Design & Living Spring 2022

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The People Issue



18 Marsh Mclennan Agency Fargo: Bringing Even More to Homeowners

22 Andrew Sourdif

90 Brooke Ingstad Weir


24 Brandi Youngmark

92 Kris Carlson

26 Haley Kaspari

96 Donna Wiger

28 Jesse Price

98 Desirae Putnam

32 Jackson Strom

100 Ashley Hurner

34 Jessi Larson

102 Cassandra Grenz

38 Kate Baldock

104 Charrae

While our editorial team was brainstorming ideas for the cover, I came across an internet trend where you could search any keyphrase prompt into this AI tool, and it would create an artwork for you, sourced from millions of images on the web. The tool is called WOMBO Dream. With a background in typography and design myself, I wanted this issue to have feels of pop art and typographic design that broke free from everyday commercial design. Although WOMBO created some awesome results for the cover, our team ultimately decided we wanted the cover to represent what the magazine is really about: you, the artists.

40 Katie Sullivan


42 Laura Rettig

108 Kim Dean

44 Linda Birmingham

110 Sara Bekkerus

47 James Galloway 50 Madison Johnson 52 Melanie Anderson 54 Michael Betlock 56 Leah Peterson 60 Monica Hart 62 Paige Breidenbach

Still, we wanted to include some of the covers the AI tool created for you to see (left). Which is your favorite? Tag us on Facebook: @DesignAndLivingMagazine or Instagram: @designandlivingmagazine

64 Ruth Economy 66 Rebekah Koenig 68 Roxanne Mairs Ellis 72 Melanie Iverson 74 Sarah Huckle 76 Skye Fingalson 78 Susan Ray-Degges 80 Trever Hill 82 Amanda Rinke 84 Christen Anderson 87 Chelsey Johnson 8

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Before I begin, I just want to extend a huge thank-you to every artist, designer, decorator and architect who participated in this year's first issue of Design & Living: The People Issue. It was such a pleasure to meet so many new faces and learn about your stories—and take your photos, my favorite. Each one of you play an integral role in our design

community. Whether you're a veteran designer, fresh out of design school or anywhere in between, your creativity plays a role in the thriving culture of the Red River Valley—and beyond. We are excited to announce that Design & Living has an all-new format for 2022, featuring three issues; Spring (The People Issue),

Summer (The Lake's Issue) and Fall (Holiday Shopping Guide). Each issue is also larger, with more content for you to enjoy.

























As a mortgage is paid down, the difference between what the home is worth and what is still owed — the equity — grows. This equity increases further if the value of the home continues to increase. Equity is considered an asset of the homeowner and is often the largest asset they hold. Home equity loans provide a way for homeowners to access that asset. This type of loan uses the home as collateral, offering better terms and lower interest rates than unsecured debt like a credit card, but many homeowners don’t realize this option is available to them. Here are five common questions we often receive about home equity loans and their potential purpose:

Why would I consider tapping into my home equity?

In general, home equity loans can be a good choice when you need a sizeable amount of money for a long-term, value-adding purpose. Home improvement projects, consolidating higher-interest debt, helping to buy a second home or vacation property, or offsetting the cost of education may be good uses if the added loan payment fits your budget. Remember to factor in closing costs, a home appraisal, and other fees.

What is the difference between a home equity loan and line of credit?

With a home equity loan, the borrower receives the full loan amount after closing. There is a payment schedule and fixed interest rate that ensures the principal and interest are repaid by a certain date. A line of credit, on the other hand, provides the homeowner with access to a specific amount of credit that can be accessed as needed. Interest rates vary, and scheduled payments often cover interest only – the homeowner is responsible for paying principal on their own schedule. Often, lines of credit are good for those with excellent credit who need flexibility and can pay the loan off relatively quickly.

invested, and you might miss out on match dollars. Since that money is no longer participating in the market, it's uncertain if the possible return on your investment would be greater than the interest rate you pay on a home equity loan. Second, once you retire, a home equity line may be advantageous for tax purposes, and you have the possibility of selling investments in a down market. Talk to an advisor to see if a home equity loan or line of credit makes sense for you.

When is a home equity loan not a good option?

There are a few reasons a home equity loan might not be the right fit. First, you need enough equity. Many lenders will offer up to 80% of your home’s value, minus what you owe already. Second, you need a good credit record and history for the best terms. Third, your loan size must meet a certain threshold. If you don’t meet these criteria, a personal loan may be a better option, or you may opt to defer your borrowing until you meet requirements.

When should I start the home equity loan process?

Sooner than you might think! Although many lenders start with a streamlined, online application process, they usually require an appraisal, credit check, and additional steps. You may need a few weeks or longer to get the loan approved, so plan accordingly. A home equity loan or line of credit is just one part of your overall financial picture. At Alerus, our advisors get to know your whole story. They’ll evaluate your savings, retirement, mortgage, overall goals, and more to help find the right solution for your financial needs. If a home equity loan is the right solution, they offer competitive rates and terms. Talk to an Alerus advisor today.

How can a home equity loan be used to boost retirement earnings? First, a home equity loan can increase the longevity of your portfolio. If you borrow funds from your 401(k) while working, those dollars are no longer

The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Alerus does not provide legal or tax advice. Always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation. Alerus Financial, N.A. is Member FDIC.

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.


a sub above

833 24th Avenue E. West Fargo • 701-561-0800 5050 Timber Pkwy. South Fargo • 701-929-6550 1970 South Columbia Rd. Grand Forks • 701-732-3200

EDITOR & PHOTOGRAPHER Born and raised on the prairies of North Dakota, Josiah’s love for capturing the moment with his camera led him to Spotlight Media in 2020. He graduated from Concordia with a BA in Graphic Design and is currently a photographer for Design & Living. Outside the office, you can find Josiah writing and producing music or chasing a colorful sky with his camera.


Cowles is the Editorial Designer for Spotlight. She is a native of San José, Costa Rica and a graduate of Universidad Creativa de Costa Rica. In 2019 she came to Spotlight with a strong background in digital design and has since expanded her skillset to become one of the Midwest's premier magazine designers.

SPRING 2022 Design & Living Magazine is a free publication distributed three times a year. Our mission is to showcase all that the Red River Valley has to offer in terms of interior design, architecture and landscaping, profiling the people that make these possible. We also strive to provide a quality and fun reading experience and improve the way of life in our community. The publication is mailed to homes across the US and has stand distribution throughout North Dakota and Minnesota.

Publisher Editorial Editorial Team Lead Editors

Mike Dragosavich Brady Drake Geneva Nodland, Grant Ayers

Graphic Designer

Kim Cowles

Creative Strategist

Josiah Kopp

Contract Photographer

Jeremy Albright

Interactive Business Development Manager Business Development Associate Videographers Graphic Designer Web Designer

Nick Schommer Kellen Feeney Tommy Uhlir, Robert Whiteside Ben Buchanan Kellan Benson

Advertising VP of Business Development

Paul Hoefer

Sales Representatives

Al Anderson Devan Maki

Client Relations Client Relations Manager Jenny Johnson

Marketing Coordinator

Jessica Mullen

Social Media Content Specialist

Meagan Stock

Administration Operations Administrator

Kodi Geris-Schroeder

Operations Analyst

Tara Schwan

Distribution Delivery

John Stuber

Design & Living Magazine is published by Spotlight, LLC. Copyright 2022 Design & Living Magazine & All rights reserved. No parts of this magazine may be reproduced or distributed without written permission of Design & Living Magazine and Spotlight, LLC is not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, damages of any kind arising out of use, reference to, or reliance on such information. Spotlight, LLC accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the advertisers.

ADVERTISING: 701-478-SPOT (7768) Send change of address information and other correspondence to: Spotlight, LLC 4609 33rd Ave S Suite #304, Fargo, ND 58104 or


Bringing Even More to Homeowners

Dawson Insurance began in 1917 by Charles Dawson and continues to operate today as the local, fullservice insurance agency Marsh McLennan Agency, providing personal and business insurance, employee health and benefits, retirement and surety services. 18

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Dawson Insurance is Now Marsh McLennan Agency Fargo By Josiah Kopp

awson Insurance, a name that has been trusted by Fargo-Moorhead for 105 years, has taken a major leap in offering even more to homeowners by joining Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA). We sat down with MMA Dakotas Chairman Tom Dawson, Private Client & Select Business Advisor Taylor Shuck, Client Advocate Team Lead Stacey Frolek, and Private Client & Select Business Team Leader Alex Dawson to learn more about the amazing things MMA is doing to help homeowners, especially with flood season just around the corner.

The local leadership believes it is important to create a place where employees want to work, which motivates customers to partner with the firm. The MMA team regularly engages in ongoing educational opportunities, helping to build passionate insurance advisors who are also highly knowledgeable. The MMA Fargo office has historically placed a great deal of pride in philanthropy with its extensive support of local and regional not-for-profit organizations and its Community Relations Committee meets monthly to review and allocate funding.


What Does This Acquisition Mean For Me as a Homeowner?


Dawson Gains More Horsepower with MMA It’s simple – people don’t like change. We want to develop a long-term relationship that makes us feel like family and where our needs are well taken care of. It is certainly no different when it comes to working with an insurance agency. When changes like a merger or acquisition take place, questions and doubt may arise. For example, “am I going to lose the great customer service I am familiar with?” On the contrary, when you consider Dawson Insurance becoming part of Marsh McLennan Agency you gain the powerful resources and decentralized management of MMA. Dawson Insurance is stronger than ever. "Joining MMA in 2015 really opened a lot of doors for us," said Stacey Frolek. ”We now have access to more highnet-worth and high-value markets that offer additional specialty coverages for people that have higher value homes. A lot of those people have homes in other states or even overseas. By being a part of MMA, we have access to resources to help them find the perfect coverage to fit their needs." With this merger MMA Fargo is providing better packages, products and resources for homeowners, especially with flood season right around the corner.

Flood Insurance With spring swiftly approaching, flood season is on every homeowner's mind. MMA Fargo, now more than ever, has great options and coverage to help protect your home. In recent years where we've had more snow, flood insurance has gained a lot of popularity and interest among homeowners. It's important to address the common questions like, should I have flood insurance? What does flood insurance cost and what does it cover?

MMA is here to help you decide what's best for your home with their expertise, resources and recommendations. It is important to remember that on most flood policies, there's a 30-day waiting period from the time that you purchase coverage until the time that it goes into effect. It is best to get your questions answered as soon as possible, so if there is a flooding event, your coverage is in force at that time. Additionally, the National Flood Insurance Program has revamped the way that they look at and rate policies. Policies are now rated on an individual basis according to the property, rather than based on flood zones.

The additional expertise we have access to across the country expands our knowledge and understanding of all types of insurance, including Private Client." - Alex Dawson

Replacement Cost Especially with the pandemic, there has been a significant increase in replacement cost, particularly with construction costs, whether it be materials, labor or tariffs. For MMA Fargo, the main goal is to ensure their clients are not underinsured. "We go through a replacement cost estimate sheet to make sure that we get a dwelling value that the client is comfortable with and is accurate," said Taylor Shuck. "To stay on top of that, we like to offer personal reviews every year to discuss if they have made changes to the home, whether it be an addition or even putting on a deck. And if there is a loss, we want to ensure our clients are protected and not under insured."

Address: 505 Broadway N Suite 100 Fargo, ND 58102

We're doing more for the FargoMoorhead community than we were prior to becoming part of MMA. We have the same values and same local leadership." - Tom Dawson

Phone Number: 701.237.3311 19


When was the last time you reviewed your homeowner’s policy? Did you know that increasing demand for materials and labor are pushing construction costs through the roof? Many homeowners are unsuspectingly underinsured!

Trusses +39.5%

Interior Trim +16.8%

Asphalt Roofing +14.4%

Gypsum/Drywall +22.9%

Plastic Plumbing +30.2% Windows & Doors +13.9%

Framing +14.3%

Consider the percentage change in material costs from 2019 to August 2020, according to

Marsh McLennan Agency’s Fargo team can help you reduce your loss potential while increasing your savings. Loss mitigation items to consider: Automatic Water Shutoff

Security Protection

Central Fire Alarm

Sprinkler System

Central Burglar Alarm

Temperature Monitoring System

d/b/a in California as Marsh & McLennan Insurance Agency LLC; CA Insurance Lic: 0H18131. Copyright © 2022 Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC. All rights reserved.


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ANDREW SOURDIF Interior Decorator & Shop Stylist McNeal & Friends


Andrew Sourdif is a local designer at McNeal & Friends in Fargo. He grew up in Ada, MN, and eventually ended up in Chicago, IL. Thereafter, Andrew achieved his Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus in Fashion Design from the Art Institute in Chicago. Andrew's passion for design runs deep, having decorated many of his friend's and family's spaces throughout his various endeavors in the fashion industry. Andrew specializes in decorating and styling; his deep knowledge of the specialty lines at McNeal & Friends equips him with the versatility to decorate just about any space. "I love helping clients put the finishing touch on their space," said Andrew. "Since a big part of my role at McNeal & Friends is merchandising, I love pulling accessories from our showroom floor and creating beauty with items that you already have in your home." At McNeal & Friends, Andrew likes to emphasize that when a client hires him, they are actually hiring his entire design team. His team enjoys collaborating and bouncing ideas off each other—resulting in a much richer concept. No project is too small; his team takes on anything from paint consultations all the way to developing entire concepts from the ground up. Operating as a full-service interior design studio, Andrew's team is able to accommodate almost all aspects of the design process; from selecting finishes to paint colors, they enjoy working closely with builders to make your dream home a reality.

“I love helping clients put the finishing touch on their space” inspiration, colors & trends.

"I am loving the richer, more handsome browns and rust tones that have been circulating around the design community," said Andrew. "We are also seeing exquisite new textured fabrics for upholstery that take a timeless frame and give it an updated look." Andrew has always been inspired by fashion creatives such as Jack McCullough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler. Their innate sense of style pushes the envelope of modernity by utilizing new techniques in fabric construction and silhouette. In the end, Andrew just wants people to know how much fun design can be. Helping clients through what can often be looked at as a daunting process, and getting them excited about transforming their space into a comfortable, beautiful environment—to Andrew that means everything. 23


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Brandi Youngmark Interior Design was launched in 2017 with the intention to continue Brandi's passion of guiding the homeowner throughout the build process, ensuring that each detail is captured and the final product is what they expect. Brandi currently lives in Fargo with her husband Justin and three children, Maya, Corban and Carson. She loves Minnesota summers, mountain biking, wake surfing and yoga. With an extensive background in residential design and planning, Brandi's goal for each project is to be a guide and a resource for her clients through each phase of the construction process. Throughout construction, she navigates the client through interior design, finish selections and construction details, ensuring the design intent and vision have been captured. When designing a home there are many details and decisions that need to be made throughout the process that a homeowner may or may not be aware of. "My goal is to enhance the build process by working alongside the client and build team to ensure the vision for the project will meet the quality, function and budget they are wanting to achieve," said Brandi.

inspiration, colors & trends. When it comes to colors and textures, she loves shades of earthy browns, natural surfaces such as granite, terracotta, marble and travertine, sculptured and curved furniture and travel inspired textiles.

"I love designing spaces with dual purposes," said Brandi. "As a designer you see color and texture everywhere you go, so your creative mind is always working." Brandi especially loves mid-century modern design as it allows the use of color in a bold accent; it has simple yet functional wood pieces and the curved designs in furniture help create so much interest to such a simple space. Brandi's ultimate goal is to inspire others to work in a career that they are passionate about and where they truly care to do the best they can for others.

Brandi Youngmark Interior Design


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"I want to be a part of shaping the fabric of this community through my designs" about.

Neo Senior Interior Designer Haley Kaspari has always been a creative, outof-the-box thinker and found her calling in interior design while attending NDSU. When designing, she is inspired by the natural world, enticing texture and color and elements of the unexpected. Along with Principal Designer Michael Betlock, Haley specializes in commercial interior design including retail, office space, hospitality, sporting facilities, financial institutions and multi-family/ mixed-use. The Neo team also provides a "one-stop-shop" solution for all types of projects as they have close partnerships with various local architects, engineers and construction management firms. Neo is a small, local studio that allows Haley and her team to assign a high level of priority to each project that comes through their door. It enables them to be agile when navigating project timelines and problem-solving obstacles.

Senior Interior Designer Neo Interior Design Studio

inspiration, colors & trends.

The team's motto at Neo is "design without limits." To them, this means encouraging clients to push design boundaries and helping them consider the unexpected! Rather than using ultratrendy finishes and colors, they design in a way that personalizes a project for each client's vision in unexpected ways. "My mother has always been somebody that fostered creative expression and activities growing up," said Haley. "Today, the opportunity to spend time in nature always sparks new ideas and perspectives for me. I love fusing these with design concepts to try to create something unique." Hely believes collaboration is the best way to keep pushing your own boundaries and challenging the things you believe. She loves a fresh perspective from all types of people keep her feeling like she's growing as a person as well as a designer. "I want to be a part of shaping the fabric of this community through my designs and the way they make people feel when they experience them," said Haley. "Whether it's an office space, a high-traffic public area, or a place people live, I want to positively impact the way they interact with their environment and leave feeling better than when they arrived." 27


Retail Planner

Scheels Store Development


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This issue isn't just for the experienced veterans—we have a graduating student joining the world of interior design! Meet Jesse Price, a 22-year-old interior design student at NDSU. In May 2022, she will graduate with her BS from NDSU's Interior Design program. In February 2021, Jesse joined the Scheels Store Development team, working on their multiple retail design projects. "I have always been passionate about how interior environments create experiences for people," said Jesse. "And I look forward to using my educational experience in my future career." In both 2020 and 2021, she was awarded the American Society of Interior Designers Excellence in Design Awards for a residential student design competition. There are many features and services that Jesse and her team collaborate with architects and other designers on that customers may not be aware of. Features like electrical components, security and lighting are some elements that are incorporated into the design that camouflage themselves into the store so customers can focus on their shopping experience. Aside from furniture, finishes, and accessory recommendations, interior designers problem solve to create a desired vision within a budget. Focusing on the client's needs, designers work to help clients visualize a space through 3D renderings. As a student, Jesse has found it helpful walking through a floor plan with someone, describing every component of the room while showing a 3D rendering. "Bringing in physical samples for others to see helps people envision what their space can be," said Jesse.

"I have always been passionate about how interior environments create experiences for people" inspiration, colors & trends.

New trends that incorporate natural elements like exposed wood and rock within a modern design is something Jesse looks forward to. She believes having a combination of rough and smooth textures along with a variety of patterns help bring depth into a space, making it feel grounded and more comfortable. Light oak elements with sage green and rustic color tones are something Jesse believes will be incorporated into more designs in the future. In school, Jesse became inspired by Frank Llyod Wright and his designs. To keep herself updated and inspired, Jesse enjoys reading interior design articles and traveling. Additionally, she loves finding inspiration through, an online resource for design professionals to browse through thousands of materials, finishes, lighting options and more. She can even order samples and have them the next day to add to her design boards. As she kickstarts her professional career, Jesse would like to incorporate more sustainable products into designs. Focusing on recycling materials and repurposing helps reduce waste in the construction industry. 31


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JACKSON STROM Principal Architect Strom Architecture

"I always looked towards new basketball shoes for inspiration" about.

Meet Jackson Strom, Principal Architect and Founder of Strom Architecture. Jackson specializes in the design and interiors of custom residential and boutique commercial architecture. His clients often do not know that he provides interior modeling for the whole project, in addition to selections for all interior and exterior finishes. Growing up in rural northeast South Dakota, Jackson was encouraged by his mom at a young age in anything artistic. In addition to his interest in the arts, Jackson helped his dad build homes during the summer and poured concrete for a local contractor as well. Jackson graduated with his Master’s in Architecture from NDSU in 2009, and continued to gain experience in the architectural field for the next decade. His entrepreneurial spirit and passion for the profession led him to found Strom Architecture at the end of 2019, and he has since grown to a team of five. Strom Architecture asks questions, outlines your goals, and formulates a detailed summary that is referenced throughout the project. The initial meeting is complimentary, and if you would like to proceed, they follow up with a proposal detailing the scope of work with a fixed fee for each service which establishes a clear understanding of their services upfront and eliminates unwanted surprises along the way.

inspiration, colors & trends.

As a child, Jackson wanted to be a shoe designer—specifically a Nike Basketball shoe designer for Michael Jordan during his career. "I always looked towards new basketball shoes for inspiration," said Jackson. Today, Jackson stays inspired by following other firms and creatives that he respects. When it comes to moods and materials, Jackson loves natural materials, large kitchens and indoor areas that expand into the outdoors. He is often inspired by Seattle-based architect, Tom Kundig. But ultimately, he finds inspiration in his clients. "Each new client brings an energy to their project that is contagious and inspiring," said Jackson. Outside of the office, Jackson loves to spend time with his wife Lindsey, and their son, Sully. His ultimate goal is to create lasting architecture while continuing to develop relationships along the way. 33


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JESSI LARSON Interior Designer JLG Architects

"My trifecta of skills has given me a unique edge throughout my career" about.

Jessi Larson is a licensed interior designer and LEED Accredited Professional with 15 years of commercial design experience. She graduated from NDSU in 2007 with an Interior Design Degree. Her career has brought her to architecture firms, interior design firms, and furniture dealerships. In addition to her dream career at JLG architects, Jessi is also a graphic designer, photographer, and certified yoga instructor. She's inspired by nature, music, travel—and also a good Michael Scott quote. Jessi handles all aspects of interior design, but she specializes in furniture. Commercial furniture selection tends to be overwhelming for clients, so she works completely in 3D with them...tweaking products and layouts in real-time live design workshops. Jessi and her team at JLG like giving their clients a onestop-shop experience with architecture, interior design and furniture expertise all under one roof. "My trifecta of skills in interior design, graphic design and furniture have given me a unique edge throughout my career," said Jessi. "I'm able to blend all three disciplines to create powerful environments." She also highly recommends working with an interior designer versus a decorator, as licensed designers are experienced with life safety codes, building codes, ADA, and more. A big moment for Jessi's career is when she had the opportunity to be a presenter at a software conference (CET Experience) in 2021. She took a chance pitching a furniture design software to JLG. "It was a privilege to tell our story on the global stage," said Jessi. Now, she and her team are one of the only architecture firms in the world that are using it.

inspiration, colors & trends.

"I'm super excited about the 'social spaces trend' —designing spaces to support different personalities and work styles," said Jessi. "This helps users do better work and have better interactions in their physical space. No longer are users expected to adapt to space; space is now adapting to users." For Jessi, nature is her number one inspiration; when it comes to gradients, contrast, texture, color, and mood, nature is king. She also finds inspiration in Art Nouveau. "The bold flowing lines and organic forms are like butter," said Jessi. "Both graphic and interior design were at their peak!" Jessi's goal at the end of the day is about meeting clients needs, all throughout the design process. To her, life is all about relationships and she wants to build great relationships through her career and within the community. "Great relationships result in great projects." 35


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Kate Baldock

"My mission is to bring joy to others through my art" about.

Kate Baldock is a Fargo artist creating large abstracts on canvas for homes and businesses. She grew up near of Fargo in the small town of Oxbow, ND. After pursuing Psychology at UND, Kate had plans to pursue a career in addiction counseling, but after graduating, her career choice took a turn. She had several different jobs in sales, retail, and HR before taking a leap of faith to start her own business in art. She saw a market for large contemporary artwork and wanted to bring that to Fargo and to the world. "My mission is to bring joy to others through my art," said Kate. "I want the custom art process to be easy, enjoyable, and inspiring to my community." One important part of Kate's workflow is that she frames most of her work, which she believes is an advantage to her clients—which eliminates the middle man of them having to take their artwork to a frame shop. She even offers delivery for large art and will do the installations if necessary. Each day at the studio is different for Kate, whether it's working on commissioned pieces, framing, meeting with clients, or at an event. "I love the freedom," said Kate. "We are expecting our first baby in March and one of the biggest reasons I chose to build my business before having kids is so that I could design a lifestyle that worked for me and my family."

inspiration, colors & trends.

Kate has always loved color in the home, especially in art. This year's Pantone Color of the Year is Very Peri (periwinkle), a color she loves and is excited to incorporate it into her paintings in 2022. Whether it's family, her faith, food, or her fashion icon Iris Apfel—Kate is always finding inspiration. "I love color and have an eye for what goes together," said Kate. "I have always been drawn to bright colors—they make people happy and bring life to a home or space. I love the 60s and 70s eras of art and a lot of my artwork can reflect that time with the styles and colors I use." 39


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Pretty Domesticated


Meet Katie Sullivan—lover of Starbucks coffee, mother of three, sometimes baker, and most importantly for this purpose, home design enthusiast. The Fargo, ND native spent the beginning of her career working in journalism and marketing, but after having her first child, Katie left her career to pursue her own creative passions, including writing and interior design. Pretty Domesticated, the blog, was born, which later turned into an Instagram account. What started as a passion project quickly turned into something more. Pretty Domesticated is now a lifestyle brand, interior design resource and design firm. Pretty Domesticated is a boutique, fullservice design firm headquartered in Fargo, ND. Founded by Katie Sullivan, their bespoke designs are from concept to completion. At Pretty Domesticated, Katie pairs traditional and modern design to create warm, livable spaces, full of personalized touches and inviting textures. Drawing inspiration from classic architecture, nature and her client's own passions, she creates timeless spaces with unique personalities. Katie doesn’t simply pick items for your home, she curates them, carefully considering your taste and your home’s individual details. In the end, your home will feel like it was tailor-made for you—because it is. Pretty Domesticated also provides free design tips via their website and Instagram. Later in 2022, they will be launching virtual design services as well. "With three active kids of my own, I know a thing or two about designing a familyfriendly home," said Katie. "Also, creative and beautiful storage solutions make my creative heart flutter." Pretty Domesticated specializes in new builds and large-scale renovations, collaborating with you and your contractor on the floor plan development and hard finishes. They also design, select, order, store and install all your furniture and styling pieces. Their efficient process brings our vision to reality with organized steps along the way, including beautiful renderings of your proposed spaces.

"I want more people to love the place they come home to" inspiration, colors & trends.

"I love the resurgence of traditional architecture and classic furniture shapes," said Katie "I'm seeing a lot of inspiring spaces that pair vintage furnishings or decor with modern elements for a familiar, but fresh aesthetic. Also, green is having a moment and I'm not at all mad about it." There are two things that fuel Katie's inspiration and keep her refreshed: a book in hand and the great outdoors. She is also inspired by various elements of the arts and crafts movement, especially that of William Morris, a reformer, poet and designer, who in the 1860s collaborated with other creatives to try to reawaken the handcrafted quality of the medieval period. In the end, Katie's ultimate goal is "for more people to love the place they come home to." 41


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Laura Rettig is an abstract artist in Fargo who, along with Kate Baldock, is one of the pioneering artists at Fargo's new Mosaic District. Her love for art started at a very young age with parents who instilled curiosity and freedom to create, which has continued into adulthood to where she is now. Laura graduated from NDSU with a BA in Interior Design and then worked in the interior design field for a few years before pursuing a career in abstract art. Now a wife and mother, selling her art is Laura's creative outlet that feels rewarding to share with others. Laura provides in-stock, original art pieces, and is also available for commissioned pieces. She specializes in neutral abstracts with natural wood frames and is recently starting to offer a small selection of prints. "Custom art is the perfect way to add a personal touch in your home," said Laura. "Working directly with me ensures your art fits your design scheme and a oneof-a-kind piece to admire." Laura offers a wide variety of price points-prints, small originals as well as oversized art. There's a little something for everybody! For creating commissioned pieces, a meeting can be set up in your home so that Laura can get a feel for your style and your vision for your art piece. Although she's not currently practicing, Laura does have a Bachelors's in Interior Design which greatly benefits her process of creating art. During your consultation, you can also discuss the many framing options, canvas types and color palettes to create something that's unique to your style.

"Custom art is the perfect way to add a personal touch in your home" inspiration, colors & trends.

When it comes to colors and moods, Laura loves keeping it neutral. She also loves a combination of warm woods and bold art that makes a statement. "I would've loved to be an artist during the abstract expressionism movement for the freedom, spontaneity and personal expression," said Laura. Growing up, Laura was inspired by her mom, who herself was an interior designer. "She always encouraged me to create and had many craft-themed parties," said Laura. "I stay inspired through experimenting with new mediums and colors." For Laura, it's all about making sure to have fun and create without any pressure. Art-making with her kids helps to keep her in that mindset.

Abstract Artist Laura Rettig Art



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"The key is finding [a designer] you relate with and have fun with; the process should be enjoyable" about.

Linda Birmingham started her journey in decorating and design at Scheels Home and Hardware around 1995. She and Julie Erickson teamed up and eventually, the two of them branched out to start Visual Coordinations, where their focus was to "use what you have" when decorating homes. Linda still loves incorporating personal items into a design plan, but when Designingwomen2 was born as a marriage between Visual Coordinations and Aesthetic Interiors, she began to add quality custom furnishings into the mix. "I’m lucky to have found my passion in life, helping clients dream, design and carry out their personalities throughout their homes," said Linda. "I like to think of it as putting an outfit together. When you look great, you feel great. It's the same with your home. Let's not forget lighting, the jewels of the home." What's discouraging for homeowners is making wrong decisions; placing a fireplace on the wrong wall, choosing flooring or furniture that doesn't match a family's needs. The placement and quality of the furniture is a factor often overlooked. Linda's clients often tell her, "it feels just right" when everything is chosen and placed the best way possible.

inspiration, colors & trends.

When it comes to colors and design trends, Linda loves the fact some color is coming back. She worked in fashion design and then graphic design before working with home interiors, so learning about textures, fabrics, colors and scale inspired Linda from the beginning. "I love a neutral pallet as the foundation with abundant texture," said Linda. "But let's throw in a favorite color that can change occasionally." Two women come to mind when Linda reflects on her inspirations: her grandmother Inga Peterson who would flip houses with Linda's grandfather following the Depression, and Julie Alin, who helped kick off her career when Linda was just getting started in the industry, working for Scheels at the time. At the end of the day, Linda simply wants people to know her as a professional who just wants everyone to have a beautiful home. "I want the stigma to go away that only wealthy people can use designers. Everyone deserves their dream home."

"I think we're fortunate to have so many talented decorators and designers in our community," said Linda. "The key is finding one you relate with and have fun with. The process should be enjoyable. I truly enjoy working with young parents and empty nesters. I've been both. Your homes should be planned with each season of your life in mind." 45



JLG Architects


inspiration, colors & trends.

"Good design matters and plays a vital role in shaping our communities"


Meet Park River, ND, native Jim (James) Galloway, Principal Architect at JLG Architects in Fargo. His passion for design began as a youth with the influence of his mother who was a prolific, self-taught artist. His very first drawings were in cartoons, which developed into a hobby that carried through college. He later fell in love with architecture and graduated from NDSU in 1988. In 1996, Jim moved back home to North Dakota and joined what was then called Johnson Laffen Architects. In 2000, he became a partner in the firm which is now called JLG Architects (Johnson, Laffen, Galloway). Through the years their portfolio and resume has exploded, as has the size of their firm. Today, JLG has over 150 FTE employees. While he has had the great fortune to work on many building types, Jim's primary focus has been on higher education design. "I love the energy and vitality of college campuses," he said. JLG consistently ranks in the top 100 of Building Design and Construction (BD+C) magazines Giants of Higher Education Design by volume of work. Their design work has been recognized and received many awards from their peers. 48

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When it comes to trends, Jim is most excited about the awareness of sustainable design practices. Smart, efficient design practices increase the owner's return on investment and decrease the consumption of resources. If he could have helped build any historical architecture, Jim would have chosen Chapelle Notre-Dame du Haut (chapel in Ronchamp, France) by Le Corbusier. It was so unlike anything that had been done at this time. "The detail work and construction methods would have been unbelievably fun to work on and see it through construction," said Jim. He also has a fondness for Eliel and Eero Saarinen as well as Carlo Scarpa. "I have been fortunate to have my passion for work coincide with my lifestyle," said Jim. "Traveling by motorcycle and taking in the sites, venues and architecture is one of my most enjoyable activities. I would also say that working with young, talented architects is refreshing and rewarding for me." Jim's next big goal is to see the design and construction of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library through to its completion and occupancy.


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MADISON JOHNSON Interior Designer McNeal & Friends

"By hiring a designer in the beginning, you eliminate the trial and error" about.

Madison Johnson grew up in a small farming community of Drayton, ND. Growing up in a class of eight, it became apparent that she was a creativeminded person when she cheered about doing art projects while the rest of her classmates got excited to go to gym class. That was the first time Madison realized she wanted to have a career in the creative industry. In 2019, she graduated from Alexandria with her AA in Interior Design which eventually brought her to Fargo where she has worked at McNeal & Friends for a year. Madison specializes in fine furnishings and finishes. "People are surprised when we tell them we are a full-service interior design firm," said Madison. "Being a fullservice interior design firm means we can select anything from your plumbing to the accessories on your table."

inspiration, colors & trends.

"I have always been inspired by urban artists and their ability to make art where others didn't know it was possible," said Madison. "Color-wise, we are seeing that warmer color palettes are making a come back which I am loving right now!" Madison also finds inspiration from the Renaissance Period due to the attention to detail in their paintings and architecture. The lasting imprint Ruth wants to make with her interior design on the community is creating beautiful spaces where people can gather.

Madison has knowledge regarding the best products & materials to use for your particular space, building codes and has the ability to draw your project up in 2D & 3D programs. "Homeowners have come to us saying they attempted to tackle a project by themselves and selected items they thought would be perfect, but in the end, it didn't turn out right," said Madison. "By hiring a designer in the beginning, you eliminate the trial and error." She also notes that interior designers are often thought of as helping you with your final products for your home such as furnishings and accessories while they actually do much more than that. A homeowner can hire a designer during the initial stages of building or remodeling as they assist with 2D & 3D drawings, selecting interior and exterior finishes, space planning and overall functionality of each area of your home. 51


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Meet Melanie Anderson—a custom home designer, labor & delivery nurse and mom to 3 boys. The Frazee, MN native graduated from NDSU in 2009 with a degree in Nursing and Psychology. Her husband Ben (the builder) needed a designer to assist him with clients in making their dream home become a reality; that's when Mel stepped in; her love for design only continues to grow with each project. Mel specializes in both interior and exterior design. Everything you can see and touch on a new home she has a hand in selecting. As a designers, Mel is given access to endless amounts of products to choose from. "I balance my decisions on cost and overall design outcome for the project," she said. "I have our clients prioritize where they prefer to spend more on and what features don't matter as much to them. Always being open to alternatives is key!" Mel works directly with her in-house drafter, Kara. Together, they design on a program called Chief Architect. The sky is the limit with this software and they can make anything come to life. For example, they can change siding textures, add wall color, and make sure furniture fits in your rooms to your dimensions. The software creates a full walk-through of the home that clients can load onto their own phones, or Mel can provide a 3D virtual walk-through with an Oculus headset. "Clients are able to have a great idea of what they are building before the hole has been put in the ground!"

inspiration, colors & trends.

Mel loves playing with lines, textures, nature and geometry. Softened simplistic arches, lightly stained white oak, mixed lighting elements (i.e. back-lighting with LED mixed with lighting fixtures), plants, dramatic stone, calm monochrome spaces and specialty trim gets her excited! For inspiration, Mel's eyes are always wandering. She loves to travel and get design inspiration from different places she stays and explores as well as the different design elements nature provides in color pallets, landscapes, and shapes. She also often attends the International Builder's show to find the latest in products and trends. Ultimately, Mel wants people to know a home is built Benjamin Custom Homes only by the level of quality, not on a specific style or repeat of style. "I want to form-fit each home I design to the family living in it," she said. "I want to create unique and one-of-a-kind artwork."

Interior Designer

Benjamin Custom Homes


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"The trends I am excited about are utilizing elements of sustainability"

Principal Director

Neo Interior Design Studio


Owner of Neo Interior Design Studio in Fargo, Michael Betlock loves layering patterns and textures for a truly one-of-akind end product. His motto has always been "more is more!" Originally a native to the suburbs of Minneapolis, Michael made a four-year pit-stop in Phoenix, AZ, before settling in Fargo six years ago. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from the Art Institutes International in Minneapolis. Prior to the birth of Neo IDS, he designed for multiple national brands including PetSmart, Target and Scheels. Michael specializes in commercial interior design including retail, office space, hospitality, sporting facilities, financial institutions and multi-family/mixeduse. He also provides a "one-stop-shop" solution for all types of projects as he has close partnerships with various local architects, engineers and construction management firms. Michael's approach to interior design is always putting the function and experience of the end-user first. His team's creative problem-solving at Neo allows them to value engineer any project to fit a client's budget. They are also more than willing to work out flexible pricing with each individual contract based on the client's needs. Additionally, Neo utilizes rendering and modeling technology to help clients visualize the project from start to finish. They use space planning and researchbased design to create a functional and cohesive project solution. They bring the furniture, finishes, and lighting together to fully communicate the overall aesthetic and vision of each client.

inspiration, colors & trends.

Michael's motto at Neo is "design without limits." To his team, this means encouraging clients to push design boundaries and helping them consider the unexpected. Rather than using ultra-trendy finishes and colors, his team designs in a way that personalizes a project for each client's vision in unexpected ways. "The trends we are excited about are utilizing elements of sustainability, incorporating multi-use spaces as people return to the office, and unique ways of creating classic spaces," said Michael. From classical to EDM, Michael has always been creatively inspired by all kinds of music. While designing, he always likes to ask a client what they listen to and plays that music while he works, which he believes helps him creatively tap into an individual's certain vibes and expectations. 55



Prairie Design Studio


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Horace, ND native Leah Petersen is a licensed architect at Prairie Design Studio. She graduated from NDSU in 2017 with her Master's Degree in Architecture. She has always had a passion for art and the design industry allows Leah to use her creativity in realistic and constructive ways. The interesting thing about Prairie Design Studio is that they have done many different types of projects ranging from industrial and hazardous commercial buildings to multi-million dollar nursing homes. Their scope is not limited, despite being a small firm of four individuals. The outcome you receive when working with an experienced design professional like Leah versus a typical home builder may cost more upfront but will end with a more efficient design. This can save clients money in the long term in terms of enjoying their space longer, more energyefficient layout and less wasted space. She and her team can work with all budgets and there is no minimum square footage required to hire an architect. Prairie Design Studio's services widely vary depending on the client's needs. Architecture is their main focus but interior design is a passion of theirs as well. Some clients like to take initiative when it comes to picking finishes and some rely on the architect solely. Either way, Leah and her team can help you feel comfortable with final selections through renderings, samples and interior elevations.

"I think there can be a lot of beauty found in old pieces" inspiration, colors & trends.

Leah remembers watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition growing up and thinking it was the coolest thing in how those teams were able to transform homes. Today, Leah enjoys taking old furniture and decor and creating something new out of it. "I think there can be a lot of beauty found in old pieces—which takes a creative mind to see," said Leah. When it comes to inspiration for Leah, historic brick buildings with ornate wall details catch her eye. "I would love to be a part of designing those detailed exteriors," said Leah. "You don't see that much detail put into buildings anymore as designs seem to be more streamlined and modern with budget as the driving factor." Color-wise, Leah likes to step away from vibrancy and saturation, giving more attention to bold, neutral aesthetics. "I think color blocking is a fun design trend," said Leah. "Creating monochromatic spaces as an accent can make such an impact and can be incorporated into both commercial and residential designs." At the end of the day, for Leah, aesthetics are subjective, so the most important thing to her is that clients have a successful experience with her; they should feel comfortable knowing she and her team designed for their desires and goals over their own. 59


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Business owner and interior designer Monica Hart specializes in residential design and has 20+ years of experience and knowledge. She can design for young families, families with teens and those who are empty nesting. Monica grew up in Karlstad, MN, and graduated from NDSU with a degree in interior design and is NCIDQ-certified. After working for a hospitality firm, a builder and then a home design center, Monica decided to start her own business, founding Monica Hart Interior Design in 2008 while pregnant with her third son. "As much as I love being an interior designer, I love being a mom more," said Monica. "Owning my own business gives me the flexibility I need to be at my kid's activities and get to do what I love." She and her husband also recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Monica helps with floor plans, ideas during framing, maximizing storage, helping with electrical walk-throughs, catching details as well as assisting with material selections that will function well for the client.

Owner & Interior Designer Monica Hart Interior Design

"Quality and timeless design that reflects the client and their wants will always be in style" inspiration, colors & trends.

When it comes to design trends, Monica isn't worried about following them. Rather, she is inspired by her clients themselves. Once she gets an idea of what they like and what they dream of, the ideas flow and she can see in her head what the finished space may look like. "Quality and timeless design that reflects the client and their wants will always be in style," said Monica. Monica's main goal in her work is to have helped as many clients as possible with all budgets and each space being unique and special for them. "The best compliment I have gotten is that my projects look so different from each other," said Monica. "That is important to me as a designer—that each of my projects reflects the client and their uniqueness, not of me." 61


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"I want my reputation to be that I was able to exceed the client's expectations" about.

Meet Paige Breidenbach—an interior designer at Trever Hill Design. The Grand Forks, ND native comes from a long line of family interior designers who have inspired her to chase after that same dream, and she herself graduated with her interior design degree from NDSU in 2020. One of the misconceptions about hiring an interior designer is that they're only for large-scale projects. Paige wants potential clients to know that they can utilize her as little or as much as they would like. The team at Trever Hill Design value projects of all sizes and styles. While she selects items for a client, she always considers their budget and their needs. By doing so, her team typically suggests a minimum of two options with different price points, and will also shop anywhere the client might request.

inspiration, colors & trends.

Paige loves giving interest to a space through the usage of curves and textures; she is all about dimension! Paige stays inspired by watching HGTV with her mom and grandma, while also looking to creatives and DIYers on Instagram. While she is most proud of being a part of Trever Hill Design, Paige's goal for the future would be to spend time renovating investment properties with her family. "I want my reputation to be that I was easy to work with and that I was able to exceed the client's expectations."

As for a new build, Paige and her team can assist with anything imaginable. The process is to sit down with the homeowners and review any plans that may have been drawn up at that point. The next step is to figure out how they will utilize the spaces and get a feel for their aesthetic. From there, Paige will source finishes for all areas, as well as select any appliances and fixtures for the client, and then onto furnishings and accessories. If at any point in time during the process a client would like 3D renderings, Paige is happy to provide those in addition to her other presentation materials (mood boards, schedules, space planning, etc.).

Interior Designer Trever Hill Design



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RUTH ECONOMY Interior Designer McNeal & Friends

"I enjoy the cleverness of combining [pop culture] with art" about.

Ruth Economy is a 27-year-old interior designer based out of Fargo. After graduating high school from Langdon, ND, she dedicated the next four years of her life to traveling and engaging in volunteer work around the world. Ruth has always had a love for art and creativity, while also being strong in structure and practicality. Interior design provides a great balance of both, and so after returning home from traveling, she earned her Associates Degree in Interior Design from Alexandria Technical and Community College. She landed a design position with McNeal & Friends shortly thereafter and has appreciated each and every opportunity and project that has come her way. Ruth specializes in fine home furnishings, including custom furniture, as well as interior finishes, such as paint, flooring, tile and more. She works efficiently and decisively for her clients and aims to create designs that reflect their unique personalities and lifestyle.

inspiration, colors & trends.

Ruth is loving the softer, muted greens the design community has been seeing a lot of, specifically sage and mineral tones. Growing up, Ruth enjoyed learning about the Pop Art movement and drew a lot of inspiration from artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Liechtenstein. "I'm really into pop culture and I enjoy the cleverness of combining that with art," said Ruth. Nowadays, she pays a lot of attention to what Kelly Wearstler is up to for inspiration. Working with clients to help improve their quality of life through designing beautiful and meaningful spaces is the ultimate impression Ruth hopes to make as a designer.

"Hiring an interior designer is an investment that will in the long run, actually save clients from making costly mistakes," said Ruth. "The experience and perspective that we provide help to ensure that clients receive quality pieces that last a lifetime, as well as carefullyconsidered materials that we are educated on, in order to produce the best possible outcome. That is worth every penny!" Ruth provides detailed, computer-drafted drawings of your space to help give a sense of size and scale for fixture and furniture planning. She can give guidance on floorplan layouts, select finishes as well as project-manage. 65


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"If you take time to dive into [your imagination], some pretty fun and inspirational ideas can come to fruition" about.

Rebekah Koenig is a 27-year-old Design Specialist at Enclave in West Fargo. Originally from the small town of Dent, MN, she moved to Fargo to further her education and graduated in 2016 with a degree in Business, Marketing, Management and Sales. Rebekah accidentally fell into design when she applied for a marketing position with a local home builder and ended up taking the design assistant position. A few years later, she and her husband bought a house in Horace and spent eight months completely renovating the interior to make it their home. Fast forward another year and she joined Enclave’s team as a Design Specialist and has felt at home since day one with an incredible team. At Enclave, Rebekah and her team specialize in multi-family, mixed-use, commercial and industrial spaces. As a fully integrated company, they have the unique ability to act as developer, contractor and property manager which allows them involvement in every aspect of a project for unparalleled results. Outside of collaborating on designs with her team and partners, Rebekah focuses her time on establishing budgets and furnishing Enclave's multifamily and mixed-use projects.

inspiration, colors & trends.

Traveling is a big source of inspiration for Rebekah. She loves soaking in the surroundings of not only the cities and buildings themselves but also the history of the land and locations as well as learning the stories behind them. "There hasn't been one specific person who has inspired my creativity, but rather it has been my surroundings and the way I was raised that allowed my creative side to flourish," said Rebekah. "I was raised to use my imagination and if you take time to dive into that, some pretty fun and inspirational ideas can come to fruition—it's limitless." Rebekah loves creating spaces that people look forward to spending time in; a space where they feel comfortable, motivated and inspired. Her lasting hope is that the spaces she creates are ones that no matter who you are, where you're from

Rebekah understands that making design decisions can be overwhelming. She can not only help guide those decisions to create a positive experience but will do so in a way that maximizes your investment for the long term. Furthermore, a well-designed space doesn't necessarily mean the most expensive furnishings or fixtures, and she can provide creative strategies to achieve desired end results. Her role is to understand the use for the space, how you want to feel in the space, and planning how to accomplish those objectives through thoughtful planning.

Design Specialist Enclave Development



Interior Designer & Owner Mairs Design

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"Growing up my dad would come home from his job, grab his toolbox and a ‘helper’ or two and head off to remodel or put an addition on a neighbor’s house," said Interior Designer and Owner of Mairs Design Roxanne Mairs Ellis. "I became extremely comfortable on a job site. In high school, my dad built our house near Lisbon, ND. This experience got me interested in taking drafting classes in high school and eventually led me to the interior design program at NDSU." Roxanne graduated from NDSU with a BS in Interior Design. During the first 12 years of her career, she worked at a couple of hospitality design firms in Fargo before starting her own business. Roxanne has designed hotels around the United States and Canada and multiple local commercial projects over her 29 years in the industry. Proud of becoming certified by the National Council for Interior Design Qualification, the industry’s recognized indicator of proficiency in interior design principles, Roxanne enjoys collaborating with architects and owners to develop a unique look for each property based on location and clientele, as well as selecting and specifying the proper materials to create functional, timeless, and stunning interiors the client will be proud of. "Interior designers can often visualize how materials will look in the space ahead of time," said Roxanne. "Therefore, guiding clients to choose the right products will save clients from making costly mistakes or being stuck with a space they are not happy with."


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"I like to take an idea and improve upon it" inspiration, colors & trends.

Roxanne is intrigued by biophilic design, which is incorporating nature and the great outdoors into interior spaces using plants, natural woods, paintings and photographs of nature and using materials with organic patterns. Studies have shown this to bring a sense of calm and wellbeing, reduce stress, improve cognitive function and creativity, and speed up the healing process. "I like to take an idea and improve upon it and incorporate it into projects," said Roxanne. "I love a lot of art and design styles, but if I had to choose one, it would be the modernist movement, because I like simplicity, clean lines and the absence of clutter." Roxanne's goal is to make an imprint through her volunteerism with North Dakota Interior Designers. She is currently serving as president of NDID for the second time. Founded in 2004, NDID is an organization formed to educate the public on the services offered by interior designers. Their goal is in providing continuing education opportunities focusing on professional development, health, safety, welfare, product knowledge and other topics related to the interior design industry.


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"I want [people] to feel the difference when they enter a room or building I've touched" about.

Meet Melanie Iverson, Principal Designer and Owner of Mosaic Interior Design (formerly Mosaic Design + Build). The Hawley, MN native began her design career in 2012 after launching a furniture company with her best friend called Imago Dei Designs. Later in 2017, Melanie co-founded Mosaic Interior Design, an interior design studio that specializes in residential and commercial interior design and project management. "I'm a hyper-creative person who is obsessed with dreaming up unique spaces that fit my client's personalities and visions," said Melanie. Much of what Melanie does as a designer also includes project and budget management. One huge advantage to Melanie is that she also has a General Contracting License and can operate as one on a job site if needed. From a commercial standpoint, Melanie also has a degree in advertising and public relations. This has exponentially increased her ability to focus on experiential and environmental design that fits hand in hand with her client's brands. On a residential project, if you're preparing to spend $50k+, your decisions are fairly permanent. Designers help you protect that investment. A good designer should take as much of that stress away from you so that you can concentrate on your family and vision while the construction process is executed by a reputable contractor.

inspiration, colors & trends.

"I've loved the bohemian aesthetic my whole life," said Melanie. "More specifically, I'm into huge custom art and pops of strategic color with black, white and neutral textures." Traveling has always inspired Melanie—she has been fortunate enough to travel to over twelve countries, including the Middle East, Thailand, Italy and Spain. Recently, Melanie launched the Mosaic District in Downtown Fargo, a place that serves female entrepreneurs in the community. "I'm so passionate about creating atmospheres that inspire those I surround myself with to chase their dreams with reckless abandon," said Melanie. Ultimately, Melanie wants the rooms and atmospheres she's created to inspire love, passion and refuge for those who use them. "Those places should be sacred and intentional," said Melanie. "People may never see my name or I may never get the credit, but I want them to feel the difference when they enter a room or building I've touched."

Mosaic takes the overall vision of the space and creates the granular plan, ensuring everything you want comes together. Melanie offers 3D walkthroughs of your space, and also manages all the communication with the vendors, the contractors and can even pull the permits needed for the project if needed.

Owner & Principal Designer Mosaic Interior Design



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"As an interior designer, I work incredibly hard to make the process smooth and to provide the result of your dreams" about.

Sarah Huckle is an interior designer at InterOffice in Fargo who specializes in commercial interiors—which encompasses just about any space other than your home (offices, schools, banks, hospitals, airports, retail, etc.). People might not know that she can provide a full package of interior design services at InterOffice from concept to completion. One huge advantage to choosing Sarah is her ability to help you conceptualize your space with 3D renderings and virtual walkthroughs. These services would typically be a large additional expense for your project, however, if you purchase furniture and finishes through her, it is complementary. When people are building a home, they often ask why they need to hire a builder, an architect, and a designer. "Technically, you could get a house built with just the first one or two, but without an interior designer do you really have a vision and the ability to create it fully?" asked Sarah. "The truth is that while it feels like there is a lot of overlap between these three roles, each one is very different, and they work together and complement each other." Sarah can help with layouts and space planning, providing 2D & 3D visuals and walkthroughs of your space. She can draw up cabinetry and millwork or lighting and electrical plans. Even the seemingly unglamorous decisions like where to place your kitchen outlets can make a big impact on the outcome of the design. She also coordinates site visits, helps manage the project, and finish it off by delivering and installing the furniture and final touches. "As an interior designer, I work incredibly hard to make the process smooth and to provide the result of your dreams!"

Interior Design & Sales InterOffice

inspiration, colors & trends.

Recently, Sarah saw a new term called "Grandmillenial Style" which stated, "the essence of the Grandmillenial style involves a young(ish) person taking ownership of granny's needlepoint pillows and tasseled lampshades and make them share space with their existing mid-century modern/Scandinavian/farmhouse decor." Sarah loves this concept of mixing old sentimental, interesting, and eclectic items with new practical designs. Other trends that Sarah loves are the timeless, classic look of white cabinetry, as well as biophilic design, which incorporates nature inside the home. When it comes to inspiration, Sarah loves iconic designers such as Charles and Ray Eames who created so many classic, timeless designs that are still beautiful today. She also has a wanderlust heart that loves to travel and explore. She most enjoys any adventure with her two favorite people—her husband and daughter, Lily. 75


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Valley City, ND native Skye Fingalson is an Interior Designer and the Owner of Design 2 Sell in Detroit Lakes, MN. Growing up, her mother was her inspiration for design; she seemed to be always working on a creative home project. After graduating high school, Skye moved to Detroit Lakes and fell in love with the lake homes. She first interned with a local interior design firm and never left the industry. In 2019, she opened her brick-and-mortar design studio, Design 2 Sell. At Design 2 Sell, Skye specializes in full-service interior design. She can take a space and completely renovate it, or simply just do a tiled walk-in shower! She also does in-home space planning and decorating, as well as coordination of projects from the initial design concept to completion. "Hiring an interior designer most often saves a client money because it gives them a solid direction when planning out the visions that they have for their home," said Skye. "Everyone wants to love the space they are living in on a daily basis and it is 100% worth the investment to achieve that." Skye says that interior designers allow you to see how your home will not only look, but they also dig deeper into functionality and personality by creating mood boards for vision, and by also allowing you to see, touch, and feel various textures and elements that will be incorporated into your home.

President & Interior Designer Design 2 Sell At The Lakes

"Everyone wants to love the space they are living in" inspiration, colors & trends.

Black has always been Skye's favorite color, so naturally, she has been enjoying all of the fabulous black hardware and lighting! She also loves all of the natural and organic pieces of furniture and decor that bring the outdoor feel inside. Skye stays inspired by attending markets, starting new and exciting projects, and working with ever-changing new and exciting materials. The ultimate imprint that Skye wants her design career to leave on the community is a job well done—a well-designed, functional space that is beautiful.



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Meet Susan Ray-Degges, the Interior Design Program Coordinator at North Dakota State University. Susan has been in the industry for nearly 40 years, equipping so many creative minds for success along the way. Originally from southern Missouri, Susan enjoyed the opportunity to work in design firms and a home center while attending college. These experiences encouraged her to eventually pursue advanced degrees that resulted in completing her Ph.D. at the University of Missouri and finally moving to Fargo in the early 90s. Susan has been recognized for many achievements, including having the opportunity to serve as the national president for Interior Design Educators Council (2019-2020), two national professional awards including Interior Design Most Admired Educator (2019, awarded by Design Intelligence), as well as ASID Fellow (2019). Election to the ASID College of Fellows, the Society’s highest honor, is awarded to less than 1% of the ASID membership. While her primary role is to mentor future interior design professionals while managing various aspects of the interior design program at NDSU, Susan enjoys collaborating with constituents across the region to increase awareness of accessible home design and modification practices. "Interior designers bring critical knowledge to an interior design project and can help a client avoid costly mistakes," said Susan. "The interior designer has a network of different tradespeople they bring to a project—they work closely with the client to meet their budget and establish a realistic timeline."

"My goal is ensuring that the next generation of interior designers are prepared to support diverse users through evidencebased design solutions" inspiration, colors & trends.

Susan is looking forward to seeing the continuation of large-scale patterns and warm textures emerge. She's also excited to see new advances in lighting design inspired by Nordic forms and vintage finds. One of Susan's favorite movements was the Arts & Crafts period. Women, though often underrecognized during this period of design, produced some of the most outstanding embroidery and handwork ever produced. Mary “May” Morris, the daughter of William Morris, is a name that many will recognize from the era. "To renew my creative juices, it is important for me to follow the three 'R's: Read, Refresh, and Reflect," said Susan. "I have a stash of books that I keep on hand that helps me recharge, plus blank journals for sketching and taking notes." After 38 years, Susan's ultimate desire continues to be ensuring that the next generation of interior designers are prepared to support diverse users through evidence-based design solutions.

Professor & Interior Design Program Coordinator North Dakota State University



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Principal Designer Trever Hill Design

Trever Hill is the owner of Trever Hill Design & Curated Home, both of which are located in the beautiful Fargo-Moorhead area. He and his team work on full-scale Commercial and Residential Interior Design. They offer a full range of services from 3D Renderings, AutoCAD space planning, mood boards and schedules. Trever grew up in Oakes, ND, Lisbon, ND, and Spearfish, SD. It was when his Aunt Lois (a nowretired interior designer) refreshed his grandmother's home that Trever realized just how one person could make such a beautiful impact in a dwelling. This sparked Trever's creative desire, and when he decided to try his hand at decorating by going to a garage sale and picking out lamps for his grandmother, Trever knew he had found something he loved. Fast forward 20 years, and he has been the winner of every design challenge or Peoples Choice Awards for the past six years. In his wildest dreams, Trever would never have imagined himself owning a business—that now has curated a team of seven. "My goal when working with a client is to ensure the space represents them and not Trever Hill Design," said Trever. "There are a lot of designers that push their aesthetic onto the client and that's not our mission. "The proof is in the pudding when it comes to our return clients and referrals." A common misconception that people have about interior design is that it is either for "rich people" or "too expensive." Trever and his team are able to overcome this misconception after their initial consultation when they explain to clients that they work with all budgets and they only charge an hourly rate. "It's a fact, hiring a professional will save you money in the long run," said Trever. Although he believes many people can make a space look pretty, Trever's goal is to ensure it will work for the homeowner in the long run. When meeting with businesses or homeowners, he provides all of the services needed for a client to make a decision they will be happy with, indefinitely. "Design is not limited to trends or the designer's style," said Trever. "It's about the client and how they need that space to function for years to come."

"My goal when working with a client is to ensure the space represents them and not Trever Hill Design" inspiration, colors & trends.

Travel is Trever's main creative inspiration. It fascinates him to see what other cultures want for their dwellings. Working in places like California, Arizona, New York and other locations around the US has helped fuel Trever's inspiration, as well as provide insight into the different needs and codes each place has. Although he's a firm believer in not looking at what others artists are doing, Trever admits there are two designers he follows on Instagram: Jeremiah Brent and Kelly Wearstler. When it comes to colors and textures, Trever is drawn to monolithic, organic and textural elements. The lasting imprint Trever wants to leave on the community is being remembered as a forward-thinking designer that grew a business out of nothing but talent and hard work, who above all listened to the client's wishes and was fair throughout all his projects. 81

AMANDA RINKE Interior Designer Zerr Berg Architects 82

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"[My goal] is to create spaces that will inspire creativity for years to come in this community" about.

Interior designer Amanda Rinke started with Zerr Berg over six years ago, and in that time she and her team have accomplished an amazing portfolio of projects. "I am forever grateful that they took a chance on me back then," she said. Amanda graduated from Art Institute in Minneapolis with a Bachelor's in Interior Design. She currently lives in Fargo with her husband and their twin boys. Amanda specializes in commercial interior design. She and her team work on a variety of projects including education, religious, community, multi-use and corporate. She and her team work closely with architects and general contractors on every project to ensure your vision is delivered to completion. "[My] job is to advocate for the design of the project, and to educate on product maintenance to ensure the longevity of the design," she said. As a Commercial Interior Designer, Amanda works closely with architects, engineers, and the owner. She includes services such as artwork and furniture, but she also designs and assists the architects with the entire interior of the project. This includes (but is not limited to) casework, interior features and any finishes and details you may see as soon as you enter the building. She also provides the drafting services for projects and is experienced in code compliance and understanding the constructability of spaces.

inspiration, colors & trends.

When it comes to aesthetics and themes, Amanda loves the more traditional approach to modern design, or as she likes to call it, "Midwest Modern." If she finds herself struggling with the more creative side of a project, Amanda will switch to the other side of her brain and spend time focusing on the more technical side of the project (i.e. detailing drawings). She also loves the Impressionist art movement and how each person has the ability to perceive art differently. Amanda's ultimate goal with her design career is to "create spaces that will inspire creativity for years to come in this community."


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Christen Joy

"My creativity sparks when listening to and understanding the needs of my clients" about.

Christen Anderson is a Minnesota native with an eye for décor and design. For years, friends saw Christen’s artistic skills and asked for her help with their decorating projects. Today, Christen Joy has built a solid foundation on referrals, a sterling reputation and impeccable style. Her life-long love is her full-time business. Christen Joy infuses comfort and refined function to commercial living spaces and in residential new construction. Anderson is known for exceptional remodels, new build selections and furnishings to commercial projects. Anderson’s professional marketing and project management background offers a unique skill set to ensure your dream is realized on time and on budget. “My creativity sparks when listening and understanding the needs of my clients," said Christen. "It pushes me to bring never-before-seen styles to Fargo-Moorhead, produce irresistible moods and plan jawdropping reveals.” For a successful project from beginning to end, Christen will go through the exterior and interior of homes, go down the path of every single selection starting from the floor to the ceiling, and then create detailed construction documents and PDFs that are handed off to all parties involved. "Having a designer for the direction you want to head in is so important," said Christen. Your builder wants to check the boxes—in terms of determining what elements they're not going to need to be as concerned about such as color, texture and so on.

inspiration, colors & trends.

Anderson is a passionate art collector, world traveler, and home cook who frequently entertains for friends. Her dinner parties feature custom floral arrangements and place settings. Christen’s style is “beach chic,” with neutral classic furniture, and pops of color in art and mementos she’s collected on her travels. For colors and moods, Christen loves a fresh traditional style that is timeless, classic, elegant while fresh, vibrant and full of personality. While watching House of Gucci, Christen remember a quote that said, "quality is long remembered after price is forgotten." So she aims at the side of investing in quality pieces that you're sure to love for a long time. 85


Project Manager

Prairie Design Studio


"Creating spaces that are inviting and stand the test of time is always the objective" about.

Horace, ND native Chelsey Johnson has been with Prairie Design Studio for 18 years, joining her dad Kim Stokes in the family business in 2004. Five years ago, her sister Leah Peterson also joined the family business. In addition to being the Project Manager at Prairie Design Studio, Chelsey serves on the city council in Horace. "It's a good time to have a voice in our growing community," she said. Chelsey has the privilege of working on all aspects of many types of projects. She has done quite a few apartment complexes, office/retail buildings and residential homes. Prairie Design Studio also has done many nursing homes around the state of Minnesota for St. Francis Health Services. "I think people are very surprised as to the caliber of projects we produce out of our small firm," said Chelsey. "Our clients come back to us time and again for a few reasons: we get comments on how attentive we are and how we prioritize their needs and wants." Having an interior designer on projects definitely produces a higher quality product and Chelsey enjoys that opportunity. Many of her clients will work with her experience to choose finishes that are cohesive to the design they are trying to achieve. Adding more architectural details to the space will give a more interesting finished product as well.

inspiration, colors & trends.

"Minimalism is a trend that will continue to become more appealing," said Chelsey. "Having less to worry about, take care of and even look at helps us to feel calmer and more content in a space; clean lines, sunny windows and warm colors with less clutter are more inviting." Although she finds inspiration through a variety of sources and architects (like Frank Lloyd Wright), Chelsey's main inspiration is her dad. "Growing up my father had his architecture firm in our home, and still does today," said Cheley. "He has always inspired me with his creativity. Learning from him has been a blessing and an opportunity I'm very thankful for." For Chelsey, the opportunities for creativity are endless. When she started her career, utilizing the internet wasn't done often. Now there are so many resources online to boost ideas, materials and creativity. Recently, Chelsey is most proud of her project management role on recent hazardous and government funded projects. Both of these have extensive codes and literature to understand and comply with. As a kid driving around Fargo with her dad, he would point out the buildings he worked on—now Chelsey is able to do that with her kids. "These buildings play an important role in so many people's everyday life," she said. "Creating spaces that are inviting and stand the test of time is always the objective."


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"I want to help clients design a space that will not only serve them now but in the future as well" about.

Meet Brooke—the Design Director at Trever Hill Design. The Fargo native graduated from Texas Christian University in 2015, and continued living in Texas working as an Event Planner and Designer. She eventually moved back to Fargo and connected with Trever Hill, joining his team of talented creatives. At Trever Hill Design, they do everything from commercial to residential projects; their services include tracking and coordinating shipments and installs, client relations, mood boards, as well as scheduling and selecting finishes and furniture for their clients. They love projects of all sizes—they have a large range of vendors all with different price ranges to accommodate your personal budget and most importantly, your vision. "At Trever Hill Design, we like to get our foot in the door sooner rather than later if possible," said Brooke. "We always ask the question, 'How do you envision using this space?' to help the clients prioritize their efforts and dollars to select appropriate finishings and furniture to reflect that." Brooke wants to help clients design a space that will not only serve them now but in the future as well.

inspiration, colors & trends.

One of Brooke's favorite trends she is seeing right now is the organic look—with lots of textures and tones. Creatively, Brooke pulls inspiration from daily experiences in her life. She often finds a lot of creative beauty and humor in her animals. As an avid equestrian, Brooke has traveled to compete in quarter horse shows her entire life. In addition to her achievements, horses have taught her to set goals and work hard and she believes that her mindset has helped her land her dream job of working at Trever Hill Design. "As simple as it sounds, I hope that I am remembered for making people feel happy, confident and reassured," said Brooke. "Not only in the design projects I help them with, but in life as well."

Design Director Trever Hill Design






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"Everyone should put beauty in their environment that speaks to their soul" about.

"I tore out a picture of a spectacular bathroom when I was in third grade, put it in my scrapbook and wrote beside it, 'Someday I’ll have a bathroom like this.'" Meet Kris Carlson, Co-Owner of Designingwomen2. She loves creating an environment that brings comfort, joy, meaning, and the "wow" to each space. Her motto is "Everyone should put beauty in their environment that speaks to their soul,"—That’s what moves her when designing for others. Kris specializes in creating custom designs based on each individual’s home or business. Perhaps least known about her services would be that she also helps with complete storyboards from the ground up, remodels or the basics of any given room. She thinks outside the box, which allows for creative custom designs. She also works with the most amazing craftsman in flooring, backsplashes, cabinets, countertops, electricians, plumbers, handymen and builders. Many times people keep buying things because their space just doesn’t feel right. The reality is that often it is the arrangement and flow which isn’t done quite right to attain the "wow" factor. And as always, "wow" is as much about aesthetics as it is about the feeling you get from a room. Kris provides a storyboard and renderings which consist of all the colors, stone, flooring, bathroom and kitchen components, countertops, cabinets and lighting. She also looks at blueprints and offers suggestions that may have been overlooked.

inspiration, colors & trends.

Kris loves lighting and the role it plays in tying a space together. "Lighting is the diamond of a home or business," she said. She also enjoys creating unique backsplash and countertop designs. The inspiration for creativity is what she believes to be a trait she's had since birth. It is continually exciting for her to also seek and learn the upcoming trends in design. Going to market is something that Kris also finds inspiring. She also has friends in the interior design industry in Italy; Italy is about two years ahead of what’s coming here so that factors into her designs. At the end of the day, Kris wants businesses and homeowners to be able to benefit long term from not only the elements of design, but how it makes them feel each time they walk into their space. 95


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"I strive to create spaces that elevate the human experience"



Meet Donna Wiger—Interior Designer at TL Stroh Architects & Interiors in Fargo, ND. She is an interior design veteran, having worked at TLSA for 22 years, and having been in the industry for over 35 years. From residential to commercial interiors, her portfolio includes a depth of experience. She has been a member of the American Society of Interior Designers since 1985, the same year she passed the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) test for interior designers. Donna hones her at-home creative self with making jewelry, sewing and painting. "Interior design is for everyone," said Donna. "Know your scope and know your budget; a consultation with an interior designer is a good investment." Creating interiors that emulate beauty, creativity, function, and a company's culture is her specialty. Whether it's a new clinic, a law office, a new home, a bank, or a new corporate headquarters, design impacts everyone. Donna believes great residential interior design is about function, aesthetics, schedule, budget—and most importantly—having a good relationship with the builder, sub-contractors and a good interior designer.

inspiration, colors & trends.

Although she typically doesn't follow trends, Donna likes that oak is making a comeback. Overall, her goal is to design classic, timeless interiors that stand the test of time. "I inherited my creativity from my Grandma Edna," said Donna. "She made beautiful things out of ordinary materials." Today, it's her clients that fuels Donna to be creative. Donna believes she has quietly and effectively already made an imprint in interior design in the area by listening to her client's needs, being fiercely creative, having the best team to collaborate with, always looking for the next new product to create with, great attention to detail and a stellar personality!

Interior Designer

TL Stroh Architects & Interiors


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Desirae Putnam is the Founder and Principal Interior Designer of Desirae Interiors. After graduating with degrees in Business Communications and Interior Design, she moved to Fargo where she was mentored by Shelly Neal at McNeal & Friends and became their Principal Interior Designer & Merchandising Lead. She left their showroom in 2020 with nearly 10 years of experience, passionate to continue serving residential and boutique commercial clients. When not designing, she spends time with her teenage son, teaches meditation and restorative yoga and contracts as the Client Services Director for Bondeye Marketing. Desirae takes a holistic and edited approach, selecting materials and furnishings that are timeless investments with a personal story. She takes all aspects of her client's lifestyle, energy, and passions into consideration to make their home truly individualized. It starts with a thorough discovery meeting where she asks questions and actively listens. This communication guides the relationship from beginning to end of the project so that every detail is implemented. Building a home is often one of the biggest investments in both time and money that people make. Having an interior designer like Desirae through that process adds another layer of creativity and experience to your team. She gets hyped about the details: investing in materials that last; understanding the reveals of how those materials meet on your floor, ceiling, millwork, et cetera; staying mindful of functionality like door swings where a pocket door might be a better use of space; leaving allowances for the door trim and light switches to live harmoniously; taking cabinetry up to the ceiling (because who wants to clean up there anyways!); will the square feet of your dining room accommodate your desire to host holidays; kids or no kids and pets or no pets and all of the thoughtful planning around that; and so on. Nothing is an after-thought for Desirae.

Founder & Principal Desirae Interiors

"I hope to inspire people to live well and live better" inspiration, colors & trends.

It was Jessica Helgerson who inspired Desirae to become an interior designer. Now, she has been successfully in the industry for 12 years, eager to expand her projects around the globe. Because she's drawn to a timeless over trendy aesthetic, Desirae loves the revival of traditional layers on top of modern, clean lines. It's familiar, comfortable and rooted in history yet influenced by how we continue to evolve today; Desirae loves a neutral palette with layers of texture, millwork details, thoughtful wallcovering, heirloom furniture and artwork commissioned by a local artist. Desirae stays refreshed through traveling, experiencing other cultures, meeting new people, meditating, reflecting and writing. "I hope to inspire people to live well and live better," said Desirae. "Your space can be that place you go for energy or relaxation and should be a reflection of what makes you, you. Surround yourself with what makes you happy." 99


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Ashley Hurner is an Interior Designer for Enclave Development in Fargo. She graduated from Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, MN, with a BS Degree in Interior Design. The majority of her experience has been in commercial design and construction. In her time at Enclave, Ashley has been providing design direction across their portfolio of multifamily, mixeduse and commercial projects. She has a front-row seat to how projects are being built, design and used.

Interior Designer Enclave Development

"There's a solution for every budget," said Ashley. "You can still provide value to a space by taking a non-traditional approach and incorporating innovative design elements that still create an impact." Ashley says it's a common misconception that interior design is the same thing as interior decorating. "This is not to say one is better than the other, in fact, they go handin-hand," she said. "It's about understanding behaviors and functions in a space beyond adding decorative elements to achieve a certain aesthetic. While its scope can vary, interior designers can provide detailed services from research, programming, space planning, design and FF&E, construction documentation, bidding, project management and through construction and project completion."

inspiration, colors & trends.

To stay refreshed and inspired, Ashley loves traveling as visiting new places gives her a new perspective and inspiration. Although cool neutrals have been an ongoing trend for a long time, Ashley is looking forward to the warmer tones making a return; she's a big fan of color being used in interiors more. Ashley has been fortunate to be a part of shaping and creating spaces that people get to experience, whether that's a space they live, work or heal in. The design of any space sends a message and is a huge indicator in the level of understanding and care of its occupants. Ashley's current goal is to complete her NCIDQ exams to further understand things that affect the life, health, and safety of people and the environments they enter into on a daily basis—and to make them look great.

AARP North Dakota Empowering people 50+ to choose how they live as they age. Learn more, get involved. Find us at /aarpnd @aarpnd


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"My intentions are to be the client's teammate who helps them bring their dream space to life" about.

Growing up a painter's daughter, working for her father allowed Cassandra Grenz to get an insider's view at various construction sites both residential and commercial. The Casselton, ND native fell in love with every aspect of the interior design process, from creativity, organization, team work and more that the field demands to make the puzzle pieces come together in a project. In 2005, Cassandra completed her Bachelor's degree from NDSU, and in 2009, she started her freelance design company. 17 years later, she is still loving the ever-changing styles, collaborating with subcontractors and helping clients achieve their dream projects. Cassandra specializes in residential design remodels and new construction. She loves incorporating their past treasured items together with their new style as well—she believes a home should emulate the owner, not the designer. "As a freelance designer, I am not tied to any specific brands or vendors, therefore, allowing endless possibilities to fit each client's budget," said Cassandra. In addition to common designer responsibilities, Cassandra's role can vary from the reviewer of their blueprints, to electrical and plumbing walkthrough during framing, to rendering and selecting all exterior products, to helping with plumbing and light fixture selections and much more. Behind the scenes, she helps with keeping all involved parties informed regarding any changes that may arise to keep the project on schedule.

inspiration, colors & trends.

Cassandra loves seeing pops of color return to all aspects of design. "Green in any hue is currently one of my favorite colors," said Cassandra. "We are seeing green everywhere from velvets on furniture, to paint, to wall covering, to decor, and even seeing it in the kitchen on cabinetry." She also loves how light fixtures have become functioning unique works of art that are pleasing to the eye and are the jewelry of our spaces. Although many artists like Dorothy Draper, Frank Lloyd Wright and Coco Chanel inspire her, Cassandra finds the most refreshment and inspiration in her family, raising children, mini getaways and immersing herself in nature. Cassandra understands that each project is different and that everything should be tailored to fit the client's individual space. "I hope by working with each client their space reflects themself and not me," said Cassandra. "My intentions are to be the client's teammate who helps them bring their dream space to life."





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CharRae Chwialkowski is the President of Connect Interiors in Fargo. She graduated from NDSU with an Interior Design Degree and has since worked in the office furniture industry for nearly 28 years. "I like helping clients create spaces where they love to come to work every day," said CharRae. Connect Interiors specializes in commercial interiors. They work with all types of organizations, including large corporate clients, small businesses, home offices, education, healthcare and hospitality to help them create engaging, innovative and smart spaces. CharRae works with clients on architectural modular walls to help them create spaces that can be flexible and change over time. Almost all of the furniture CharRae's team orders for clients is custom made for their project, making it unique to them. Connect Interiors is a full-service company that works with clients from the very start of their project all the way through installation and service after the project is completed. The main focus of the work that CharRae and the Connect Interiors team do is to plan out the furniture needed for a space. They do this by creating plans and 3-D views to help the client visualize the space. These drawings show a representation of the finishes and aesthetics of the furniture. They also coordinate with the electrician and data providers as well as other contractors that may be working on the project to help make sure it is a seamless process between the building and the furniture.

"I like helping clients create spaces where they love to come to work every day" inspiration, colors & trends.

CharRae loves designing spaces that are flexible and that utilize ancillary furniture to create effective work environments, bringing in rich colors and textures with finishes and fabrics that enhance the space. She also finds a lot of inspiration in Frank Lloyd Wright and his design process as well as how he looked at different elements, including furniture, within the space to create it. In the end, CharRae's main goal is to help organizations create inspiring and functional spaces that help them achieve their goals.


Connect Interiors



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Vice President Connect Interiors

Kim Dean is the Vice President at Connect Interiors in Fargo. She's an NDSU graduate and has been an interior designer for over 30 years, with 26 of them in the commercial furniture industry. "I've always been interested in aesthetics and the design of space," said Kim. "Interior design really combines those two concepts, because we know that the design of a space impacts behavior, therefore it's important that we understand the desired outcome." Kim specializes in healthcare interior design, which is a complex specialty that requires a lot of inquiry and understanding. She needs to specify furniture that meets all the rigors of a healthcare environment, for durability and cleaning protocols, but also furniture that supports patient care and a healing environment. As an interior designer, that means Kim has the training and education to design spaces that support the health, safety and welfare of those that interact with the space. She has technical knowledge that ensures she follows code requirements, appropriate specifications for intended use, and the ability to create inspiring spaces that have a positive impact on behavior. "Interior designers can support the design process at any budget level," said Kim. "It's really about making the best choices for the budget the client has. We can help avoid costly mistakes by bringing our expertise to the decision-making process, to ensure project goals are met, and we have a wide variety of resources available to support projects of all sizes and scopes of work."

"Interior designers can support the design process at any budget level" inspiration, colors & trends.

In the commercial world, Kim is really excited about the changes in work patterns including hybrid and collaboration spaces. With people having more choice and control over how and where they work, it's important that interior designers support the needs of a changing workplace as well as bring people together. "Fostering collaboration through spaces that are inspiring and engaging is what people are looking for in the 'return to work' strategy, so it's an opportunity for us to design and think differently," said Kim. Kim always tells interior design students that design has a lasting impact. Long after she has completed a project, people will be influenced by the space she designs. Her hope is that some of the spaces she has designed have made the experience within them a little more positive. 109


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"Skapa is an Old Norse word that means to create, to make, to build, to design" about.

Sara Bekkerus is the Lead Designer and Owner of Skapa Design in Moorhead. As a child, Sara would page through her mother's latest copy of Better Homes & Gardens, critiquing the décor, tearing out photos she would someday piece together into a dream home. Sara named her company Skapa Design to reflect her Scandinavian heritage and her love and interest in the principles of Scandinavian design. Skapa is an Old Norse word that means "to create, to make, to build, to design." Sara works on both residential and commercial projects. Her involvement can include every decor element you see in a space, for both interior and exterior projects. A client can use a designer for as much or as little of a project as their budget allows. "If they are not able to hire us for the entire scope of a project, we can work with them to determine key areas to focus on," said Sara. "Clients can also tackle their projects in increments if they would like to have assistance through the entire process."

inspiration, colors & trends.

"I'm in love with the fact that what was old, is now new again," said Sara. "While the use of wallpaper and mid-century design have been back in style for a while now, we are seeing more products available in the rich jewel tones of the past, as well as heavier textured fabrics like velvets and tweeds." Sara has long been influenced by the architectural work of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as the photography of Ansel Adams. She's inspired by the work she sees in her everyday life, from an abandoned schoolhouse on a country road, to her latest copy of Architectural Digest. "I think my clients are the biggest influences in keeping me inspired," said Sara. "Their personalities, lifestyles, and project spaces are all so different, and it's fun to hone in on just which style direction will work best for them and best fit their needs." Sara's ultimate goal with that has always been to leave things just a bit more beautiful than she found them.

Sara's work with clients on a new build project will often begin before they have even met with an architect. She can often assist with decisions on both interior and exterior elements, helping them navigate the often overwhelming experience of building a home. When they begin the process, many clients are not aware of how many decisions they will need to make and the countless number of options available to them. She can assist clients with about every element that makes up a home—everything from paint, flooring, wood species, and stain color choices to what color and style the electrical outlets should be.


Skapa Design & Consulting


Articles inside

Cassandra Grenz

pages 104-105

Sara Bekkerus

pages 112-116

Ashley Hurner

pages 102-103

Desirae Putnam

pages 100-101

Kris Carlson

pages 94-97

Brooke Ingstad Weir

pages 92-93

Donna Wiger

pages 98-99

Chelsey Johnson

pages 89-91

Christen Anderson

pages 86-88

Amanda Rinke

pages 84-85

Skye Fingalson

pages 78-79

Susan Ray-Degges

pages 80-81

Melanie Iverson

pages 74-75

Sarah Huckle

pages 76-77

Roxanne Mairs Ellis

pages 70-73

Rebekah Koenig

pages 68-69

Paige Breidenbach

pages 64-65

Monica Hart

pages 62-63

Michael Betlock

pages 56-57

Madison Johnson

pages 52-53

James Galloway

pages 49-51

Leah Peterson

pages 58-61

Linda Birmingham

pages 46-48

Melanie Anderson

pages 54-55

Laura Rettig

pages 44-45

Katie Sullivan

pages 42-43

Jesse Price

pages 30-33

Brandi Youngmark

pages 26-27

Haley Kaspari

pages 28-29

Jackson Strom

pages 34-35

Marsh Mclennan Agency Fargo: Bringing Even More to Homeowners

pages 20-23

Jessi Larson

pages 36-39

Kate Baldock

pages 40-41
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