Design & Living Oct/Nov 2020

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Cheers to Downtown


PARK CO., REALTORSÂŽ Finds A New Home in South Fargo


Designing with Joy


The Woodcrest Remodel


Form & Function with Jackson Strom


Building with the Mullers: Phase VI


Art Feature: Upper Hand Signs


Spaces that Work: H2M

It's no secret that downtown Fargo is thriving. In just the past few years this sector of town has reinvented itself and brought in a new slew of restaurants, shops, offices and tenants. Luxury apartments and condos are abundant and there certainly is no shortage of places to call home, no matter your taste, age or lifestyle. So come with us this month as we will highlight some spectacular ways to do it all downtown.

After over half a century in downtown Fargo, PARK CO., REALTORSÂŽ welcomes in a new chapter with their brand new headquarters in south Fargo.

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 reveals "The Doll House," a vibrant and ambitious project on one of the most charming homes we've seen.

Lindsey Grace Interiors, in collaboration with EPIC Homes, successfully created yet another stunning, crisp and refreshing remodel. See how she achieved this stunning result.

ON THE COVER Within our cover story this month are two condos designed by Trever Hill Interiors. Inspired by the entertaining haven that is the rooftop of one of these condos, we gathered the Trever Hill Design and Curated by Trever Hill team for a champagne toast to glamorous downtown Fargo! Left to right (standing): Roberta Lemnus, Shantel Fagerholt, Paige Breidenbach and Chase Nishek. (Seated): Jesse Masterson and Megan Williams Photo by J Alan Paul Photography

Architect Jackson Strom of Strom Architecture dives into a different, important design discussion each month. This month, Strom suggests key questions to ask when hiring your architect.

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.

Housed on Historic 8th Street's Dakota Business College is the workspace of Upper Hand Signs, a two-person team dedicated to keeping the craft of traditional sign painting alive and well.

Gorgeous offices need love too! Join us as we tour creative marketing agency H2M's office in downtown Fargo. For more exclusive, original content,

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This month, we embarked on an issue we've never done before. An issue all about Downtown Fargo. When most think of a downtown area, they envision fun boutiques, hip cocktail bars and Instagramable murals galore. But, just as our downtown becomes more and more vibrant by the day, the options for luxurious and fantastic housing also grow. To live in Downtown Fargo is to be at the very pulse of the city. To be able to walk to dinner and then take a stroll to get dessert down the street. Living downtown, you can take a walk and feel the energy of city surround you. Classic "city sounds" like honking, sirens and loud music are uncommon and there is an air of saftey that many large cities lack. In my history with this magazine, I've had the

pleasure of getting to tour some of the most magnificent homes in the region. I've seen square footages I couldn't imagine filling, stunning backyard sanctuaries and tech-savvy man caves. But this month, we are focusing on those smaller footprint spaces that are located at the pulse of it all. These spots might not have three-car attached garages, but the character and ingenuity they posess is really special. What they lack in property acreage, the make up for tenfold in thoughtful touches and intentional accents. I've learned that taking a small space like a condo, apartment or loft and turning it into a home is a skill that Fargo dwellers have mastered. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if you didn't know these were downtown living spaces while flipping through these pages!

With the amount of growth and excitement surrounding this part of town, I'm honestly pretty shocked we've never done an issue like this before. We hope you'll enjoy this look into what downtown living looks like in the modern age. Happy reading! Until Next Issue,


OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 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 Photographer Graphic Designers Contributors

INTERACTIVE Business Development Manager Inbound Marketing Specialist Videographers Executive Sales Assistant

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Alexandra Martin Alexandra Martin J Alan Paul Photography Christy German, Kim Cowles Christen Anderson, Hillary Ehlen, Dan Francis, Darrick Guthmiller, Becky Muller, Jackson Strom Nick Schommer Kirsten Lund Tommy Uhlir, Laura Alexander Kellen Feeney

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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.


Hoorelbeke is a former professional baseball player turned photographer. He is the owner of J Alan Paul Photography in Fargo and a veteran, lead photographer for Spotlight Media's publications. Hoorelbeke specializes in editorial, commercial, architectural and landscape photography.


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.


Gleye is a professor of architecture at North Dakota State University. His fields of expertise include historic preservation and urban design, and he leads the architecture school’s term abroad program in Europe each spring semester.

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

3 Ways To A Solid Framework FOR YOUR PROJECT


like to picture the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead as a home. Think of the organization as the foundation and trusses forming the framework. Think of our members’ many services as the home’s amenities and features.

Finally, picture the HBA as a trusted place to come back to whenever you need help or guidance. We are your go-to resource when planning to buy, build or remodel a home. HBA of F-M members offer many unique services. We have our top three tips for you to connect and start building a solid framework for your project. 1. Educate It is important to know licensing requirements, state warranty information, ways to evaluate a contractor and more. We offer these tools at’s Build/ Remodel section. The website also showcases a categorized online directory with all our local member companies. 2. Engage The Red River Valley Home & Garden Show Feb. 26-28, 2021, is a one-stop-shop to meet contractors and related industry businesses in the region. You will be able to see product samples and get a feel for their services and style.


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3. Experience The Parade of Homes is the perfect way to be inspired by our members’ homes and skills first-hand. We just wrapped up the Fall Parade of Homes and will have our 61st annual Spring Parade of Homes the first three weekends in May 2021. Use these designated weekends to meet your future forever home and its builder or make plans for your next project. The HBA of F-M has been serving home builders, buyers and owners for over 60 years. It is our vision to nurture a thriving, innovative and diverse housing industry in our community. A main component is keeping housing affordable for you. Homeownership creates communities, and improving existing homes means our neighborhoods also excel. There is no better investment than buying a home. It can create a solid framework for the rest of your life!

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.

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

For more information, contact: HBAFargoMoorhead


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Things are cooling off in Fargo-Moorhead. Whether we want to admit it or not, winter is on its way and we know how unforgiving it can be. No matter how chilly it may get in the coming months, there is nothing a little comfort food can't cure when it comes to the cold-weather blues. Whether it is a nice slice of meatloaf, a hotdish, pasta or anything in between, we all have a dish that makes us feel warm inside. So set aside your diet this month and come with us on a comfort food journey. Trust us, you will not regret it.

The last seven months have been hard on the sports world. Games, tournaments and entire seasons have been either postponed or canceled altogether. North Dakota State has not been able to avoid this sports exodus either. Despite student-athletes losing seasons and the chance to do what they love, they continue to forge ahead. With little to no clarity in sight, it is the dedication, strength, mental toughness and desire that continues to push Bison student-athletes. Somehow, they continue to be motivated to succeed. As we know, that is just the Bison way...

Though the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation is extremely important to our business community, many of you might not be familiar with its four outward-facing members or with what the organization does as a whole. As the area’s main driver in the primary sector, the GFMEDC is charged with attracting outside primary sector businesses and providing resources for those already established primary sector businesses in the area to help them thrive and we think you should know a little bit more about its team and how they do what they do.



FINDS A NEW HOME I N S O U T H FA R G O After over half a century in downtown Fargo, PARK CO., REALTORS® welcomes in a new chapter with their brand new headquarters in south Fargo.


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he year 2020 has given us a number of changes, both good and challenging. While every industry has seen some sort of change, the real estate sector has especially had to adapt to some big shifts. Technology had to be in place to allow for virtual showings of listings, the much-beloved face-to-face meetings between Realtor and client had to transition to video chats and historically low interest rates have made for a rush to make the purchase. But for PARK CO. REALTORSÂŽ, perhaps the most exciting change in 2020 has been the move to their new office location.

Founded in 1956, PARK CO., REALTORSÂŽ is the #1 independent brokerage in Fargo-Moorhead, and the state of North Dakota. With such a long, rich history, the company wanted to continue staying up-to-date on where the industry and the metro area is heading. Part of this came with a new, brave leader. When Jill Carlson bought the real estate brokerage in June of 2019, the extraordinary transition began to take place. One of the biggest changes Carlson enacted was moving their main office from downtown Fargo, where it had been for over 63 years, to south Fargo. In March, PARK CO. made the move to the "Suites at 4170," located just west of Aldevron and just north of Microsoft. This move offered PARK CO. the opportunity to be closer to both their clientele and the exploding growth that's happening around the south side of the Fargo metro area. With a reputation for providing excellent service, the move to South Fargo brings better assistance to its clients by offering a convenient location that is easier to reach.



“We were finding that, as our community continues to expand southward, some of our clients and agents didn’t want to make the drive downtown. It wasn’t convenient for them. Our agents were working from home and meeting clients in coffee shops, and that didn’t feel like the kind of professional service we pride ourselves on providing,” said President/Owner Jill Carlson. From their new location, PARK CO., REALTORS® can provide clients with a modern and professional meeting space that offers state-of-the-art technology. “Although the focus of our business has been, and will continue to be, all about face-to-face relationships, we are able to implement new technology to provide a smoother and easier real estate experience for both our agents and clients. Ultimately, raving clients and happy agents is our goal,” said Carlson. The new 10,000 square foot space is light, bright and spacious, factors that are essentially required for any new office. “One of the first things that drew us to the building was the large number of windows on all sides of the building. Everywhere you look, there is natural light,” said Carlson. “It is so energizing to look up and see sunlight all around you, especially on those cold winter days.” With the help of JLG Architects and Great States Construction, space planning was an important part of the process. Another goal for the new office was to be able to bring all the various divisions of PARK CO. under one roof. In addition to residential services, the new space allows for PARK CO. COMMERCIAL, PARK MORTGAGE and PARK CO. PROPERTIES to be housed together, truly streamlining processes. Having all service divisions in one spot provides convenience for both clients and agents alike. To achieve this unity while still allowing the sectors to be their own divisions, the office is split into distinct and intentional sections. Jokingly called the “mullet plan” by the team, the vision for the office followed the ideal of "business in the front, party in the back.” This plan included a formal quiet space for meeting clients towards the front and an informal space for the agents and staff at the back of the building. To provide space for agents to meet with clients, the large lobby is home to five private conference rooms. Each of the conference rooms is equipped with flat-screen TV’s that allow clients to view properties and agents to discuss important documents digitally. The "party in the back" continues with the agent bullpen, designed to be one big, open space that could easily be reconfigured as the company continues to grow. “We wanted to create an open office concept for our agents who enjoy collaborating with each other, but at the same time, we needed to carve out areas for privacy. This was accomplished by creating huddle rooms on the perimeter of the open agent bullpen.“ Realtors are known as a social bunch, and PARK CO. Realtors are especially known for their friendly and social demeanor. This means there is always the buzz of conversation and laughter going on in the office. But sometimes you need a quiet space to work, and the huddle rooms provide just that. When ready to fully embrace the social aspect, the lounge adjacent to the agent bullpen creates a space for both agents and staff to relax, grab a cup of coffee, watch TV or read.


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SPONSORED CONTENT Moving upstairs, the upper level of the office was designed for multi-functional use. Its kitchen features a spacious island that is the automatic focal point of any get-together or meeting. The smaller tables scattered around the large room make for a perfect backdrop for meetings or company-wide training sessions. All the furniture can be easily moved to allow for company events and parties of any size. For more intimate gatherings, the back of the upper level has a dedicated room designed to host training for smaller groups. “One of the things we really wanted was a space for hosting fun gatherings. Not only do we use it for company entertaining, but our agents and staff can use it for their own private events,” said Carlson. One of the last projects yet to be finished is the “game area.” The staff is still deciding what to put in that space, but it will most likely be a ping-pong table or shuffleboard table. At the heart of PARK CO. is a fun-loving spirit, and this space fits that ideal just right. With the flow and layout just the way they wanted it, PARK CO. enlisted Trever Hill of Trever Hill Design to make it feel like home. The goal for the interior design was to create a "home within the office" concept with a mid-century modern vibe, complete with PARK CO.'s signature orange accents, of course. The furniture and décor needed to feel like it belonged in a home, and not in a sterile office building. Trever Hill Design is known for blending professional style with personal touches, so the team got to play with adding some funky elements to make the space feel extra unique. “Our top priority was to create a warm and welcoming environment for our clients. We strive to provide the best experience possible and we wanted our office to be another example of that," said Carlson. "Secondly, we wanted to create a fun and inviting space for our agents and staff. They all work so hard and they deserve the best.” Having recently commemorated their Grand Reopening with a private Chamber Ribbon Cutting, PARK CO., REALTORS® is looking forward to a larger public celebration in the future that will include clients, friends and community members once COVID restrictions have been removed. This year we've seen new opportunities, new challenges and, now, a new location for PARK CO., REALTORS®. We can only imagine what important decisions and memories will happen in this space.




ON MORTGAGES AND HOME BUYING TODAY As we proceed through the COVID-19 era, people and banks are finding ways to get back to normal as much as possible, always with an eye towards safety. This includes the real estate and mortgage businesses, which are essential to the housing needs of people everywhere. The good news is that innovations and technology are helping to keep the wheels of real estate turning. Doubtless we will see additional changes in the months to come, but it is safe to say that for the foreseeable future home buying and financing will look different than in years past. Here are some of our observations so far:

1. The market has changed, but seems to be balancing

As buyers and sellers have come to accept virtual showings, appraisals and closing, homes continue to come on the market and sell at a respectable clip. Some sellers are electing to wait to list their homes until after the pandemic passes, this contributes to reduced inventory. With low inventory and a healthy number of buyers interested in purchasing, we continue to live in a seller’s market. The result is that home sale prices have been largely steady since supply and demand are fairly balanced.

2. Houses are still selling fast, so pre-approval can help

With reduced inventory, there is still competition for desirable homes, which are selling strongly, sometimes with multiple offers. Low interest rates have increased buying power, allowing buyers to look at a broader price range. Home-buyers should be ready with their best offer and be ready to move quickly when the bidding starts. A mortgage pre-approval is an important first step.

3. Many steps are now virtual or no-contact for safety

From viewing to inspection, virtual experiences are replacing inperson meetings. Drive-through and virtual closings have become more common, and safety precautions like shields, masks and limited attendance are the norm when meeting about a home purchase. Inspections and appraisals still occur, with professionals dressed in protective gear walking through empty, open houses. With these innovations, business still gets done.

4. Interest rates are very low, increasing buying power

Fueling the market are historically low interest rates. These rates help buyers’ dollars go further. Another positive point is that underlying home values are still strong – unlike in 2008, real estate values were not artificially high before COVID-19, and housing demand should be strong in the future since new households are forming faster than new housing is being built.

5. Be patient and consider your whole situation

Low interest rates have sparked a surge in refinancing which, coupled with the extra precautions being taken, means the steps of securing a mortgage may take longer. Be patient and give yourself extra time to line up financing. Alerus remains committed to serving home-buyers and mortgage clients in all situations. Our recently launched virtual loan origination service lets clients apply for a loan and upload necessary documents from the comfort and safety of home. And our outstanding service, personal attention and competitive rates remain the foundation of all we do. If you are considering buying a home, contact us today.


with joy


fresh & traditional – WELCOME TO THE DOLL HOUSE, Y’ALL! BY Christen Anderson | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen


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WHO SAID TRADITIONAL IS BORING? Coined "The Doll House" by neighbors, lies a charming home, nestled into an established Fargo neighborhood. This nickname is not surprising once you get a look at its exterior. This beautiful home was the original homestead that its development was built around, and with the Christen Joy treatment, it was ready to once again be the main attraction of the neighborhood. After purchasing the home, my clients immediately brought me over (even before the kiddos!). Fun fact, the family felt blessed to snag this home as it's never been on the market! I instantly fell in love with the character of the home, its traditional nature and the opportunity to accentuate that character while layering in contemporary design elements that would create a fresh feel for my clients. With the main floor as the focused area for this refresh, I advised a plan of what recommendations I had – from floor to ceiling. This encompassed the casual and formal dining rooms, kitchen, living room and powder room. A year ago we embarked on the remodel and refresh of this home and, now, I’m beyond excited to open the doors of The Doll House to share with you just what went on over the last 12 months! Come on in… WELCOME IN The exterior needed very little work, as you can see (swoon!) To still give it some attention, we freshened up the entry with new sidelights and a new, black door that is the perfect complement to the powder blue home with its beautifully aged cedar shake roof. As you enter, the most noticeable change was minimizing the size of the pillar that broke up the kitchen from the casual dining area, and was a visual break from the entryway to the kitchen. The pillar previously housed a push-in cabinetry TV and intercom system, but the new owners preferred for an open feel instead. With the family having resources to determine quickly and easily what we could remove and what needed to stay, demo started literally during a FaceTime call one night as they told me they were moving forward. The, now, minimally-sized support pillar blends in and allows guests and owners to enjoy an open look and feel.

The clients have found it to be a true treat to hear stories about The Doll House from their new neighbors, as well as the previous owners. What an added joy to hear about the history of this beautiful home!

The perfect bench with antique stain and cane was anchored by a new wall sconce that was selected for functionality for guests arriving or leaving. Beadboard and concrete – cast like brick – were additional layers of the home that we loved and wanted to keep. By freshening them up with a coat of the perfect shade of paint, this was easily achieved. The cherry on top? A unique piece of artwork to welcome guests in...more to come on that.


THE HEART OF THE HOME The layout of the kitchen was already perfect, so we opted to add functionality to the space to make it a better fit for the busy family. We also layered in design elements that were both timeless yet fresh, as became a theme for the whole house. For this project, I looped in the one and only Kaeli Wendt of Wendt Custom Cabinets. Y’all know by now that they’re my favorite, because they deliver topnotch product and design. We discussed my ideas and brainstormed more, eventually landing on moving the island to be a single-level and extending its size. This allowed for more seating, prep space and workspace (hello, future working from home and virtual school space). On the kitchen perimeter, we replaced glass doors and side décor shelves with solid doors and the perfect width cabinetry to remove any shelf styling needs. We also shifted the Sub-Zero fridge/freezer down to allow for more countertop space and a corner that was more well-rounded. In some homes, I love a bright white cabinet, but with the traditional nature of this home, I wanted a traditional white kitchen but in a shade that wasn’t too stark or yellow. We landed on White Dove BM OC 17. This was also the shade used on the freshly painted doors and the new trim work (we updated all trim throughout the main floor for more consistency). Christen Joy Tip: Feel free to layer in the same shade throughout your home, but use different sheens for different areas. I like to use eggshell on walls, flat on ceilings and semi-gloss on doors and trim. The higher the sheen, the lighter it will feel and semi-gloss is also more traditional.


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When it came time to discuss the color of the island, I felt we could play with color while still staying true to the home. After all, blue and white color palettes could not get more timeless and traditional – just ask Ms. Reese Witherspoon or check out her home recently highlighted in the latest (and greatest) Netflix series, The Home Edit. A vibrant blue was the chosen hue for the island, including its carefully designed legs (these legs!). For the countertops, we opted for a white Quartz with hints of veining. This veining was further extracted by pairing it with a complementary 3 x 6 greige subway tile backsplash. The jewelry of the room? A bridge faucet in polished nickel and large antique brass pendants to anchor the island. I also love how this space has so many symmetrical features – it really brings a peaceful feeling to the space! Christen Joy Tip: If you’re interested in mixing metals, I like to have a core metal, in this instance polished nickel, and then selecting specific placements for the secondary metal, in this instance, antiqued burnished brass. In this home, I also mixed in matte finished lighting. These feel more like neutral than conflicting or complementing pieces – each getting their own time to "shine." Finishing touches on the heart of the home included French bistro styled countertop stools, in both back and backless variations. The stools' white and gray palette add texture and an overall light and fresh vibe. Further light accessorizing added functionality and personality.

THE FORMAL DINING ROOM The formal dining room was refreshed with a new, matte black, linear lantern chandelier to echo the existing large, lantern found at the tip-top of the home, near the top of the staircase. A buffet to house extra hosting elements from glasses to napkins was purchased and later styled with traditional blue and white chinoiserie vases and greenery. To finish the space, we added a gilded mirror to echo the brass accents in other spaces. Christen Joy Tip: Love this look? Head to your local HomeGoods to snag these vases ranging from $20-75! Add a seasonal dimension by incorporating appropriate greenery.

THE "CASUAL" DINING AREA I once took a friend to an L.A. lobster house for sunset views and she said, “I thought you said this was casual?” “Correct,” I said looking up from the wine list. So this is my dear readers is the casual dining area. The previous homeowners had papered the dining space and I loved how that created a unique space, while still open within the floor plan. We took this open and wallpapered idea and continued the blue and white look in this space, all the way up to the statement light fixture. We replaced the previously tan wallcoverings with a deep, navy grasscloth – framing the gridded windows beautifully, creating contrast and interest. A perfect-sized rug became the shoulders that the textured chairs and bleached oak table sat on. Understated while the star of the show, a plaster white single tier chandelier with large, tulip stems housing the bulbs became a true piece of artwork for the space.

Christen Joy Tip: When looking for light fixtures for a vaulted or sloped ceiling, check the details of your fixture to make sure it is compatible with your ceilings. If you’re unsure, call the manufacturer to ask before clicking "add to cart!"


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LIVING ROOM During that initial walkthrough, the previous homeowner’s furniture was still in place and my client asked what I thought of the green velvet sofa. I loved it and she later told me she purchased it. This vibrant green became a centerpiece for the living room's playful, but classic feel. The space was planned to be a more formal space, as there was a bonus space for the kids elsewhere. However, it wasn’t to feel overly formal. One of the biggest decisions in this space was opting to extend into it the rich, hardwood floors that were running elsewhere in the home. Tollefson’s Flooring provided guidance to ensure the floors would flow effortlessly in the space – feeling as if they were underneath the carpet all along. This and the previously mentioned cohesive trim work really created a space that flowed and was much needed, as the home had been added on to throughout the decades. Open bookshelves and an antique fireplace surround were removed for what was to come. Wendt assisted with new custom built-ins, which I envisioned being storage for games and "un-styled" storage needs in the solid, doored cabinets below. The above area would be a space for family photos, interesting objects and pops of vibrant greenery. Clear glass and lighting on the upper-half were used to ensure the styled space could shine day or night. A custom fireplace surround modernized the space while basketweave tile ensured the traditional taste of the home was not lost. Keeping the space formal, but with flexibility – we opted for a TV that is also artwork. With a dark and sophisticated frame, this piece of technology is a TV when it's on, and art when it's off. The owners can select the same piece displayed or showcase whatever fits the mood. It's versatile and completely up to them! Furniture and upholstery work were selected for comfort and practicality. Leather, tufted chairs are paired with an ottoman with acrylic legs and a deep, navy shagreen coffee table. Marble nesting tables layer in elegance and tradition while the functionality of the tables can float throughout the space. Bench cushions on the window seats were reupholstered and topped with flanking pillows. Brass, library sconces now overlook the benches – after a minor "surgery" on the concrete walls and ceiling to make it happen.


NOT-SO-BASIC POWDER ROOM The powder room was once a cream color I can only assume begging to be outfitted in something, shall we say, a bit more lively! As I take you into the powder room, this wallpaper may be familiar, as you were introduced to it at the beginning of this article as the unique artwork at the entryway. With paper this fabulous, we opted to frame it and hang it as artwork. The paper, Citrus Garden, is from the Schumacher archives of 1947. Both whimsical and warm, this paper is the perfect balance of contemporary flavor and traditional roots – no pun intended. Christen Joy Tip: The powder bathroom is a space that can have more "personality." Smaller in size, you can create a "wow-factor" through paper, linens, artwork or lighting. Go ahead and play a bit – I promise guests will ooh-and-ahh over it! I asked my talented installers to make the paper's tree imagery the focal point as you walk in. Though it seems like no big feat, the paper is extremely delicate and you must consider the width and the size of the room. They did an amazing job which people for years will get to admire. Keeping the existing vanity, countertop and floor, we refreshed the lighting, added a large, walnut mirror and accessories and let the wallpaper speak for itself.

Whether you’ve purchased a home traditional in nature or you love the aesthetic of traditional elements blended with contemporary pieces – embrace and enjoy it. Nobody ever said traditional needs to be boring – just ask The Doll House.

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.


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The Magic Makers Cabinetry & Countertop Dream Team – Wendt Custom Cabinets Flooring & Tile Wizards – Tollefson’s Contract Flooring Paint & Wallpaper Super Stars – Gene’s Paint & Decorating Electrical Geniuses – Axis Electric Contractor Needs: The Muscle & Brains – Signature Improvements Upholstery Guru – Recovery Room Upholstery HVAC Magic Makers - Element Mechanical

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


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"Downtown," (2016) by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. "Downtown" (1965) by Petula Clark. "Downtown" (2013) by Lady A. "Downtown" (2015) by Majical Clouds... We could make a whole playlist of all the songs written about the experience of downtown life. The concept of downtown being a thriving epicenter is something that has transcended all music genres, decades and styles. One cannot stay away from the allure of the heartbeat of the city! Come with us as we explore some stunning downtown living quarters. As many of us are seeing more work, dining and entertainment options arise downtown, it only makes sense that so many people are choosing to live downtown as well. No matter your age, design style, career or budget, Downtown Fargo has a space ready for you to call home.




A TALE OF TWO CONDOS: D O W N TO W N LU X U R Y I N D U A L B A C H E LO R PA D S ON BROADWAY BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY J Alan Paul Photography

In two different condos owned by two different men, Trever Hill Design shows just how versatile downtown living can be.


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About Trever Hill Design Trever Hill, the namesake behind Trever Hill Design and retail store Curated by Trever Hill, is an interior decor expert, transforming spaces from Fargo all the way to California. Achieving comfort while tapping into luxury ideals and infusing a love of fashion, Hill and his team create some exceptional dwellings. The team prides itself on matching each client's unique tastes and style, while ensuring all the pieces live harmoniously.

When presented with two virtually identical downtown condos, how does one designer make both spaces unique and equally stylish? For Trever Hill of Trever Hill Design, the answer is easy: listen to the client. While this might seem an obvious answer, it is a sentiment Hill and his design team stands by for every project. When you have as many design projects under your belt as Hill does, it would be simple to come into a space and make it look like a pictureperfect showroom. The designer has mastered color theory, knows how textures and textiles speak to each other and has an intuitive eye for line and flow, but ensuring a space is "home" for his clients trumps any moodboard or design school lecture. "My goal as a designer is to work with the clients to extract what they are looking for and give them the best possible finished product. Because, at the end of the day, that's the space that they live in and enjoy with their friends and their family, and it has nothing to do with me," said Hill. Two condos at 300 Broadway, both with the same floorplan and square footage, stand testament to this ideal. Located just above Sandy's Donuts and Erbert & Gerbert's, the two units' respective owners independently enlisted Trever Hill Design to design and decorate their downtown units, both with their own wishlists. With one on the third floor and the other right above it on the building's top floor, these two clients had their own wants and needs for the space. With such a rare opportunity, Hill flexed what he does best and tailored both units perfectly to their respective owners. Hill isn't a psychic or a magician, but some of his clients might see him as such. In his own words, his main goal for every project is: "I need to make sure that they feel so at home that it almost feels like I was able to go into their brain, use my talents and extract what they want." And for the two gentlemen residing in

these heart-of-downtown properties, Hill's ability to translate a personality into a design really shone. It doesn't take a mystic to see why these two clients were drawn to the units neighboring the historic Fargo Theater. Completed in early 2009, this mixeduse commercial and residential building stands at the spot that used to be a parking lot for the Fargo Theater. Being this close to the theater means that these units not only get balconies overlooking the bustling Broadway strip, but they also get a front seat look at the iconic Fargo Theater signage as it twinkles at night. The redevelopment of the property was designed to fit into the context of downtown Fargo's continued growth while also blending in with the existing historic structures around it. By enlisting Trever Hill Design to bring fresh, timelessness into the newly purchased condos, a kiss from the past and an eye for the future were achieved.

The Third Floor Bachelor Pad On the third floor of 300 Broadway is the city dwelling of Chance Lindsey, the First Vice President for a full-service commercial real estate firm. Lindsey enlisted the team at Trever Hill Design to turn this downtown condo into the ultimate getaway for when he's spending time in Fargo. When Lindsey came to Hill, his first request was to make it feel like a true downtown bachelor pad. With ideas already spinning around in the designer's mind, additional requests from the client included making the space feel like a hotel, incorporating local art and staying on-trend and timeless. Lindsey was inspired by hotel designs and wanted his city home to feel like a getaway or a retreat. Since he doesn't live in the space full-time, this allowed Hill some flexibility in how he approached the necessities. Of course the condo has a stocked closet and ready-to-go kitchen, but full collections of books, small appliances and similar space-filling objects didn't need to be accounted for. Trever Hill Design is known for its love of minimalism and crisp cleanliness, and this guideline allowed the team to


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be especially thoughtful about their selections. Since the client isn't on the grounds full-time and soaking everything in daily, the design needed to be on-trend, but also timeless. Big, loud statements could get old fast or might be shocking after returning from being away. Tying into the hotel-room inspiration, extra frills were not on the menu for this project. That timeless modernity was achieved by sticking to a warm, neutral palette and incorporating masculine textiles like leather and linen. Retro nods came in with brass accents found in the new kitchen island pendants, complementary brass bar stools and little decor touches throughout. "I completed this [unit] about a year and a half ago, but it still looks great," said Hill, acknowledging that in-the-moment trendiness was nowhere to be found. Being his Fargo home, the client requested that Hill include local art into the design. Incorporating art from to place you call home takes great design to the next, very personal level. When first entering the unit, "Lunchtop Atop Block 9" by photographer Dan Francis hangs printed on metal. Thie piece of work has received praise throughout the community, as it beautifully recreates the Manhattan 1932 "Lunch atop a Skyscraper" photo with a Fargo twist. But the condo owner especially was drawn to the piece as, in the background, you can see the balcony of his very unit. A focal point in the kitchen and living room area is a gromet-hung canvas of Meg Spielman Peldo's "Boob Tube" from her A Bra Anthologie series. "I thought it would be fun to have an entire wall of TVs," said Hill, remarking that just to the right of the two television sets depicted in the fine art photograph is the owner's mounted flat-screen TV. The brass antennae and can of Hamm's captured in the art provide yet another nod to the brass accents found throughout. Although not local, the living room's Restoration Hardware port-hole liquor cabinet is a work of art itself. Recalling the vision of this unit becoming a true bachelor pad, this statement liquor cabinet communicates that the condo is a fun hang-out zone. With a populated wine rack, a huge Four Hands sectional and an office with a Murphy bed, this unit is ready for hosting friends, family and business partners alike.


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The Rooftop City Getaway In a coveted top-floor unit of 300 Broadway is the pad of insurance director Brian Hayer. When he purchased the condo, he wanted to turn its existing rusty-brown and dark accents into a clean, crisp and bright look. With a portfolio full of minimalistic, clean projects, Trever Hill Design was the perfect p for Hayer to enlist for this goal. The footprint of Hayer's unit is virtually identical to Lindsey's beneath him, save for one major difference: a spiral staircase leading to a rooftop terrace. This spacious rooftop was a major selling point for the condo. Although the unit was dark and moody when purchased, some fresh, light paint by Weyer-for-Hire and a vision for entertaining sealed the deal. "[The client] obviously saw the potential in the place. Having the rooftop feature...the view is just so captivating. It's the heart of downtown!" said Hill. Looking out at Broadway from the roof,


directly to the left is the Fargo Theater and to the right is the shiny spectacle of Block 9. Not only is the unit located in the heart of the city, but it also has priceless views of the ever-changing city scenes. A rare but welcomed request for this project came with the client wanting to source most everything from retailer Design Within Reach. Founded in 1998 by Rob Forbes, Design Within Reach's mission is to give people access to the best in authentic modern design. Carrying products from industry heavyweights such as Herman Miller, Brown Jordan and Vitra, the retailer is an attainable portal to such styles. "[The client] likes the quality of Design Within Reach, he loves that it's not knockoff or inspired-by, it's true pieces from original mid-century designers," said Hill.



Throughout the unit, numerous designers from Design Within Reach's index are showcased, yet the complete package doesn't just look like a page from a catalog. From the light fixtures to the sectional to the coffee table, virtually every piece of furniture is from Design Within Reach. Hill knew the client was heavily inspired by the chosen retailer and wanted to respect that, but he also knew how to select the right pieces from the right collections to ensure the place felt like home, not just a showroom. Mixing in accessories from Curated by Trever Hill and local artwork to tie it all together, the Design Within Reach pieces are properly complemented with a signature Trever Hill flair. Like his downstairs neighbor, this client also wanted to incorporate local art into his city dwelling. He loved the vibrant and colorful work of Star Wallowing Bull, so Hill ensured three of his pieces were prominently displayed in the main living area. One painting hangs above the bar and two more hang framing the dining room table. The Minnesota artist's signature style is known for showcasing the intersection of Native American and pop culture. Using vibrant colors and patterns, but

depicting contemporary, often mechanical objects, Star Wallowing Bull's art feels right at home in this modern, downtown abode. Trever Hill himself is passionate about art and its place in interior design. "Art doesn't have to match the home or furniture," he said. "Art can stand alone. I, personally, like to pull in a pillow or some accent that helps tie it in and make it cohesive, but at the end of the day, art just really has to speak to you." He is a believer that art doesn't have to "match" a space in the traditional sense, just as long as it resonates with the owner and enhances their home experience. In this case, neutral colors and texture serve as a backdrop to the bright and bold art that adorns the space. Another bold piece of special art hangs across from the master bed. This custom Arizona State Sun Devils painting by Rando not only honors the homeowner's alma mater, but it also serves as a shocking and colorful statement for the otherwise neutral bedroom. Also similar to his downstairs neighbor, this client treats his unit as a city dwelling rather than a fulltime residence. Not only did Hill ensure the interior was set up to respect that, but that the rooftop was also low-maintenance. The couch cushions don't need to be removed and stored and the rest of the furniture is weather withstanding. Excess accessories aren't at risk for flying away on blustery days, plus, with a view like this, who needs a bunch of accessories? While the rooftop ambiance naturally steals the show, the interior sure holds its own. An end result of fresh and cozy, yet bold and audacious make this Design Within Reach-inspired unit an aesthetically pleasing oasis. ••••• For inspired pieces, visit Curated by Trever Hill in downtown Fargo at 214 Roberts Alley North. To see more from Trever Hill Design visit or email the team at


BY Paul H. Gleye | PHOTOS BY J Alan Paul Photography

Tucked between the slew of older homes nearby Sanctuary Event Center is a modern, contemporary loft. Inspired by big city-living, this unassuming structure shows that no matter the square-footage or where you're located, you can make a space that reflects your style and tastes.



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Loft living suggests a lifestyle different from the spacious suburban home with a large yard. “Loft” originally meant the space under a barn roof for storing hay. Now the loft idea has ventured into the city, often denoting an upstairs apartment where “character,” rather than just inexpensive space, attracts people who want to experience urban living. Many historic buildings in downtown Fargo have been renovated to include loft apartments. Lofts tend to be compact – often 400 to 700 square feet – thus requiring some architectural ingenuity to provide a comfortable living environment. (By comparison, the typical apartment in Paris, France, has about 330 square feet). To compensate for limited space, many lofts feature timber beams, old brick and similar vestiges

of craftsmanship from an earlier era. Other lofts are consciously modern and high-tech, appointed with high-quality fixtures and appliances. And lofts can be tucked away in unexpected places, such as the high-tech loft at 309 8th Street North in Fargo. Sheathed in gray corrugated siding, it sits in juxtaposition to the surrounding century-old houses listed on the National Register of Historic Places right in downtown Fargo. The owners report that people often stop along the street to say, “Wow, what is that!?” Though it has only about 420 square feet of livable space, plus a garage, the Loft at 309 is a studio apartment with areas designated as “living room” and “bedroom,” plus a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and what the owners call a “bonus room,” which is the space right in front of the TV set. Everything displays a high-tech aesthetic. Architect Darryl Booker placed large banks of operable windows on the north and west walls, plus four skylights, to bathe the space in natural light. One set of windows forms a spiral that looks out upon the small brick patio designed by Stanley Hoglund. The kitchen features high-end European appliances, including a tubular Italian range hood that hovers over the cooktop island. The floor, designed and meticulously installed by finish


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carpenter Dean Tschudi, comprises sheets of maple plywood fastened with stainless steel screws that remain visible, and wall corners are protected by prominent aluminum corner guards. The maplefronted kitchen cabinetry was designed by Wood Specialists of Fargo and the general contractor was Dave Anderson Construction. Within the modern interior, the owners worked with design consultant Steve Johnson to display some of their art collection, an eclectic assemblage of watercolors, sculptures, folk art, antique prints, carpets and found objects. Each artwork, set dramatically against the white walls and ceiling, is marked by a gallery label that presents the origin, date, and artist. The Loft at 309 demonstrates the possibilities of compact, architect-designed urban living on a previously unused portion of a small lot three blocks from the shops and restaurants along Broadway in downtown Fargo.


Real estate development company The Kilbourne Group is largely to thank for the thriving boom that downtown Fargo has seen in recent years. Kilbourne's RoCo Apartments were completed in 2017 and have anchored much of this downtown development since then. Come with us as we tour the unit of tenant Scottie Knollin and see why he picked his building and how he's made it his own.


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The Building Atop 13,000 square feet of commercial space are 72 minimal and modern units that makeup RoCo Apartments. Located just a half-block off Broadway and within a block of over 50 restaurants, bars, coffee shops, retailers and other establishments, RoCo Apartments are truly at the heart and center of downtown Fargo. Units within RoCo come in 13 unique floorplans that range from 408 to 1,117 square feet, including 24 studios, 36 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom apartments. Each unit complete with a washer and dryer in-unit, stainless steel appliances and luxurious granite countertops. Residents also benefit from parking garage access on each floor, cable/internet and utilities included in rent, a pet relief and pet wash station and secure bike storage. The seven-story parking garage that RoCo is wrapped around is a huge benefit to residents and community members alike. The garage is owned and operated by the City of Fargo and Interstate Parking, while the mixed-use building surrounding it is developed by Kilbourne Group. This means that the parking is open and available to all. The RoCo garage and apartments were built on the property at the corner of 2nd Avenue North and Roberts Street, land that once was a parking lot. So it's only apt that this spot remains a parking haven. If the prime location wasn't enough, more convenience comes with the LATCH keyless entry system throughout the building. RoCo residents use the LATCH app instead of a key to get in and out of their units and to access secure entry points throughout.

The Tenant Scottie Knollin is a Fargo transplant by way of California. But before he was a west-coaster, he grew up in the Atlanta area and holds firm to some of those southern roots. Knollin shares his apartment with Norman the corgi, a vibrant little guy who enjoys chasing sunbeams and greeting everyone he meets with his trademark grin and booty-wag. Knollin's time in his apartment is heavily filled with enjoying films. While in California, Knollin worked in the film industry and carries that passion for the business with him today. His unit is not filled with taped up movie posters, but rather his love for the art is seen through his selection of books that were adapted into movies and DVDs of the classics. To keep his passion going, Knollin runs a blog called, where he combines his love of movies with his love or writing, crafting pieces on industry news, film reviews, award season coverage and more.

Knollin ended up in Fargo as the result of a nationwide road trip to explore all that the United States can offer (coverage of this adventure can be read in Knollin's first book "A Long Way Home"). When looking to find a new city to call "home," Fargo checked all the boxes he was looking for. "I was looking for my next home to be in a city or town where it could be walkable and either in a season of growth or thriving. [...]So as I started pinpointing where I wanted to end up, Fargo kept checking off all those things on my list," said Knollin. After living here just two years, Knollin has already made a mark on the community and is sure to be a staple in the ever-changing tapestry of the city.

The Unit When Scottie Knollin arrived at the doorstep of the RoCo Apartments with all his belongings packed into a Honda Civic, he was ready for a new adventure. Having arrived early for his move-in appointment, Knollin stopped in YoungBlood, a coffee shop located just at the base of the apartment complex. While grabbing coffee, Knollin met one of YoungBlood's owners Elisha Griffin and learned that she was also a Califonia transplant. "It was wild that the first person I met when moving from California was a person who moved here from California too. She said the same thing I felt, that she liked being part of a community that was growing and had a lot of potential. And that they liked being part of that potential," he said. Before he even stepped foot in his new apartment, this serendipitous meeting reaffirmed his choice to make downtown Fargo his new community.

This sense of community is what drew Knollin to not only Fargo, but the RoCo Apartments themselves. "I was looking for an apartment and it had to be located in a downtown area where I could have easy access to walk places like restaurants and stores," he said. "Downtown Fargo is very walkable and a thriving and growing community." Coming from the coast, Knollin noted that he's seen big cities that have plateaued and have lost their personality and identity. But to Knollin, he saw that Fargo was a city in the midst of growth, and that was something he wanted to be a part of. He admired how the city was maintaining the small-town feel it had 20-to-30 years ago while also establishing its future and the identity it will become. "I’m learning to be a person in the community here and what my identities as a Fargoan and a North Dakotan are. It’s fun to be learning that as the city is also trying to learn it," he said. Amenities like on-site parking and having a washer and dryer in-unit have become essentials for any new downtown Fargo apartment, but coming from a city like L.A., these details were especially impressive to Knollin. In California, Knollin never knew where he'd have to street park each night, so having access to RoCo's parking garage was a huge selling point. Plus, knowing that snow would be a new experience for him, this garage also ensured that he wouldn't need to plow snow from a parking spot or have to scrape ice off the windshield. This wasn't the only building Knollin considered when moving to Fargo, but details like the dark wood cabinets and large windows that matched his own tastes and made it ideal. He noted that he enjoys seeing other units in the building and how other tenants have used similar layouts. No matter your

While he was not a pet parent at the time of moving in, Knollin is now the proud owner of Norman the corgi. Having a pet-friendly apartment complete with a dog washing station and a pet relief area allowed Knollin to adopt the furry friend when it was in need of a new home. The central location of RoCo also allows for Knollin to take Norman on walks around the active community, sniffing new things and meeting new friends with every trip around the block.

personal style, the RoCo units seem to morph to fit whatever the tenant makes of it. When it comes to interior design, Knollin considers himself a minimalist. He doesn't like a lot of clutter and he prefers a simple color palette and design. From picking out furniture to looking at apartments, he looks for designs that are clean and fresh. One thing that drew him to the RoCo units was that they already matched his tastes and offered a canvas to make it whatever he wanted. "Anyone can come into the space and do anything they want. But for me, [RoCo] is nice because it is clean and, as a creative person, I need my space to be that way," said Knollin. As mentioned, Knollin moved into his new apartment with only what would fit in his car. This meant that he brought with him mostly clothing and meaningful artifacts. This also meant that he had the opportunity to buy new furniture that would perfectly fit the space. When living in California, Knollin had two roommates, which made furniture and decor choices a hodgepodge of tastes and styles. "It was frustrating living in a space that doesn't feel like yours," he said. Now, in his very own unit, Knollin has the freedom to get the things he wants and to inhale that breath of fresh air he was needing. The resulting furniture choices are a mix of modern and contemporary. He was intentional about his choices and didn't want to pick out a bunch of pieces just for the sake of filling the space. "That's why I still haven't gotten a TV stand," he joked, saying that he has an idea in his mind of what he wants, but just hasn't been able to find the perfect one yet. Everything coordinates, but isn't matchy-matchy. Knollin tends to try and find things that are interesting to him but that can still serve a function, keeping the small space from getting cluttered. Even choices like a glass-topped coffee table and an open-bookshelf let the space breathe while still serving their purpose. At the end of the day, Knollin and Norman have truly made the most of this space. From intentional design details to meaningful artifacts, this unit is the most "home" Knollin has felt in a while. •••••• To take a virtual tour, explore different floor plans, and learn more about the building, visit or check them out on Instagram @roberts_commons


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TheR E Woodcrest MODEL BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Dan Francis, provided by Lindsey Grace Interiors

Lindsey Grace Interiors, in collaboration with EPIC Homes, successfully created yet another stunning, crisp and refreshing remodel.


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Meet Lindsey Grace Interiors


Lindsey Grace Interiors is an interior design consultation firm, specializing in full service decorating, 3D rendering, professional floor planning and new construction & remodel project management. Lead by Lindsey Christie, the owner and principal designer, Lindsey Grace Interiors has a lifelong hunger for design and work in Minneapolis to New York City to show for it. when Lindsey isn't busy designing thoughtful spaces, she can be found at her 1940's cape cod home with her shih tzu, Berkley, and her husband Jared.

Lindsey Christie of Lindsey Grace Interiors specializes in new construction, remodels and full-service decorating. But perhaps the area she shines brightest in is turning clients into friends and providing them with spaces that truly meet their needs. The homeowners came to Lindsey Grace Interiors knowing they wanted a new place to call home, but weren't ready to sacrifice all the memories made in the house they currently were in. So it was time for a remodel of this North Fargo treasure. "They knew they wanted to stay in their home and that they absolutely loved their home, which was part of what made me fall in love with the project so much," said Christie. "You could just tell that their family loves each other, and their home was a part of that. It was truly where they made memories." The clients were excited to keep making memories where they always have, but in a house that fits their style and aesthetic better. The result? "It turned out to be more beautiful than we ever imagined," said 55

Christie. The client knew they wanted to remodel, but they weren't sure about the scope of what they wanted to achieve. One aspect where Christie really worked her magic was helping the homeowners figure out the big picture, including pricing and where they would get the most bang for their buck. "My goal is that my clients sit in their home [in the end], and after they've just invested all this money into a big remodel, I don't want them to sit there and go, 'What if?'" she said. In the design process, it's easy to get wrapped up in the daunting details. But Christie ensures that she and her team price out every possibility. This might take some extra time, but she knows it always leaves the client happy and knowledgeable about the possibilities. "At the end of the day, you know that the work you're doing is what is going to pay off in the end and be the best design for the home," she added. The main goal for the whole project was to create a more open space to hang out with the family. At one point, Christie worked alongside EPIC Homes to plan an addition to pitch to the homeowners. "We really explored and looked at all the nooks and crannies of what that would actually get them. What would be worth it to them," said Christie. "But we decided to utilize the space they already had." One of Christie's goals is to always make sure her clients know all the potential their space has and to really ensure they have all options in their hands. With options in hand, the heart of the remodel ended up being the kitchen, which was a complete gut. This included all new cabinetry by Wendt Custom Cabinets (in Benjamin Moore's Stonington Grey), enlarging the island to make it extra-large, moving appliances around and adding in the perfect finishes. One decision Christie was thankful for was the choice to keep the existing ceiling beams and tying them into the overall aesthetic. The dark beams gave the space character, and Christie was able to keep them a part of the home with complementing barstools and floating shelves. This kiss of richness helped add some contrast while also helping the whole space feel cohesive. While the kitchen was the main focus, this remodel touched almost the whole house, including new flooring and carpeting throughout, opening up their lower level, a master bed and bath update and special finishes here and there. A favorite addition came with the pewter green built-ins on the lower-level,


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accentuated with stylist gold hardware and shelves styled to perfection. These cabinets were also done by Wendt Custom Cabinets and tie perfectly in with their upstairs, kitchen counterparts. When embarking on any redesign project, it's important to include the whole scope of the home, so that every space remains cohesive with the whole. You'd hate for just one space to outshine the rest! When it came to specific inspiration, the homeowners really trusted Christie. One detail the clients leaned into came with inspiration from their recent travels. "They'd been really inspired by some really cool hotels they'd been to. So they were a little bit daring and they trusted me a lot, which I really think speaks to the design as well," said Christie. Lindsey Grace Interiors is known for its classic, bright and airy designs. And this signature style certainly is what leads clients to them. While clients come in with some expectations of what they want, they know they can pass the reins to Christie to get the best look possible. "It was a major team effort between us, the contractor and the client. The client really trusted us throughout the entire process, which I think speaks for the beautiful result. They understood that in order for me to really be creative, they had to trust me. And it turned out really really beautiful because of that," she said. With the scope determined and the possibilities outlined, Christie turned the project over to one of her frequent collaborators, EPIC Homes. Taylor Belk of EPIC Homes served as the general contractor on the project, helping the team with the engineering and construction parts, taking the reins once the design concept was finalized. Additional collaborators on the project were Wendy Custom Cabinets for the kitchen and lower-level built-ins and Showcase Flooring for the flooring updates throughout. "The project is super, super near and dear to my heart," said Christie. And taking a look at the thoughtful details throughout, it sure shows. Lindsey Grace Interiors @LindseyGraceInteriors




architect BY Jackson Strom, Principle Architect at Strom Architecture PHOTOS BY Chantell Lauren Photography


rchitect Jackson Strom of Strom Architecture dives into a different, important design discussion each month. This month, Strom suggests key questions to ask when hiring your architect.


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Starting a home project, whether it is building new or remodeling, can be an exciting, yet unfamiliar process. Inspiration images, timeline, budget, square footage, material selections...these are just some of the unknowns that may keep you up at night. So much time and investment go into a new project, and you want to be certain you’ve selected the right architect to guide you through the process, making it not only a positive experience but an exciting one as well. In this edition of Form & Function, we suggest key questions we feel are important to ask when hiring your architect. Services "Are you an architect or a designer?" Architects are required to meet rigorous education requirements, pass a licensing exam and complete continuing education to maintain their license. An architect will ensure the proposed design is able to be built the way it was presented. There should be little that differs between the final rendering

and the built project. "What range of services do you offer?" Beyond the design and construction documents, is your architect able to assist throughout the project? Even with the construction documents in hand, there are many decisions that need to be made throughout the project, and we suggest involving a professional to assist, ensuring the project is constructed in line with your original vision. A common misconception is that architects are not involved with the interior of the project. Architects take a holistic approach to design and spend as much energy on the interiors as any other area. Ask about an interior 3D model. This model provides the vision for the interior and assists with finishes and material selections. "What is your design aesthetic?" While some firm’s work has a similar aesthetic, others offer a 59

diverse range of styles. You will want to review the work to see what speaks to you and your project. "Can you provide a preliminary estimate for the design?" Based on the client’s proposed budget, the architect should be designing with the appropriate square footages, materials and details in mind. With that, construction costs fluctuate, and until a builder is able to put numbers to the schematic plans and specifications, nothing is certain. We suggest engaging select builders after the schematic design, and prior to construction documents, to provide an estimate ensuring the project is on the path to meet the proposed budget. The estimate does not provide the final construction cost, but it tests the project midway through, either giving peace of mind that you are on the right path, or allowing time to revise the plans and details before the final construction documents are complete.


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Relationship "Do you have a reference?" Ask your architect about past clients and builders they have worked with, and then reach out to the references they provide. All projects, big or small, are the product of many relationships. Some of these relationships are lasting, some aren’t. Your architect’s goal should be that you are just as excited to work with them at the end of the project as you were at the beginning. Reaching out to their references provides you with insight on what to expect for your project and relationship. Timeline & Budget "How long does it take to design the project?" Whether you are in a hurry to get in the ground before snow falls, or you have all the time in the world, it is best to understand the architect’s workload and the general amount of time dedicated to a new design. Often the architect can provide a general timeline based on past projects of a similar scope of work. With that, we would suggest requesting a proposed

timeline of your project from your architect to ensure the project proceeds in a timely manner. "What do your services cost?" Does the architect bill hourly or provide a fixed-fee for the project? This is a personal decision, and you will need to find what works best for you. Often architects will tailor their proposal to your preferences upon request.

understand their quality of work. If the architect is committed to a single builder, this could possibly limit your project’s opportunities and reduce accountability. Conclusion The process of a new project is a journey, and with the right team in place, can be an exciting one. You will not regret spending additional time upfront to understand the differences between firms and find the right architect for your project.

"Who builds the project?" Does your architect have a preferred list of builders they work with? Are they open to working with a builder you have already selected? We suggest clients have at least three builders bid on the project, then review the bids with the team. We often suggest touring a few of the builder’s past projects to better

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.



Building with the Mullers: Phase VI

BY Alexandra Martin PHOTOS BY J Alan Paul Photography


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

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

This month, we discuss the impact of COVID-19, seeing dreams become reality and preparing for the final steps.


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In case you missed the first five phases of "Building with the Mullers," we discussed who the homeowners are, as well as everything from getting financially preapproved to choosing Benjamin Custom Homes as the builder to the bidding process to breaking ground. We've been with the couple every step of the way, watching as they make their choices and seeing how Benjamin Custom Homes has made it all happen.

Before we get too excited discussing all the exciting developments happening over in Kindred, we have to address the elephant in the room: COVID-19. We already knew that this design and build process would be different from the standard build, as Becky Muller is a commercial interior designer herself, but with the pandemic shaking everything up, we've seen even more oddities.

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.

One of the most notable ripples from the coronavirus has been delays in materials and booking foremen. Certain materials being shipped from overseas are seeing especially large delays. For instance, most of the Mullers' appliances are stuck abroad, waiting for the "OK" to be shipped to the States. And you can't have a kitchen without all the carefully selected appliances!

Their vision has taken shape more and more as the months go by, and this phase they really see everything coming together in real size and scale. Come with us as we see what steps in the process they are currently working on and how the home is shaping up.

"COVID has thrown a wrench in about everything," said Kara Skarphol, designer at Benjamin Custom Homes. Even if the materials arrive on time, getting foremen and construction crews booked has proven difficult. As we've all faced more and more time sheltering-in-place in our homes, we have been itching to embark on home improvement projects. And more home improvement projects mean more subcontractors' schedules are filling up. "People are sitting at home and staring at the imperfections of their house," said Becky, joking that many of us have home-improvement on the mind.


As mentioned in last month's issue, the siding going up on the home's exterior is a big moment, as it is the time where the structure begins to really look like a home. However, delays in the siding materials coming in have pushed this exciting step back further. The team has learned to expect delays in most of their ordered materials, which switches up the order of things in a difficult manner at times. When it comes to building a home from scratch, the order of the processes is important. The kitchen cabinetry has to be installed before the flooring, as flooring doesn't go under cabinets, it goes right up to the edge. And painting must happen before trim work. When done in the wrong order, it makes subsequent steps more difficult. So when waiting on materials and labor to come available, the option to "just go ahead and work on something else" doesn't really apply.

PLAYING TO THEIR STRENGTHS Especially in this step of the home building process, Becky and Evan both get to play to their strengths equally. As the closing date nears, Evan, who works in finance, gets excited about the financial details playing out. Becky said, "The design part was fun for me, but Evan is a numbers guy, so he has been asking about total costs and checking our credit score like every single day!" With interest rates changing so much, also thanks to coronavirus, they have especially had to keep an eye on the numbers side of things. While Becky had fun throughout the middle of the process, picking out finishes and reimagining layouts, Evan now gets

to chime back in and take the reigns on getting ready to close. This isn't to say that Becky isn't still heavily involved. She is rather spending her time searching online for perfect furniture pieces to fill the space with. Not to mention, the fun of seeing the selected paint colors in person and seeing all the previous selections begin to trickle in.

STORAGE GALORE! Try as you might, photos and drawings don't do justice to the reality of what a project will become. One aspect the Mullers were pleasantly surprised about was the amount of storage. All along, they knew the basement would remain unfinished for the near future. And going downstairs and looking at the wall-less expanse, the couple sure won't need to worry about storage space. One room of the basement will eventually become a home gym and another room is designated just for storage. Down the road, the "main room" has the opportunity to become anything from an entertainment center to a man-cave to a future child's hang-out spot. Heading back upstairs, the kitchen provides storage that any professional chef would envy. The oversized quartz island offers knob-less, hidden cabinets on the living roomfacing side and a bevy of drawers on the kitchen-side. More drawers line the wall under the stove-side of the kitchen. When they were planning out the kitchen, all this existing storage resulted in the decision to include four floating shelves on either side of the stove. This not only saves money, but it gives the space some air to breathe and the opportunity for some stylish open-cabinet styling.


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If all the lower drawers and cabinet weren't enough, there also is a walk-in pantry for dry goods. All this to say, the Mullers will never run out of space for pots, pans, small appliances and dishes.

PASSING THE TORCH As the reality of this home becomes clearer by the day, Benjamin Custom Homes has been slowly taking the reigns back and letting the Mullers come "check things out" less. "The big reveal" is an especially fun part of custom home building, and Benjamin Custom Homes likes to make sure each home gets the proper unveiling. Skarphol added, "We like to have the customer stay away for the last couple of weeks so they can have that big reveal." While Becky and Evan love coming by and helping out wherever they can, these last few weeks will get completed just by the pros.

together. But there is just as much fulfillment and joy that comes from the Benjamin Custom Home side. "It's the best job in the world to make other people's dreams come true," said Skarphol. To be there from the initial meetings all the way to the closing date is really a special experience that the Benjamin Custom Homes team says never gets old. "This is the biggest purchase you're ever going to really make, unless you decide to build a bigger house. But buying or building a home is the biggest purchase you're ever going to do and to have a part in that and watch dreams's awesome," said Skarphol.

Another piece of excitement that is getting passed on is simply the joy of it all. From the homeowners' side, it is obviously exciting to dream and watch it all come

Phase VII

As you can see, a lot has happened since our last issue...possibly the biggest transformation yet! Can you believe that the next installation of Building With The Mullers will be the final step? As of right now, the couple plans to close on the house on October 15 and move in shortly after. Furniture and decor pieces will begin to trickle in and soon this structure will truly become a home. Next month, we will discuss all those final steps that will make the house move-in ready. Some of these steps include siding, installing all the plumbing fixtures, building the back deck and other trim outs like electrical, plumbing and HVAC. Stay tuned for the next issue, where we provide the big reveal!



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Upper Hand



oused on Historic 8th Street in downtown Fargo is the workspace of Upper Hand Signs, a two-person team dedicated to keeping the craft of traditional sign painting alive and well.

studio in the historic Dakota Business College building. The temperature in the studio varies as it pleases, swinging from toasty to frigid, depending on the day. And a Hank Williams record from the 1950s plays muffled beneath the city sounds coming from the open windows. A step into this workspace is transportive, sending one back to a time they might not have even been alive during. A time where if you wanted to let clients know what your business was, you hired a painter to create a custom work at the storefront.

Cory Gillerstein and Jared Froeber are perhaps the most visible artists in Fargo Moorhead. Their work can be found everywhere from small pieces downtown to large scale works that span feet upon feet of real estate. And you might not even have registered that you've seen their work. Gillerstein and Froeber are the men behind Upper Hand Signs, a full-service, custom sign shop focused on traditional sign-making techniques. Committed to the old-school trade of sign painting, they take the bygone craft and create modern signage solutions with a flair for traditional hand-made craftsmanship. Gillerstein and Froeber are both MSUM graduates with degrees in graphic design and have a keen eye for what makes a great design. While the two have a love for design, they didn't want to necessarily sit behind computer screens, tweaking pixels for the rest of their lives. And so Upper Hand Signs was born as a loophole to combine their graphic design abilities with an artful yet utilitarian trade. "It kind of grew naturally into something that people liked and wanted to see more of. And we can just keep painting for a living," said Gillerstein. "I don't really consider it as a job." It's only fitting that these men who are dedicated to preserving the art of traditional sign painting have their


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In many small towns throughout the rural United States, stories-high murals serve as benchmarks of former liveliness. They conjure visuals of a slower life, when shop owners knew their customers by name and imperfections were signs of authenticity, not flaws. As the paint fades and chips off of these decades-old signs, there's been a resurgence for that same hand-made, thoughtful feeling. And Upper Hand Signs is here to carry on the rich heritage of hand-painted signs and to bring the craft into the modern era. There's a certain spark brought to something that was created by hand. No matter how you try, technology and a computer just can't replicate that feeling. In the 1950s, the plotter was invented by Remington-Rand. While this invention was groundbreaking, it also quickly put a lot of hand-painting sign makers out of business. All these professionals who spent their whole careers learning and studying the craft soon got pushed out by computers and machinery. "It became this race to the bottom, who can do stuff the fastest or the cheapest," said Froeber. "It's interesting because it killed the industry for a number of years, and now it is sort of coming back." These two saw the potential in the industry and knew it could be a successful business. But to embark on this business, they wanted to do it right. So they set out to learn as much as they could. "That’s the interesting thing about sign painting, is that it is an art, yes, but there is a correct way to do things, and it is a really process-driven art too. So there is a correct way with a lot of steps you can kind of go through," said Froeber. Not many businesses were actively sign painting, but there's a good number of retired sign painters in the area, ready to pass on the process. "Some of our best friends now retired [sign painters] who just like to share what they learned during their career with us,"


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said Froeber. Gillerstein and Froeber are grateful for this insight and look forward to seeing how they can continue on the legacy of the trade. "We don't want to just be two guys out on our own. We really want to learn things the right way and learn about the way things were, to pay our respects to the people that came before us," said Froeber. "We've learned so much in the two years we've been doing this, but it doesn't even compare to somebody that's done it a long time." In addition to consulting the masters of years past, the upper Hand Signs team stresses the use of good references. They collect old signs and have a collection of photos and vintage sign making textbooks to guide them. This keeps them tied to traditional and timeless designs that are sure to work. "I think, more so than ever, there are just things that work and still work now the way they worked a hundred years ago," said Froeber. Such elements include are compositions, color combinations and letter styles. Staying attuned to these allows the men to continue melding traditional styles with contemporary updates. Both Gillerstein and Froeber were born and raised in Fargo. Having strong roots to the community means they have that extra desire to make the town looks as best as it can. "We’re from this town, we want to see it look good. We want to put our mark on the landscape and just make it look nice," said Froeber. Of course, the duo wants to drum up business, but they also want to draw awareness to the importance of good signs. "People don't really know that there are other options out there," said Froeber. He added that he's seen businesses who put in incredible efforts on their interior design and perfecting every detail and then putting up a basic vinyl sign as almost an afterthought. "We want people to think about exterior design just as much as they think about interior design, he said. The Upper Hand Sign men hold the key to making our streets look vibrant and inviting, and they want to share that key as much as possible. "To us, it's about caring. We care about clients. We care about our work. We care about our town. We want to do work that we feel good about," said Froeber. "I want to like what I look at when I pass by," Gillerstein added. When entrusted with a client's brand and their business, Upper Hand Signs takes this task very seriously. And at the end of the day, they are grateful to have clients that put their trust in them and to be in a city that puts its trust in them, too.

Upper Hand Signs 11 8th St. S. Studio 201, Fargo



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PHOTOS BY Nicole Midwest Photography


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! 75


ocated in the McCormick building on 5th Street is the office of the vibrant creative marketing agency, H2M. The downtown building where this funloving business is located boasts a 1949 mural for Sunny Brook whiskey, featuring a smiling, campy cowboy. Anyone in Fargo knows this sign, and having such a cheeky mural guiding the way to this business is downright fitting. Companies far and wide have long tried to inject the tried-and-true office cubicle layout with a splash of energy to entertain potential clients, infuse energy into the team culture and drive forward innovation. And having our smiling cowboy leading the way, clients and staff members alike know what they are stepping into. H2M is an advertising agency with one major focus: To create great advertising. Fearlessly led by Managing Partners Dan Altenbernd and Nancy Mansouri, the team operates off of just over a dozen creative and hard-working visionaries. While they say that great advertising is the base of what they do, the second pillar to their success is their fun-loving spirit and desire to create real, human connections. So it only makes sense that their office is just as full of life.


COME ON IN Off the elevator, visitors are greeted with a screen showing the latest video projects, a fully stocked bar (that is, if you only prefer Jameson and vodka) and a floor-to-ceiling banner spelling out to H2M’s mission: “Advertising deserves its reputation. We’re trying to change it.” To some, "advertising" is a dirty word. It's become synonymous with sneaky tactics and covert messaging, leaving people begging for silence and to be left alone. But what if we could change that? H2M aims to do this, and having a bold orange banner as a reminder of this mission inspires the team to stay true to this tenent. The way this team achieves this goal? Simply by acting human and building connections and personality via the most authentic means. This method of "being human" is especially humorous, as proudly displayed in the lobby are a set of colorful, upcycled frames, each holding a portrait of each staff member. However, you might be puzzled but charmed to find that at a closer look, the company's "family portrait" is really a collection of Photoshopped images, showing each respective staff member's body, but with the face of their favorite animal. In addition to the animal-themed "family portraits" sits a meerkat stuffed animal, watching over the office with a careful eye. It's no accident that this office overseer is the same animal as is in Managing Partner Dan Altenbernd's portrait. “It’s another element of playfulness we wanted to add into the office,” he said. By design, there is no reception area or traditional lobby seating at H2M. Altenbernd said that this assures there's no pretense for visitors. "The first office is mine, and more often than not, the door is wide open.” Altenbernd works to keep his office comfortable, welcoming and a bit "groovy" to ensure visiting guests feel right at home. ALIVE IN DOWNTOWN FARGO Leaving the entryway, visitors see a long hallway washed in natural light leading to work stations. Signature Downtown Fargo untreated brick adds character and exposed, industrial ceilings give it that down-to-earth vibe. Natural light makes for a great, even if unintentional, addition to any office, especially one


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working on computers all day. The sunbeams give the eyes a break from harsh fluorescents and screens while adding some creativity that only Mother Nature herself can provide. Further adding to that authenticity, it’s easy to hear the construction of two large downtown buildings on either side of the office. When asked about the noise, Altenbernd said, “That’s the great thing about downtown. It’s alive. It’s flourishing. There’s nowhere else we’d rather call home.” Audible reminders of the city's growth only fuel what H2M is already doing. Break-out conference rooms are painted a vibrant lime green. The second of the two conference rooms has enough space to fit H2M's entire team, making it ideal for company-wide gatherings. While the team members have their own space, it's important that they also have communal spaces to add to the community-feel that their downtown surroundings enforce. EYE CANDY The crown jewel of H2M's beautiful office sits proudly in the office area. Spanning an entire wall is a sugary sweet rendition of their logo, dripping with pink and purple icing and topped with sprinkles. H2M’s creative team conceptualized the design of this 12’ x 8’ hand-painted mural and it was executed by staff designer Adam Wiedman. Wiedman isn't new to the mural game, as he's executed some other iconic visual throughout town, like the orange and blue campfire mural at Tellwell's office, the branding of Jade Presents and their festival Sister Cities Smokeout and the recent "Save Summer" campaign. “We took inspiration from early MTV logo treatments, back when they first took the world by storm and actually played music. We tried to make something approachable and yet a little rebellious, a little grotesque,” Wiedman said, “It’s dripping. It’s oozing. But that’s what makes a doughnut and desserts so appetizing.”


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