist Statement: 'Looming' was produced during this unusual time of quarantine. Much of this time feels like riding a wave of uncertainty and emotional turbulence. The strict act of cutting and repetition served as a practice of calm and contemplation. The jagged variegated surface is intentionally arranged inward radiating out. The fringed portion conveys a pressing ominous presence. The work 'Holding out for that teenage feeling' was also created during this period. The title is a line from a Neko Case song. The lyric and piece embodies hope, longing, reminiscing and place.

Amber Fletschock Holding out for that teenage feeling, 2020 Papercutting on Stonehenge watercolor paper, nori paste, PVA 73


David Ruhlman

David Ruhlman Let Us Build Ourselves a City, 2019 Wasp nest paper and nest pods


avid Ruhlman works primarily in a 3 dimensional way, creating sculpture or installations. His work displays a distinctive richness or familiarity, perhaps thanks to the materials he chooses to work with. He is inquisitive about the potential of the arcane and mystical as a metaphor for studio practice, with themes of religious symbology or esotericism often emerging. The chance encounters he creates allow for endless possibilities that blur the line between the maker and an expected outcome. Ruhlman recently earned his MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design and now lives and works nearby St Cloud, Minn.

Artist Statement: The work for the 'of course, where else' exhibit examines the materials, artifacts and beliefs that inhabit the healing process. My ambition is to employ healing properties, symbols and energies to invite the viewer to participate and contemplate their own bodies and their relation to the act of healing and the home. The work in the exhibit that ties in with my examination of the home is the bird’s nest face mask. The work Home Health Covid-19 imitates a face mask that has become so prevalent at this time. It works as both an object of comfort and protection, but also foreign and no longer able to be inhabited

David Ruhlman Home Health/COVID-19, 2020 Birds nest and plastic straps 74

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Galilee Peaches A washboard, a window, 2020 Cardboard, tape, paper


Galilee Peaches


alilee Peaches is an interdisciplinary artist who studies touch and human intimacy. Her works follow the cycles of the every day, to see how space becomes layered through time. She studies how the dynamics between family members evolve and how a community responds to damage and disruption. The intention of her work is to remind one to return to the body and to be conscious of how we shape our intimate space. Peaches earned her BFA in Studio Art (with a drawing concentration) from the University of WisconsinStout and now lives and works in Minneapolis.

Artist Statement: I make images, objects, and poetry that focuses on human gestures as well as the impressions of a body on its environment over time. These pieces reflect on daily life, on the experience of touching and being touched. My paintings are abstract images that pulse and shift with light. In sculpture, I create my own artifacts. They reference ancient functional objects, and are made in materials such as paper, clay and plaster. I use film photography to document my pieces within my home, imagining them in use. I am interested in how the objects surrounding us help to form and create intimate space. [...]

Galilee Peaches “I want inside this night that is longer than life� for Clarice Lispector, 2020 Gouache and watercolor on paper

I make objects of daily use and consider the cycle of how we shape the object, how we are defined by its presence and limitations and then reflected back into it. These objects question the viewer, such as one that resembles both a window shutter and a washboard with two long thin legs. Erect, awkward and playful in its presence, it speaks to physical boundaries, privacy and repetitive invisible labor. In my time as a resident at the Grand Marais Artist Colony, I made a mold for a washbasin from cardboard and casted the form in plaster. In this method, I am able to copy the delicate surface variation of paper and make objects that seem to be weathered by time and use. Through film photography, I document these pieces in my home to create a history. The photographs are the dream of the life of the piece.



Lauren Roche

Lauren Roche Untitled, 2020 Acrylic, gouache, watercolor, ink pen on paper


self-taught artist, Lauren Roche creates unmistakeable intimate yet dark little worlds. Beck describes Roche's work as "sensitive but is a really sobering way. Gut-wrenching but in a good way." Roche currently lives and works in St Louis, Mo., and maintains a cabin in rural Minnesota, to which she and her partner return often. Roche is currently represented by Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis.

Artist Statement: In my work, female nudes and animals interact in abstracted interior and exterior spaces. These figures bend and reach in gestures of empathetic connection, revealing solidarity between impassive yet vulnerable forms. My figures inhabit aural, dreamlike settings, which I create by using rough fields of color and gestural paint strokes. My visual influences come from classical Greek mythology, handmade embroideries, weavings, domestic interiors, music and my vivid dreamworld. I create paintings that examine balance and unease at once: female nudes engage in ritualistic acts, cats and dogs live harmoniously and wild animals appear tame and indoors. All creatures share the same stripes, spots and gestures but given these figures in their domesticated context, harm is still a looming threat. I am self-taught, and use paper, acrylic paint, and pen as a materials for physically exploring my thoughts and emotions, which become transformed into a visual narrative. Lauren Roche Untitled, 2019 Acrylic, ink and pigmented acrylic wash on paper


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Meghan Duda Trailer Obscura 013, 2014 Silver gelatin photo paper On loan from Chris and Sarah Hawley

Meghan Duda


eghan Duda creates atmospheric recordings of space and time with a collection of handmade pinhole cameras. Born in western Massachusetts and raised on the South Carolina coast, she finally settled in Fargo, North Dakota in 2007 and was struck by the vast prairie landscape. This shifted her work from architectural photography to more experimental, landscape works. Duda earned a bachelor's degree in architecture from Virginia Tech in 2005, then achieved an MFA from the University of North Dakota in 2012. She currently lives in Fargo, ND, where she works as an Assistant Professor of Photography and Design at North Dakota State University.

Artist Statement: Consider the camera a tool for perception. This is where I being my photographic practice. First I contemplate the subject matter, typically a landscape or space, and envision how the camera might perceive this chosen space. I then ask how I can operate or construct the tool to observe the space in an objective way. I am particularly drawn to the pinhole camera as it breaks down the barriers between space and record, creating a pure projection of light and atmosphere, perspective and scale. The added element of time afforded by the pinhole results in an image that visualizes the presence of light and perspective parallel to experienced reality.

Meghan Duda Mississippi Panorama [001], 2018 Silver gelatin photographic paper

As I watch the silver reveal itself in the developer tray I feel as if stepping into a dream - transported to a mysterious, yet somehow familiar world. The views are imprinted on my mind, yet the final image is different from my experienced reality. They are simple atmospheric gradations of light that become place and no-place at the same time, challenging the relevance of vantage point and scale and demonstrating the affect of time on our perception of visible space.This inquiry into the fundamental elements of photography and the surprising aesthetic I discover through this investigation is the primary driver of my photographic pursuit.



The Roadmap to a

remodel BY Jackson Strom, Principle Architect at Strom Architecture PHOTOS BY Jill Ockhardt Blaufuss


rchitect Jackson Strom of Strom Architecture dives into a different, important design discussion each month. This month, Strom chatted with his wife, Lindsey, to share more about their own kitchen remodel experience.



The excitement of purchasing an existing home is compounded once you allow your mind to race with ideas of what could be changed to make it your own. Although television and social media have us all wanting to knock down a wall to totally alter the feel of our home, rarely is it that easy. Oftentimes in our industry, we appreciate the smaller, nuanced renovations. In our own 1927 home's kitchen, rethinking the existing cabinetry layout, inserting a door and creating a new opening in the wall were the seemingly simple revisions we introduced to totally change the look and feel. We knew it wouldn’t be as easy as swiping left on Instagram to see the before and after, so shortly after purchasing the home in 2016, we got to work! I sat down with my best and closest client, my wife, Lindsey Strom, to discuss the experience of planning and living through our home remodel in this edition of Form & Function. Goals Establishing your goals for the design early in the process is critical, as these will direct your decision-making along the way. If you do not have a plan, budget or aesthetic in mind, it is easy to get thrown off course and not know if you had reached your goal in the end. Our existing kitchen suffered from an inefficient layout, lack of light and little connection to the adjacent dining room. Our goals for the new kitchen essentially came from what the original was lacking and a want to refresh the appliances, connect the material palate closer to the original 1927 home and maintain the existing footprint while doing so.


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2101 North River Drive, Moorhead, Minnesota

218.236.0100 | #LOVEMYMCC

Design Upon establishing our goals, we dug into the design. Playing off of some inspiration images that Lindsey and I found, we developed at least ten different floor plan options of how the kitchen could lay out within the existing footprint. When you’re able to do the design work yourself, there are endless possibilities, and that is why the original project goals are essential. Placing the kitchen in a different location of the home would be costprohibitive, removing the wall between the kitchen and dining would not honor the history of this era of home, adding square footage toward the rear of the home would enlarge the footprint– these ideas, amongst others, were dialed back as they didn’t meet our original project goals.

Selections Once we were both happy with the 3D model, we moved on to selections. We agreed from the start on white cabinetry– it was timeless and honored the existing home – but there were still many decisions to make from there. Similar to the white paint color, there were endless quartz options that looked like marble – this was one of the first selections we searched for, and one of the last decisions we made. The original wood floor in the kitchen that was below the vinyl plank was unsalvageable, as the past owner had used it to cut boards on (you will find your own peculiarities during your remodel), so we opted for a dark man-made tile that would emulate slate, but without the fragility and uneven texture.

Upon agreeing on the floor plan, we modeled the design to see how it felt threedimensionally. With an existing home, it is best to accurately model everything, as during the remodel, you will need to interact with anything that exists in your path– just because it is not shown in the model doesn’t mean the contractor will not have to contend with it during construction. It is much easier to develop a game plan ahead of time, rather than waiting until you encounter it during construction.

One by one, we ordered different styles of cabinet pulls and knobs to ensure the proper feel, look and scale. Lastly, we combed through almost every appliance out there. We wanted a high-end look without the cost (I’m sure you’ve never heard that before!) We arrived on a great GE package, and splurged on a drawer microwave, to maximize upper cabinetry space, and the most cost-effective built-in refrigerator, to maximize floor space – every inch counts.


Cabinetry • Windows & Doors • Roofing • Siding

eltade www.d

Decking • Insulation • Lumber • Hardware


Additio DETROIT LAKES • 218-847-2188 FERGUS FALLS • 218-739-4481 MOORHEAD • 218-233-2754





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Lastly, we added new windows above the newly relocated sink and introduced a new exterior door where the existing sink window had been, strengthening the connection to the backyard and enhancing the amount of natural light within the kitchen. Construction With the planning complete, we were ready for construction. We built a temporary wall between the construction zone and the rest of the home to keep the dust out (spoiler: the dust still got in), and it was time to see our design come to life! The initial design for a remodel provides a road map, but there may be detours you need to take along the way due to unknown discoveries – ductwork, existing framing, structural issues, existing plumbing, etc. Although these unknown issues may be perceived as problems, if they are thoroughly thought through, they can almost always introduce opportunities that can improve the design. We had two such issues during our remodel – the first was the additional opening into the dining room. Although this would have gone against one of our original project goals of honoring the history of the home, we had played with the idea of expanding the opening between the dining room and kitchen. After demolition, we found that the second-floor ductwork was routed in this area, and unless we wanted to totally re-do the ductwork, we would need to work around this area. We

updated our three-dimensional model to reflect these changes and developed a design with a small, trimmed-out opening that would enhance the connection between the dining room and kitchen without totally opening up the wall. This once perceived problem is now one of our favorite parts of the design. The other opportunity-in-disguise was the pantry. This was an empty "cavity" space that was below the second-floor stairs and above the original backdoor stairs. The past owner who had remodeled the home had enclosed this space, as it didn’t serve a purpose anymore. Initially, we had simply planned on inserting a built-in cabinet within this space, as we didn’t feel we would be able to utilize it,

as it had three stairs and a low-sloped ceiling. Upon further review, it was clear that we should simply frame the floor down one step, and make a walk-in-pantry. Again, an issue that transformed into an opportunity. Completion The process of a remodel can be fun, rewarding and engaging. Spend the time upfront on your project goals and let those drive the process. If your goals are defined well enough, they can instruct almost every portion of your project.

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.





BY Becky Muller, Interior Designer at ICON Architectural Group | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen


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! 89


he Henson Group, with the help of Great States Construction and Christen Joy, now has a beautiful new office space to call home, right here in Fargo. With locations worldwide, the Henson Group is an award-winning Microsoft Partner that provides licensing, consulting and managed services to both large and small corporations. Starting as one employee, today they have more than 650 employees, almost three dozen locations and partners servicing hundreds of clients in many industries including technology, advertising, education, media and entertainment, non-profit and many more. MOVING TO THE MIDWEST Greg Henson, President and CEO of The Henson Group, loved the idea of opening their first office in the Midwest to be closer to Microsoft, making collaboration as a team easier. “I’ve been going to Fargo to meet with Microsoft folks for three-four years now and just sort of fell in love with it. It’s a quaint little town, I love the downtown area. I have a special place in my heart for Fargo so it made sense to open something up there,” says Henson. The Henson Group took the last available space in a brand new, multi-use building near Microsoft Campus and built the fit-up from scratch. When touring the existing spaces in the building, they loved the designs that Michael Casper and his team at Great States Construction had come up with, so they asked them to do theirs as well. With existing conditions such as columns and roof drains, they designed the space around angles to best encapsulate those items and to create the most functional space they could. Angling the offices not only worked best with the square footage they had but also became a major statement in the project.


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After hearing the vision The Henson Group had regarding the interior materials and furnishings, Casper knew Christen Anderson with Christen Joy was the right Interior Decorator to bring in and help them finish out the space. MIDWEST MEETS NEW YORK CITY The Henson Group’s headquarters in New York City feature floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the city, modern white walls and classic furniture pieces that double as artwork. Working with Heidi Hassler, Director of Operations at The Henson Group, Anderson knew that to meet their vision and be consistent with their brand, the design concept should echo the elevated look and feel of the New York office. However, she knew that in the Midwest, people still crave to see a bit of warmth in the spaces they inhabit. Spraying the exposed ceilings, structures, ductwork and all walls a bright white, it gave them a fresh and neutral backdrop to go off for the remaining finishes. Anderson presented a darker neutral carpet with brown and blue tones to add warmth and movement as well as to balance out the white. This became the primary color palette for the space: modern white mixed with organic, dark and earthy accents. They complemented these finishes with black framed doors and windows, black cabinets and rich textures in the furniture. ELEVATED ELEMENTS When discussing the identity that The Henson Group normally brings into their offices, Greg expressed their love of minimalism and chic design elements of high quality, nice textures, ergonomic design and the happiness of their employees. To meet these preferences, Anderson implemented many features that had that WOW factor, including classic Herman Miller furniture pieces with real leather, height-adjustable


desks, matte black cabinets with oversized chrome pulls, quartz countertop book-matched into the backsplash making it easier to clean (in comparison to a standard subway tile), under-mount quartz sink, statement light fixtures and signage that doubles as artwork. MULTI-PURPOSE FUNCTIONALITY The concept behind having a shared conference room and break room was, “We work really hard, but like to have a lot of fun.” The large, breathtaking conference room is not only used for internal collaboration and client meetings but also becomes a space where they can have drinks, appetizers and enjoy each other’s company at the end of the day. It has since become a space that everyone loves spending time in. With COVID closing down Microsoft campus, some Microsoft employees that they often collaborate with have come to use the space. This gives them relief from their home offices, a safe work environment equipped with high-end molecule medical-grade air filters and space they are able to focus in while still socially distancing. FUTURE GROWTH & FLEXIBILITY While the open office concept has been booming, they opted to go with private offices in the opening phase of the project for multiple reasons. Many of their employees came from an open office environment and found it very distracting. Henson’s team worked with Anderson and Casper to have a space that could house both private and open offices. Along with the eight employees that currently leverage the office, they are hoping to have another eight in the next six-nine months. This future growth has them holding on to a few different layout options with


DESIGN & LIVING | A U G U S T/ S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0


InterOffice: adding additional private offices opposite the current ones with open seating in the middle or implementing smaller phone-booth style work stations to create privacy and focus spaces amidst more open office desking. This gives everyone an equal opportunity to work in an environment in which they thrive. With this growth, comes the ability to slowly add additional upgrades into the space. Casper and his Great States team are working on implementing a large, statement glass wall with custom glass doors to enclose the conference/break room space. Henson and the team are looking to get some upgrades including completely touchless beverage and coffee stations to be controlled by a phone app, a large salt-water fish tank and additional soft seating and artwork throughout. With the history that Great States Construction had with the existing building, the passion and image that The Henson Group brought to the table, and Anderson’s eye for beautiful and high-quality finishes, the end result of this project was a stunning balance between New York modern and Mid-Century warmth. The elevated look and feel welcomed The Henson Group into their first Midwest office with room to grow and a space to love.




701 - 232 - 1991 Construction/Remodeling • Run New Service • Add Circuits • Appliance Installation • 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 Meet the Team Construction and Design: Great States Construction Interior Design & Décor: Christen Joy Furniture: Christen Joy, InterOffice Signage: Office Sign Company Glass Office Doors: Smartt Interior Construction Millwork: Rusco Windows Ceilings/Flooring: Elite Acoustics Painting: T. Eckert & Sons Electrical: JDP Electric HVAC/Plumbing: Valley Plumbing

• Code Violations • And much more!

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