Design & Living June/July 2020

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Life is Better at the Lake


Home Sweet Scheels


Designing with Joy


Meet The Real Estate Company of Detroit Lakes


On The Market


Artist Feature: Jennie Ward


Building with the Mullers: Phase IV

In the upper midwest, the start of summer means one thing: lake season is here. To celebrate this anticipated time of year, we're bringing you our annual lake life issue! In this issue, tour eight unique lake houses, learn more about lake life and even find a lake home for yourself.

SCHEELS Home and Hardware offers more than meets the eye. We consulted one of SCHEELS' in-house Interior Designers, Morgan Diehl May, on all the services they provide, her favorite trends and what makes SCHEELS stand out.

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 gives her best advice for how to decorate your very own lake retreat.

ON THE COVER Captured by Nicole Midwest Photography, our cover this month features the Dunkin family lake home in Alexandria, Minnesota. See more of the home and read all about Amy Wood Interiors' design process in "A Tale of Two Cabins" on page 60.

Oftentimes Realtors and clients spend so much time together, getting to know each other and touring homes, that a real friendship starts. To help you find the Realtor you want to put your trust in, get to know the pros at the Real Estate Company of Detroit Lakes.

You've seen the homes and you love the lifestyle. Are you ready to start living the lake life? Check out these lake area listings and get inspired to make the move to the water.

Meet Jennie Ward, a Lake Park artist who draws from her countryside environment to communicate engaging, meaningful paintings and drawings.

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.


Form & Function with Jackson Strom


Spaces that Work:

For more exclusive, original content,

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @designandlivingmagazine

Architect Jackson Strom of Strom Architecture dives into a different, important design discussion each month. This month, Strom conversed with home technology expert, Jamie DeJean of Smart Home Technologies, to share insight into the current trends in home, audio and video technology.

Gorgeous offices need love too! Join commercial interior designer Becky Muller as she tours Perham's unique church-turned-restaurant, 1894.



What Is


You don't need to hear another media member spitting out phrases of "now more than ever," "the new normal" and "unprecedented times." So I'm not going to make you read them right now. These phrases are unexpectedly part of our communal lexicon and we are all adapting the best we can to the changes around us. Admittedly, in our last issue of the magazine, I used these phrases. Simply trying them out for size, not expecting them to stick around this long. But here we are, as I am writing this we are two months into stay-at-home suggestions and people are continuing discussions of what it means to be "home."

This past month, my parents sold the home I grew up in and moved into a new (to them) home. I thought I'd be a lot more sentimental about saying goodbye to the home I spent my formative years in, but I really wasn't. Perhaps this lack of reaction is because I know that the memories are still there. The videotape recordings of my brother and I opening Christmas presents and the photographs of my Girl Scout Troop meetings still exist. The home provided the backdrop for such memories to be made, but those recollections wouldn't be possible without those who I shared them with. In cleaning out the old home and preparing to move, my parents mailed me some old film cameras and VHS camcorders so see if there was anything

I wanted. Most of the equipment was unremarkable, but within one of the musty camera bags, I uncovered a stack of deteriorating, water-damaged photos of our family lake home. My fiancĂŠ was about to throw them out, as they were very damaged and stuck together. But even after we carefully separated the 3x5 images and scanned them in, I can't get myself to throw away the crusty images. Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my family cabin on Lake Guntersville in north Alabama. Every Fourth of July and Labor Day, my whole family would gather at the wooded property. I saw extended family that I'd only ever interacted with at the lake. I enjoyed southern home cooking on paper plates while seated on the fireplace stoop. I was even the flower girl at my

cousin's wedding under a pergola by the water. How serendipitous that these long-forgotten photos came to me in the midst of writing our annual lake home issue? Most of the lake homes featured in this issue have family ties, and discovering these images was a pleasant reminder of my own history at the lake. While my family cabin is not updated and decorated to the level these featured homes are, the sentiment is the same. The desire to keep a family property by the water alive is universal, whether that be orchestrating a remodel or simply preserving old photographs. While we are still encouraged to stay home, I encourage you to think about what memories you have tied to a specific structure, especially if it is a lake home. Whether the lake area is your permanent home

or your vacation home or even your friend's home that you occasionally get invited to, the experience of spending time at the water is one that stays with you. Stay safe, keep physically distancing and enjoy the serenity of the lake!


JUNE/JULY 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 Contributing Photographers Contributors

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

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Alexandra Martin Alexandra Martin Christy German, Kim Cowles Kate Becker, Hillary Ehlen, Nicole Mendoza, Kayleigh Omang, Jordan Weitzel Christen Anderson, Darrick Guthmiller, Becky Muller, Jackson Strom

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

Paul Hoefer Zach Olson Matt Becker

Client Relations

ADMINISTRATION VP of Human Resources

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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.

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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.


TOMMY - Videography

CHRISTY - Design

BEN - Design ZACH - Sales

KIRSTEN - Digital Marketing LAURA - Videography


NICK - Digital Services

JENNY - Client Relations MATT - Sales

JOHN - Distribution NOLAN - Editorial

BRADY - Editorial

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KELLEN - Digital Services

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Dedicated financial stewardship. 210 Broadway N, Fargo, ND •

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.



omes have taken on a new meaning to us as they became our new offices, playgrounds, sporting fields, entertainment venues and safe refuges during this challenging time. Let’s pause and really think about what a home means as we welcome June as Homeownership Month. The quote by Laura Ingalls Wilder in the headline ("home is the nicest word there is") introduces not only the obvious reasons to own one (it’s a good investment and shelter for your family) but also the intangible reasons to own one (there’s no place like home and the feeling of security it provides). I’d like to remind homeowners who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 be aware of mortgage payment options available. If a loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, borrowers may be eligible to delay making their monthly mortgage payments for a temporary period during in which late fees won’t be incurred and


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foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended. You can check online to see if your loan is owned by either of these entities: • Fannie Mae: • Freddie Mac: If you are in the market to buy a home, here are the HBA’s top three tips to help pave your way: 1. Both North Dakota and Minnesota have great first-time homebuyer programs to make the burden of a down payment more achievable. Some of these programs can get you into a home for as little as $500 out of pocket, based on certain qualifications! Talk to your lender for more details. 2. In Fargo and West Fargo, you can save up to $3,800 on your property tax bill when you buy a newly built home. Homeowners get an exemption on up to

$150,000 off their property valuation for two taxable years following the year the home was sold. 3. In Dilworth and Moorhead, you can get a two-year property tax rebate on newly built homes. On a $250,000 home, this is a value of $6,100 over the two-year period. There is no maximum value on new construction of single-family homes, including the building and land. Of course, there are many small communities surrounding the F-M metro area to explore as well. Contact your local jurisdiction for more details on specific incentives they may offer. Happy Homeownership Month! Buying a home is a great long-term investment. The HBA of F-M has many members who can help you on your path! From lenders, to Realtors to builders, you can find them all at FindAMember.

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

For more information, contact: HBAFargoMoorhead

family & locally owned A diamond to fit any budget, visit us for a personalized experience and view our high-quality jewels. If we don’t have what you are looking for, we can bring your vision to life with a custom design.




Sweet BY Alexandra Martin PHOTOS PROVIDED BY SCHEELS Home and Hardware

SCHEELS Home and Hardware offers more than meets the eye. We chatted with one of SCHEELS' in-house interior designers, Morgan Diehl May, to discuss a recent design project, what services SCHEELS provides and what makes them really stand out.


SCHEELS' interior designers are available by appointment from 8 a.m to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday. Call 701-232-8903 during those hours to schedule an appointment.

"[The homeowner] didn't want a lot of extra decor, so we kept it simple," said Diehl May. She noted that, at first, the homeowners were nervous that the art she selected would darken the room, but Diehl May reassured them it would create some much-needed depth and a focal point. Upon installation, both the designer and the homeowners were very satisfied. Aside from the aesthetics, the artwork serves a practical purpose. Tucked behind the painting are two electrical outlets situated high on the wall. The homeowners scarcely use the outlets, so this painting was the perfect choice to not only add a focal point to the room, but also to hide the unsightly outlets.

SCHEELS Interior Designer, Morgan Diehl May




ooking for your opportunity for a custom consultation and design from a certified interior designer? For an ever-changing selection of home accessories, furniture and finishings? A package that offers design consultations and installation? Look no further than SCHEELS Home and Hardware. Their curated collection of artwork, rugs, throw pillows and lighting along with their in-stock selection of upholstered furniture and options for custom ordered pieces makes SCHEELS our community's go-to for all things interior design. With design experts on the sales floor and lines such as Rowe Furniture, Craftmaster Furniture, IMG Norway, Comfort Design and Jaymar Leather Furniture, you are sure to find that perfect piece for your space. While independently perusing for furniture or accessories is encouraged, SCHEELS is equipped to go beyond that. On staff are Interior Designers Leah Martin and Morgan Diehl May. Martin has been part of the SCHEELS Design Studio for over 15 years, specializing in Hunter Douglas window coverings and custom draperies, paint and wall covering consultations, upholstery, lighting and more. Diehl May has been part of the team since November and uses her educational background and artistic eye to steer a variety of projects, from small room refreshes to complete redesigns.

Fulfilling the homeowner's wish to have a mirror and cabinet in the entryway is this antiqued mirror from Uttermost and a coordinating console. The mirror makes for a perfect place to take one last look before heading outside and the console serves as a good spot to place keys or sunglasses while coming and going. Added bonus: the lantern pictured here is both stylish and practical, as it covers some unsightly vents that the console didn't quite hide.


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With an in-home consultation with the SCHEELS Design Studio, you can arrange for full designs, custom drapery, paint consultations, wallpaper, upholstery, lighting, room rearranging or simply accessorizing. "I think some really common misconceptions about working with an interior designer are that they are expensive, that you have to get everything new...but that's not the case at all," said Diehl May. She explained that the first step is always setting a budget and discussing what items the homeowners want to preserve or replace. What better way to showcase all the SCHEELS design team can do than to see their work in action? Here, Morgan Diehl May shared with us a recent project she completed, where she worked side by side with the homeowners to give their newly remodeled home a warm and cozy feel. With this remodel done by Floor to Ceiling Carpet One, the homeowners were looking to refresh the space and bring it out of the 1990s look they felt it was stuck in. They bid farewell to golden oak, warm tones and outdated bright green accents, trading those in for a modern and refined look. The homeowners had some wishes that the SCHEELS design team was happy to abide by. First off, they wished to keep their existing SCHEELS living room furniture, but to switch out blue to be the new accent color of choice. With the plan to keep the existing furniture, the SCHEELS design team focused on adding new throw pillows, blankets, a stylish rug and accessories that were both on-trend and practical. In addition to the living room refreshes, they wanted a cabinet and mirror in the entryway, the creation of a designated mudroom area and to add warmth to the crisp and clean dining room while not adding clutter.



With a wishlist in mind, the SCHEELS design team set out to work their magic. After the in-store consultation with the homeowners, Diehl May went to their home, took measurements, captured "before" photos and got an even better idea of what the homeowner's style and wishes were. "Design is all about making the space right for the person you're designing for," said Diehl May, emphasizing the importance of getting to know the client and making sure the design works for them and their lifestyle.

“Everyone loves the white that is trending so much, but some people still have brown furniture from when those colors were trending, before grey came ‘in,’” said Diehl May. The SCHEELS team achieved a refreshed look thanks to sophisticated accessories, while still keeping all the existing large furniture pieces.

In this stage, Diehl May ensures she is understanding of how the homeowners will use the space. Do they congregate on the couch often, making a multitude of decorative pillows unnecessary? Do they have pets that would make certain textile choices difficult to maintain? By stepping into the home, the SCHEELS interior designers ensure they design a space perfect for the individual's wants and needs. After the

measurements were taken and an understanding of who the homeowner is was achieved, it was time to hit the SCHEELS Home and Hardware floor. "I went back and shopped around the store. I think that's a fun part of working with SCHEELS, is that everything is available to us there," said Diehl May. Instead of flipping through catalogs and sampling fabric swatches, interior designers at SCHEELS can get a feel of the mass, texture and mood of their specific selections. This particular project had a quick turn-around of one week. This turnaround isn't necessarily standard across the board, but when it comes to design projects like accessorizing or rearranging, this is certainly attainable. Since this project didn't involve ordering any new furniture, the one-week timeline was not a problem.


Diehl May first stepped foot into the home on a Friday and by the next Friday, she was there again installing the selections. On the Wednesday in-between, she met the homeowners at SCHEELS Home and Hardware to review the items she pulled for them. This guaranteed they were all on the same page and that they would be wasting no time by bringing the wrong selections for installation. "The homeowners came in the store, looked at everything I pulled and were super excited. They wanted it right then and there and I was like, 'OK give me two days!'" said Diehl May. Since all the selections were in stock already, the SCHEELS design team was able to provide their clients that instantaneous satisfaction many of us desire when embarking on a project.

Since SCHEELS has a large inventory, they were able to bring multiple options to the design install. This allows SCHEELS to give the homeowners options, even on the day of installation. For even more flexibility, Diehl May said, "After we install, they get two weeks to live with [the selections] before they pay for it all. So they get to figure out what they like and tell us if there's anything they want to return." This trial period is just another respect that places SCHEELS at the forefront of regional design services. The attention to detail and dedication to customer satisfaction puts any client worries at ease, reassuring them that the interior designers on staff have their best interests in mind.



with joy

anything but salty: LAKE SEASON IN THE UPPER MIDWEST BY Christen Anderson | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen, Tara Scherling, Kayleigh Omang


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arm weather and wet toes...ladies and gentlemen, it’s lake season! Whether you’re packing up for the family cabin or staying home to create a Pinterest board for your future lake home, I’m here to provide my must-have lake home selections. Longing for lake vibes year-round? These picks are also perfect should you love the fresh, clean look for your permanent residence.

WHITE CABINETRY: TIMELESS AND GREAT FOR PLAYING WITH ACCENT COLORS Whether the cabin is smaller in size or is large enough to host friends and family, storage is key. At Christen Joy we love utilizing white cabinetry. White is a great neutral that allows you the flexibility to play with color throughout the room. Being classic and timeless, the color white allows you to change room furnishings and accents without being tied to one specific color palette. And don’t forget, white has many different shades that can lean brighter, cooler or warmer. Before picking up your paintbrush, be sure to try different shades of white with the existing woodwork. This will ensure your chosen shade doesn’t pull in tones you don’t prefer. For instance, a cooler white won’t feel right with wood that leans to more of an orange hue – the white will lean yellow which isn't ideal for most homeowners. I also love using a polished metal for the hardware on white cabinets. I typically lead with polished nickel, as I prefer the warmer undertones to the cooler tones that polished chrome provides. Hardware is truly jewelry for the room and should have a bit of sparkle!

TREAT YOUR WALLS: SIMPLE, FUNCTIONAL AND OH, SO PRETTY! I love wainscoting, and specifically, board and batten for lake homes. Simply put, board and batten are wide boards with narrow strips called "batten" placed on your walls and painted. I love that you can play with color with them or keep them white with the option to do an accent color or wallpaper above. It also adds something extra to the home's character, especially when added to smaller spaces such as a mudroom or powder room.


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Who said you

can’t isolate

in style? CONTACT US 701-361-2498 5622 53rd Ave. S. Fargo, ND 58104

Always In Our Element


FURNITURE & UPHOLSTERED SELECTIONS: BRING IN THE EARTHY TONES A lake home is meant to be soothing. It's the place you relax your shoulders and you let go of that sigh after a long week. Allow earthtoned furniture to support that relaxing feeling. Whitewashed furniture is a style we love to pull for clients at Christen Joy. The whitewash we prefer is more gray and warm-toned than a typical ‘farmhouse’ whitewash, which pulls from the colors you see when you take a walk and enjoy nature. These furniture pieces are relaxed and calming. Such pieces are ones you’ll see many furniture companies adding fantastic hardware, beautiful details to drawers and soft-close features to make the pieces perfection. You’ll see similar colors being pulled into upholstery as well. Using what is typically referred to as an "oatmeal" color, it can range in tone depending on your manufacturer of choice. These neutral, spa-like colors are a perfect backdrop for crisp linens, cozy blankets and colorful pillows.

ART AND ACCESSORIES: TIME TO PLAY After you’ve made the above selections or enlisted an expert to help you curate a home unique to you, you’re ready to add the final pieces: art and accessories. As you probably well know if you follow Christen Joy, we love art and we love fresh, vibrant pieces! Whether it’s aerial beach photos, Barbies sipping cocktails or talented local artists, adding artwork to your lake home creates a space that feels truly like a second home. Looking to build a collection slowly in your lake home? Opt for one-of-a-kind originals in spaces of the home that will be used often, such as a breakfast nook or the kitchen. This way, they’ll be sure to be appreciated appropriately. An added tip, framing pieces under UV-protected glass is essential, as they might be in direct sunlight. Though we always suggest layering texture in a home, with lake homes it is a non-negotiable. The place that must have oodles of texture! When I think of a chic Hampton home, I dream of thick boat ropes, imperfect glass jars, grass-

“I like being part of a team of operators working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with a high level of responsibility and attention to detail. It takes a lot of teamwork to succeed, and we can count on each other every day.”




woven baskets, soft linens and cozy cashmere. I could daydream about these things for days; can’t you just picture it? Every space in your home can embrace some texture, so bring it in! From linens to shower curtains to fresh sponges in your bathroom. As far as textiles go, consider linen drapes or wool rugs in your living room or bedrooms. For accessories, opt for natural canisters or baskets in your mudroom to add depth. And you can never go wrong with some extra cushion, so include ample pillows in your outdoor spaces. Simple as that! Though we’ve been going through some very unusual times as of late, it’s lake season and when it comes to the Midwest, we’re anything but salty. We wish you nothing but joy this lake season and we hope it makes for a great, calming escape.

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.


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n the upper midwest, the start of summer means one thing: lake season is here. To celebrate this anticipated time of year, we're bringing you our annual lake life issue! In this issue, tour eight unique lake houses, learn more about lake realty and even find a lake home for yourself. So grab your flip flops and a fresh towel and join us as we get in the mood for lake memories to be made!


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INTERIOR IMPRESSIONS Although based in Woodbury, Minnesota, Amy Leferink and her team at Interior Impressions are inspired by the Californiacool aesthetic and a coastal flair. Combining elements from seaside aesthetics with Midwestern touches, Leferink has mastered the art of achieving functionality and style as one.


Amy Leferink founded the Interior Impressions design firm 10 years ago. However, her interior design career is 26 years in the making. Starting off as designing projects part-time, it took her nearly 16 years to leave the safe harbor of her full-time job and sail into the uncharted waters of running her own interior design firm. Now, the firm has six dedicated employees who work on the full gamut, from new construction to remodels to simple design refreshes.


BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Jordan Weitzel


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This coastal retreat on Grand View Lodge's Gull Lake acreage has become one of the most sought after units on the property. As one of the first rental homes in the premises that's appearance falls outside the traditional log cabin aesthetic, the 6,000 square foot home is a breath of fresh air. Completely rented out months in advance, this home pulls in soft and tranquil beachy elements while still looking perfectly in place in Nisswa, Minnesota. This spacious cabin was designed by Interior Impressions' founder Amy Leferink with special care and attention. Ready to host large family and friends gettogethers, the home has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, two "lock-off" suites, four fireplaces, a screened-in porch and can sleep up to 24 people. A light and airy feel was achieved with shiplap, tall ceilings, endless windows, wood beams, collar ties and an overall quintessential coastal flair. Beyond the impeccable design, what makes this home particularly special is that it belongs to Leferink's own aunt and uncle. For 30 years, the couple had enjoyed spending time at Grand View Lodge and decided to build a home there that would satisfy the needs of their growing family. Instead of continuing to rent homes on the Grand View property, they knew it was time to have a place to call their own. From concepts and dreams to the tiny details like soap dishes, Leferink and her team worked alongside the homeowners to create their perfect, rentable "home away from home" on the water. "It’s really special to me to be able to improve the way a family actually lives and how


they spend their time together. We really love being able to talk to [clients] and learn about what they like to do for activities and how they like to spend their time together. Do they love cooking? Or do they watch movies together? So let's make sure we have the best space for that," Leferink said. "It’s really fun to very much personalize the process and make a home exactly what our clients need and make it their dream home." While this was a large project to take on, Leferink obviously had a headstart on understanding how the family functions. Besides knowing the clients well as her aunt and uncle, she also knew them well as homeowners. This lake home project is the third home Leferink has had her aunt and uncle as clients on, the other two being their yearround home in Eden Prairie and their previous lake home, built about eight years ago. Already having identified the clients' wishlist and knowing what elements they wanted to incorporate again, the process was off to a great start. Working with Nor-Son Custom Builders, Interior Impressions was involved in the design and build from the blueprints all the way to fluffing the final pillow placements. New construction projects are Leferink's favorite, as she gets the opportunity to think through every detail. She noted that sometimes she even works backward, designing a room around specific furnishings or a special piece of artwork for a perfect fit. With creative freedom and reigns in hand, Leferink was ready to create something different from other lake homes in the region. "They wanted to do a bit of a coastal feel and not to the typical log lodge


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GRAND VIEW LODGE Located in Nisswa, Minnesota is the Grand View Lodge on Gull Lake. Founded in 1916 and open for business in 1919, the Brainerd area lodge has provided guests with unforgettable vacation experiences. From a variety of restaurants, seasonal activities, a golf resort, spa and numerous lodging options, the Grand View Lodge has something for everyone. Grand View Lodge's Main Lodge was selected for the National Registry of Historic Places in 1979. The structure is one of the most well-preserved log resorts in existence today, boasting a grand staircase that leads guests down to 2,500 feet of Gull Lake's sandy beach. In addition to the Main Lodge, Grand View's property also includes North, a new 60-room boutique hotel; a woodsy Roy Lake community of cabins, cottages and villas; The Pines Golf Course's townhouse, suite and villa accommodations; and East Side Beach cabins and cottages. Spanning an impressive 750 acres, the resort provides privacy and an oh-soscenic atmosphere. Learn more and book your stay at

look," she said. With many of the nearby homes having the very classic, rustic look, this home intentionally stands out among its neighbors. A balance between on-theme but not too kitschy was the goal. Some areas leaned more nautical in theme while others nodded to farmhouse tendencies. Florals and gingham allude to southern inspiration while vintage accents from local antique shops bring the guests back to the Midwest. Leferink loves supporting local businesses and scouring for unique antique finds, so she used this as an opportunity to source goods from Brainerd and Nisswa artists and craftsmen. "Handmade items just bring in some unique personality and can bring in the vintage flair," she added. Being a rental home, and a lake rental at that, the accessories were intentionally selected. Leferink masterfully balanced maintaining the light and airy aesthetic while ensuring the decor was durable. "You have to think, is it going to hold up long enough? Is there something really expensive that is really breakable and if someone knocks it over you’re going to cry about it? So for the accessories and decor, you have to find nice things that look good, but are inexpensive. Because you never know if they could break or walk away," she said. Creating a high-end look while still being practical is a challenge, but the Interior Impressions team pulled it off gracefully. Along with accessories, textiles were also paid special attention to. With rental guests in mind, some materials weren't considered and fabric choices were made based on durability and ease of cleaning.


Most cloth-based pieces were outfitted in fabrics from Sunbrella and Crypton, two textile brands intended for performance. And if the desired look wasn't available from those brands' selections, the chosen textile was treated with a protective FiberSeal. From wine spills to ketchup oozing off a Fourth of July hotdog, these furniture pieces are ready for any and all lake trip fumbles. Other materials such as jute, rustic woods, black metal and rope added touches durability while also complementing the desired aesthetic. While details seemed to vary in texture and pattern, they stayed cohesive with a set color palette of soft water blues, navy and the blonde hues pulled from jute, nautical rope and light wood. Ornamentations aside, Leferink and the homeowners knew they wanted the home's bones to be neutral, flexible and classic. Accessories and furniture can come and go, but the base needed to be timeless. A favorite ageless accent of Leferink's were the rustic, chiseled wood beams and collar ties on the luxurious vaulted ceilings. An additional wow-factor comes from black light fixtures that lead the eye upward and showcase the tall windows. Shiplap is another detail throughout that gives enduring character and style. To inject some flair into the project, the Interior Impressions team gave each of the six bedrooms a personality. On the main floor lives the Master Suite, Martha’s Vineyard Suite, Superior Suite and Gull Lake Suite while the lower level contains The Nantucket Suite and The St Croix Room. "I think one of my favorite parts of the project was how we did each suite in a different theme and


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personality," said Leferink. "It made it more interesting for us [designers] too, because instead of doing all the guest rooms the same, we had the opportunity to do something unique and fun in every single room." This variety and playfulness create something special for guests to discover as they open each door. From identifying the personalities of each room to installing artwork herself, Leferink set up this property for years and years of family memories. "It's fun because I not only got to be part of the process, but I actually get to go there and enjoy it too," said Leferink, joking that it's her only project she gets to spend time in upon completion. Ready to create your very own coastal-inspired haven? Don't hesitate to reach out to Amy Leferink and the team at Interior Impressions. The design firm works all over the country, having done properties from Florida to California and anywhere in-between. And for those not ready to embark on a full design, not to worry! Rent this very home for your next lake holiday by reaching out to Grand View Lodge and asking for the new coastal-style cottage. *** Interior Impressions 650 Commerce Drive Suite 140, Woodbury, Minn. 651-337-2184 CREDITS Location: Grand View Lodge Interior Design: Amy Leferink, Interior Impressions Builder: Nor-Son Custom Builders


Is Now the Time to


3. Move Fast

Mortgage interest rates can change quickly. A rate that may seem promising one day can be gone the next. At some lenders, rates have even been changing by the hour. What to do? Decide in advance on the interest rate you are comfortable with. When that rate becomes available at a trusted lender, jump on it.

4. Explore a Cash-Out Refinance Mortgage interest rates are hovering near historic lows. At many lenders, rates are well below four percent. For a brief period in March, rates even dipped briefly below three percent. Not surprisingly, many homeowners are asking themselves, “Is now the time to refinance?” The answer is…maybe. Before you think about refinancing your existing mortgage, consider the following:

1. Do The Math

Sure, current mortgage interest rates are attractive. But the truth is they’ve been low for several years. Before you rush to consider a refinance, take a close look at your current interest rate. It might already be fairly low. There are many factors to consider when refinancing a mortgage. While the interest rate is important, closing costs and how long you plan to stay in your home are important, too. Work with a professional loan officer to understand the total costs associated with a refinance, which typically include credit checks, appraisals, origination fees and other closing costs. Next, determine how long it will take to recoup those costs through a lower interest rate. For example, if you expect to incur $2,500 in closing costs, but will save $150 a month by securing a lower interest rate, it could still take nearly 18 months to recover your closing costs. The key is to determine how long you plan to own your home. If you plan to sell in a year or two, a refinance may not make sense. If you plan to own your home for several more years, you may want to go for it.

With interest rates so low, and with many families needing an infusion of cash, cash-out refinances are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Particularly for those who are planning to do home improvements or want to pay off existing debt, this type of refinance can reduce monthly expenses considerably. With a cash-out refinance, homeowners tap into their homes’ equity by taking on a larger mortgage in exchange for access to that equity in the form of cash. When does a cash-out refinance make sense? For homeowners who have a need for cash, and have enough equity in their home (typically no more than 80 percent loan-to-value), a cash-out refinance during a time of lower interest rates can be a good solution.

5. Has Your Home Gone Up in Value? Eliminate Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Many homeowners, particularly newer homeowners, are familiar with private mortgage insurance (PMI). That is the insurance that many lenders require homeowners to purchase until they have paid off enough of their mortgage to reach 20 percent equity in their homes. Often, a refinance can result in the elimination of PMI. That is because homes are typically reappraised during a refinance. If a home has increased enough in value to cause the homeowner’s equity to reach the 20 percent threshold, PMI can be eliminated. With PMI often costing between .5 percent and one percent of a total mortgage loan amount, that can result in potentially saving hundreds of dollars each month.* *[Source: Investopedia]

2. Shop Around

Not all lenders are created equal, nor are the interest rates they offer. Rates can vary from one financial institution to the next. Do your homework and shop around for the best rate. Interestingly, because of the spike in demand for refinances, some lenders are purposefully keeping their interest rates high as they struggle to keep up with demand. Ask lenders if the interest rates they offer are higher because of supply-and-demand issues.

In this low-interest rate environment, a refinance can be a great solution. Do your research to find the best rates and work with a lender you trust to guide you through the process. At Alerus, we’re here for you every step of the way. If you have a really good credit score (over 700) and have low monthly mortgage payments relative to your monthly income, it is more likely you will secure an attractive interest rate.


800.279.3200 :: ALERUS.COM



Brian and Kelly Bunnell and their three teenage sons spend most of their year in Colorado. But as soon as the last day of the school year hits, they head up to Big McDonald Lake. About 15 minutes west of Perham, this authentic log cabin is home to over 30 years of family memories. Kelly's grandparents originally built the log cabin in 1990. Now widowed and living in Grand Forks, Kelly's grandmother knew it was too much work to continue upkeeping the lake home about 140 miles away. But with so many family memories attached to the property, the family wasn't ready to say goodbye to it altogether. So in 2018, the Bunnells purchased the home – furnished and as-is – from Kelly's grandmother. "She wanted to keep it in the family. This lake has been part of my life since I was born," said Kelly. The family has a long history at this lake, starting with her grandparents building the home 30 years ago and progressing to Kelly's parents building their own log home next door. Kelly has cherished memories from childhood of


spending time at the cabin with her grandparents, celebrating holidays and gathering with her 20-something cousins. Now, the next generation has the opportunity to embrace lake life and create a new chapter of memories. The cabin was in need of a refresh, but because of these memories, the Bunnells didn't want to alter the layout too drastically. This lent itself to some cosmetic changes, including new bathrooms, installation of durable vinyl plank flooring and a kitchen redesign consisting of brand new cabinets, countertops, appliances and the addition of an island. Instrumental in bringing new life into this special home was Refreshing Designs, a Perham home furnishings and interior design firm. Kelly was familiar with Refreshing Designs from enjoying shopping in their downtown Perham storefront with her mom and aunts. It was a natural transition from being a shopper to an interior design services client, something Kelly says was, "the best decision we made." Leading the design process was Refreshing Designs' manager Bailee Currie, Allied ASID Interior Designer. Because they were remotely orchestrating the remodel almost completely from their home in Colorado, their trust in their interior design team was especially important. Refreshing Designs made this process smooth, coordinating contractors, sourcing materials and offering up just the right amount of options. Based on their portfolio of work, Kelly trusted their recommendations. In delivering design recommendations, Refreshing Designs offered up two to five options and allowed the client to choose from there.


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"There’s something really special about lake life." - KELLY BUNNELL

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"That piece was key for us, because I'm very indecisive and I'll overthink everything and nothing would have gotten done if I had tried to do it on my own," said Kelly. A priority in the design process was respecting the home's roots. Seeing that authentic log homes are rare, the new homeowners wanted to preserve and highlight this aspect. The organic and warm characteristics of the build are special and needed to be treated as such. Where some cabin renovations include painting over wood details, these homeowners did the opposite and actually revealed more wood. "In the kitchen, [my grandmother] had cabinets to the right of the sink, but we took those out and put in some floating shelves so we can see more of that log wall," said Kelly. The master bathroom underwent a similar treatment, removing a built-in shower and closet to reveal more of those beautiful log walls. Also new to the bathroom is a standalone soaker tub, perfect for washing off the lake water and relaxing after a day in the sun. A new picture window was put in above the tub. Kelly remarked it was a bit scary to watch part of the beloved log walls get taken out to fit the window in, but the natural sunlight that comes from it only adds to the remaining walls' warm glow. In the basement, what used to be a kitchenette for overflow holiday cooking turned into a spacious laundry room. This opened up the spot in the main floor bathroom where the washer and dryer used to be to become a shower. The only shower in the home used to be in the basement, so this additional shower was incredibly convenient.


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Something that was a bit of a last-minute inclusion, but ended up being one of their favorite updates, was the addition a half-bath in the loft area. Originally, the loft was only two bedrooms and any guests sleeping there had to go downstairs to use the restroom and even further down to the basement to shower. The addition of this half-bath increased the home's functionality, and we can imagine their three sons, who sleep in the loft's bedrooms, are grateful. "Before we bought this log cabin from my grandmother, we’d just come to Minnesota for as long as my parents would let us live in their house," Kelly joked. Now that they have a place of their own – and a beautiful place at that – they can spend as much time on Minnesota water as they please.

*** Refreshing Designs 103 E Main St, Perham, MN 218-346-2475 CREDITS Interior Design: Refreshing Designs Appliances: Karvonen's




BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Brittney and Caleb Photography and Skye Fingalson


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Full-service design studio, Design 2 Sell At The Lakes, had its grand opening in March 2019, and owner Skye Fingalson has hit the ground running since then. While the brick-andmortar studio has only been open a year and some change, Fingalson has been designing lakes area homes for the past 15 years. As a full-service design business, the store offers everything from real estate staging to interior design to countertops and flooring sourcing to paint consultations to home decor. Originally, Design 2 Sell was a brand for Fingalson to do real estate staging through, but her creative eye slowly transformed it into a full-service design agency. For those in the market for a design refresh, Design 2 Sell has seven packages to chose from, including two diamond packages. These packages are customizable and able to fit anyone's preferences or needs, whether you're looking for a simple countertop installation to a full design, including paint colors, bedding, new flooring, lighting and more. Come with us as we explore three stylishly transformed homes that utilized these design packages.

countertops and a shiplap range hood. In the midst of all the white, contrast came in the form of black light fixtures. Barn-light sconces provided light to the countertops while seven varied pendants illuminated the island. "Lighting can either make or break a space," said Fingalson. "It not only gives off the ambiance, but the design is truly all in the details."

FRESH AND AIRY IN FRAZEE Looking at the before and after images of this Frazee kitchen, the average eye wouldn't believe it is the same room. The homeowners came to Design 2 Sell for a design consultation and chose a design package that worked for their vision. "They knew that they wanted to open up some walls and make their kitchen and dining room all one open space for entertaining," said Fingalson. To make this happen, they came up with a design plan and Fingalson helped them shop for everything from furniture and fixtures. The warm-toned and woodheavy space was transformed by introducing the color white. A lot of the wood was painted white and other white elements were introduced, including a subway tile backsplash, brand new cabinetry, quartz

Another often-overlooked detail they were sure to include in this project was surround sound. "I can't begin to express the importance of surround sound," said Fingalson. "It's one of those things that people take for granted, but it truly adds to the ambiance of the space." This important detail isn't one that can just be added at the last minute, however. To properly incorporate surround sound, the wiring had to be installed during the construction process. Even just running the wires in case you might want surround sound in the future is a good idea, to ensure you won't have to break through any walls you just worked so hard on completing. These homeowners knew they wanted surround sound, so that was included in their remodel process from the start. Knocking down some walls and adding freshness through color and texture, Design 2 Sell transformed this space from a typical cabin feel to a thoughtful and contemporary haven. No detail was overlooked and the end result is ready for many entertaining ventures to come.


INTENTIONAL ACCENTS ON PEARL LAKE Situated on Pearl Lake is the airy and spacious Hochgrabber home. This family approached Design 2 Sell requesting a facelift for their great room, which lead them to the Diamond Design Package. This package gave the homeowners a full-service package from start to finish. Fingalson and her team handled everything from the overall design details to lining up and managing specialists like electricians, plumbers and painters. This way, the homeowners were alleviated the stress of coordinating schedules and estimates, and also gets the benefits of a thoughtful design. Once those technical aspects are scheduled and taken care of, Fingalson and the homeowners can get into the fun parts. When first approaching this project, the team was presented with a big, flat wall under tall ceilings. Truly a blank canvas, Fingalson got to work and designed a statement fireplace to anchor the room. The upper half of the floor-to-ceiling structure adds dimension with a white-onwhite herringbone pattern. Two functioning lanterns add to the overall ambiance and were well worth the extra planning it took to wire them up correctly. Leading the eye down to the lower portion, the fireplace itself is framed in stone with a cedar mantle connecting the two halves of the statement feature. Further opening up the space, the team opted to paint the ceiling white, a refreshing transition from what used to be orange-toned pine. Fresh coats of paint were added


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throughout, in addition to some more depth and character coming in the form of shiplap on the stair wall. Using white to freshen up a space is always successful, however it risks coming off a bit safe. To add charm and texture, Fingalson incorporated board and batten and shiplap on the new white elements. Thoughtful decor touches help really complete this lake home. "It's just like the icing on the cake," said Fingalson about decorating. One important detail she includes in her design packages is this professional decorating. In Design 2 Sell's brick-andmortar, they carry a variety of home decor selections. So in her design projects, Fingalson pulls accessories from this selection and shows the homeowners all the design potentials. As an added bonus, if the homeowner decides to keep the decor items the project is staged with, they get 15% off those items. Easy and efficient!


BOLD PATTERNS IN DETROIT LAKES In the city of Detroit Lakes is the Rufer family home. In making this kitchen remodel come to life, Fingalson played off of the homeowner's vision for a threetoned kitchen. The existing kitchen was wood, wood and more wood. The starting point that Design 2 Sell began to work with had warm, honey-toned wood cabinets, counters, backsplash, trim and ceiling beams. While lake homes are known for warmth and ample wood throughout, this kitchen was in need of modernization and some variation. Not wanting to betray the home's origins, Design 2 Sell moved forward with a design that married the existing wood tones with crisp blacks and whites. The base cabinets were painted black, while the island and upper cabinets remained the existing wood stain. Keeping some of the original wood details allowed the space to stay true to its roots while still giving it a timeless refresh. White came through in the new countertops, a porcelain farmhouse sink and some fresh coats of paint on what used to be earthy green walls. While the black, white and neutral palette brought modernity to the space, it's the patterned tile backsplash that really brings it to life. Instead of pulling in accent colors to spruce up the space, Fingalson opted for pattern to be in the spotlight. "It's nice to bring people out of their safe-box. To say, 'Go with what you love if it makes you happy,'" said Fingalson. She knows that a patterned backsplash might not be for everyone, but settling for what is "safe" doesn't always play out. And when you're hiring a designer to bring life to your space, let them have some fun and create a space that is uniquely you. Easily achieve


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a stylish look by balancing bold choices, like a patterned backsplash, with neutral elements, like a white quartz countertops. Updated lighting was the cherry on top of the newfound freshness. Under-cabinet lighting, toe-kick lighting, recessed can lights and new pendants above the island and sink took the ambiance from dark and busy to light and breathable. Carrying on with the trend of mixing, the final touches in the kitchen were mixed metal selections. Brushed nickel hardware and stainless steel appliances anchor the space. But brushed gold came in on the light fixtures to echo the warmth from the remaining natural wood tones. *** Design 2 Sell 514 Lake Avenue, Detroit Lakes, MN (218) 844-8770




BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Nicole Midwest


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On land enjoyed for five generations now, these two cabins in Alexandria, Minnesota are full of a rich history. Neighboring each other, one home is owned by Beth Dunkin, the matriarch so to speak, and the other is owned by Dunkin's four daughters, Christy Rawlins, Cathy Dunkin, Carey Baker, Courtney Bono and their spouses. To give a refresh while preserving the stories made over the past century, the family homeowners brought in Amy Wood Interiors. Bringing in sophisticated style with a breezy and fresh aesthetic, Amy Wood Interiors produced two cabins ready to be treasured for centuries to come. BEHIND THE HOMES: AMY WOOD INTERIORS The vision behind these two fantastic cabins was Amy Wood Interiors, a full-service Interior Design firm based in Alexandria. Amy Wood specializes in light, bright and airy spaces, bringing west coast influences to the midwest. With her clients primarily being in the lakes region, this casual and calm aesthetic serves her well. From large and small scale remodels to ground-up new builds, creating perfect escapes on the water is where she thrives.

awesome to come here and have them see it for the first time and to walk through and see all Beth's family memories up on the wall and to see the antiques she's collected. To see those personal touches, Beth was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is my cabin! This is exactly what I wanted.' And everyone was crying. I was crying, the daughters were crying, Beth was crying." A RICH HISTORY

Amy Wood Interiors owner, Amy Wood, came into this Lake Le Homme Dieu project thanks to a referral from Arnquist Carpets Plus. Almost immediately after being contacted by the homeowners, Wood got started on what would become a robust, incredibly enjoyable project. Wood saw through the entire build, from the design phase all the way until the last suitcase was stowed and even became friends of the family in the process. With the homeowners living in Oklahoma most of the year, much of the design process was done remotely. With help of technology, Wood sent process videos and offered up suggestions via photos along the way. However, these updates were only provided up until a certain point, where the homeowners all agreed they wanted the rest to be a surprise. "I shared little snippets, but I wouldn't share how it all was turning out," said Wood. "It was so

There's a rich history that precedes the impeccable homes that stand today. The story goes back to 1912, when Edna McElroy LeCompte had her daughter, Betty LeCompte prematurely. Living in Iowa at the time, her doctor advised her to get out of the heat for the summer to help young Betty develop. Abiding by this suggestion, Edna followed a tip-off that there was a great community of rental cabins up in Alexandria, Minnesota. So with a sixth-month-old baby on her hip, she took a train up to the shore and started the tradition of spending summers on the water with her daughter. In the 1930s, the Great Depression took its hold on the country and the rental cabins were put up for sale. Not wanting to abandon such a memorable area, Edna was excited to receive the cabin for her birthday from her husband. From then on, the girls spent every summer there and began the act of passing the home down through generations of daughters. Over 100 years after the LeComptes arrived on the Le Homme Dieu shores, this lake-side retreat has truly been the gift that keeps on giving. In the early '90s, the family purchased the home next door from their neighbor. On Alexandria's chain of lakes,


lakeshore homes are hard to come by, and the family lucked out about being alerted of the home before it was officially on the market. With two neighboring lots, Beth and her four daughters set out to bring new life to the beloved land. Having loved the home and its history so much, the third and fourth generation of women in the family wanted a remodel that would allow the space to enjoyed by the family for the next 100 years. One priority for Wood and the homeowners was to preserve the home's rich history. From maintaining the brown exterior paint on the original home to decorating with antiques, no detail was too small to take into account. "Before we tore down the original cabin, we went through and tagged everything we wanted to keep and had intentional ideas for them," said Wood, remarking that they envisioned specific pieces of art or furniture for the focal points of specific rooms. "Just really working all those things in is what really makes a house feel like a home." Reclaimed details include old skis and their greatgrandmother Edna's trunk as decor, reupholstered chairs from their Oklahoma ranch, old screen doors and window frames turned into mirrors and a headboard made of vintage oars. More sentimental elements that enlivened the space were gallery walls of family photos, needlepoint pillows of Edna McElroy and Betty LeCompte and custom benches painted with noteworthy dates. So come with us and see how family memories were intertwined with modern amenities in these two handsome cabins.


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THE DAUGHTERS' CABIN The first of the two remodels came in 2018 with the refresh of the original property. This property became a spacious cabin co-owned by the four Dunkin daughters and their families. This home was designed to be a contemporary entertaining hub and where everyone would gather and hang out. With four bedrooms on each corner of the main floor, a loft with five bunks and an adjacent bungalow with two additional bedrooms, this house was designed to host the whole family at once. Of the two cabins, this cabin has a younger, more industrial aesthetic, taking inspiration from navy blues, nautical imagery and rustic wood. THE KITCHEN The cabin opens up to a warm and welcoming kitchen of white and natural wood. Underneath industrial pendant lights is an oversized island and

industrial stove, designed for entertaining and feeding four families-worth of children. Two custom-made benches serve as barstools, made for a number of kids to squish together on and feast off of pancakes fresh from the griddle. On each long bench is painted one of two important dates: 1912 for when the cabin was first visited by Edna McElroy and her newborn Betty LeCompte, and 2018 for when the cabin renovations took place for the next generation to enjoy. On the wall at the entrance hangs a weathered rectangle of wood. What was once a pull-out cutting board in the original kitchen is etched the names of every woman who has baked in the kitchen and her birth year. Home co-owner Courtney Dunkin Bono joked that there was also a board reserved for the men of the family to etch their names, yet none of them have stepped up to initiate that process yet. THE LIVING ROOM Serving as the hangout-spot of the properties, the living room in this home features high ceilings and windows galore. With a plush sectional, two additional chairs and a bistro dining set, this area has room to seat everyone. A full gallery wall leads up the stairs to the loft, or "treehouse" for the kids. Showcasing the fourth and fifth generation of the family, the frames are filled with family group photos, boat-life shots and images of sandy baby butts. Also leading up to the loft hang vintage wooden skis, recovered from the original cottage before renovations. While contemporary and fresh in design, the home still successfully incorporates such touches from the rich family history.


THE BEDROOMS On the four corners of the main floor are four bedrooms. The two lakeside bedrooms are considered the master suites, both with a king-sized bed, personal patios and, of course, luxurious lake views. The two street-facing bedrooms both have two queen-sized, metalframed beds. Upstairs is the children's domain. Featuring five bunkstyle beds around the loft's perimeter, the space is prime for cousin sleep-overs and endless nights of whispered storytelling. The space has storage for toys and games and there is a large table in the center of the room for setting up an old-fashioned board game on. THE BUNGALOW



To really ensure that everyone can visit without worrying about running out of space, there is an adjoining bungalow house. This bungalow has its own kitchenette, a quaint living space, two bathrooms and an upstairs bedroom and bunkbed nook. This home became a place to decorate with a lot of the original home's antique finds and to really bring a lot of the history together. Old quilts, paintings and pieces of furniture found their home in this over-flow space. While the other two homes' master bedrooms are on the main floor, this bungalow's master bedroom sits on the second floor, providing it priceless aerial views. Wood herself expressed that this view is her favorite on the property.

THE SUNROOM When entering the home, the first thing that catches the eye is a bright sunroom directly to the left of the door. In the original lake home there was a screened porch and Beth wanted to recreate that in a new way. With tall windows on all three walls, this is Beth's favorite space in the home. Views of the lake, her daughters' home next door and the yard in which her grandchildren play in, this space is all she needs to have a perfect day.

THE MATRIARCH'S MANOR This elegant cottage was designed for the family matriarch, Beth Dunkin. Of the two homes neighboring each other, this home was made to be a serene getaway for the grandmother. An old cottage aesthetic was carried out with the use of white painted beadboard, shiplap, wide trim and a classic color palette of pale pinks and blues. While the children's house was the one designed to host everyone, this home still has ample space, with a master bedroom, two additional bedrooms and a loft with two queen-sized beds.

The room holds original furniture from the homeowner's Oklahoma ranch, reupholstered for a new life. Not only did they want to bring in the lake home's history, but they incorporated touches from the family ranch to make it even more personalized. The rustic chandelier nods to such country and southern styles while not veering too far from the overall coastal, lakehouse aesthetic. Beth loved the texture of wood, as found in the original cabin. So in designing this refresh, the texture of shiplap and beadboards provided that feel and this wood-based furniture gave warmth, without darkening the space. On the wall of this room hangs a gifted painting of the original home, preserving history in an artistic fashion. It was important that the new home fit in with the cabins along the shore. While they knew it was time for a refresh, the family didn't want neighbors to feel as if they were tearing down history or changing the neighborhood up. This painting serves as a reminder of the original home's exterior and how the new home respects it in subtle ways.


THE LIVING ROOM The open-concept living room, kitchen and bistro dining spot set the scene for comfortably hosting guests through all seasons. The cabin is fully winterized, including a brick fireplace, adding a rustic feel in the summer and warmth in the winter. Having just experienced its first full winter, the home successfully withstood the elements and is ready to host Thanksgivings and Christmases in addition to summer living. As is in the sunroom, floorto-ceiling windows span the entire lake-facing wall. In the comforts of the indoors, guests have panoramic views of the scenery no matter the season or weather. With the furniture and decor choices, Amy Wood Interiors wanted to lean natural and timeless. With whites and neutrals reigning, the accessories, art and personal details can do all the talking. Beth told Wood that she wanted her great-greatgrandchildren to be able to come there and for the design to still feel stylish. While the furniture itself might not last 100 more years, future family members will be able to look back at photos and admire the space for what it is. This meant holding fast to classic touches and foregoing any overly trendy of of-the-time aspects. As echoed from the daughters' home, the entry of the home boasts a wall entirely covered in black and white photographs from years past. In the youthful, daughters' home, the family photos are printed in color, while in the matriarch's home, these photos are black and white, drawing an overall more sophisticated and mature feel. A built-in bookcase full of family artifacts and lampshades made of collages of family photos further pull in the family's history. Items displayed can be


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interchanged for generations to come, adding in new trinkets of memories as they are created. THE KITCHEN On Beth's wishlist for the cabin was a smaller kitchen that opened up to the living room. Complete with a large, eat-in peninsula and ample storage, this kitchen is ready for both sharing meals with family and quiet breakfasts in solitude. Glass-front custom cabinets call back to vintage leaded windows and set the scene to display some of Beth's beloved antiques. Inset, shaker-style cabinets throughout the rest of the kitchen offer a classic feel and the stainless steel hardware serve as feminine and timeless jewelry. Amy Wood Interiors often works with Swedberg Wood Projects on kitchen cabinetry designs, and this project was no different. With Capital Granite contributing the honed black granite countertops, this

Meet Me at the Lake By Ellen Jean Diederich 20” x 40” Acrylic on Canvas

GALLERIES Underbrush Gallery – Fargo, ND Forest Edge Gallery – Vergas, MN Capital Gallery – Bismarck, ND Capital Gallery West – Medora, ND SPECIAL EVENT Ellen’s Masked Art Sale, July 15-17 Wed/Thurs 11:00-7:00 • Fri 10:00-2:00 3374 Maplewood Court, Fargo Ellen’s Summer Studio 701-799-9505 67

kitchen is fresh and delicious. THE MASTER BEDROOM It was only natural that Beth's master bedroom came complete with views of the water. Situated so that a lake view is what she is greeted with in the morning, this first-floor master bedroom is sophisticated and heavenly. A greyscale floral wallpaper adds soft character, without competing with the stunning and colorful lake views. Feminine flowers are accented throughout, with floral pillows and antique floral artwork, framed and displayed with care. Excited about how it came together, Wood laughed as she shared that she filmed a video of the room to send to Beth. In the video, Wood shows the point of view of what waking up in the room feels like. Rolling over in the morning leads the eye past the breezy, custom drapes and to the serene Lake Le Homme Dieu. Not a bad way to start the day! THE ADDITIONAL BEDROOMS Wanting the open-concept main room to truly be the center of the home, the cabin's additional bedrooms are tucked in the back. Two bedrooms share a bathroom and face the street-side of the home while the upstairs loft is outfitted in two additional beds. Beth didn't want the home to feel like it had a bunch of empty bedrooms, so the strategic placement of these bedrooms makes the house feel full, no matter the number of people actually sleeping there.


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••• Amy Wood Interiors @amywoodinteriors CREDITS Interior Design: Amy Wood Interiors Construction: Northwoods Construction Kitchen Design: Swedberg Wood Products Countertops: Capital Granite Lumber and materials: Hilltop Lumber Appliances: Cullen’s Home Center Flooring: Arnquist Carpets Plus General Contractor: Rick Rosengren

Owners Tony Becker, Kate Becker, Taylor Hammond and Jamey Hammond



BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Kate Becker


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On Cosby, Minnesota's quaint and peaceful Adney Lake stands the Atlas A-Frame. The 1983 cedar structure was purchased by friends Tony and Kate Becker and Jamey and Taylor Hammond in September 2019 and made anew over the winter months. Starting this April, the home was ready and started hosting guests via Airbnb. Nicknamed "Atlas," the A-Frame was designed to be a space to unwind and explore. The charming cabin has four beds and can sleep up to six people. Features include lofty ceilings, a wood-burning stove, stunning views, 150 feet of lakeshore and a private dock. Enlivened by the idea of just picking a spot on the map and embarking on an adventure, the home's namesake reflects this ideal. "When you hear 'atlas' you think of adventure. You think of a globe and a map and the opportunities that go along with them," said Kate. The result of a winter's worth of renovations and design is this Scandinavian-inspired, simplistic space. Ideal for centering the soul and focusing on what matters in life, Airbnb guests have resonated with this mission, resulting in the cabin being booked out well into September.

FINDING THE HOME The dream of renovating and renting out a lakeside A-frame had been brewing in the minds of the Beckers for a while. With experience building their woodsy event center, Pinewood, creating a lakeside escape next was an attainable goal. They had saved a Zillow search for A-frames in northern Minnesota, specifically the North Shore and Crosby Lake areas, and were keeping their eyes open for opportunities.

MEET THE OWNERS Atlas A-Frame is co-owned by two married couples, the Beckers and the Hammonds. Tony and Kate Becker are entrepreneurs and the idea of a stylish and hip business was not foreign to them. In addition to Atlas, they also own Pinewood, an upscale wedding and events center in Cambridge, Minn. and Northerly, a rental photo booth camper business. The other half of the team are the Hammonds. Taylor and Jamey Hammond live together in the Twin Cities where Jamey is a pastor. In making Atlas come to life, Tony and Jamey took on the construction and building parts of the renovation, while Kate and Taylor were the visionaries behind the design and aesthetic. "Taylor and I have very similar styles and like a lot of the same things, so it was easy for us to put our heads together and make it unique," said Kate.

Such an opportunity came when the two couples were spending a lake weekend together at Jamey's parents' cabin. While sitting on the porch enjoying the scenery, they got curious and decided to look up nearby A-frames for sale. "We found Atlas's [listing] and we decided to go look at it together," said Kate. On a spur of the moment trip to check it out, the two couples fell in love with the 80s structure and knew they could turn it into something really special together. While Tony and Kate sparked the idea of renovating such a place themselves, they knew it would be more fun to embark on with good friends by their side. And thus, the adventure began. What drew the owners to this particular A-frame was how it was different than standard A-frames they'd come across. Rather than being one A-shaped structure, this build consisted of two A-shapes, converging into an "L" formation. This unique layout caught their eyes, and the picturesque views, floor-toceiling windows and the extra basement space really sealed the deal. "We just fell in love with the property," said Kate.


BRINGING ATLAS A-FRAME TO LIFE While the layout of the cabin was what they wanted, they knew the interior needed some modernization. Luckily, much of the renovation was cosmetic, with reframing around doors and replacing some windows being the only major construction alterations. Kate noted that a lot of the remodel included the "fun stuff," like painting, furnishings and cabinetry and kitchen design. With experienced eyes for design, Kate and Taylor enjoyed brainstorming ideas and enlisting the husbands to help execute them. The result? Serene earth-tones reign, and additions of fresh white and natural wood tie it all together. "We wanted it to be minimal and simple, and for everything to be functional as well. We wanted the whole space to be light and bright and inviting and cozy," said Kate. They all agreed that they wanted to go the opposite direction of the region's typical knotty pine and wood cabin look. The cabin is now a modern and contemporary space that stands out as unique, but without betraying its lakeside roots. A crisp, Scandinavian aesthetic was accomplished by following the design movement's pillars of clean, simple lines and minimalism. A lack of clutter achieves functionality, but without sacrificing style. This isn't to say that the space has no decor, just that accessories are not superfluous and existing in excess. Aside from the visual aesthetic, this minimalism is great for rental properties, as you never know what decor might get lost between guest visits.


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LOFTY DREAMS One of the owners' favorite details is the cabin's loft. Up in the loft, guests can experience picturesque views of Adney Lake from two rocking chairs. Here, guests can watch the sunset or the sunrise and breathe in the peacefulness of the environment. In the summer, it makes for a perfect place to unwind after an adventurous day, and in the winter, the panoramic views allow you to soak up the scenery without fighting the cold. While the space is beautiful, the owners faced some challenges too. Up in the loft, there was a built-in nook that jutted out from the rest of the space. At first, they didn't know what to do with the space, as it was too small for a table or chairs, but too apparent to just leave empty. A solution for the spot came with the vision for a cozy reading nook. Outfitted with a small daybed and some pillows, the spot found new life.

"It's always our favorite part," said Kate. "In the mornings when we are all there together, we always fight over that spot. It's just the perfect little reading nook for your morning coffee." With some creativity, what could have been an awkward structural feature turned into a desirable haven. HELPING MAKE MEMORIES While they easily could have renovated the home for just their own uses, the intention throughout the whole process was to create something they could share. The owners are firm believers in the importance of escaping from day-to-day life and hope that this rental can inspire that action in its guests. "It's the perfect opportunity for people to get away from their busy lives and really take a weekend to focus on what's important and just to connect with the people around them," said Kate. Displayed in the kitchen is a sign reading, "No WiFi here, pretend it's the 90s and talk to each other." With no WiFi on the property, the owners encourage guests to unplug and enjoy timeless activities like playing cards, sitting by the fire or swimming in the lake. While they've only been renting out the cabin since April, they've already been enjoying the positive feedback from guests. "It's just been so rewarding to have people enjoy it. Everyone is always happy at the cabin, so it's been really fun to be able to share our creation with other people and see how they use the space," said Kate. The goal from the onset was to love and serve people, and they can feel confident knowing that their little cabin in the woods is doing just that. *** To make your own memories at the northern Minnesota lake A-frame, search "Atlas A-frame // An A-frame on Lake Adney!" on Airbnb and book your stay. To admire from afar, be sure to follow the home on Instagram at @atlas.aframe




Lake Experts PHOTOS BY Nicole Midwest


t's no secret that buying a home is a huge, important decision. And with such a decision, you want to ensure that you have a good relationship with the real estate agent you're working with! When looking to hire a professional, most of us trust that they know what they are doing. But don't you want someone you can trust AND connect with on a more personal level?

DAVE NEISEN – Broker/Owner (218) 841-2187 |

Oftentimes Realtors and clients spend so much time together, getting to know each other and touring homes, that a real friendship starts. It's important you feel connected and comfortable with your Realtor! To help you out, we got to know the team at The Real Estate Company of Detroit Lakes. We already know that we can count on The Real Estate Company of Detroit Lakes for all realty matters, but now we've gotten to know them through a fun and friendly lens.

TOREY NEISEN – Owner/Agent (218) 230 -1134 |

JUDE OSTGARDEN – Broker/Agent (218) 850-9498 |


(218) 298 -0729 |


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ILENE MALONEY – Agent (218) 849-6816 |

Three words that describe her: Passionate, caring, hard-working

Home design trend she's loving: Shiplap on the ceiling.

Favorite concert attended: Neil Diamond

Three words that describe her: Personable, conscientious and honest.

Hobbies: Gardening, cooking, puzzles, painting, sewing Her own dream home looks like: Open floor plan, lots of windows, a swimming pool and on the gulf side of Florida.

What she'd do if she won the lottery: Share with family and buy a convertible! One lake area event she'd recommend a visitor going to: Water Carnival. July is my favorite month in Minnesota!


TRICIA BELLEFEUILLE – Agent (218) 841-3459 |

Favorite restaurant in Detroit Lakes: I’m a sucker for a good burger and fries at Sunlight Bar and Grill on Little Floyd Lake. Why she chose realty as a career: My husband is a local custom home builder, so when I decided to step back from working as a hairstylist for the past 20 years, real estate was the perfect fit!

What she'd do if she won the lottery: I would buy a nice piece of land and create a beautiful horse facility! Open it to kids to learn to ride and enjoy horses who are unable to own their own.

What she'd do if she won the lottery: Take care of my family and travel.

were the house from Father of The Bride, Full House and Home Alone.

Her ideal Saturday morning: Sitting on my beach with a cup of coffee.

Favorite concert attended: Watching my daughter perform at All-State Choir in St. Paul at Orchestra Hall.

Favorite home from a pop-culture movie or tv show: Ones from childhood I remember loving

How she is involved in the community: My husband and I volunteer whenever we can, especially with the Boys and Girls Club of DL, our kids' schools and shopping local as much as we can.


(218) 234-1231 | Home design trend she's loving: I really love that people are choosing designs that are unique to their own lives. I love the efficiency people are leaning towards, a good organized closet system or pantry makeover, or a small powered room or kids space under a staircase is always a great use of extra space and a trend I love right now. Life motto: "Never get to busy making a living, that you forget to make a life." I have had this quote


(218) 234-8335 |

on my kitchen windowsill for 10 years, as long as I have lived in my current home. I feel very lucky to be able to say that I love my job, it's easy to forget that it is, in fact, a job. Favorite lake activity: I could spend hours fishing off the dock or cruising the pontoon around the lake for an afternoon. A bonfire while roasting s'mores at sunset is always a favorite lake activity in our house.


(218) 234-1876 |

Home design trend he's loving: Less is more, bringing antiques back in as high-end accents. Quality is number one. Picking a couple well placed high-end finishes can take a nice home to a fantastic one.

granddaughter and a long vacation for me and my lovely wife!

What he'd do if he won the lottery: Buy dream cars for my siblings and houses for my children, college for my

Favorite lake activity: Listening to the noise! Kids, loons and waves are all sounds I love to hear.

Ideal Saturday morning: Coffee and watching the sunrise, after that everything works out.




Lake Experts


(218) 234-1357 | Home design trend he's loving: Custom off-grid Shouses and Barndominiums. Favorite home from a pop-culture movie or tv show: Tony Stark’s “The Razor House” in Ironman. Hobbies: Hunting, fishing, motorcycling, traveling,

remote drone piloting and photography, and I'm a car enthusiast! How he is involved in the community: I am on the Planning and Zoning Commission for the City of Detroit Lakes, I am a Director on the LCAR Board and I love participating in charitable events!


(218) 234-1034 | Why she chose realty as a career: Over the last 10 years, I've been a landlord of my own rentals. I've met quite a few individuals and families that have housing needs and have always tried to help them, even if I couldn't rent to them. As this type of relationship as developed, I've found many reaching out to me throughout the community and recommendations. With the knowledge of real estate in combination with the rest of my experience, I have the ability to help others in most given housing situations. It is a truly rewarding career and an honor to help others find the perfect home for their families! 80

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Hobbies: Updating rentals, boating and playing softball with my kids Her own dream home looks like: A peaceful 2-acre level lot overlooking a quite swimmable lake with great fishing. A 2,500 square foot home with vaulted ceilings, plenty floor to ceiling windows for natural light, a beautiful open concept kitchen with multiple seating options built to entertain and equipped with an espresso machine that would put Caribou to the test!


(218) 234-8616 | Home design trend he's loving: I have always liked the more rustic finishes, like barn wood and rough sawn accents. Three words that describe him: Honest, loyal, persistent

One lake area event he'd recommend a visitor going to: Water Carnival Parade. It is a good way to see how the community comes out and has a good time together.

His ideal Saturday morning: Either fishing or on a golf course with my son.


(218) 234-5915 | Three words that describe her: Happy, Talkative and Positive Favorite home from a pop-culture movie or tv show: Samantha's home from Sixteen Candles How she is involved in the community: I am a lifetime member of the VFW Auxiliary

as the Treasurer and American Legion. One lake area event she'd recommend a visitor going to: Turtle Races in Perham, it's a great activity for families with children. It's fun to watch the excitement of the kids when their turtle wins.

on the market You've seen the home and you love the lifestyle. Are you ready to start living the lake life? Check out these lake area listings and get inspired to make a move to the water.

49928 428th Street New York Mills, MN Beds: 4 | Baths: 2 | Sq. Feet: 3,191 | $399,000 Big Pine Lake boasts this impeccable property, combining both lake and forest in one habitat. This home is the perfect combination of modern and rustic and a beautiful blend between spacious and cozy. The taste, the thought and the time poured into this home can be seen at every turn. From the color pallet, to the functionality, to the centuries-old barn beam fireplace mantel. With four beds, two full baths, an attached garage, detached shop and an additional shed, you will never be short on storage. The towering pines provide safe harbor from cold winter winds and shade from the blazing summer heat. Tucked ever so cozily in among the forest, this house can soon become your very own home. Contact Jen Hanson at Keller Williams Realty Professionals for more information.

on the market

15514 Maple Ridge Road Audubon, MN Beds: 4 | Baths: 3 | Sq. Feet: 3,624 | $669,900 Not to be missed is this rare find! Sitting on a three parcel corner lot with a total of 232 feet of shoreline, this Little Cormorant Lake home is ready to be yours. This beautiful and tastefully decorated home was built for luxury and quality. In the kitchen are high-end stainless appliances with a JennAir range, double ovens, two sinks and an extra beverage fridge. In-floor heat throughout the main floor allows the home to be comfortably loved even through the winter! In addition to the four bedrooms, there's an additional secluded bonus room for achieving real serenity. Outside, memories can be made in the beautiful landscaping and custom fire pit. A 24x28 square foot steel-framed utility shop and a 12x12 square foot storage shed offer up all the storage you need. Contact Park Co. Realtors for more information


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on the market

32327 Loon Drive Vergas, MN Beds: 4 | Baths: 3 | Sq. Feet: 3,294 | $735,000 Get ready for summer with this truly rare find. Located on a private peninsula on East Loon Lake, this home sits on 2.7 acres and has 650 feet of lakeshore. The home boasts four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a full walk-out lower level, perfect for an independent living space or rental. This secluded retreat comes complete with mature trees, a maintenance-free deck, views of the lake out of most every window, ample space for gardening, a private dock, a fire pit and even an original "cottage" for hosting additional guests. Contact Dirk Ockhardt at Jack Chivers Realty for more information


on the market

14433 Hummingbird Dr Park Rapids, MN Beds: 3 | Baths: 2 | Sq. Feet: 2,626 | $799,900 This immaculate Potato Lake Home offers tremendous quality and stunning millwork throughout. Situated on a double lot with 364’ of lakeshore and 3.45 private acres, stunning landscaping, a lakeside deck and a pergola, this property is a treasure! The great room features a wall of lakeside glass, vaulted ceiling, gas fireplace, hardwood floors and a custom kitchen. The spacious master boasts an office area and a newly renovated bath with intricate tile work. Other features include: theater room, main level laundry and a huge attached, heated four-stall garage finished in pine. Contact Eric Wolff at Wolff & Simon Real Estate for more information


on the market

39989 Clearmont Rd Battle Lake, MN Beds: 3 | Baths: 3 | Sq. Feet: 2,474 | $779,900 Proudly featuring the Otter Tail trifecta, this home has a level sandy beach, proximity to Balmoral Golf Course and panoramic sunsets from the screened porch. Make great memories at this year-round home on Otter Tail Lake in west-central Minnesota. This home has three bedrooms (plus a bunk room), three bathrooms, two living areas and has been completely remodeled! Remodeled aspects include an updated kitchen and new roof, windows and HVAC. The open-vaulted great room is bright and fresh, prime for entertaining. Make this private oasis yours today! Contact Beth Madson at Keller Williams for more information


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jennie WARD

BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Nicole Midwest


hen heading down a dusty road to visit artist Jennie Ward, we at Design & Living had expectations. We were prepared to learn more about her art, explore her process and to see what her home studio set-up was like. Armed with questions about artistic inspiration and her origins, we were happily unprepared for the scene we encountered. As we trudged through crunchy cornfields, held rabbit kits and climbed an authentic barn ladder, the real story of Jennie Ward unfolded.


Providing a simple and enjoyable lake home building experience

A hidden driveway off a gravel road leads to the Ward family barn and farmhouse. We spotted the artist leading her 18-year-old horse, Rudy, in from the pasture. Two goats are relaxing in the hay and a donkey named Ivy nudges her head over the chicken wire, asking to be pet. Ward's daughter Bella sits at the mouth of the barn, quietly drawing in a notebook. Well accustomed to the farm-life surroundings, she is unbothered by the clucking chickens and stays focused on her pencil drawings. Turns out the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Artist Jennie Ward was born and raised in Detroit Lakes, and after some time Minneapolis to New York City, the prodigal daughter returned to this rural region. With her husband Chris and their two kids, Jennie lives peacefully on a small hobby farm in Lake Park. Ward attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), where she explored a number of mediums, but most notably painting and drawing. Here, she met her husband, an art teacher well-versed in a number of mediums as well. While trying to find her place in the art world, Ward moved around from one metropolitan area to the next. However, she got lost in the fast lifestyle and, after some time, found new life in the Christian faith and Minnesota's idyllic countryside. Her artistic sanctuary is now the damp basement of her rustic farm cottage. Her halcyon days alternate between painting still lifes in the basement and using charcoal to sketch the bucolic environment. Her current body of work centers around farm life, illustrating her animals, vegetables harvested from the garden and her family. The relaxation in this chapter of her work comes in the form of free brush strokes paired with careful observation. While the outcome has an untroubled and light air, this isn't to say that each stroke isn't intentional. Erasing and rewriting her signature on each piece, often ten to 12 times, everything needs to be just right. No longer bothered by the pressures and expectations of being a full-time, big-city artist, Ward produces work when she feels it. Just like when signing her name, it has to feel right to her and she has to be in the right headspace to create. "If it’s not in [my heart], it’s not going to come out," she said. Since her earliest memories, creating art has been part of Ward's life. As a child, she spent a lot of time with her babysitter/grandmother-figure on her cattle farm by Detroit Lakes' fish hatchery. "I remember a little blue wooden table and I’d have a plate of macaroni and I would just draw," she shared. "My aunt would come over for coffee and she would always give me a piece of paper and do these line drawings that I’d color in. I loved it. I still to this day can remember those and those big patchy colors and just sitting and listening to them have coffee." As she grew older, the coloring turned into drawings of whatever she had source images for. From drawing a whole bird book to illustrating the



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encyclopedia, she remembers she was always drawing. While other mediums of art have come and gone during her career, drawing remains her passion. Lately, Ward has found herself enjoying photography too, saying that it fulfills to her in a different way than painting does. "Painting is just something I go and do. And I have to dig for it, because you are with the piece for a long period of time, even if it is just for a night," she said. But a photo, a photo can be captured in an instant, preserved and ready to be turned into a painting later down the road. "It’s a moment in time that is so precious and you can’t really get that in a painting," she said But when she is feeling inspired to create, the process is meditative, and almost automatic. Enlivened by capturing the soul of specific moments, art is a deep connection for her. To be able to document a live moment with the mark of a pencil or paintbrush is her gift. "Sometimes I just go to the barn and sit and draw. Sometimes these are moments with God alone, where I just draw and not look at anything," she said, sifting through a stack of her drawings. During our time on the farm, a red tea kettle and a fresh loaf of bread sitting atop a rustic oven created a picturesque scene. Just as Ward noted, artful vignettes come up everywhere on the farm. In the most unassuming moments, a beam of sun illuminates a moment begging to be preserved. These such moments are what Ward captures. "If I see something, like three apples together or three onions together, there's just something about the weight of that," she said. Setting up and capturing still life pieces are what Ward repeatedly leans toward. When she sees things come together and said it's just like food to her, she just wants to devour the paint. While the hunger of a bustling concrete jungle rumbles in many young artists, the reality of an idyllic farm in the rural Midwest is where Ward finds her real inspiration. Humble about her art, she noted, "Everybody’s different, but I think everybody’s an artist." While capturing warm depictions of the simple life might come naturally to her, it truly is a skill. Leaving with gifts of a carton of farm-fresh eggs and the loaf of broad that was cooling atop the stove, Ward offered us a slice of her life. When setting out to do this artist feature, we were ready to showcase an artist. But Ward doesn't identify as an artist, "I am not trying to accomplish the world or trying to be somebody, I am just being. Just being with God and trying to follow Him. It’s just so peaceful. It’s so great. It’s so different." She's not an artist. She's a wife. She's a mother. She's a farmer. She's a generous host. She's kind eyes and a warm smile. She's Jennie Ward.

Jennie Ward


Building with the Mullers: Phase IV BY Alexandra Martin PHOTOS BY Kayleigh Omang


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.

Benjamin Anderson, Becky Muller, Evan Muller and JoJo 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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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. This month, we discuss breaking ground, finalizing plumbing and cabinet choices and choosing appliances.

An updated exterior rendering, showcasing the latest alterations.

PHASES I, II AND III In case you missed the first three 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, product selection and a virtual reality walk-through. 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 breaking ground on their property and getting the build going! Come with us as we see what steps in the process they are currently working on and how the home is coming together.

GOLDEN SHOVELS IN HAND The day we've all been waiting for came about the last week of March. With symbolic golden shovels in hand, the breaking ground on Becky and Evan's custom home happened with much celebration! With the ground thawing sooner than what is typical for our region, this step in the process got to happen ahead of schedule.

The beginning steps of a home build start with digging out what will be the basement and pouring the footing and foundation walls. After this step is completed, the framing process begins. With framing comes excitement, as this is the step that shows the homeowners what their future home will look like in real-life scale and its exact location. Becky mentioned that on previous trips out to the build site, it was hard to tell where their lot was, as it was among three other empty lots all in a row. "It was really fun to see action instead of just a field of weeds," joked Becky. Throughout this process, the Mullers have been sharing the experience with their good friends, the Follmans, who are building a home next door. The Follmans were in attendance for the groundbreaking and were able to take a photo and celebrate the start of their custom build as well. While on-site at the groundbreaking, Benjamin Custom Homes owner Ben Anderson and designer Kara Skarphol took note of some neighborhood details and made some small design changes. For instance, most homes in the neighborhood have metal window wells rather than concrete ones. To match the neighborhood and save some money, their design plans switched to this metal option. Additionally, many of the neighbor's homes have vinyl siding rather than metal siding, so the Mullers agreed to alter their siding choice to complement the neighborhood better. Saving costs like this here and there eventually adds up and gives the couple room to spend that money elsewhere in the home.

KNOCK ON WOOD With the kitchen being the heart of the home, having the cabinetry design finalized was a big step for the Mullers. A few months ago, they met with Wendt Custom Cabinets to make their initial designs and selections. Having time to sort through options, hardware combinations and pricing, they now have finalized it all.


Continuous Beauty

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

4401 12th Ave N


Fargo, ND




Evan, Becky, and Melanie Anderson meeting with Wendt Custom Cabinets to review options.

The overall design didn't change much from the initial plans, however, they did decide to alter the kitchen layout. "We did change our minds on the layout. The sink was located on the wall and now we moved it to this island," said Evan. "In the apartment we are in now, it has the sink on the island and we've liked being able to look out into the living room and seeing what's going on." This just goes to show that sometimes you never know what you'll like until you try it! In addition to the kitchen cabinetry, their finalized plans include cabinetry selections for the bathrooms, laundry room, mudroom and living-room entertainment built-ins. In the downtime between finalizing their choices and waiting for their construction, Becky has enjoyed planning ahead. A self-professed organization freak, Becky said she has already been mapping out what kitchen supplies will go in what cabinets or drawers. Due to COVID-19, the couple didn't have friends and family help them move from their old home into their temporary apartment. However, with this impressive organization and the expectation of loved-ones being able to lend a hand, the move into the new home is sure to go smoothly.

IN COMES THE PLUMBING In this phase of the build also comes plumbing selections. Any item that involves water running through it, the Mullers picked out at this point. This includes items such as tubs, toilets, showerheads and faucets. To confidently make their choices, Becky and Evan headed to Goodin Company to really experience the selections. While it might seem silly and fun, the process of sitting in bathtubs and testing faucet motions is incredibly important. Having a toilet at an uncomfortable height can be an everyday annoyance. Or having a tub that is too deep for someone of your height to comfortably soak in can make it unusable. Touching and feeling such selections allowed the homeowners to have a better idea of what they really wanted.

The Mullers had already done bidding with Goodin Company, so this process of comparing selections helped them determine which features they were willing to pay the higher bid pricing for versus which ones didn't matter as much to them. The initial quotes ended up being pretty close to the final numbers, with only a few variations discovered after really testing things out. For instance, a freestanding tub filler that they really wanted ended up being a big upgrade, but something they knew was worth it. If you're not familiar with purchasing plumbing fixtures, the pricing and how it adds up can be eye-opening. Evan expressed how doing the math was really educational to him. "You see a price and you say, 'Ok that's a couple hundred dollars.' But then you have to multiply that by three or four, depending on the bathroom," he said. "It can be kind of deceiving at times when you see just a faucet for $200 and you think that’s no big deal, but in reality that adds up very quickly when you multiply it with the number you need."

Phase V

Up next, the Mullers will have their electrical walk-through, have ordered their flooring, be finalizing hardware, paint and stain colors, drywall texture and other various aesthetic details. When the frame and walls are up, the homeowners will be able to complete their electrical walk-through. This will determine where outlets, light switches and wiring will be located. Becky and Evan agree that one of their favorite parts of this phase of the process is driving out to Kindred on the weekends and checking in on the job site. "We've been taking multiple road trips out there in the morning with some coffee and our dog and just see what's happening," said Becky. Stay tuned as the home is beginning to turn from dreams and blueprints to walls and studs!



homes on the

cutting edge BY Jackson Strom, Principle Architect at Strom Architecture PHOTOS BY J. Alan Paul Photography


rchitect Jackson Strom of Strom Architecture dives into a different, important design discussion each month. This month, Strom conversed with home technology expert, Jamie DeJean of Smart Home Technologies, to share insight into the current trends in home, audio and video technology.


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Whether watching movies, listening to music or catching up on the news, you’ve most likely been consuming more media during the current pandemic. You may prefer to watch on a small television in your kitchen or maybe dream of lounging out in a home theater. Everyone has a preferred way to experience their media, and in this month’s Form & Function, we had the opportunity to discuss the ever-changing world of home and commercial technology with Jamie DeJean, owner of Smart Home Technologies in West Fargo. With over 25 years of experience in home, audio and video technology, DeJean provides an overview of the current trends in televisions, home automation and "smart homes." Televisions If you have looked for a new television recently, you have probably noticed that prices have steadily reduced over the past few years. "A quality 85” TV from a reputable brand can be found for around $2,500 and lower-end model TVs for even less,” said Jamie DeJean. “As many

companies race to find ways to make TVs less expensive, others have been innovating with new technologies.” OLED OLED (organic light-emitting diode) televisions are not new technology, however, they have recently come down in price to become a viable alternative to LED TVs. “OLED TVs are perfect for shoppers who want the absolute best picture available today,” said DeJean. “They offer accurate color reproduction, extremely high contrast ratios and perfect viewing even when the television is located in a less than ideal location, such as in a corner or above a fireplace.” Laser Projectors Even with affordable, large flat-panel televisions readily available, projectors remain an excellent choice for many projects. “In the past, projectors were mostly used in dedicated theater rooms and used almost exclusively when the lights were off,” said DeJean. “While home theaters remain popular, multipurpose

103 Smart Home Technologies was founded in 2014. Their team is driven by a shared passion for all things technology. With more than 80 years of combined experience, their team handles all aspects of home technology, regardless of the size or scope of a project. They apply this same standard of excellence to commercial projects that include restaurants/bars, business and medical offices and conference rooms. Owner Jamie DeJean and his team’s love of this industry pushes them to create the absolute best experience for all of their clients.

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rooms such as family rooms and media rooms have become increasingly trendy.” These rooms replace the tiered or rowed seating of a theater with more traditional furniture such as large sectionals with enough seating for the whole family. DeJean added, “When a projector with higher light output is combined with a high contrast screen, a stunning picture can be achieved even with lights on in the room.” This versatility allows a family to gather for movie night, but also works great for watching television, playing video games and being social. Home Automation for All Over the past five years, we have seen an explosion in the number of consumer-grade smart thermostats, doorbells, cameras and music systems available. These products are typically inexpensive and many can be installed by a homeowner themselves. It is great to see so many homes include these technologies, but often the homeowners are left with a screen full of different apps and an experience that is far from the promise of having a “smart home.” “For almost two decades, my team has specialized in providing our clients with integrated home technology systems,” said DeJean. “In these integrated homes, we work

closely with other building trades to help the various parts of a home (such as the heatingcooling system, motorized shades, lighting, and audio/video) and allow them to work together as a single cohesive system.” Although cost had been a limiting factor in the past, Smart Home Technologies is now able to offer a starter automation package that is comparable to the price of a universal remote control and receiver. “For a little over $1,000, we can provide a system that allows our clients to use their phone or iPads to control their TVs and allow them to expand their system to include lighting, thermostats, cameras, door locks, motorized shades and much more,” said DeJean. “Clients are then able to use one simple app that allows the technology in the home to work together.” Smarter Homes In a fully integrated home, the possibilities are endless. “We can provide an 'away' or 'all off' button at the mudroom door that turns all of the home’s lights and audio/video equipment off as you leave,” said DeJean. “We can also use sensors to allow lighting, heating and cooling, and window treatments to work together as a cohesive system.” These sensors can be used to turn lights on or




701 - 232 - 1991 Construction/Remodeling • Run New Service • Add Circuits • Appliance Installation off based on what areas are being used. They can also ensure lights are set to appropriate levels by monitoring the ambient light present in a room. “This measurement can then be used to determine how much additional light is needed to provide adequate illumination in a work area,” says DeJean. “Motorized window treatments with sensors can also work in conjunction with heating and cooling systems to allow or reject thermal gain based on the sun’s position and if the building is in a heating or cooling mode.” All of this results in homeowners and businesses reducing energy costs as well as promoting a more comfortable and productive environment.

Technology for Everyone Home technology is for everyone. “We help our clients identify what areas of technology best meet their family or business needs,” said DeJean. “We enjoy working on all projects, big or small.” Whether you’re a long-time technology maven, a cautions late-adopter or simply want to keep up on the cutting edge, the ever-changing advancements in technology can make your life that much simpler. To learn more about how to include technology into your home, reach out to Smart Home Technologies for more information.

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

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

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




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! 106

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BY Becky Muller, Interior Designer at ICON Architectural Group | PHOTOS PROVIDED BY Pam Osterfeld


enovating is not always just about making something old look new again. It’s about restoring the stories that the walls around us hold. It’s about restoring the memories that the community members of Perham, Minnesota can’t forget. As they walk in the front doors, there are memories from where they grew up, were baptized in, went through confirmation in, got married in or said goodbye to a loved one in. Originally from the town of Perham, Pam Osterfeld, and local business partner, Marcus Zitzow of Vergas, saw an opportunity in a once-upon-a-time church. An opportunity to carefully preserve the historic building and make it a space where families can come together, have a good meal, socialize and create new memories once again.

RECONSTRUCTING HISTORY Located off Main Avenue on 6th Avenue Southwest, the German Lutheran Church was built in 1894. Over the years, the functioning church and at one point, daycare, was used less and less. The historic building was slated to be turned into a multi-family housing facility, or worse, torn down and re-developed altogether. Seeing this building often vacant, Osterfeld and Zitzow thought it deserved better. They thought the community deserved better. With many years in the service industry between the two, Osterfeld and Zitzow knew they wanted something different and special with their new adventure. With delicate care and extreme efforts, the historic church was honored by not only preserving its original state, but by restoring its original purpose: to bring the community members of Perham together. Initially, the duo planned to simply redecorate the existing space. But as many renovation projects go, it became much more. They started digging deeper into the roots of the original building and were shown just how beautiful it was and could be again. “We knew we needed to give it the attention it deserved,� said Osterfeld. Preserving as much architectural integrity as possible, the renovation the excited new owners thought would be a couple of months, turned into a 14-month extensive reconstruction, rather than just a renovation project. RESTORING ORIGINALITY Peeling back the '70s wall paneling, incredible plaster and brickwork from the original bell tower was unveiled. Hidden inside of a wall for decades, stood almost perfectly intact spindles that once lined the choir loft. To bring the building up to code, the railing had to be raised to a safer height. They carefully dismantled each section and, with the help of the local "Lathing Club," they were able to recreate the original spindles


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to complete the expanded railing and staircase to be both compliant and statement pieces. The original stairs were converted into raised booth seating using old pews on one side and barstools on the other. The bar itself was made of additional left behind pews and repurposed wainscoting. Exposing the original arched ceiling and restoring the hardwood floors after excessive layers of adhesive, carpet and tile really made the space feel whole again. Paying homage to the building’s history, old artifacts found during the restoration process were put on display for everyone to see. Old newspaper articles, liquor and beer containers, vintage keys and original bibles and hymnals were on display. These items inspired people from the community to donate their own photographs too, showcasing their memories of the space over the years. The old bell tower that was turned into an intimate dining experience displays signatures on the original brick and a large majority of the woodwork was signed by the local craftsmen back in the 1890s. While the project is new to Osterfeld and Zitzow, it meant so much to them to be able to preserve and repurpose the building for the people who came before them. PRESERVING THE FUTURE “The feedback and support we’ve received from the community has been beyond what we could have imagined,” said Osterfeld. “So many people come in JUST to see what it looks like now.” This included a 104-year-old that had her birthday party at the spot where she was baptized, confirmed and married. 1894 has since become a hub for The 1800 Club fundraising. Here, they host many events to supply the community with gifts, food, games and fellowship around Christmas, as well as hosting silent actions for families experiencing hardships or other local nonprofits.



1711 Gold Dr. S, Suite 130 Fargo, ND 58103

While their menu is simple American and ultimate comfort food, they specialize in locally sourced and family raised menu items. From local cheese, meat, beer and liquor to homemade bread, dressings and desserts, Osterfeld and Zitzow have stayed true to their beliefs of not just opening a turnkey restaurant, but also give back to the community as much as possible. Every weekend during the winter, their kitchen features a special “taken-bake” family-style meal, using historical recipes from the original church recipe book. Hosting a number of local entertainers and expanding their outdoor seating this year, the 1894 team looks forward to continuing to be a venue for gathering with friends and family. SAYING THANK YOU Rather than allowing a beautiful, historic building to fall into despair, Osterfeld and Zitzow saw an opportunity to bring it back to life. They wanted the people of Perham and surrounding areas to be able to remember the past, enjoy the present and preserve the future. While the ownership team was heavily involved in every phase of the project, they know they could not have done it without the help and support of their family and friends in the community. Osterfeld’s parents, Jim and Diana Osterfeld, and brother, Curt, built tables, walls, closets, reupholstered chairs, made draperies and so much more. Zitzow’s family contributed many materials for the renovation and has been very involved with their signage, marketing, accounting and the donation of a beautiful organ that adds a classic touch to the decor. They also want to thank Mike Pickett and Todd Colliton (their former boss at Zorbaz on Little Pine), Steve Tharaldson, Josh Brewster, Eric Mueller, Chad and Becky Peterson, Trent Jahnke, Pam Schroeder, Buffy and Brian Fraki, John Guck, Matt Muir, Brad Walvante, Maria and Eddy Roesch, Jon Smith, Cassie Kostka, Josh Johnson, Mike Schraeder, Melissa and Butch Burns, Jon and Jake Bachmann, Maggie Puetz and every single community member that helped them make this dream become a reality. Richard Moe with the National Trust for Historic Preservation once said, “Preservation is simply having the good sense to hold on to things that are well designed, that link us with our past in a meaningful way, and that have plenty of good use left in them.” Pam Osterfeld and Marcus Zitzow had the good sense to hold on to all of the history and original design that came with the historic church and turn it into something new that allows the stories and memories of the past to remain present. 1894 150 6th Ave SW, Perham, MN


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3003 32nd Ave. S, Suite 280 Fargo, ND 58103 | 701-293-RENT |

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