September Design & Living 2019

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



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.


Ehlen is an editorial photographer for Spotlight Media and owner of Hillary Ehlen Photography. She is a native of Fargo and attended North Dakota State University for visual arts with an emphasis in photography.


Geiger is a MSUM graduate with a BFA with an emphasis in Graphic Design. She is the lead publication designer for Bison Illustrated, Fargo Monthly and Fargo INC! magazines at Spotlight Media.


Originally from central Wisconsin, Stauner relocated to the FargoMoorhead area in 2017. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she recieved her BFA in Graphic Design and Marketing.


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.


Gunkelman is current Home Builders Association of F-M president. He owns Dakota Construction of Fargo, Inc., specializing in custom homes, commercial remodeling and residential remodeling.


Anderson is a Minnesota native with an eye for decor and design. She is the owner of Christen Joy Homes 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.

ForGENERATIONS to come Dear Readers,

If you're reading this, you probably have an interest in homes. And if you're interested in homes, you've definitely taken a slow drive along historic 8th St S and the historic Hawthorne neighborhood. And then slowly drove up the street again. And again. The historic homes of our town and how they've been preserved is something truly remarkable. A drive through the neighborhood transports you to a quiet, established subset, one you can't imagine is just a mile south of the booming construction of Block 9 and the growth of downtown Fargo. I can't tell you how many times I said out loud, "They don't make 'em like they used to," while touring through these historic homes. Certainly not to dismiss the beauty of new modern homes, but these circa-1900 homes have a special attention to detail in things that just aren't recreated anymore. Fireplaces framed in glass tiling, intricate stair railing carvings, built-in China cabinets in the dining room, installed stained glass pieces, clawfoot tubs...there's a charm to it all. When I was a little girl dreaming of a perfect dollhouse, these historic homes are what I envisioned. Beyond just being what dreams are made of, historic homes remind drivers passing by of the history and culture of our city. Whether subdued or dramatic and grand, these homes take us back to a different era of our history. I hope you'll enjoy joining us this month as we see how homeowners have transformed their historic homes. These homeowners beautifully balanced respect for the craftsmanship of the past while bringing in modern comforts (and up to code electrical boards!). Whether you live in a sparkling new build, a downtown apartment or a north Fargo rambler, it's hard to deny the beauty of the historic home district. Regardless of personal home taste, there's just something about the craftsmanship and true art behind each and every element. Something to be admired and preserved for generations to come.

Until next month,



Design & Living Magazine

Becky Muller Social Media Coordinator North Dakota Interior Designers

Melissa Rademacher President & CEO Downtown Community Partnership

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

Photos by Hillary Ehlen and J. Alan Paul Photography

Editorial Advisory Board

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

Chris Hawley Licensed Architect/Member American Institute of Architects

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

Dayna Del Val President & CEO The Arts Partnership 12

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Historic Homes


Designing with Joy


A Burst of Color


Downtown Luxury with a View


Home Sweet Fargo

This month, we took a step into the past and looked at area homes that have been around for quite some time. We trodded on original hardwood and turned the brass doorknobs into these historic homes to see how their current owners have embraced and updated them. Come with us as we celebrate the rich architectural history that Fargo has to offer.

In each issue of Design & Living Magazine, residential and commercial designer Christen Anderson of Live Christen Joy showcases a joyful project of hers. This month, she shows us some historic vibes in U32's Cigar Lounge.

Artist Kate Baldock is just getting started. Her vibrant abstract work inspires happiness in viewers and her effervescent personality enhances that. Her goal is to bring joy or peace to somebody’s life or home, and she has been doing just that.

To live at Dillard is to live just steps away from the center of downtown Fargo's vibrant scene. At 247 Roberts St N, Dillard stands seven stories high with 84 apartment units and an unique downtown experience.

ON THE COVER Ken Cottrell and April King's Hawthorne home is full of the special details that make historic homes so beloved. See more of their remodeled 1925 home on page 41.

NEXT MONTH'S ISSUE Our October issue will be celebrating National Kitchen and Bath Month! In our kitchen and bath issue, we will be highlighting the rooms where tile floors and quartz countertops reign. Do you have a standout kitchen or bath that you think would look good on our pages? Let us know! Email our editor at alexandra@

To be closer to family and to enjoy a new community, Dave and Sue Johnson traded in their Wisconsin residency and relocated to a Monarch custom home in south Fargo. For more exclusive, original content,

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @designandlivingmagazine


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SEPTEMBER 2019 Design & Living Magazine is a free publication distributed 12 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.


Mike Dragosavich



Editorial Director

Jay Borland Andrew Jason

Editor Art Director Graphic Designer Director of Photography Contributors Editorial Assistant


Business Development Manager

Creative Director Digital Marketing Strategist Videographer Executive Sales Assistant


Alexandra Martin Sarah Geiger Sarah Stauner Hillary Ehlen

Christen Anderson, John Gunkelman, Paul H. Gleye Dan Slaubaugh Nick Schommer

Simon Andrys Tommy Uhlir Patrick Thompson Kellen Feeney

Associate Sales Director

Neil Keltgen

Senior Sales Executive

Paul Hoefer

Sales Executives

Zach Olson

Client Relations

ADMINISTRATION VP of Human Resources

Office Manager


Jenny Johnson, Gigi McColm

Colleen Dreyer Wendy Kalbrener

Bruce Crummy, John Stuber, Craig Sheets

Design & Living Magazine is published by Spotlight Media, LLC. Copyright 2019 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 Media, 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 Media, LLC accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.

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


Spotlight Media's Other Magazines

Manufacturing in North Dakota accounts for about six percent of the workforce and is responsible for almost $1.4 billion in annual wages. We'll take a look at the impact the industry is having on the state by looking at three companies and taking a holistic look at the industry.

As another school year dawns on FargoMoorhead, we want to tell you about some area college students that are doing big things for our community. Not only have they enriched the lives of those on their respective campuses, but on our area at large. Fargo-Moorhead is a "college town" to many, so let's celebrate these amazing students and what they've done for the community.

With new coaches and faces up and down the NDSU football roster, it's safe to say there are questions. Will the Bison continue to dominate the gridiron? How will these new faces factor into 2019 and the future of this program? In our yearly football preview issue, let us answer those questions. The Bison way will never change regardless of who has come and gone. NDSU football is back and there is no reason to believe anything will change in 2019.




























5 things

to condsider when remodeling a historic home


by John Gunkelman Dakota Construction of Fargo, Inc. Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead

argo and Moorhead were both founded in 1871. With nearly 150 years of a storied history, both have their fair share of old homes. While there is a lot of growth happening in our communities, some of you prefer to rehab a property that has a past and a story. Here are a few things to consider:

John Gunkelman is current Home Builders Association of F-M president. He owns Dakota Construction of Fargo, Inc., specializing in custom homes, commercial remodeling and residential remodeling.


Find out if the home is in a historic overlay district. If it is, the jurisdiction in which it’s located may require approval before changing the exterior.


Get professional advice and know how the house was built. A contractor or referred home inspector can help the average person identify trouble spots, and if those will fit within the renovation plan and budget. Sewer lines, wiring and foundations are common problem areas. Also, dealing with archaic building materials can add special processes to the remodel.


Accept that some homes cannot be salvaged, often resulting from foundation issues. Identify a bottom-line, no matter how much “the look and feel” of the home appeals to you.


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Be realistic. Define what you will, and can, do. When renovating an old home, expenses can multiply. Try to know what you are getting into and understand there may be more projects to do. If possible, identify the extent of the work you are willing and able to deal with. It’s also important to find a cut-off point to end renovation that makes sense within the house that can be picked up later.


Know that some improvements are more important than others. People tend to gravitate toward new cabinets, countertops and flooring, which is fun! However, in an older home, likely there are more important, hidden, areas that need attention first.

Two examples: - In old homes electrical wiring can be stable if it’s contained and undisturbed, but once you start removing plaster and damaging something that’s already fragile, then it’s not safe anymore. - Historic homes tend to be inefficient, so anything to improve energy consumption should be prioritized. Did you know that Dilworth, Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo have remodeling incentives in the form of interest-free loans, tax exemptions and more? Visit, click 'Build/ Remodel and Incentives' for more details. Don’t miss the Home Builders Association of F-M’s Remodeled Home Tour running in conjunction with the Fall Parade of Homes’ second weekend Oct. 5-6. Visit for details.

Home Builders Association of Fargo Moorhead Nurture a thriving, innovative and diverse housing industry in our community

For more information, contact: HBAFargoMoorhead


with joy

nothing but , HISTORIC VIBES BY Christen Anderson | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen


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n U32 Apartment’s Phase II, there’s a gathering space that welcomes residents with the feeling of historic charm. The Cigar Lounge is brand new, yet delivers an experience rooted in the grand, majestic past. Through thoughtful selections crafted uniquely for today, here’s how we brought modern historic vibes to North Fargo.

GOALS FOR THE SPACE Roers, the construction and development company behind U32, wanted to create a welcoming and comfortable retreat filled with the functionality and fun of its lifestyle brand. The lounge was designed as a space for residents to entertain, join in to watch the big game or celebrate life’s occasions. INSPIRATION FOR THE DESIGN Through my travels, I’ve drawn inspiration for spaces like the Cigar Lounge at Seattle’s high-end bars with games such as shuffleboard. And, from a Santa Barbara seafood restaurant that selected and staged each detail from flooring to lighting to intentionally highlight its historic naval theme. Inspiration led me to design the space as the combination of a classic cigar lounge with a moody and historic vibe, with a traditional college bar. Fun, right? The vibe came alive through careful curation to make the space fun and interesting. FURNITURE FOR THE LOOK A shuffleboard and ping pong table craft a playful feel. There’s lots of comfy seating to kick your feet up and watch the game. Hosting more than a few friends? Pull up



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one of the twelve bar chairs to the high-top tables. There’s also a nearly 13-foot customdesigned table from Grain Designs for board games or simply relaxing with friends.

-Select moody paint colors such as Sherwin Williams Naval for the walls and ceiling.


-Shop for soft-seating and table chairs in the iconic Chesterfield style and velvet fabrics (the epitome of vintage cigar lounge).

With furniture in place, it’s on to accessories for the vintage cigar lounge feel. You can create this memorable vibe in your home using my design techniques:

-Incorporate a vintage feel by choosing exotic woods, dark stains and unique bases to layer a classic look and steer away from industrial.

-Use different wall treatments to create visual interest — brick, tile, paint and a wood accent wall. The “wood” is actually Italian tile on the 20-foot-wide wall.

-Enliven the space with brass hardware and lighting. Brass is back in style, and while it may be trendy, when used in a classic, moody space, it’s timeless.

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.

-Collect art and accessories that are both intriguing and vintage. We used items such as American flags, tea-stained framed art and antique books for that woodsy scent. -Add in a few quirky pieces because it wouldn’t be a Christen Joy design without pops of fun and color! REST FOR THE WIN

faucets and the trash bin. Lighting with lower-watt bulbs sustains the mood in a warm amber glow. The cherry on top? Art that can only be assumed to be the first selfie. For residents, the U32 lounge is the perfect combination of comfort and chic. I can’t wait for residents to connect and create life-long memories in this new, old-world space!

Around the corner, the traditional cigar lounge theme is recognizable in the public restroom with dramatic flooring, high-gloss navy tile and gray walls. Brass accents maintain the beat of the iconic drum on

Join me on Instagram and Facebook to see my latest projects and email me your design questions at


A PIECE OF A step into the past with the exceptional historic homes of the Red River Valley Take a step into the past and admire some area homes that outdate many of us. We trodded on original hardwood and turned the brass doorknobs into these historic homes to see how their current owners have embraced and updated them. Come with us as we celebrate the rich architectural history that Fargo has to offer, including a look into the Gleye’s classical revival home, the Culp family’s kitchen remodel, an Asian-influenced Hawthorne home and three 9th Street kitchen renovations by Floor to Ceiling Carpet One.



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Classical Revival Home

ON THE HISTORIC REGISTER with Dog Treats BY Paul H. Gleye | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen



lmost unnoticed in the heart of downtown Fargo, and increasingly surrounded by NDSU’s downtown campus and new apartment blocks, stands a group of historic homes from the early twentieth century. They came into being by architect Milton Earl Beebe (1840-1923), who had a prominent practice in Buffalo, New York, before relocating to North Dakota in about 1898. Beebe continued his successful practice in Fargo, designing buildings such as Old Main at Concordia College in Moorhead, South Engineering Building at NDSU and many single-family residences. This home at 723 3rd Avenue North in Fargo, built in 1903, is the first house Beebe built for himself in Fargo. In those years, the ornate details of Victorian architecture had passed out of style, a victim of the economic recession of the 1890s, and the newly emerging Classical Revival style employed columns and other details borrowed from Greek temples. Prominent homes became stately rather than ostentatious, a trend here exemplified by five Doric columns surrounding the generous front porch. Symmetry was valued, rejecting Victorian gables and turrets. Here a bay window of the upstairs master bedroom looks out upon the street, above which a simplified “Palladian window” hearkens back to the Italian Renaissance. Behind these third-floor

windows stood the bedroom for the domestic servant. Large homes built before the First World War remained formal in plan. At 723 3rd Avenue North, an entrance foyer greets the visitor, followed by a traditional living room standing beyond two prominent Ionic columns. Behind the living room is the formal dining room, accessed between two more Ionic columns, thus giving the home’s “presentation space” the suggestion of a Greek temple. The view into the dining room is captured by a large built-in sideboard with leaded-glass cabinets on the back wall. An expression of elegant formality is made complete with a coffered ceiling, plus diamond-paned windows admitting filtered light. A plate rail surrounding the dining room allows for the display, and storage, of fine tableware. Prominent woodwork adds to the aura of permanence and stability. The five homes standing together at this corner of 3rd Avenue and 8th Street North were all owned by Beebe before he left Fargo in 1910, at the age of seventy, for retirement in San Diego. A sixth small building standing to the rear along the alley, and built as an almost literal Greek temple, served as Beebe’s architectural office. Through the years after Beebe’s departure, the house at 723 went through numerous owners. They covered the wood



clapboard with concrete asbestos siding, laid shag carpet over the maple flooring, and eventually turned the home into a boarding house, adding partitions and renting rooms out to individual tenants. An overflowing bathtub brought down portions of the living room ceiling, which the owner fixed by leaving the plaster ceiling unrepaired and adding a suspended ceiling underneath. Tenants gouged out the woodwork to add padlock hasps to their bedroom doors, and hardboard wall paneling was glued to the cracked plaster of living room walls. In 2006 the current owner purchased the home when it looked very much unlike it does today. She removed the concrete asbestos siding to reveal original wood clapboards that remained in excellent condition. She tore out the carpets and restored the maple flooring. She repaired and restored all of the original lath and plaster walls and ceilings. Though laborintensive to restore, original lath and plaster make a home nearly soundproof. One can yell on the second floor and hear nothing on the first floor, and plaster gives the walls a gentle surface not possible with the absolute flatness of drywall sheets. Historic ceiling fixtures were found in antique shops, since the originals had long disappeared. Picture rail molding that had been removed to apply the hardboard paneling was replaced, allowing art to hang without poking nail holes in the walls. Luckily the downstairs woodwork was never painted over, as happened with so many homes in the 1920s. It had been varnished, but it could be refinished. Michael Orchard Studios restored the stained glass windows. When the owner installed a new furnace, rendering the original brick chimney obsolete, she took down the entire old chimney, brick by brick, and in its place added a sun tunnel to emit sunlight into the attic. Where the chimney had penetrated the second floor ceiling, a plexiglass skylight now brings sunlight into the upstairs hallway. And at the top of the staircase, in place of the old chimney, now stands a prominent newel post salvaged from the Columbia



Hotel in Moorhead, long ago demolished. Since kitchens and bathrooms from a century ago are little compatible with modern living, both are now totally modern, with upscale European appliances. The lot itself is tiny – about 45 by 45 feet – but it leaves room for a garden and small yard in front. Each fall, NDSU architecture and landscape architecture students harvest dried yarrow from the yard to make miniature trees for their models. Behind the house, enough space remained to squeeze in a freestanding garage, designed by architect Darryl Booker and added in 2016. Encased in corrugated metal siding, the garage stands in dramatic but harmonious contrast to the historic house. Soil excavated from the garage foundation was piled next to the house and formed the basis for a raised garden bed enclosed by leftover corrugated siding from the garage. Since the home is set back only twelve feet from the sidewalk, there is opportunity to sit on the shaded front porch and greet passers-by. In fact, says the owner, dog treats are available for all the dogs who walk by with their masters, who stop to chat on the front steps. In 2016, the five homes on this corner, plus the former architect’s office to the rear, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the M.E. Beebe Historic District.


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A Modern-Meets

HISTORIC REFRESH BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen

The Historic Lewis House underwent a chic and timeless kitchen remodel to bring new life into the 120-year-old home.


n our September 2017 Historic Homes edition of Design & Living, we featured the Historic Lewis Home, built by R.C. Lewis for his wife in 1899. Since it's construction, it's belonged to the Red Cross, operated as the Chez Suzanne Bed & Breakfast and now is the multi-generational home to the Culp and Simmons families. Since our initial feature of the home in 2017, the homeowners have since completed a historically respective kitchen remodel on the first floor. The first floor of the neoclassical house is home to Austin and Elaine Culp, the oldest generation residing in the space. The second generation living in the home is the Simmons family, comprising of the Culp's daughter ReNae, her husband Aaron and their four daughters. The second floor's bedrooms are split between the families, with the Culps having the bedrooms to the east and some of the Simmons in the bedrooms to the west. The rest of the Simmons live and rest on the third floor, which is complete with a kitchen and separate living spaces. "This house works well to divvy up families. We don't see each other if we don't want to," said Austin. ReNae Simmons added, "We see each other coming and going a lot. It's very quiet, you can't really hear from one floor to the next."



The homeowners moved into the house six years ago and have been making updates and edits all along the way, all while honoring the magnificent woodwork, frescos and stainedglass windows that make the home so unique and beautiful. One room in particular need of a refresh was the kitchen. Orangetoned wood cabinets and wainscotting created too warm of an atmosphere and square footage wasn't fully utilized. A butler's pantry took up useable space and the island was positioned in a way that blocked off the area. Add those elements plus a desire for something new, the room was ready for a complete refresh. Elaine Culp designed their new kitchen on her own. She said, "I really enjoy designing. We’ve built two houses and I did the plans for both of them." While Elaine was the visionary behind the appearance and design of the space, the homeowners worked closely with Paul Allen of PACC Woodwork, who served as the general contractor for the project. From the custom cabinets to demolition and installations, PACC Woodwork worked alongside the family to make their vision come to life. What was once a closed-off and small kitchen became reimagined with a new layout. By moving the butler's pantry to the opposite wall, they gained about five extra feet to work with. "We were able to lay out the kitchen better without it," said Austin. Moving the island to be parallel to the outer wall, rather than perpendicular like it used to be, helped the flow of the room, as well. Elaine added, "Just turning that island


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. made a huge difference. It looks twice as big now." Where the island currently stands used to be a wall that's removal allotted space for barstools to the northern border of the kitchen. This extra seating creates a casual dining setting that there wasn't space for before the remodel. With the layout perfected, the look and feel of the kitchen came next. Finding the right color for the cabinets was one of the main hurdles in this process. The original cabinets were an orange-toned wood and a newer addition of cabinets were a chocolate tone, making for a mix-matched appearance. "Part of the problem was, every piece of wood in the kitchen was a little bit different. in color than the rest. So trying to match the stain was difficult." said Austin. The homeowners wanted to stay true to the history of the kitchen and keep the original cabinets. With some experimenting with different wood stains and a few practiceruns, they ended up with dark espresso cabinets that compliment the original wainscotting. "We wanted the kitchen to be modern, but still cohesive and to keep some of that old feel," said Simmons. Austin added, "Paul [Allen] did a great job in keeping the style of the cabinets. He even

sent for special roller bits to be manufactured to duplicate the cabinetry." The homeowners wanted to preserve the artistry and history of the original cabinets, but to also keep them useful and transition them into a modern age. They accomplished this by custom building additional cabinets in the same style as the originals and giving them the same treatments, down to finding hardware that matched the originals. Addition of new white quartz countertops and white hexagon tile flooring are a welcome freshness against dark cabinets. These bright and clean touches contrast from the preceding warm wood floors and brown-toned countertops. By preserving the craftsmanship of original features, the kitchen does not look out of place next to the other rooms of the house. Giving a 120-year-old home a modernized refresh while still respecting the history of the house is no easy task, but it's been one that has been done well by these homeowners. With remodels as thoughtful and stylish as this, this home is sure to be enjoyed for generations to come.



Eastern Inspiration

IN HISTORIC HAWTHORNE BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen



fter having spent ten years living abroad in Asia, Ken Cottrell and April King have now settled in the historic Hawthorne neighborhood of Fargo. These homeowners, with their French Bulldogs Bruce and Sami, live in the George S. Von Sein house, a Mediterranean rectangular built in 1925. Designed by Fargo architect Joseph E. Rosatti, this house's beveled French plate glass windows and original quarter-sawn oak woodwork have been impeccably preserved and add just the character the new homeowners were looking for. INSPIRATION FROM THE EAST Cottrell and King knew that when they returned to the United States, they wanted to buy an older home that was a project that they could make their own. They moved to Fargo in July 2017, purchased the house that October and finished renovations and moved in September 2018. From their time overseas, they acquired quite the art collection, so they also wanted a home that would be a gallery for the art. "A lot of the stuff we have was part of [the decision of] what house we picked and how we wanted to design it. We wanted a way to display all of it in a way that would look nice," said Cottrell. The removal of the existing floral wallpaper and replacement of white walls in its place serve as the perfect backdrop for these globally-acquired pieces. STRIPPING BACK The couple loved the fundamental elements of the house, so they accepted the challenge of uncovering what lay beneath layers of wallpaper, mauve carpeting and heavy drapery. With the feeling of a



time capsule throughout, the couple was energized by the need to reimagine most of the rooms in the house. "That's the nice thing about taking a house that has fundamental things that you like, that you know you're going to have to update everything so that it reflects who you are," said King. They noted that in a newer home, they would have been less likely to dive in and make the big updates that they did, because things would have been livable and just fine. In this home, however, remains of the 1980's mauve era had to go. "The house was all wallpapered and carpeted, but you knew what was behind the curtains, the carpet and the wallpaper. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it to just take it back to its pristine look," she added. In stripping the house back to its original splendor, the homeowners had to decide how much they were going to change and what they would preserve. "How many walls do we take down and how much should we change?[...] We tried to salvage anything we could that was original to the house and I think we were always cognizant of that while also thinking, okay we have to live here and it has to work for us," said King. Luckily, much of the parts of the home they admired so much were well preserved by the previous homeowners. King noted that the natural lighting and the leaded glass windows are what drew her to the house initially. With the remodeling, changes of floorplan and decor, these windows have


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Architect: Jackson Strom, Chris Hawley Architects Kitchen Design: Audrey Newman, JW Kitchens General Contractor: Paul Vesledahl, Vesledahl Contracting Interior and Exterior Painting: Adam Grant, Grant's Painting

$ $ been especially highlighted. "It’s really nice to have the light come in. That’s one thing that I think has really changed with the house, [previously there were] heavy drapery, carpet and wallpaper, and we just stripped all that away. It feels lighter and brighter," said King. REDESIGNING THE FOOTPRINT Jackson Strom of Chris Hawley Architects came on as the project manager for the renovations. The home had no documented, original floorplans, so the Chris Hawley Architects team had to measure and create a new footprint to move forward with. The team drew up several options for the homeowners to find the perfect fit for them, respecting the home's historic elements, but making it practical for the couple. Footprints that Strom helped with were the complete refresh of the kitchen and turning one of the four upstairs bedrooms into a walk-in closet and master bathroom adjoining the master bedroom. With many other projects under their belt at the time, Chris Hawley Architects passed along the implementation of their plans to other area professionals. For kitchen design, including cabinetry and finishes, the homeowners worked with Audrey Newman of JW Kitchens. For their general contractor, they brought on Paul Vesledahl of Vesledahl Contracting, who often works with JW Kitchens as their contractor. MODERN CONVENIENCES "We spent a lot of time designing the kitchen and picking out the appliances. We cook a lot, so it's been fun. I don't think either one of us are great cooks, but we are enjoying it," joked Cottrell. The original kitchen was much less spacious and had a wall with a swinging door closing off the area from the dining room. To the right of where the gas rangetop is now, there once was a seating booth beneath the window. This quaint space did not serve the needs of the owners, but instead of completely erasing it, they preserved the two booth

benches from this area and relocated one by the pantry and the other at the head of the kitchen island. Cottrell noted that gutting and remodeling the kitchen was a priority for them. The second homeowners had remodeled the kitchen to the taste of the 1980s, so Cottrell and King worked to bring it up to date. "I think the colors and the style still remain somewhat period, but with all the modern conveniences," said Cottrell. One standout feature of the kitchen is a built-in coffee machine that serves coffee shop quality brews at the touch of a button. Having it built-in saves counter space for the strategically designed room and adds a special "wow" factor. Along with this common thread of maintaining a historic feel, but with modern conveniences, Cottrell and King installed speakers in every room on the ground floor and recessed lighting in the living room. They hadn't originally planned on adding the recessed lighting, but after discovering that the cracked ceiling needed to be replaced anyway, they went ahead with the installation. King describes the whole project as an evolution. Originally, they were just going to make a few updates and live in the house during them. As things progressed, they decided to just do it all and live in an apartment in downtown Fargo during the process. "At first we were going to move in and do the work, but there was no way we were going to live in a construction zone. We were going to have different phases, but we decided to just do all the major renovations," said Cottrell. They joked that for almost a year they were living out of their suitcases, as they had just moved from Seoul and all their belongings were in shipping containers until they were ready to settle into the house. WELCOME TO FARGO

"I wasn't quite sure about Fargo. But we really love the size of the city. It has all the conveniences without all the headaches," said King. From living overseas for a decade, renting and living in apartments in very urban environments, it's been a nice change of pace being in a quiet neighborhood with a sense of community. "We really love it. A big part of that is this house, having this project. And our neighbors. We know everybody on this one block area and we've become really good friends," said Cottrell. In searching for a new home in a new city, the couple had plenty of options, but only one perfect outcome. Their new home perfectly matches their eclectic decor style and serves as a great backdrop for the art they've acquired. They could have made any space uniquely theirs with their existing furniture and art choices, but the revitalization of this historic home undeniably complements their style. Cottrell said, "We just thought this was a gem." And a gem it truly is. HAWTHORNE HISTORIC HOME TOUR To get a closer look into this home and many others like it, be sure to attend the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association's annual Hawthorne Historic Home Tour on Sunday, September 15 from noon to 5 p.m. This is a self-directed tour through six wonderful homes that will showcase the character this neighborhood is so known for. The Hawthorne Neighborhood Association is dedicated to the betterment of their community, so a portion of the tour’s proceeds benefit Fargo Public Schools Foundation's Hawthorne School Critical Needs Fund and Red River Children's Advocacy Center. Tickets went on sale August 27 and are available at Nichole's Fine Pastry or online at hometour2019.

Moving to a state of 700,000 from a metro population of 25 million in Seoul was a big cultural change for the couple.


Renovating 9th Street, ONE KITCHEN AT A TIME Rebecca Knutson of Floor to Ceiling Carpet One worked with three families along historic 9th St South to transform their kitchens. BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen



th Street South is in the heart of the historic home district of the Hawthorne and Clara Barton neighborhoods. A canopy of trees frame the long, straight stretch of street, welcoming visitors to gaze upon unique historic house after house. This neighborhood holds fast to its identification of being historic and it's a safe bet to guess that the neighborhood looks similar to it did 100 years ago. Beyond the facades of these homes, however, are interiors who have adapted to fit in the modern age, without sacrificing the charm of their past. Rebecca Knutson, Principal Interior Designer of Floor to Ceiling Carpet One, took on three of these homes to bring in a breath of fresh air while still respecting their history. While Knutson is accustomed to designing beautiful spaces of all types, she has a soft spot for older homes. Having loved growing up in a 1908 home, she took classes in her interior design schooling that lent themselves to that market. She has a continuing desire to continue to learn more on the subject. "Any time I get the chance to work in an old home, I just love that," said Knutson. She notes that she enjoys the challenges of historic homes, as they are not blank canvases to install anything into, but require some creative problem-solving and customization. Alongside Knutson on each of these projects was Dan Savageau Construction. Savageau served as the general contractor on these projects and worked to maintain the mission to preserve history while also making sure everything was done properly and up to code. Each homeowner sang Savageu's praises in his quality of work, professionalism and dedication to the project. Come stroll down the shade of 9th Street and join us as we explore kitchen (and one bath) renovations in the homes of the Stokkas, Lystads and Pratts.


The Stokka Kitchen Tim and Laura Stokka live in Tim's childhood home, now raising their own family. Tim's parent's purchased the 1931-built house in 1976 and began an addition in the back in the early 1980s.



n 2007, Tim and Laura purchased a home about six blocks east of Tim's childhood home. As time went on, Tim saw that he was spending a lot of time at his childhood home, helping his mother with projects. Eventually, his mother asked if they wanted to swap homes. Tim and Laura's home was too small for their growing family, and Tim's mother's home was too big for just her. In 2013, Tim and Laura purchased the home from Tim's mother and have since been making all the needed updates, including a kitchen remodel. "One of my stipulations [in buying the home] was that we had to remodel the kitchen," said Laura. After updating some essentials, like new doors and windows, they were able to finally fix-up the kitchen. The Stokkas came to work with Rebecca Knutson and Floor to Ceiling Carpet One from a referral from their neighbors, the Pratts. The Pratts and the extended Stokka families have been neighbors for over 40 years, all enjoying the comfort of familiar faces next door.


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Generations of friends and family's growth has been tracked on this door. Tim's height over the years is just inches away from their daughter Claire's markings.

In the renovations, the Stokkas uncovered Tim's father's stamp on some drywall. They've saved this piece and plan on framing it.


$$ Before the kitchen remodel, the kitchen was barely functioning. The stove wasn't working, but the broiler worked. However, it wouldn't turn off, so whenever they used it, they had to go to the basement and hit the breaker to turn it off. Until they got around to the remodeling, they were cooking off of a hot plate and a temporary, stand-alone oven they got off of Craigslist. Tim is a wonderful chef who enjoys cooking, so this was especially painful for him. It was when they had to start doing the dishes in the laundry room that they knew they couldn't put off a remodel any longer. Beyond most of the appliances no longer working, the kitchen needed a contemporary design refresh. Counterspace was limited, as were electrical outlets. Beige and black tiles as the countertop and linoleum sheet flooring were begging to be replaced. The end result included white cabinets with slate handles that match the slate appliances. The added subway tile backsplash and light countertops made for a sleek and clean change of pace. As for the kitchen layout, the homeowners wanted to stay true to the layout of the home. One of the things they love so much about the house is that is isn't open-concept, as many newer homes tend to be. Tim noted that he knows people always like tearing down walls and making spaces open concept, but he liked the separate spaces their home has. "I want to go in the kitchen and just cook. I don't want people passing through," he said. When deciding to redo the kitchen, the project expanded to include a refresh of the adjoining


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hallway. The homeowners noted that they had never had a true vision for that space and that it was underutilized. The space had been used as just an extra-large hallway the whole time they lived there. With Knutson's vision, it has been transformed into a practical room with a wet bar, cabinets for extra storage and a desk where Tim can work in the mornings. It has become the perfect heart of the home, with direct views of the front door and front living room, kitchen, rear living space and the backdoor. In expanding their vision for this project, the Stokkas also redid the flooring in the kitchen and wet bar/desk area. Serendipitously, Laura came across someone on Facebook Marketplace who had torn out the original wood in their home and was setting it out on the curb to be rehomed or thrown out. In sub-zero temperatures, the Stokkas journeyed a few blocks south to claim this treasure as soon as they could. This hardwood just so happened to match almost perfectly the existing hardwood in their home. From contractor Dan Savageau custom-making trim to match the original to maintaining favorite details, like a built-in spice rack, the remodel successfully honored the home. "It was about being sensitive to the fact that it is a family home and there is a huge history here, with Tim and his family," said Rebecca. The family has visions for future renovations, allowing for their changing needs. With the brand new kitchen and hallway area, the second generation of Stokkas in the house has begun putting their stamp on the place in a beautiful way.


The Lystad Kitchen In a 1923 beige stucco house on 9th Street live Tim and Vanessa Lystad. In early 2018, the family moved into the historic home and were ready to make it their own. Vanessa said, "We like this area of town, we like the history here. These houses are all so beautiful, they are all different."


hen the couple purchased the historic home, they knew what kind of project they were getting into. They shared that they put in an offer on the home within a day or two of their first showing of it. "We walked in and knew it was the one," said Tim. But they also knew that they would need to touch almost every wall with some type of update. This comes with the package of purchasing a historic home. "I don’t know if we envisioned a huge project-house like what we got, but we love how much room it has to put our stamp on it. I think that’s what sold me on it, is that we could change these cosmetic things and we can make it our own," said Vanessa. The Lystads began putting their stamp on the home in the kitchen. As with many historic homes, the kitchen is the room that is the first one to be touched and made new. The Lystad kitchen remodel began in December 2018 and the fun and contemporary kitchen refresh was completed this March.


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. Working with Rebecca Knutson of Floor of Ceiling Carpet One on the remodel was the perfect pairing. Knutson said, "[The Lystads] were so open to so many ideas, it was really fun." All along, the Lystads knew they wanted their kitchen to be playful and a reflection of who they are. Knutson worked alongside them throughout the process, problem-solving the quirks and customizing to the Lystad's needs. "We wanted it to be modernized, but as timeless as possible," said Vanessa. With many historical homes in the neighborhood, homeowners want to maintain the history of the home, while still taking the space into the modern age, with technological advances and trending aesthetics. The Lystads shared this sentiment and wanted to keep original details of the home in touch. The builtin cabinets in the dining room and wood trim throughout are some of these elements they not only wanted to keep but to highlight. A custom, wood bar that compliments the original trimwork of the home serves as a focal point. Dark blue cabinets

. on the bottom anchor the space while the upper cabinets are white. A white subway tile backsplash goes all the way up to the ceiling and complements the upper cabinets and white quartz countertops. "I like brighter things, so I wanted to make sure we had that. I also wanted a pop of color, because having it all white seemed a bit boring for our style. You can see that with the floor, we wanted a lot of fun," said Vanessa. The floor she speaks of is a patterned grey vinyl. Rebecca added, "To have the floor be the focal point is to say 'go big or go home' with it. It's fun and refreshing." Constraints of the size of the space aside, the final product is contemporary and fresh. Previously, orange-toned cabinets filled the closed-off room and black tile counters that continued up to be the backsplash felt dark and heavy. By knocking down the wall above the bar and adding in pops of color and white brightness, the space is now welcoming and perfect for this growing family.

The Pratt Kitchen & Bath When you've lived in a home for 42 years, it's only natural to update and change it over time. This is exactly what homeowners Brad and Bev Pratt have done in their 1928 9th Street home. Most recently, they underwent a kitchen and bathroom remodel, turning the dated spaces into timeless classics.


ver the years of living on 9th Street —raising their kids there and, now, hosting their grandchildren for visits— the Pratts have seen through many changes and redesigns. As trends around them changed (this house lived through the 1980s mauve trend) and their needs as homeowners shifted, their spaces have adapted, too. The whole house used to be decorated with different wallpapers of various colors and patterns, a green wool carpet used to sit atop the original hardwood (which they've now uncovered and enjoyed) and the formal dining room has been transitioned into a living room. These homeowners aren't afraid to make changes to better suit the home. Before bringing in designer Rebecca Knutson and the Floor to Ceiling Carpet One team for the remodel, the kitchen in this 91-year-old home was chili pepper themed. White kitchen cabinet doors with chili pepper knobs were framed by bright red trim and chili pepper printed wallpaper covered the walls. While this space was vibrant and fun, it no longer served the style and needs of the Pratts.


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Stop by on your way to the lakes, we've got your dinner covered!

two great locations

( As with many historic homes, the beginning of the remodeling process began with assessing the space and knowing that there's only so much room to work with. The Pratts did not want to disrupt the house by removing walls and changing the structure of the home. With the decision to maintain the current layout, the design team focused on technical updates, usability and appearance. Aesthetically, it was time to say goodbye to the chili-pepper theme. However, the end result still gives a subtle nod to what the space used to look like. Red accents throughout the new grey and white kitchen play tribute to the playfulness of the previous design. Most notably, bright red chairs around the dining peninsula make for a special, cheerful touch. "The red chairs are so cute, because [red] was part of the beginning of the story," said Knutson. One other priority was ensuring the home was up to code. With updates happening over time, the breaker box was jumbled and not easy to decipher. More electrical updates included adding many more outlets in the kitchen. Another technical priority, especially to Brad, was the addition of a gas stove. Some of the other appliances had been updated over time, so the kitchen didn't get a full restocking of appliances, but the gas stove was a must-have. The Pratts expressed that they enjoyed that Floor to Ceiling Carpet One's ability to listen to what they wanted and providing them with options they didn't know they needed. When a family has been in a home for so long, they become creatures of habit and are used to certain familiarities with the layout. Knutson was sensitive to this, while still seeing the big picture and showing the homeowners how the spaces can flow. For instance, the Pratt's garbage bin used to be tucked in a broom closet in the back of the kitchen. Now, the bin, alongside a new recycling container, are conveniently in a pull-out drawer in the kitchen. The couple laughed, noting that they still sometimes find themselves walking to the broom closet with their trash. Moving upstairs to the bathroom is the second renovation Knutson worked on with the Pratts. The bathroom with seashell wallpaper and

dated details needed a modern refresh. In this third remodel of the bathroom, the Pratts were ready to turn the space into something timeless and chic. As with the kitchen, there was only so much real estate to work with. They stayed true to the current layout, but updated fixtures, tile, cabinets, the countertop and added an extra deep bathtub. "I like the challenges and restrictions of an old home. It doesn't have to all be standard sizes, since it's all custom cabinets," said Knutson. She designed custom cabinets that made the space more strategic. This included going with fewer cabinets, but not less cabinet space. Where there used to be three cramped cabinets above the toilet are now two bettersuited cabinets. When designing custom spaces, Floor to Ceiling Carpet One takes into account the current needs of the homeowners, but also look ahead and plan for their future. Knutson said, "It's the thought process of aging in place, which is what everyone wants to do and that's always the goal. In older homes, that's a big challenge because they have a lot of stairs, but it's a trend now, people want to stay in their home longer." Additions that will allow the Pratts to stay in this home for years to come include using handles on the kitchen cabinets rather than knobs (knobs become difficult to use with age) and adding hand-rails in the new bathroom tub/shower. "That's a good reason to use a designer. Because we would have never thought of the things that [Knutson] did," said Bev. Knutson added that instead of designing spaces for the moment, she works to think long-term. With rooms that you use daily, like the kitchen and the bathroom, these things make a big difference in homeowners' quality of life. Brad shared that when they were on the market for a new home and first came to look at the house over 40 years ago, Bev immediately told him she wanted the house. Over two decades later, the instant love for the place remains and, with some needed updates, the couple will continue to enjoy it for years to come.



A Burst of Color FEATURING KATE BALDOCK BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen


ashion icon Iris Apfel once said that color can raise the dead. In the North Dakota landscape of farm fields and snowy expanses, we need color and the passion of art to survive. "I've never been happier." 27-year-old artist Kate Baldock quit the monotony of her 8-to-5 to create lively and colorful art full-time. Her work varies from large pieces fraught with vibrant colors to abstract portraits capturing the beauty of women. She claims that she hasn't completely nailed down a certain style yet, but all her work exudes the same energy and her understanding of color lets the viewer feel a connection between all the pieces. Her work is mostly abstract. She enjoys the room this leaves open for interpretation. "I think it's fun to give people the opportunity to see what they want to see," she said. A large part of her work as an artist is that human


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connection and being able to see the reactions she gets from her pieces. From changing someone's mood to seeing a new interpretation, this happiness is what it's all about for her. "I've had a few different jobs over the last five years and I've done a variety of different things. It was just in the last year or two that I really dug into what really makes me happy," said Baldock. "[Before,] I would take these jobs and try these new things and I was never fulfilled. I just couldn't ignore that anymore." At her desk jobs, she couldn't quit thinking about art and creative ventures, which wasn't a benefit to her art or her full-time job. It was time she took the plunge. Before going full-time into art, Baldock was creating and selling small ink wash commissions of subjects like people's pets (she is a huge animal lover herself). She would do these small jobs here and there and not really showcase her work

publically or show many people. As she continued and grew, she got more confident, bit by bit. "I feel like the more confident I got, the bigger my work got. I experimented with more color and then I was really throwing color on canvas and I was buying bigger canvases. For me, that was the moment where I finally felt comfortable really showing people what I can do," she said. Soon enough, her desk days and small pet portraits were behind her and she was a large-scale artist. It has taken some time for Baldock to see herself as a gifted artist. "I never dreamt that people would buy my paintings. I didn't really have that great of confidence. It took a long time to develop that and I'm still working on that, too. It’s not something that you just get overnight," she said. "Especially as an artist and a human in general, we’re always critical of ourselves. And we don’t give ourselves enough credit sometimes. I’m learning to deal with that in a new


way, that people do like my stuff and I can be proud of that and be confident in that." Her family and her faith have been integral pillars in this growth as an artist and a person. She claims that she wouldn't be where she is now without her faith in God and her family's support. She is incredibly thankful to be backed by her husband and parents. One way her parents have shown support is by opening up to her a spare room in


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their basement to serve as her studio. Working near family has provided her both tangible and immaterial support. Her father helps her by framing all her work, but he has also been her cheerleader along the way. "He never once said he doesn't like something, everything I do he loves. And that's a good message. Just because I don't like something doesn't mean that it can't be changed or that somebody else might enjoy it," said Baldock.

Baldock doesn't have an official website or portfolio of her work, partially by design. To showcase her work she relies on Instagram and word of mouth. She enjoys that Instagram pushes people to engage with her and to message her directly, rather than then finding her by browsing a webpage or art gallery. Baldock is a social creature and enjoys meeting new people, making these connections and meeting one-on-one. She grows energized by her interactions with others and thrives off trading

inspirations. "I need my social time. I like my alone time and I get that when I'm painting, but I love the social aspect of life," she shared. With her effervescent personality, this social and word of mouth method works quite well. While creating all types of pieces, Baldock particularly enjoys commission pieces and being able to enter someone's home and craft what she sees will complete the space. Baldock takes what a client says they want and is able to create something

that the homeowner might not have even dared to request. Rather than muted skies, she throws in a pop of red and vibrancy. "I like painting with color because it makes me happy and I think it's inspiring to people when things are bright and cheery. I think it creates a happy environment," she said. In the future, Baldock has plans to continue sharing her happiness by being a creative entrepreneur and expanding her business. She hopes to grow more established in the local art community and to be able to learn and grow from other area artists. She is self-taught, so

she embraces the idea of taking more classes and honing her craft further. Baldock shared that if her art can bring joy or peace to somebody’s life or home, that is the true meaning behind it. From bringing color into people's homes or triggering a smile onto someone's face, Baldock is fulfilling this mission...and she's just getting started.

Kate Baldock @katembaldock 701-388-9780


Downtown Luxury with a view

Downtown Fargo's newest apartments, Dillard, offer luxe finishes with priceless views BY Alexanra Martin | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen

To live at Dillard is to live just steps away from the center of downtown Fargo's vibrant scene. With views of Broadway, Block 9 and almost any other part of downtown Fargo, Dillard tenants are emersed in the pulse of the downtown spirit. Just opening this September, these units offer a unique city experience with all the amenities and no compromise in quality fine finishes.



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The Building

At 247 Roberts St N, Dillard stands seven stories high with five floors of residential living, including 84 apartment units with 16 unique floorplans. A sevenstory 455 space parking garage (owned and operated by the City of Fargo and Interstate Parking) connects Dillard with its next-door neighbor, fellow Kilbourne Group development, the RoCo apartments. In addition to the residential space is over 17,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space, activated by Fly Fitness on the northwest entrance along Roberts Street and an exciting new fish and chips bar and restaurant in Roberts Alley. Along with the individual units, tenants can access a rooftop patio for even more downtown views, a common club room, secure bike storage and a secure package room. Each floor has its own amenities, making it more personal than sharing with the whole building.

These features on each floor include trash chutes (masked behind sleek barn doors), rentable storage units and garage access.

The Histor y

As the Kilbourne Group adds new projects, they give respect to the past while revitalizing the present, and this project is no different. Back in the early 1900s, the Dillard site was homesteaded by Joseph H. Bowers, a member of the Browers Bros. General Contractors, prolific builders in the area at the time. Bowers' daughter, Helen, married Dr. James Dillard, now the namesake for this building. Kilbourne Group consulted the Bower family descendants in this project and the family was given the opportunity to choose which family name to use, ultimately landing on Dillard. The different floorplans themselves also respect the history of the space. Each floorplan is named after one of

the Fargo families who lived in the single-family homes that existed on the property between 1928 and 1948. Some of these floorplan's names are Bassett, Foltz, Edwards and Kaiser.

The Neighborhood

If you've been paying attention, you'll know that the number of apartments downtown has been steadily growing. As downtown becomes more of a destination, the desire to live there also grows. Part of this is thanks to its designation as a "Walker's Paradise." With this particular location having a Walkscore of 95 and a BikeScore of 97, you can get anywhere you desire —and safely— by foot or pedal. As the number of downtown residents grows, as does the demand for parking. Because of this, each floor of Dillard has garage access to the RoCo garage. Live downtown and park right at your door! Parking fees are the only ones not included in monthly rent, as they are

controlled by the city, but with off-peak pricing options, tenants have choices.

building is pet-friendly with no pet fees, plus a pet wash station and pet relief areas.

The Units

The Dillard's 16 unique floors plans range from 499 square feet to 1,551 square feet, including 15 studios, 35 one-bedrooms, 25 two-bedrooms and five three-bedrooms with prices ranging from $980 a month to $2,100 a month. Leases are flexible, available in three, six, nine and 12-month periods, perfect for students, short-term residents and locals alike. Each unit impressively includes a full-sized washer and dryer, stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops. These luxury finishes, unparalleled views of downtown Fargo and allinclusive pricing make Dillard unique. One monthly bill includes central heat and air conditioning, electricity, water and high-speed Midco internet and cable. Kilbourne Group knows that pet allowances are essential for new apartments, which is why the whole

With ample use of windows, each unit is filled with natural light and, arguably, some of the best views in town. Once Block 9 on Broadway is up and running, Dillard tenants will be able to open their windows to hear the concerts on the plaza and have supreme access to what liveliness the multi-use space will bring to the community. There's an attention to detail in the fine finishes at Dillard, but it's the views of downtown and the access to its vibrancy that really set it apart. For Leasing information, contact Mike Peschel, 701-866-9772 or


Fargo To be closer to family and to enjoy a new community, Dave and Sue Johnson traded in their Wisconsin residency and relocated to a Monarch custom home in south Fargo.

BY Alexandra Martin | PHOTOS BY Hillary Ehlen


Many Fargo residents were born and raised in the area and have only known Fargo as their home. If not born here, many arrive to Fargo for college and stay living in the area pursuing career opportunities in town. But for retired couple Dave and Sue Johnson, this isn't the case. The Johnsons planted roots in south Fargo the beginning of the year, moving into their new custom home in the cold of February. With no ties to the area, the couple moved here from just two states east, Wisconsin. It's about a 15-hour drive from their Wisconsin home to Williston, ND, where their new 10-monthold grandson, son and daughter-in-law live. Doing this drive over and over got tiring, but these grandparents didn't want to move all the way to Williston and be too far from their remaining Wisconsin family. On the map between the two places is Fargo, so the decision to move there was made. Realtor Betty Wieland of Park Co. Realtors worked alongside the Johnsons to help them transition into this new city. Wieland specializes in relocations, helping out-of-towners learn about Fargo and finding the perfect house for them. "When we first met, they were still trying to decide between Fargo and Sioux Falls. The first time they came here we just did a tour of the town," said Wieland. "Shopping the town" is the first step in many relocation stories. Before settling on a desired neighborhood, it's essential to learn the lay of the land and what the city has to offer. The Johnsons are retired and were involved in a number of volunteer activities in their old town, so making sure they would have access to similar opportunities in Fargo was essential. "When a relocation comes in, we try and talk to them ahead of time and try to decide what their personalities are like, what their interests are, where they like to do their shopping, what the family size is and what the reason for moving here is," said Wieland, "So typically the first time we meet a relocation family, we don't actually take them out and try and sell them a house. We are really trying to sell them on our community of Fargo-Moorhead." For a full day, Wieland toured the Johnsons around the city, sharing with them a highlightreel of Fargo's amenities that she thought they'd enjoy. For starters, she showcased the versatility of the Fargodome, the fandom behind the Fargo Force, the roster of big-name entertainment that comes to perform, the uniqueness of the West Acres Shopping Center and the revitalization of downtown. It was proven that the Johnsons certainly wouldn't be bored here. The Johnsons came into the moving process trying to decide between Fargo or Sioux Falls, but after this culture tour, Fargo won out. "We are


DESIGN & LIVING | S E P T E M B E R 2 01 9

very happy we decided to come [to Fargo.] Even though we have to explain to everybody why we moved here," joked Dave, acknowledging that he's aware that non-job-related move to Fargo is uncommon. Once Fargo was decided on, it was time to search neighborhoods and create a must-have checklist for a house. On their checklist included a three-car garage, one-level ranch layout, open floorplan and a gas fireplace. As their home touring continued, they further narrowed in on elements they really wanted to include and excluded older homes and smaller plot sizes. Previous to the home they are in now, the Johnsons have lived in four custombuilt homes. "When you build houses and have certain things you want, it narrows the field," said Dave. Also wanting to downsize narrowed this field even more. After touring some homes, the couple and Wieland decided that building a custom home might be a better route. "With having sold real estate for nearly 40 years, I always tell people, they could give me a very detailed list, right down to the interior color, and I could go and find that exact house for them. But if it doesn't feel right, they shouldn't buy it, and that's kind of where we ended up," said Wieland. No existing home felt "right" to the Johnsons and that "right" feeling didn't happen until they visited an empty plot of land in a new neighborhood in south Fargo. "You get spoiled. When you've built houses, you tend to not be as forgiving for where you're going next," said Dave. Dave and Sue had become accustomed to the comforts of their previous homes and weren't ready to give up the elements they loved the most.

Lucky for them, Fargo has an array of custom home builders of all styles. After touring model homes and floorplans from various builders, they decided that Monarch Homes and their Livingstone floorplan was the best fit for them. So the building began. While custom-home building is often a handson experience for the future homeowners, the Johnson's conducted the whole process long distance. There would be days they would come to town to select finishes in a whirlwind of vendor meetings, spend the night and go back to Wisconsin the following day. While this was hectic at times, their experience with custom homes meant they knew what they wanted and could make decisions quickly. After a few weather-related delays, in mid-February the home was completed and the Johnsons moved in. To live a true "welcome to Fargo" experience,

the family filled the house with their belongings in a snow-covered surrounding. Once settled in, they decorated the home with their own tastes and truly made it their own. The photos of their children and grandchildren displayed throughout give the feeling that family isn't too far away and showcase the reason they embarked on this big move. To say that they have become integrated into the community is an understatement. Since settling in, they've hosted many friends and family and have already found nonprofits to get involved with. Between visits to the east and west to visit their children and grandchildren, the Johnsons volunteer at a number of places, including Hope Blooms, The Fargo Theater and the Fargo Public Library. Perhaps what sums up the Johnson's household the best is a series of three coordinating pieces of art that hang on the wall by their dining table. The


first is an outline of Wisconsin with Sue's maidenname "Seidl" in a playful script and the words "Her Home State" beneath it. The far-right piece shows Michigan and reads "Johnson" and "His Home State." And the final, center piece shows an outline of North Dakota and reads "The Johnson's" and

"Our New Home State." No matter where you are born, where you were raised or where you made your career, "home" is wherever you find family and community, and the Johnsons have found their new home in Fargo.


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