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design | cuisine | art | culture | architecture

edition 5

february 2018

History Refined





History Refined Our February cover features a look inside the new City Brew Hall in Wahpeton, N.D. The cover shot of the venue’s 1910 Lounge was photographed by Jill Ockhardt Blaufuss. Once functioning as the Wahpeton City Hall, the structure has sat vacant since the 1990s. Today, its 1910 bones have since been restored and refined, bringing new life to the surrounding communities. Taking on the massive restoration of the event and restaurant space is Shelby Terstriep and her partners Alex and Britt Belquist, founders of Brew Ales & Eats in Perham, M.N. Fusing their restaurant, design, and culinary experience, see how these three worked with Chris Hawley Architects and Gast Construction to hit a historic home run with the completion of the first phase. See more on this project starting on page #12


In the Kitchen with Laneil Skaff Laneil and Sam Skaff have devoted much of their lives to creating comfortable spaces to live. Now working alongside their children, their daughters Julie Stoe and Jenna Stowers assured us that their mom was not only a wonderful interior decorator for their properties but also a talented at-home chef. Not wanting to miss a great opportunity to learn a few new culinary tips, we decided to visit their Moorhead home of 25 years to see what’s cooking. Whether your Valentine’s Day centers around romance or family, Laneil Skaff created one meal that everyone is sure to fall in love with.


Functional Art: The Sliding Barn Door Trend Follow Grain Designs partners, Blain Mikkonen and Phil Bruckbauer as they take our readers on a trip to their Davenport, N.D., shop. See how the hot trend of rustic, sliding barn doors is evolving in homes and offices to suit modern needs and contemporary design. Originally modeled after their agricultural predecessors, these two show us the barn door’s new styles and function, sharing a few of their Instagram Inspirations along the way.


Smarter Homes Series: Centralized Lighting These days, new homes come with endless lighting options that unfortunately leave the homeowner with endless light switch panels. To help homeowners break through the wall clutter, we contacted Jamie DeJean of Smart Home Technologies to shed some light on Centralized Lighting systems. To show how this system works, DeJean took us on a tour of a Heritage Homes stunner belonging to builder Tyrone Leslie. Located in South Fargo’s Rocking Horse Farm development, this home is full of bright ideas you need to know before you build.


The Grain Elevator Project: Phase 1 This winter’s record-breaking, low temps haven’t been easy for anyone, but if you’re Scott Dahms and trying to renovate a grain elevator, it’s been an epic challenge. Just a short drive south of Sabin, Dahms’ industrial home is located in the town of Baker, M.N. Although it’s a work-in-progress, it’s come a long way since day one when it was considered merely a dilapidated landmark along Highway 52. When we found out he was currently residing in it with his two sons, we had to get a glimpse of what it’s like to renovate and live in a rural grain elevator.


Like Mother, Like Daughter Amidst our usual February freeze, we decided it was time to head to the lakes. This mother and daughter who both reside in the Detroit Lakes area, enlisted the help of Aubrey Costello at Showplace Cabinetry of Fargo to create and define their entertainment spaces. Just in time for warm, winter gatherings, we show you two unique bar designs in two completely different spaces. The first is the unfinished basement of Mike and Amanda Habrat and the second takes us down the road to Darryl and Mary Beehler’s family room where Costello used an outdated entertainment center space to create a sleek and contemporary wet bar.


A White Wine Winter While some wine enthusiasts suggest that winter requires a switch to red wine, two local wine enthusiasts, Dan Hurder and Laura Botten, prefer to keep their winters white. So, with their permission, dust off those white wine glasses and check out a few of their favorites. See how these two braved below zero temps to take our readers on an exploration of white wines, starting with the classics.

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Midwest Nest Magazine is a monthly print and online publication which features content and photography focusing on culture, entertaining and home design.



susan hozak-cardinal

dan francis photography j. alan paul photography m. schleif photography studio three beau two birds photography nicholas friesen photography jill ockhardt-blaufuss grain designs hix design dahms design preszler woodshop

EDITOR tracy nicholson


ADVERTISEMENT DESIGNER alison monke, creative monke

COPY EDITORS kelly schulz tracy nicholson

CONTRIBUTORS aubrey costello blain mikkonen phil bruckbauer laneil skaff jamie dejean dan hurder laura botten

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Midwest Nest Magazine, LLC, Copyright 2017, Midwest Nest Magazine and All rights reserved. This publication cannot be reproduced without written permission of Midwest Nest Magazine. Midwest Nest Magazine will not be held responsible for any errors found in the magazine. Midwest Nest Magazine, LLC accepts no liability for statements made by advertisers.

SOCIAL MEDIA susan hozak-cardinal tracy nicholson


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Finding Beauty in 20 Below We’re happy to bid adieu to January’s record-breaking, low temps, yet I can’t help but smile, laugh and maybe cringe when I think about what our team endured to make this month’s issue happen. Kudos to all of our team members, contributors and photographers who braved the elements to give February some fantastic content. This month took us on an array of below-zero adventures. The first had us traveling to the Grain Designs shop in Davenport. This is where we strapped on gas masks and the always game, Morgan Schleif learned how to take the perfect photo while standing on a saw table. After that, it seemed like a good idea to shoot a 10-below, happy hour moment with Dan Hurder and Laura Botten on the Boiler Room’s (outdoor) patio in Fargo. At this point, we’d become one with the cold, so Dan Francis and I headed to the tiny town of Baker, M.N. to shoot the grain elevator home of Scott Dahms. Who knew that shooting exterior shots in 20-below could freeze one’s contacts? On the search for a little warmth, we ventured out to the lakes area to meet up with photographer Travis Beauchene and designer Aubrey Costello to capture two mother/ daughter bar remodels. With the warmth eluding us, we finally headed further South to Wahpeton, N.D. to see inside the newly completed renovation of the old Wahpeton City Hall, now the home of a fantastic, new destination called City Brew Hall. With my hometown of Fairmount, N.D. nearby, I was naturally honored to cover the story of this epic transformation. I’ve toured a lot of revitalized homes and landmarks in the Fargo-Moorhead area, but it’s not every day that I get to cover projects like these so close to home. Having grown up in the area, I could not have predicted what I walked into. The results of their two-year overhaul were not just well done by any typical, small community standard. Believing that every community, of every size, deserves extraordinary design, this team gave all and gave back. Covering this story, reminded me that it only takes a handful of people thinking outside of the box to create magic. With a well-executed renovation, the City Brew Hall now honors its past and celebrates the community in which it was designed for. With all of this excitement filling our pages, we’re thrilled to take Midwest Nest to its first Red River Valley Home & Garden Show. Find us on the field level on February 2325 at the Fargodome. Bring your ideas, grab a copy or just stop by and meet and team. Go to for more information. With gratitude,

Tracy Nicholson



Contributors + Team Alison Monke Monke is the owner and designer at Creative Monke in Fargo, N.D. As Midwest Nest’s lead advertising designer, Monke brings multi-faceted experience working with a variety of

Aubrey Costello

companies in their design and marketing departments. She received her BFA in Graphic Design from MSUM. Monk has worked on everything from t-shirts and brand strategies to websites. She is currently a full-time freelance designer helping many small to mediumsized businesses and non-profits in the F-M area. Monke designed Midwest Nest’s logo and works closely with our team to create branding strategies and bring expertise to ad designs, helping local businesses speak their own brand and capture the audience’s

Costello is the Showroom Manager and a Designer at Showplace Kitchens in Fargo. She

attention. Find Monke’s work at

has a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from North Dakota State University. With twelve years of experience in the kitchen design field, an enthusiasm for design, organizational skills, and attention-to-detail, Costello can visualize the entire project.

Her ability

lies in being able to listen to the client to discover what they want and need, bringing functionality and harmony to the entire space. Throughout the process, Costello guides clients through all of the options and features. You can be assured that your space is efficient and stylish while she works hard to make sure nothing is overlooked. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging, sewing, hanging out at the lake, and spending time with

Kelly Schulz

friends and family. Find her at

Schulz is Midwest Nest’s Copy Editor and works full time in marketing at Butler Machinery Company’s corporate office in Fargo, N.D. She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass

Travis Beauchene Beauchene is an artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from NDSU and a Master of Fine Arts from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Beauchene has been painting for 14 years, studying and teaching photography for eight years, and marketing for a variety of businesses for five years. When Beauchene returned to the Fargo-Moorhead area, he founded a business in conjunction with his wife Brittany-STUDIO THREE BEAU.

Communications from Minnesota State University Moorhead and a Master of Business Administration from University of Mary. She resides in North Fargo with her husband and two children. In her spare time she enjoys camping, thrifting, chalk paint projects, pretending to read books for book club and chasing after her little ones.

Kari Lugo

The business consists of three branches: Paint, Photo, and Market. His artistic approach to everything he does, both in business and in life, provides him a unique insight that leads to exciting and innovative output. Beauchene currently resides in a tiny home in

Fargo native, Lugo partnered with Midwest Nest to specialize in business development

Detroit Lakes, M.N. where it is equally likely to find him painting in his studio or climbing

and advertising sales. Twenty years in media have taken her through national radio,

a tree with his daughter Millie.

television, and film markets as well as global newspaper brands, giving her an interesting palette of experience. Upon her return to the Midwest five years ago, Lugo has held positions in both media and marketing in Fargo. She is happy to be living and working back in her hometown again, where she is also a caregiver for her mother, who has ALS.



Dan Francis Francis is the lead photographer for Midwest Nest and owner of Dan Francis Photography in Fargo, N.D. He is a Certified and Master Photographer who specializes in quality photography work. Francis is also a seven-time Kodak Gallery Award Winner for his fineart images. He is currently a board member of FMVA, Vice President of PPND and past president of the Fargo-Moorhead Camera Club. Francis brings 14-years of experience to Midwest Nest, contributing stunning home, art and portrait images to our pages. He is looking forward to showing readers his unique approach to commercial work that you won’t see anywhere else. Francis works out of his Downtown Fargo studio and can be found at

Blain Mikkonen & Phil Bruckbauer Mikkonen is a co-owner of Grain Designs in Fargo, N.D and a North Dakota State University Architecture graduate. Bruckbauer, a Concordia College graduate, started with the

Morgan Schleif

company in their first month and quickly grew as the company’s, left-handed, right-hand man and also the third partner of the company. Bruckbauer and Mikkonen are a part of a small team that has helped pave the way for the area’s reclaimed wood emergence. Grain Designs has become well-known for their unique approach to custom furniture, specializing in dining tables, sliding doors, corporate office furniture and wall features. Each piece of reclaimed, wood furniture is thoughtfully designed and well-crafted with the user’s specific needs in mind. Bruckbauer and Mikkonen will show readers how they

Schleif is a contributing photographer and is the photographer and founder of M.Schleif Photography. With a degree in Graphic Design and Public Relations from Concordia College, she found photography to be a natural combination in serving her abilities with people and composition. She has a passion for connection, community, and creativity

create pieces that are not only functional but meaningful. Through our pages, the guys hope to bring a new perspective to the process of decorating homes, choosing furniture, and making decor selections. Bruckbauer and Mikkonen work out of Grain Design’s South Fargo studio and can be found at

which leads to endless opportunities in the F-M area. Her style is less ‘posed’ and geared toward capturing a realistic impression of whomever she is photographing- allowing her clients to be themselves and fully embrace their current phase of life. A photographer by day and pint pourer by night at Junkyard Brewing Company, she is an extrovert who is most inspired by atmospherics, conversation, and human expression. She is eager to add her take on the vibrant lifestyle that is Fargo, North Dakota to Midwest Nest. To find more of her work, connect with her on Facebook or Instagram @ Mschleif Photography, or view her full portfolio at

Jamie DeJean DeJean is a first-time contributor and the owner of Smart Home Technologies in West

Dan Hurder Hurder is managing partner of Boiler Room, Twist, The Otter Supper Club and Lodge as well as Chef’s Table Catering. He has been in the food/beverage industry for over 10 years and is currently working towards his Level 2 Sommelier certification.

Fargo, N.D. Originally from Sioux Falls S.D., DeJean and his family have made FargoMoorhead their home since 2001. With over 25-years of experience in home, audio and video technology, DeJean brings extensive knowledge and a genuine passion to his clientcentered business. He enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters, traveling, and summers at the lake with family.



City Brew Hall

Historic Preservation in Downtown Wahpeton Words by Tracy Nicholson

Styled Wedding Photography by Two Birds Photography Pre-renovation photography by Nicholas Friesen Post-renovation photography by Jill Ockhardt Blaufuss



Opening their doors in January, the new City Brew Hall in Wahpeton, N.D., is a vision to behold for architecture and restoration enthusiasts alike. Once functioning as the historic Wahpeton City Hall, its 1910 bones have never been more elegant. Taking on the massive restoration of the event and restaurant space is Shelby Terstriep and her partners Alex and Britt Belquist, founders of Brew Ales & Eats in Perham, M.N. Fusing their restaurant, design, and culinary experience, these three worked with Chris Hawley Architects and Gast Construction to hit a historic home run with the completion of the first phase. See what makes this brand new venue, picture perfect for any occasion.

Owners, Alex and Britt Belquist, Shelby and Chad Terstriep


Standing vacant since the 1990s, Wahpeton’s City Hall is now home to Shelby Terstriep and her brother and sister-in-law Alex and Britt Belquist’s dream venue. Their unique vision offers the community four distinct spaces; a stunning topfloor event space overlooking the city, lounge area, lower-level restaurant and meeting room. With the completion of their first phase focused on the upstairs venue, meeting space and lounge, they’ve already garnered enough local interest to book over 50 events. Once you view the interior revival, you’ll see why the community is backing their every effort.

BRINGING THE BREW Two years ago, the Belquists met with Wahpeton’s past mayor Jim Sturdevant about bringing Brew to the area. Introduced to the vacant city hall, Alex and Britt Belquist fell in love with the building’s history and character. “It was such a huge project and we were going to be partnering with the restaurants anyway, so I came on board,” said Alex Belquist’s sister, Shelby Terstriep. Most of Terstriep’s time is spent as an Oncologist at Sanford, so for her, this is a side-project built on a passion for business and restoration. “We knew because of the size of this market and through our past experience that this area could handle another restaurant. We noticed that they had very few event spaces, so we just thought it can be a great destination spot. Breckenridge and Wahpeton are so pretty, they’ve got the river, great bike paths, a really active park board and a fantastic zoo. There’s a lot of people coming in and there are a lot of things to do here.”

REWRITING HISTORY Terstriep and the Belquists started this restoration two years ago, working on the financing to get an SBA loan with Pam Burnside at Lake Aggasiz and with Marc Knutsen at BlackRidge Bank. “They were fantastic, they really guided us through this

“The City of Wahpeton has been awesome,”

are so phenomenal. We really see them as friends

process,” said Terstriep. “It was the only way we

said Terstriep. “We’ve never done a project of

first and partners second. We’re talking about how

could do it because there are no comparables

this magnitude before and it’s not like we’re

we can work together and have already planned a

to do such a project.” As part of the renaissance

big developers. So, they have really helped us

Brew in the Zoo event. We really want this venue

zone, its historic status lent some much-needed

throughout the process and answered questions

to be a community gem that helps bring business

assistance, with the City of Wahpeton allowing

whenever we needed. We’ve also been working

to many other local businesses.”

them a $450,000 grant to complete the massive

with many community members to see how we

restoration. “The bottom line is that we would

can collaborate. We have been so excited about

never have been able to do it without that help.”

working with the zoo. The owners, Kathy and Tom,




When planning the design of their project, the

“We also have a 30-person meeting and event

team worked hard to try and keep or restore

room we’re calling The Chambers,” said Terstriep.

the building’s original finishes. Unfortunately, the

“We have some fun wallpaper going up on top to

upstairs wood floors were unsalvageable due to a

coordinate with the black paneling and beautiful

leaky roof, which has now been replaced. Instead,

windows. We have also included state-of-the-art

they chose new wood flooring with a similar look.

technology with a projector T.V.”



“We were dead-set on keeping any brick that we could,” said Terstriep. “In some places where it had the original penny tile, we replaced it with something very similar. We’ve restored the original staircase, but we refinished it from its original red tone to a darker stain to match the upstairs.” The team’s goal was to take this large building and make it feel like one unified space where people can easily navigate between the two levels. Glass and transom windows will be going in to coordinate with the upstairs windows, allowing the space to

“The City of Wahpeton is looking forward to the completion of the City Brew Hall. The building, which once housed the city’s fire department and

be closed off for certain events. The location of the

later city hall, sat empty for a number of years. It’s now been revitalized

main floor stairwell offers quick and easy access

and will be a welcome addition to downtown Wahpeton.”

from the Brew restaurant to the upstairs, 1910 Lounge and larger venue space.

Christopher DeVries, Community Development Director, City of Wahpeton


1910 LOUNGE A stroll up the original staircase brings guests to the 1910 Lounge, designed to accompany The Hall’s larger venue space. Stealing the show is a stunning 72-inch, filament bulb chandelier in burnished brass by Restoration Hardware. In the surrounding space, Belquist and Terstriep worked with designer, Kristen Williams, to find furnishings and lighting that would accent the stunning view and refined architecture.

One of the many stand-out features in the 1910 Lounge is the dark-stained oak and coffered ceiling. “We brought in a lot of inspiration photos to go by, but the ceiling structure is really Chris Hawley’s brainchild,” said Terstriep. “He designed the coffered ceilings in the lounge and hall area. We could see the bones and we could see that it was going to be amazing, but we wanted to be able to honor that in our new design.” “Between Shelby, Kristen and I, I think we all had the same vision of just keeping that nod to the history and incorporating things like marble and dark wood,” said Britt Belquist. “Herringbone and hexagons have been our goto design element throughout. Doing the jewel-toned and brass finishes just seemed to be colors that would have been popular back then. We also wanted it to be the perfect backdrop for any type of event, where people’s bridal gowns were going to look good. So, we used a lot of black and creme, black and white, very classic finishes. With the exception of these blue chairs, we tried to keep everything very neutral.”





THE HALL Aptly named The Hall, timeless brick walls, high ceilings, and stunning city views greet guests to the second-story event space. This is the largest of the venue spaces and can accommodate up to 300 guests if combined with the adjacent, 1910 Lounge area. This room has undergone a complete overhaul with its wall-to-wall north facing windows, high ceilings and new, white oak flooring. For this expansive project, the team once again turned to Chris Hawley Architects to refine the ceiling details and work with the existing architectural elements. Much of the venue’s interior design, with hints of mid-century modern, rely on antiqued gold accents and decor from favorites like Restoration Hardware, West Elm, Visual Comfort and Pottery Barn. To accommodate all types of events, the team has included the option of two large projector screens and state-of-the-art technology for highquality sound and lighting. The building also offers a functioning elevator to aid in event planning.

“These are the kind of projects that CHA lives for……respecting an old building, being creative by nature of constraints, working with clients that love design as much as we do and injecting a fresh attitude into a forgotten space. This is where good design SETTING THE STAGE

and thoughtful conversations shine.” Chris Hawley, Chris Hawley Architects

Since Terstriep often works with The White House Co. for staging and decor when she puts on cancer center retreats for the hospital, she knew just who to call for their newest project. To demonstrate how The Hall can be staged for weddings, the team worked with The White House Co., Love Always Floral and Two Birds Photography to set a romantic scene.




Creating rustic elegance with their table settings and simplistic backdrop, The White House Co. strung together their own wood bead creation made to enhance, not overwhelm the space. “Since this building is so beautiful and timeless, we really didn’t want to bring in anything that would take away from how amazing it already is,” said Katie Schiltz of The White House Co. “This place is what dreams are made of - it’s a beautiful, blank canvas that can be styled in so many different ways.”






“They are going to bring a lot of their staff here to

Alex and Britt Belquist have extensive restaurant

start and train, but there will also be a connection

experience dating back to their college days at

with the NDSCS Culinary program,” said Terstriep.

Labby’s in Fargo, where they met while serving and

“We have four students that are going to be here,

bartending. After playing football at NDSU, Alex

one of them doing their internship. When we

Belquist did a brief stint at a culinary school in

thought about the events, that was one of our

Minneapolis, while Britt Belquist gained experience

biggest draws to doing this event center here, to

working the front-of-the-house for a variety of

have that access to the culinary school and provide

Minneapolis restaurants. Ultimately, Alex Belquist

a place for them to work while they’re in school.

decided that the culinary school’s fine dining

The professors at NDSCS have been awesome in

approach was not what he wanted to focus on. “I

talking about collaborations and how we can work

worked a week in a fine-dining restaurant and it

together. With the new restaurant 701 coming to

was straight out of T.V., like a Gordon Ramsay show.

Fargo too, it’s nice to have those multiple locations

It was just a brutal grind,” said Alex Belquist. “So,

for students to be able to grow a career out of

I decided I didn’t want to do that kind of cooking.”

culinary arts.”

Soon after, the couple set their sights on owning a bar and restaurant using their past experience

SMALL TOWN, BIG PROJECT While most people would be intimidated by a project of this magnitude, the Belquists and Terstriep did not waste a moment of their time on self-doubt. “We renovated our old house and my parents renovated several old buildings on Main Street of New Rockford, North Dakota. My mom was a theater director so Alex and I grew up doing events and being around restoration. This project


is just on a different level. I guess we should have

Achieving success with their other restaurant ventures, co-owner and head chefs Alex Belquist and Eric Henre knew exactly what to do with Wahpeton’s Brew location. Keeping it simple and fresh, they will be serving up some of their patron’s favorites in the main floor restaurant, along with a full catering kitchen to accommodate the venue space





fresh; homemade sauces, nothing’s frozen and everything’s chef-inspired,” said Terstriep. While the restaurant below will offer many of their more casual items, the upstairs will offer an array of fine-dining, plated options. Restaurant goers can expect to find an eclectic menu of house-made soups, salads and starters like salmon cakes, poutine, gouda pickles and

probably been more scared, but we really weren’t,” laughed Terstriep. “We’re from a small town, so we feel like we know small towns really well. Growing up, mom and dad always said that just because it’s small, doesn’t mean that it can’t be amazing,” said Terstriep. “This is a philosophy of all of ours. It can also be fancy

to serve up the type of fare they knew the locals would love. “Britt brings a lot of front-of-house experience working in many different restaurants and is an awesome designer,” said Terstriep. “She worked at a few really funky restaurants in Minneapolis and they both have just learned the business as they go.” Her brother an sister-in-law took a leap of faith with their first venture in 2011 and later opened the larger Brew in 2013. They are also partners in the Up North Pizza Pub in East Grand Forks and just sold the Detroit Lakes Brew location in August of 2017. Today, Britt Belquist manages many different aspects of their businesses including the design, marketing


general management


while Alex Belquist manages the catering side and restaurant kitchens.

and top-of-the-line. This can be a destination place.” “A lot of times in our Perham restaurant, people say that they feel this is something that should be in the cities. Well, that’s what we built it after, like some of those places in the cities that we loved,” explained Alex Belquist. “Why can’t we have this in small towns too?”

goat cheese quesadillas. On the daily menu, Brew will feature their award-winning burgers, sandwiches and a new smokehouse menu. The Brew’s street-level bar will be offering 24 beers on tap, highlighting local and regional breweries along with hand-crafted cocktails and a vast wine selection.

Siblings and business partners, Alex Belquist and Shelby Terstriep




In showing the progression of the building via social media, the community seemed to fully grasp their unique vision, so much so, that they’ve already booked over 50 events, easily surpassing their first-year projections. “The idea of keeping the local weddings here and it being a boom to the economics is exciting for us,” said Terstriep. They’ve also attracted plenty of outside attention

It’s Coming

with some of their events being booked from residents of Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks.


NEXT MONTH’S ISSUE - PHASE 2 BREW ALES & EATS Brew, the restaurant planned for the street-level of City Brew Hall is already in progress with plans to be open to the public in February. In our next issue, we’ll be showing you their stunning, custom bar with high-top seating and metal fabrication by Schmitty’s Welding. We also cannot wait to show you a true demonstration of Dakota Timber Company’s latest wood trend with photos of the Brew’s lower bar with hexagon-shaped, wood tile. An elevated nook will feature local bands and entertainment overlooking the restaurant. A rustic barn door will greet gaming patrons to a space devoted to blackjack, poker and pull tabs. A punched out metal, feature wall with a hexagon element is almost complete and ready to show off. Extending their interior design savvy to the exterior, a garage door facing 4th Street will open to a screened-in patio with fireplace.

COMING SOON! The City Brew Hall is not their only project in the works. This ambitious team will be opening another new restaurant by the name of 701 in Downtown Fargo, later on this year. You can follow their progress on Facebook at citybrewhall.

Styled Wedding Shoot Credits Photos - Two Birds Photography Hair and makeup - Whitney Anderson - Adae Salon Dress - Your Day by Nichole Tux - Blossoms and Bridal Floral - Love Always Floral Furniture and Decor - White House Co. Models - Alice Matzke and Stephen Erlandson

Pre-Renovation Shoot Credits Photos - Nick Friesen Photography Furniture and Decor - Gathered Boutique Rentals & Events Floral - Blue Barn Floral

Post-Renovation 1910 Lounge Shoot Credits Jill Ockhardt Blaufuss

order online or call in

Architect - Chris Hawley Architects Contractor - Gast Construction Electrician - Summerville Electric Interior Design

For more information, contact: City Brew Hall 120 N. 4th Street, Wahpeton, N.D. 701-793-1975

- Kristen William, Britt Belquist, Shelby Terstriep White Oak flooring - F-M Flooring Lounge bar stools - Arteriors Lounge chandelier - Restoration Hardware Lounge pendants - Visual Comfort Lounge furnishings - Noir and Pasha 701.205.8710







we can make a


out of most any space.

Yes, we have “kitchens” in our name, but we’re ready to improve any room that can include cabinets. And that’s pretty much any room, when you think about it. Of course, we’re really good at kitchens. And baths. But think a bit bigger: What other rooms can be improved with cabinetry? Home offices can. And so can a rec room, with an entertainment center or a wet bar. We can create custom Murphy Wall-Beds and designer closets. Even your workplace can be a Showplace. Whether it’s a remodel, addition, new construction, or even refacing, Showplace Kitchens can take your project from dreams to beautiful completion. Planning, design, installation, everything, all with lifetimewarranty, American-made Showplace Cabinetry. So let’s get started. Visit our site, Then let’s get together. We’re eager to create a Showplace you can call your own.

Come see our new styles and finishes at the Home Show, booth 715.

2553 Kirsten Lane South in Fargo 701-365-4455



In the Kitchen with Laneil Skaff Words by Tracy Nicholson Photos by Dan Francis Photography

“When my daughter, Julie asked me to do this, I thought of this entree recipe right away. It’s a recipe I make for Sam on a weeknight, but it’s also dressy enough to make for a special occasion,” said Laneil Skaff. “I wanted to do something that wasn’t complicated to create, delicious to eat, and easy enough for even the guys to make for Valentine’s Day. I don’t usually like to go out for Valentine’s Day because every restaurant is so busy, but this meal is simple and only takes about an hour.”



If you’ve ever lived in Fargo-Moorhead, you’re probably familiar with the last name. Skaff Apartments was founded in 1957 and even today, remains family-owned and run. Laneil and Sam Skaff have devoted much of their lives to creating comfortable spaces to live. Now working alongside their children, their daughters Julie Stoe and Jenna Stowers assured us that their mom was not only a wonderful interior decorator for their properties, but also a talented at-home chef. Not wanting to miss a great opportunity to learn a few new culinary tips, we decided to visit their Moorhead home of 25 years to see what’s cooking. Whether your Valentine’s day centers around romance or family, Laneil Skaff created one meal that everyone is sure to fall in love with.



Valentine’s Day Menu




“For the entree, I chose a chicken in a white wine For a fresh start, Laneil Skaff chose this salad

sauce called Coq au Riesling. This recipe called for

For dessert, Laneil Skaff did a simple, poached

because it’s one of her family’s favorites. It’s a

bone-in, skin-on chicken because it just delivers

pear in chardonnay, with a caramel sauce, then

pear, pomegranate and pistachio salad with a

so much more flavor and moisture than boneless

garnished it with fresh raspberries and cracked

creamy poppyseed dressing. To make prep easy,

breasts,” said Laneil Skaff. “For this dish, you


this can be made ahead of time, then simply add

can serve it over rice or noodles, but I prefer a

the dressing before serving.

crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce. This recipe can easily be made into other dishes. Roast some vegetables, use the chicken and sauce and recreate it as a rice bowl the next day.”

Tips of the Trade: When it comes to cooking, Laneil Skaff generally uses a reasonably priced wine. Since her poached pears require an entire bottle, this is a good thing. She suggests sticking to the less expensive selection, but choosing one that you would like enough to drink.


INTERNATIONAL INSPIRATION “I like to roam the internet, page through magazines, and great chefs on cooking shows. I love cooking and I love being able to glean recipes that are easy and yet delicious. I’m pretty sure I should have been born Italian,” laughed Laneil Skaff. “When I was in Italy, my favorite thing was the pasta dishes. We went to a small agriturismo which is like a bed and breakfast where they grow all of their own produce. It’s a working farm with grape vines, olive trees and wonderful vegetables


and herbs. We came to this wonderful place for

In the Skaff’s fridge, you can always find a few

supper, there was no menu, you sat down and

basic ingredients; garlic, onions, celery, carrots

Renzo cooked for you. I got him to tell me a recipe

and cheeses. The pantry will have diced tomatoes

of his. Wherever we go, I like to find a recipe that I

and different grains. “With these, I can make

can bring home and try to recreate.”

just about any kind of soup. I always keep a few different proteins in my freezer and then I use


“We have a couple of pasta favorites, one that’s

the garnishes like cilantro, parsley and croutons. I

a white wine, lemon-chicken pasta and also a

think it’s a well-rounded mix of things,” said Laneil

Many of Laneil Skaff’s cutting boards and the

Fascilli Fresco. We eat this a lot in the summer

Skaff. “It’s amazing what you can make with those

elevated wood boards hail from a local store, Eco

using fresh tomatoes and basil that we grow, along

very basic ingredients.”

Chic Boutique which happens to be located on the

with garlic in an olive oil. We just let that sauce

street level of one of the Skaff’s properties, Stone


West Village in Fargo.

and simple and you can add chicken to the pasta

“The kids’ favorite thing to do is new recipe night,


or serve it alongside. Both dishes can be altered to

where we try out new recipes and then all watch a

what your family likes, said Laneil Skaff.

T.V. show. It was usually centered around the show

Beyond her family gatherings, Laneil Skaff stays

“24”. We all get together quite a bit. On birthdays I

busy cooking for the masses to benefit local non-

Even though Italian is a favorite in their home,

let them either pick a place to eat or write a menu,

profits and her church. One of the non-profits

Laneil Skaff loves to branch out and try virtually

so sometimes it’s breakfast (we call it brinner),

does vital work in South Africa and another in the

any nationality of cuisine. “I love to go to cooking

sloppy joes or steak dinners. Last night it was a

Philippines, so she learned how to make South

classes. There’s something to be learned from

new recipe for me, Pad See Ew with chicken, a

African food and Filipino dishes. She has done

anybody and everyone. I usually go to Sur La

Thai dish. So, I took a little trip to the Asian grocery

everything from a Norwegian supper, African fare,

Table when I’m down in Phoenix and bring some

store and got the Chinese broccoli and the noodles

to a Thai banquet , serving from 100 to 300 people

girlfriends with me. It’s a cooking store that hosts

that I needed. A trip there is kind of an event in

at a time. Another she’s currently working on is the

cooking classes as well. One of my favorites was

itself, it’s fun,” said Laneil Skaff. “The smells are

Frozen Meal Ministry through their church, Bethel

the croissant class. Sometimes you learn a lot

unique, but it is delightful and a great place to get

Evangelical Free.

of new things and then there are others like my

what you can’t find at other stores. The prices for

risotto class where I realized that I was actually

the hard to find ingredients are very reasonably

“We all love to cook with her,” said her daughter,

doing it right all along,” said Laneil Skaff.

priced compared to mainstream grocery stores.”

Julie Stoe. “She cooks for a lot of different things

marinate all day long, then cook the noodles and combine it at the end with fresh cheese. It’s fresh

from the Frozen Meal Ministry to banquets and “I love to cook and I’m at the age now, where I

The Skaffs are blessed with six grandkids ranging

dinners for different ministries and we usually

kind of wish I had pursued it earlier. But, back

from 15 years-old to three months. “The younger

help.” It’s not unusual to see the entire Skaff family

then I had four kids,” laughed Laneil Skaff. “There

ones love my mac and cheese and rice krispie

either helping prep, cook or serve at any of these

are days I’d love to open a little, funky restaurant,

chicken, but my oldest has two things he calls

functions right alongside others in the church who

but an idea from other cities that intrigues me the

“The Famous”, one of them is my hot fudge sauce

love to cook and learn new recipes. “It’s a great

most is having people come and eat and pay what

and the other is my raspberry jelly,” laughed Laneil

way to interact with wonderful ladies, instead of

they can.”


coffee, we get together to cook,” said Laneil Skaff.


Coq au Riesling INSTRUCTIONS In a large skillet over med-high heat, fry bacon until crispy and bacon has rendered its fat. Remove from pan (leaving fat behind).


Melt two tablespoons of butter and oil. Salt and pepper chicken and brown the pieces all over and remove from pan. Add rest of butter and onions and

¼ Cup butter-divided

allow to fry until translucent. Add the garlic and allow to sauté for another 30

Splash of olive oil

seconds before removing mixture from the pan (leaving the fat behind). Add

2 Medium onions, finely chopped

the mushrooms and allow to fry for five minutes (can add a little more oil if

¼ Pound pancetta sliced into thin strips (can also use bacon)

pan is too dry.)

4 Garlic cloves, thinly sliced 8 Chicken pieces on the bone (I used 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks

Add the onion, bacon, and chicken back to skillet. Pour in the wine and allow

– can also use breasts – best on the bone and with skin)

to come up to a boil. Turn down heat to a simmer and cover. Allow to cook

8 oz. Portabella mushrooms, sliced

for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Uncover, add cream and

2 Cups Riesling

continue to cook another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste –

1 Cup whipping cream

garnish with parsley.

Salt and pepper to taste Handful chopped parsley

Serve with white or brown rice, hot buttered noodles or crusty bread.


Pear, Pomegranate & Pistachio Salad with a Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

CREAMY POPPYSEED DRESSING ½ Cup mayonnaise ¼ Cup two percent milk 3 Tablespoons sugar 4 Teaspoons cider vinegar 2 Teaspoons poppy seeds

INGREDIENTS 2 Cups romaine, chopped


2 Cups spring mix 4 Salad onions, thinly sliced

Whisk together in mayonnaise, milk, sugar, cider vinegar, and poppy seeds.

4 Mini cucumbers, peeled every other strip and thinly sliced

Set aside.

2 Pears, thinly sliced 1 Pomegranate, seeded

In a large bowl add tossed romaine, onions, cucumbers, pomegranate seeds,

½ Cup shelled pistachios

pears, feta cheese and pistachios. Add the dressing and toss gently.

½ Cup crumbled feta cheese

Serve immediately.


Poached Pears with Caramel Sauce INGREDIENTS



4 Anjou pears, with stems

1 Cup sugar

Have all ingredients ready to go – this will go fast.

1 Cup granulated sugar

3 Tablespoons water

Heat sugar and water on med-high in a heavy, three-quart saucepan. As the

1 750 ml bottle of Chardonnay

5 Tablespoons butter

sugar melts, stir with whisk or spoon. As soon as it comes to a boil, stop

1 Tablespoon peppercorns

½ Cup whipping cream

stirring. The syrup will become dark amber. Immediately add the butter and

Zest of one lemon

whisk until melted. As soon as the butter is melted, pull from heat, allow to cool 30 seconds. Add cream slowly to mixture and continue to stir. Mixture will foam. Continue to stir until smooth. Cool. (Can be made ahead and stored


in the fridge.)

Place sugar, wine, peppercorns and lemon zest in a small, deep pan and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. While mixture is heating, peel pears, leaving


the stem and a little peel at the top. Cut a small slice off the bottom of the pear so they stand. Once the liquid is boiling, place pears in pan, standing up.

Place pear standing on a plate or small bowl. Drizzle caramel over top –

Turn heat down to med-low and place cover on pan. Simmer 30 to 40 minutes

sprinkle with pepper. Garnish with raspberries or pomegranates. Serve warm

or until tender.

and enjoy!




AT HOME WITH LANEIL SKAFF Laneil Skaff is in the midst of planning a remodel on her kitchen, but in the meantime, they embrace the space that brings their family together. Beyond the spacious kitchen, overlooking the river in their South Moorhead home, the Skaff’s style is stylish and inviting. “My style is comfortable, I love the Fixer Upper style using reclaimed wood,” said Laneil Skaff. “In this room, we have a lot of windows, so I love to bring the outside in with the birch branches. Just keeping things natural, mixing woods and metals. I switched to grey, but I try to keep it as warm as possible because I live in a 25-year-old home. So, I try to mix in the flavor of the oak with brand new colors and accessories.” When Laneil Skaff wants to update her home, she turns to a few of her favorite stores like Scheels Home & Hardware, Eco Chic Boutique, Grain Designs, Pottery Barn, West Elm and Crate & Barrel. “I like to shop a variety of places, including local art shows and art fairs. I like it to look hand-crafted and I don’t want it to look like I bought it all at once,” said Laneil Skaff. I want it to look like a collection of living and always be someplace that can gather people in and make them feel comfortable.”

FUTURE ISSUES This spring, Laneil Skaff will be showing our readers her favorite Tuscan recipes and sharing a few memories from her trip to Italy. Also, don’t miss our July issue when we head to the lakes area to feature their newly renovated, farmhouse chic lake home.



Blain Mikkonen, Phil Bruckbauer, Grant Koenig and Patrick Bresnahan

Functional Art The Sliding Barn Door Trend

Words by Blain Mikkonen & Phil Bruckbauer Shop & Portrait Photography by M. Schleif Photography Barn door photos provided by Grain Designs

One of the hottest design trends from the past couple of years has been the introduction of sliding barn doors into homes and offices. Sliding barn doors are commonly rustic in appearance and the designs are modeled after their agricultural predecessors. ‘Barn doors’ have commonly been used as the catch-all term for the functional and beautiful sliding doors. However, if rustic, agricultural-inspired sliding doors don’t tickle your fancy, don’t let the term ‘barn doors’ scare you away.



As with any design trend, it’s common for trends to come and go. We think the sliding barn door is here to stay, although the designs and aesthetics will continue to evolve. We understand this trend to be one of functionality, efficiency and even artistic beauty. So what is all the riot about?

What is the most popular style of barn door? The most popular style we produce is probably the Double Z which is one of the traditional barn door styles seen on agricultural buildings. However, we’ve had the opportunity to do some truly unique, modern, and even elegant sliding doors. Some of these doors that break the rustic, barn door mold have become some of Grain Designs favorites to design and build. These alternative door solutions stand out for their unique details, precision, clean designs, and sometimes even the challenge of creating something new and different.






What are the benefits of sliding barn doors?

What are the most common rooms or areas for a sliding door?

• Sliding doors save space by eliminating the room needed for door swings.

Although, we’ve installed sliding doors in many different residential and

• They create a focal point and can make a statement for a home or office.

commercial applications, here are some of the most popular areas/rooms:

• Unique doors look great when they’re not in use, so they can be left open

• Formal Dining/Entry (Shown below with Split X)

and not be in the way.

• Hall Closet

• They provide a contrast of materials and create interest for a commonly

• Laundry Room (Shown below with Single Z)

boring and forgotten element of the home.

• Theatre Room

• The greatest benefit is that a sliding door is so much more than just a

• Master Closet

door. It is functional art.

• Kitchen/Pantry (Shown below with Split X and built-in Chalkboard) • Master Bathroom • Offices • Commercial and Business Applications - Sliding doors have also been very popular in area business for use in offices, exam rooms, break rooms,


conference rooms, and even to make a statement in the reception area.

One solution to add a more modern feel to sliding doors is by adding brushed steel or aluminum accents. This can add that touch of contemporary style to the piece in a way that pops unlike more common raw steel or black hardware.

Lighter colored, fully planed woods also tends to offer a more contemporary look. In this example, the combination of brushed, metal hardware, light wood, and a unique horizontal pattern result in a pair of ultra modern and multifunctional sliding doors.



Dark stained wood and horizontal, raw steel bands give these unique doors a more industrial feel. However, they still offer a clean look in contrast to a rustic door and create a focal point as pillars to this living room’s entertainment center.

In addition to different wood tones and accents, incorporating other materials or reclaimed elements is another great way to change the style of the door. These solutions incorporate corrugated metal; one yielding rustic results while the other is a healthy combination of contemporary and industrial.

CREATING MULTI-FUNCTIONAL BARN DOORS Other considerations for your door may be to add more functional elements. We’ve built custom doors to include mirrors, windows, chalkboards, or even slat-style privacy doors that cover patio doors, yet still let light in. The options are really endless.



Exploring Craft and Inspiration As designers and craftsman, we’re constantly in search of other businesses and individuals working on honing their craft. We find inspiration in learning about and exploring the craft of others. Here are a few social media accounts that are worth the follow.

Preszler Woodshop

Thunder Coffee

Hix Design

Originally from South Dakota, Trent Preszler now

Thunder Coffee is mobile coffee service that

Quality craftsmanship is often better evaluated

lives in Long Island, New York.

brews up quality coffee for your meeting, event,

when touched, felt, and experienced.

or gathering. He crafts bespoke wooden canoes that are truly

As a customer of Hix I can attest to this fact.

beautiful works of art. In addition to his highly

How does coffee relate to craft? Visit with Dex,

However, in the case of Hix Design’s leather goods,

crafted canoes, Preszler restored a ‘56 Ford truck,

Thunder’s coffee educator and head barista and

you’ll quickly notice from his Instagram photos

a brand icon, built with an attention-to-detail that

you’ll begin to understand the attention-to-detail

that each piece is well designed and crafted with

exemplifies his passion for high-craft.

that goes into the making of a perfect cup of joe.

impeccable detail.

Mikkonen, Bruckbauer, and the Grain Designs team currently work out of a studio Southwest of Fargo.

Blain Mikkonen

Phil Bruckbauer

They are working on an exciting new retail concept, Grain Designs Furniture & Mercantile in South Fargo



which will be open late this winter. In the meantime, they can be reached online at


Smarter Homes Series: Centralized Lighting with Jamie DeJean of Smart Home Technologies Words by Tracy Nicholson & Jamie DeJean Photography by J. Alan Paul Photography

In new construction homes, options like centralized lighting are often overlooked. With the potential to drastically reduce the number of light switches and increase functionality, lighting systems offer a wide range of options and benefits. To help homeowners break through the wall clutter, we contacted Jamie DeJean of Smart Home Technologies to shed some light on the benefits of a Centralized Lighting System. To show how these systems work, DeJean took us on a tour of a Heritage Homes stunner belonging to builder Tyrone Leslie. Located in South Fargo’s Rocking Horse Farm development, this home is full of bright ideas you need to know before you build.



WHAT IS CENTRALIZED LIGHTING? “Centralized Lighting Systems allow us to replace groups of light switches with a single lighting control keypad. We do this in an effort to eliminate banks of several unlabeled light switches at every location where the ability to turn on lights is desired. This reduces the amount of wall clutter and makes your lighting easier and more intuitive to operate,” said Jamie DeJean, owner of Smart Home Technologies in West Fargo. “In Tyrone’s house, there are multiple lights in the great room. For this room, he simply needs to push one button, labeled “Great Room” and it will turn off the recessed can lights, fireplace accent lights and the cove accent lights. This doesn’t take away your ability to still run individual lights separately, there are other buttons for each of these different lights as well. It does provide simplified, labeled and illuminated buttons that allow for a better user experience whether you are a homeowner or a guest in the home.” “Lighting control is one of the unique home features that Smart Home Technologies offers our clients,” said DeJean. “There are other places that offer home music, TVs and surround sound, but lighting control is one of the things we take a lot of pride specializing in. We work closely with several Fargo-Moorhead and lakes area electricians. We provide the lighting control equipment and programming. The installation is completed by a licensed electrician, such as JDP Electric who wired the Leslie home.”

SIMPLIFY & SET THE SCENE In order to simplify and declutter, DeJean’s team installed a system where the Leslies have the ability to either turn on whole scenes in a room or control individual fixtures. “It’s so much easier to just turn the whole kitchen on or the whole great room from one location, instead of searching for light switches spread around the room. As you move around to each of the keypads, the functions change based on the room,” said DeJean. “You can also set up scenes, so if you want to have an evening scene for entertaining, you can program it so everything comes on to a certain level. You might have the island lights a little brighter, dim down the recessed lights, or bring up the accent lights to emphasize the stonework of the fireplace wall a bit more.”



THE OUTDATED ALTERNATIVE As DeJean explained, the outdated alternative is to do things the traditional way by including a light switch for every location control is needed. In a typical kitchen and great room, that means a separate light switch or dimmer for the recessed lighting, cove accent lights, fireplace accent lights, pendants, under-cabinet lights and the list goes on. “For an area like this, you would typically need eight to ten unlabeled light switches, all of which require wall space and can take away from the aesthetics of the room,” said DeJean. If this sounds cumbersome to you, a Lighting Control System may be just the thing for you.

HOW DO I SET A SCENE? “There are a couple of different ways to set a lighting scene,” explained DeJean. “During the initial installation, we set the original keypad layout and scenes based on our experience of what past clients have enjoyed. We have two different systems. One is for the client who is hands-off and wants us to handle everything. Then there’s one for the homeowner who’s a little more involved. We give those clients the ability to set everything themselves. They’re able to pick what the buttons are, how they’re labeled, and everything they do.” “Homeowners are also able to control everything from their iPads, iPhones, Androids or dedicated touch panels,” said DeJean. “The touch panels are built into the wall. They have a dedicated purpose, controlling the home automation system. They act much quicker than tablets and phones and they’re always in that consistent spot where you can find them.”


MANAGING MEDIA The Leslie home also has whole-house video and audio. Instead of having equipment in all of the different rooms like a Blu-Ray player, a media streaming piece like AppleTV, cable box or satellite box, it all goes downstairs into a central equipment


rack. “Having a central rack allows the different

Arriving home with a Centralized Lighting System is probably a feature

rooms to have access to all of the home’s sources,”

you’ve always wanted but never knew existed.”When you walk in the

said DeJean. “It eliminates clutter and having

door into a dark entryway, it can sense motion, so the lights in the

multiple boxes in each of the rooms. It also helps

buttons will illuminate so you can read them. When you come in the

parents do things like monitoring what their children

door with your arms full of groceries, there’s a “Home” button you can

are viewing. If you’re in the master bedroom and

push that will illuminate the mudroom into the foyer, down the hallway

you want to see what the kids are watching in the

and into the kitchen and great room. On the way out the door, Tyrone

theater, you can easily do that.”

can simply push the “Away” button and it will shut all of the lights off at one time.”

“There are multiple interfaces that can be used to control the home’s entertainment systems. You can use your iPhones, iPads or the Universal Remote Controls. The remote control is the interface that anyone could operate, even a guest who has never used the system. If you want to watch TV, all you do is pick the remote control and select TiVo. This turns on the projector and surround system, selects all of the correct inputs and then gives you only the controls you need. No matter what room they go into, the remote controls operate the same and they have access to all of the same sources.”



SETTING UP YOUR SYSTEM If you’re not interested in adding this feature to your entire house, DeJean suggests starting with the primary living spaces of your home including kitchen, living room, and master suite. These are the areas that tend to have the most light switches, so they benefit the most from a simplified Lighting Control System. “With three light switches in the great room, four in the kitchen, two in the dining room, the number of light switches can really add up fast. Managing your lighting on the main floor makes a lot of sense. Then, from there if you wanted to add on things like the family room or other bedrooms, those can always go in later. If the home’s already built, it obviously doesn’t reduce down the number of switches on the wall, but they still can tie into a similar system with the same level of control.”

THEATER ROOM On the lower level, the Leslies opted for a stateof-the-art theater room with a projector and 120” screen. “We have it set up down here so if it’s game day you can have the same game playing on the projector and the pool room television or you can have two different games playing at the same time,” said DeJean.

ALEXA INTEGRATION Adding one more feature to simplify everyday tasks, the Leslie home has Alexa Integration. “Their Alexa device has the ability to control an array of functions in the house. We can control the lights, music, heating and cooling,” said DeJean. “It’s as easy as telling Alexa what temperature you want her to change the room to. You can also use this to turn music on and off in different rooms.” “We’re no longer in the early stages of voice control with devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home to control our homes. This is now a feature that clients are specifically requesting. This gives you the ability to turn on a series of lights with a simple voice command. For example, you could tell Alexa to turn on the “Home” lights and it would turn on main lights in the mudroom, hallway, foyer, kitchen and great room as you walk in the door.”



ASTRONOMICAL TIMERS As DeJean will tell you, a truly smart home is high-functioning on both the interior and exterior. Leslie’s Centralized Lighting System also runs the outside lights on what’s called an Astronomical Timer. “Instead of turning on at 6:00 p.m. every day and turning off at 11:00 p.m., it looks for what time the sun sets and rises for the area,” said DeJean. “So, for Tyrone’s house, we have it set for sunset to turn on the lights on the outside of the house and at 11:00 p.m. it turns off the exterior lights on the front of the house and the exterior on the back of the house if they were on. Then we have it programmed to leave the landscape lights on until sunrise.”

ABOUT THE HOME Tyrone Leslie’s home was built by his company, Heritage Homes and completed last April, just in time to be featured on the HBA’s 2017 Spring Parade of Homes. The home’s layout is a customized version of Heritage Homes’ Tuscany plans.

For more information, contact: Smart Home Technologies 3306 Sheyenne Street. Suite #212, West Fargo 701.526.0979

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Scott Dahms with his golden retriever Piper, inside his Baker, M.N., grain elevator home

A Repurposed Life The Grain Elevator Project: Phase 1 Words by Tracy Nicholson Portrait by Dan Francis Photography Historic photos provided by Dahms Design



This winter’s record-breaking, low temps haven’t been easy for anyone, but if you’re Scott Dahms and trying to renovate a grain elevator, it’s been an epic challenge. Just a short drive South of Sabin, Dahms’ industrial home is located in the town of Baker, M.N. Although it’s a work-in-progress, it’s come a long way since day one when it was considered merely a dilapidated landmark along Highway 52. When we found out he was currently residing in it with his two sons, we had to get a glimpse of what it’s like to renovate and live in a rural grain elevator.

WARNING! Don’t try this at home. As a licensed architect and contractor, Dahms doesn’t recommend taking on a project like this unless you either have an unlimited budget or the skills to do the work yourself. Even with his knowledge, you’re likely going to need the help of someone like his project manager, Tom Meyer, and a whole lot of patience.



RURAL LIFE IN BAKER Dahms grain elevator is located in the small rural town of Baker, Minnesota, just to the South of Sabin. Local historians can tell you that in the 1930s Baker was once a booming town often visited by those grabbing a train ride to the once popular dance hall. With the addition of the interstate system, the hustle and bustle slowed and now a mere 55 people inhabit the town, all eager to share their stories. “When we first started working on it, there was a person a day stopping in to tell us a story from the past,” said Dahms. “Either their dad once worked here or they did. I’ve got a newspaper clipping that the former manager, Lloyd Burtness, dropped off from when the previous elevator burned down. Another guy dropped off an old stapler and actual grain bags from when it was the Red River Grain elevator.” The elevator has actually had three prior lives when it was still in business, with a couple of fires prompting rebuilds.

PHASE 1 Since purchasing the elevator for $15,000 on Craigslist last February, Dahms has transformed the space into a shop and apartment space he’s proud to call home. Those who at one time thought he had lost his mind with this purchase, are now taking another look. Dahms and his project manager, Tom Meyer, have countless hours of sweat equity into demo work, preservation and giving the space basic functions like running water, heat and electricity. Beyond these challenges, Dahms was able to create a kitchen near the main entrance, a dining/conference room, office, a couple of bathrooms and a lofted family room with a second-story bedroom. While some of the spaces are completed or near completion, many of the rooms are a work-in-progress. The main goal was getting the basic functions built to make it livable for his two sons and himself. The additional space that was remodeled also needed to function for his architecture and contracting business, Dahms Design



“When we first started working here in March,


we came in and started getting rid of twenty years of neglect, grain and animal waste. People

“When we bought this thing in February, we just

would come by asking what we were doing. You

went gangbusters on it all summer long. It was too

could just see the doubt in their eyes of what we

big of a project to get completely buttoned-up by

were trying to accomplish. After about three or

the time we needed. Plus, when that surprise cold-

four months, people started seeing that we were

snap happened in October, we thought that was it

making headway. I think they started to actually

as the work wasn’t as complete as we had wanted

believe that these guys might get something done,”

it to be” said Dahms. “We also had to keep revenue

laughed Meyer.

coming in from our other jobs so working time was limited. When we go in the other shop room, you’ll







probably see drifts inside from the storm the other

surrounding community, it’s been such a warm

night. When it came through, the temp inside went

welcome,” said Dahms. “One of the first days

from nice to freezing the pipes in a matter of a

I was out here, I had a weed-wacker and was

few hours. We were smart enough to put in shut-

cutting down weeds when one of the farmers, Tim

offs so I can easily control things off and drain

Thompson, came over and said, “Why don’t I bring

lines if I have to. You almost have to change your

my machine over here and I’ll get this done.” “I’m

way of thinking in terms of what a normal home

not very good at asking for help on things, but the next day I came out and everything was completely

does.” For Dahms, one of the biggest challenges


cleaned. He had done all of the old trees, brush,

right now is the plumbing. The property is not big enough for a drain field, so in terms of septic and

ditch, everything,” laughed Dahms. “Sometimes

If anyone’s wondering what inspires someone to

greywater, he relies on tanks. As Dahms explained,

people just stop by and see how we’re doing.”

take on a project of this magnitude, Dahms will tell

this project he needs to have completely tackled

you that it was a lot of life changes. After a divorce,

before moving on to the other spaces.

he bought the elevator as well as Porsche he’s wanted since he was eight-years-old. “It’s a total

“The thing with this project is, when you get

180 of what I was doing before, which is exactly

frustrated, you just have to laugh,” said Dahms.

where I think I was meant to be,” said Dahms.

“It is all overwhelming, but it’s exactly how I want

“Sometimes you can’t bring rational thinking into

it to be. I’m going through a propane tank about

it because it can kill the dream, so to speak. For

every two to three weeks which is usually $600 to

everything I know as an adult or as a responsible

$700 dollars. But, I don’t write a check to a bank

person, it doesn’t make sense. A banker is not

or landlord every month, so when the first of the

going to step in and loan me money for this.

month comes, I’m not stressed out about it.” One

What’s my resale value on this? Someone could

small perk is that Dahms actually gets free internet

buy it, but if I ever have an issue and have to go

by allowing the provider to use his elevator as a

to a realtor and have them list my house, it’s not

tower. He also won’t likely have a cooling bill in the

going to work. It’s a huge gamble, but in my eyes

summer as there happens to be two, 20-foot-deep

completely worth it.”

pits on the other side of the elevator with ice buildup in them. With a little pipe fabrication, these will serve as free, geothermal air-conditioning.

“Sometimes you can’t bring rational thinking into it because it can kill the dream, so to speak.”

Scott Dahms Dahms Design



“When you step back and look at this place, it’s a man and a mountain, really. The way we’ve approached this is small, little hills. We’ll get to the top eventually.”

Tom Meyer Project Manager, Dahms Design



With a view to the prairie and railroad beyond,

“We still have a long way to go in here. We’ve gone

Dahms built his living space within the old bin

through a good number of guys this year. What we

site of the elevator. Using many of the original bin

are doing is not for everybody, it takes a special

walls, which display the unique, stacked wood

breed I guess,” said Dahms. “I figure what better

referred to as cribbing, Dahms has given his living

way for an architect and contractor to show what

quarters an organic and raw warmth. Not at all

you can do than to take on turning an elevator into

influenced by design trends, he instead lets basic

a house. I’m proud to say it’s Dahms Design. Not

function and the historic elements of his space

everyone can do this type of work,” said Meyer.

speak for themselves. In fact, Dahms takes pride in using salvaged material whenever possible,

On the second level in loft-style quarters, is where

utilizing his own design sense to make it work.

Dahms bedroom, another small loft and future

He estimates that around 80% of the finishes he’s

second bathroom with steam shower is located.

used to build the living spaces have been salvaged

The space is functioning right now but is currently

or repurposed.

another project Dahms plans to complete down the road.



Displaying a bit of the elevator’s original character and personal nostalgia, Dahms displays skateboards and vintage signs on an original wall that once occupied the old manager’s office and electrical room for the elevator.

What looks like an old chalkboard on the wall of the shop is actually the original bin board that was once used to identify all 42 storage bins. It’s been here so long that there’s no point in moving it as you’d still see the impression of where it was. Meyer pointed out that between 33 and 35, you’ll find the open bay where Dahms apartment is now located. This spot was once the location of three of the elevator’s bins.



PHASE 2 “The goal we have for the winter is to try and find the right contact to take out all of the existing machinery. It’s currently through that door and goes up to 130 feet. Once we get rid of that, we can get into that space and reconfigure our shop so as to give us a lot more space,” said Dahms. “Eventually, we will have to repel down the inside of it and power wash each bin, getting rid of all the old grain dust and whatever else.” No stranger to the dangers of this project, Dahms is determined to find a means to conquer it.

RAISING THE ROOF ON RAISING KIDS “Now that we’re in, the boys love it here. They’re eight and five and this place is kind of like Peter Pan and the island for them. Our first summer was great when the boys didn’t have school. We were working on this place, we had a firepit and were grilling out every night.” For Dahms, part of the fun of raising two boys in a rural environment is creating an authentic,


small-town atmosphere for them to grow up in.

A skateboarder at heart, Dahms considers himself a big kid who has no intention of growing up.

“To open the garage door and watch your kids

Once the original equipment is removed in the

Inheriting some ramps from Watertown, South

roll out on their dirt bikes, that’s pretty cool,” said

bin space, Dahms has plans to put his focus on

Dakota, Dahms plans to build a skate park on the

Dahms. “There are a couple other kids in town the

creating two bedrooms for his sons. “Anything I do

north side slab. “I grew up skateboarding - if you

same age that come over. I had set up a pool and

in here will not going to be conventional. My boys

were skateboarding in the 80s in North Dakota, you

trampoline for them all summer. So, now the other

are going to have double-decker, two-story rooms,

were automatically classified as a drug-dealing

boys will come over and swim with mine, get out

so almost like little apartments. I’m just toying

satanist,” laughed Dahms. “It’s kind of one of those

and jump on the trampoline, then go ride their dirt

around with so many ideas. With a space this big,

classic stories where teachers think you’re never

bikes around, have Nerf gun wars and build forts.

we could have a 75-foot rock-climbing wall if we

going to turn out to be anything.”

It’s exactly the scenario that everyone talks about


when we were their age. It’s kind of how the old

These days, Dahms still enjoys tooling around

neighborhoods used to be. I’m not a helicopter

Beyond the living spaces, Dahms has been musing

on the skateboard, but he also loves being an

parent, I believe in letting them find a few things

about what to do with the additional square

unorthodox architect and contractor. “It’s fun, but

out for themselves, and I know the other parents

footage and height. One of his ideas for the future

I don’t wear nice shoes and I like having a level of

out here see it that way as well.”

is to create studio spaces for artists to come and

knowledge that in this day and age people treat

work. “I think having an element like that with my

you for what they see at face value. I like just flying

boys growing up here, would be extremely valuable

under the radar a bit. I’m 44 years-old and I don’t

to them,” said Dahms.

consider myself a grown-up. Why would I start now?”

Dahms Design Interested in following Dahm’s upcoming elevator adventures?

Scott Dahms

Midwest Nest Magazine will be keeping in touch with Dahms over the course of this project. Keep reading for exclusive

follow-up stories on the grain elevator’s progress.


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Like Mother Like Daughter Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by STUDIO THREE BEAU

Amidst our usual February freeze, we decided it was time to head to the lakes. This mother and daughter who both reside in the Detroit Lakes area, enlisted the help of Aubrey Costello at Showplace Cabinetry of Fargo to create and define their entertainment spaces. Just in time for warm, winter gatherings, we show you two unique bar designs in two completely different spaces. The first is the unfinished basement of Mike and Amanda Habrat and the second takes us down the road to Darryl and Mary Beehler’s family room where Costello used an outdated entertainment center space to create a sleek and contemporary wet bar.



Bar Project No. 1 Project number one is at the home of Mike and Amanda Habrat on Big Detroit. This project would offer Costello a clean slate with a completely unfinished basement. The focal point would be the stunning, full-service bar area creating the perfect retreat for lower-level entertaining.

CHALLENGES Since this project started as an unfinished

came up with a creative solution to hide the

“We had never built a house, but doing this was

basement with walls already in place, the space

existing ductwork. The bar space needed to

kind of like a mini-house building,” said Amanda

for the bar was pre-defined. An additional space

have one of the ducts in the ceiling, so instead

Habrat. “We had to figure out where light switches

beyond the bar was then designated the workout

of working around it, they worked with it to box-

go, ductwork and everything else, so it was nice

room which would be hidden by rustic barn doors.

out the entire ceiling. Combining the new ceiling

to have someone with a good eye to help figure

feature with inset pine and heavy crown molding

it out.”

Knowing that defined spaces almost inevitably

proved to be a perfect compromise, resulting in

come with challenges, Costello and the Habrats

another beautiful focal point.



THE DESIGN Costello worked with the Habrats to design their bar cabinetry in a unique Gun Smoke finish and leathered granite countertop. The lighter grey tone became the perfect backdrop and contrast for the shimmer of the antiqued mirror, subway tile backsplash. “We chose the mirrored backsplash because there are no windows down here and also, every old, cool bar I’ve been to has a mirror in the back so we thought that would kind of lighten it up a bit,” said Amanda Habrat.

“I think the color is kind of classic, something I don’t have to fix again in five years. We have cherry wood upstairs, so I just really wanted something lighter for down here,” said Amanda Habrat. “Aubrey gave me a lot of guidance, which is what I needed. I didn’t come into this knowing exactly what I wanted, I just had a general idea. It can be overwhelming, but she was really good to work with figuring out the color schemes, cabinetry, tile and countertops. I think she figured out what my style was and then she’d narrow it down to two options.”



Costello worked closely with the Habrats for the bar’s overall design and flow, making sure to include exact spaces to accommodate their behind-the-bar amenities, storage and appliances. Contemporary touches like the floating shelves and LED-lit backsplash create contrast for the antiqued mirror tile and leathered granite bar top. To give the bar top a more chiseled finish, Costello worked with Spaulding Stone to hand-draw the edge mimicking the look of a live-edge slab. They also included LED light strips underneath to illuminate the

The Finishes

bar’s unique design.

Cabinets – Showplace Cabinetry, Sterling door style in a Gun Smoke finish

Not wanting to display to guests everything in their upper cabinets, Costello

Countertops – Leather finished, Cavalete Granite

helped the Habrats choose water glass doors which still allowed for fun lighting

Installed by Spaulding Stone. Includes a chiseled edge

features, but made more practical use of storage.

on upper bar top with LED light channel cut into the stone underneath the upper bar top

To finish the look of their lower-level bar, Costello and the Habrats chose a

Backsplash – Jeffrey Court brand 3”x 6” tile in

wood-look tile in a herringbone design and industrial lighting elements. The

Yesterday’s Glass, from Syverson Tile & Stone

rustic barn door leading to the workout room and the wood-planked ceiling with

Hardware – Top Knobs, Juliet collection in Nickel with a

crown molding was completed by C&N Remodeling.

brushed stain Floor tile – Ragno USA brand, Woodcraft collection in Grigio from Syverson Tile & Stone, 4”x 28” tile, set in a framed herringbone pattern Contractor - C&N Remodeling Lighting - Lowe’s


Bar Project No. 2 The second project is in the Chesterfield addition home of Darryl and Mary Beehler, near Little



After living in their home for 21 years, the Beehlers felt that removing the outdated entertainment center would go a long way in updating their home. Soon, they began work to remove the bulky, existing entertainment center which once housed the T.V. To create a better flow into the family room,

Detroit. Once considering the high price of

the T.V. was then relocated to its new home above

acquiring tickets to the Superbowl, the Beehlers

the fireplace mantel.

instead decided to put that investment toward an entertaining space they could use all year long.

“This whole space was originally a built-in, drywall

Inspired by Costello’s work on their daughter,

entertainment center. The flooring had just been

Amanda Habrat’s basement, the Beehlers decided

replaced the year before, so we were careful

to enlist Showplace Cabinetry’s help to complete

to cover the existing flooring and also wrap our

their own bar project.

design around the corners, which would eliminate the cost of having to fix the sheetrock and retexture,” explained Costello.



THE DESIGN Built seamlessly into the existing space, Costello used Showplace wood cabinetry and designed this wet bar with a stunning, waterfall-edge, quartz countertop. Upper storage is perfectly styled with glass doors, inset LED lighting and floating shelves. For the Rustic Alder cabinetry, Costello worked with the Beehlers to choose the deep, Midnight stain and beautiful, chevron backsplash tile which sets the tone for elegant entertaining.

Costello designed the custom, Showplace wood cabinetry on the lower portion to hold up to 24 bottles, cleverly hidden amidst five pull-out drawers. “Basically, I wanted my pantry back, but I also wanted this space for entertaining,” said Mary Beehler. “Getting the bottles out of my pantry was awesome, I had cupboards again and more useful space. Also, the entertainment center was getting really outdated, so it was time to do something that would update the house a little more.”

Since this bar is located just off the kitchen and within the family room space, it didn’t make sense to have another fully functioning sink, so Costello and the homeowners opted for an ice bucket sink which can also drain.



“I got a lot of ideas from our daughter’s basement project, but we had much smaller space to work with, so Aubrey came and took some measurements and we went from there,” said Mary Beehler. “She gave a lot of suggestions and we compromised, but Aubrey was really easy to work with. It turned out awesome.” To add a unique, stained glass design element to the home, the Beehlers worked with an artist who happens to be Mary Beehler’s brother, Roger Reinardy. Reinardy designed the glass above the bar area, then the Beehlers finished it themselves.

The Finishes Cabinets – Showplace Cabinetry, Sterling door style in a Rustic Alder with Midnight stain. Countertops – Q Quartz brand, Calacatta Classique installed by Spaulding Stone in a 2 ½”

For more information, contact:

thick mitered edge, with waterfall legs.

Showplace Cabinetry - Aubrey Costello

Hardware – Schaub brand in a Satin Nickel finish

2553 Kristen Lane, Fargo

Backsplash Tile – Walker Zanger brand, 6th Avenue Collection, Chevron in Ink Matte


Contractor - C&N Remodeling



A White Wine Winter Words by Dan Hurder and Laura Botten Photography by M. Schleif Photography


Some wine enthusiasts suggest that winter requires red wine. While we adore a glass of red with a hearty bowl of beef stew or savory roast,



we just aren’t willing to put our whites away while the snow flies. So,

By consumption, the most popular white wines are

with our permission, dust off those white wine glasses and check out

Blanc. Moscato is leaving a mark with its surge in

a few of our favorites. Laura Botten and I are braving below zero temps

popularity, and Sweet Justice deserves its place

and taking you on an exploration of whites, starting with the classics.

showcase the range of styles produced.

WHAT MAKES WHITE WINES “COMPLEX”? • Sur Lie Aging – This means it had an extended contact with spent yeast cells. It adds texture and enhanced mouthfeel as well as flavors reminiscent of freshly baked bread. • Malolactic Fermentation (ML) - This converts malic acid (think tart granny smith apple) to the rounder and creamier lactic acid. And, a byproduct of ML is diacetyl, which is used in margarine to make it taste more like (light bulb moment) butter. • Oak Influence – This can be achieved through barrel aging or other sources and can add tannic structure, apple pie spice notes, vanilla, dill and a host of other tertiary flavors.

Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon

at the table. Our selections were intentional to



Chardonnay We’ll lead with Chardonnay, the “queen” of whites. We collectively cringe when we hear “I hate Chardonnay.” Challenge on! Most likely, the “right” Chardonnay has not graced your palate yet. The diversity within the category is vastly based on region and production methods. Winemakers can choose to make a very fresh, unoaked style that is all about the fruit or they can add complexity through a variety of techniques.

SEAGLASS Seaglass Chardonnay is an unoaked expression of this versatile grape that is simply about the fruit. A Santa Barbara County appellation (rare for the price point), yields peach, pineapple and melon flavors and aromas. This easy drinking Chardonnay would appeal to a Pinot Grigio drinker with its fresh, fruit-driven style.

ROMBAUER California Chardonnay came into its own in the mid-80s, and Rombauer was right there in the fold helping to define the quintessential expression of oaky, buttery, full-bodied Chardonnay. In fact, Rombauer-esque is often used to describe other wines of this style. Carneros fruit, sur lie aging, ML fermentation and nine months in French and American oak barrels yield a rich mouthfeel, tropical fruit, buttery notes and beautiful apple pie spice. Cold weather comfort foods like chicken pot pie or a more elegant meal of lobster tail pair beautifully with Rombauer.



Pinot Grigio It’s hard to think about Italy without thinking of Pinot Grigio. Enough said.

CANDONI Candoni is a classic Italian expression. Bartlett pear shines through on the nose and palate with a crisp, lingering finish. It’s easy and approachable nature makes it a crowd pleaser.

A TO Z Oregon is producing amazing Pinot Gris (the French term for Pinot Grigio) and A to Z is a market leader. While the grape variety is the same, Pinot Gris on a label suggests more intense fruit character and added complexity. Fabulous to simply sip, it pairs nicely with salads or dishes you would squeeze a lemon over. Pan fry some walleye and enjoy.

Sauvignon Blanc One of the more polarizing grapes, Sauvignon Blanc tends to evoke a “love it or hate it” response. Characteristics range from bell pepper and vegetal qualities to intense grapefruit, white peach and melon.

LOVEBLOCK Loveblock from Marlborough, New Zealand, is produced and owned by Sauvignon Blanc icon, winemaker Kim Crawford. We find this a more refined and elegant expression, lacking the aggressive acid and over the top grapefruit typical of the region.

CADE Cade Sauvignon Blanc is from Napa Valley, a warmer growing region. This yields riper melon fruit, a softer mouthfeel and more weight on the palate. The nominal blending of other aromatic grape varietals lends complexity.



Riesling Riesling, a personal favorite, is often underappreciated and oversimplified. One of the most esteemed white grapes, it runs the gamut from bone-crushingly dry to sweet, dessert wine. For those that dismiss Riesling because they don’t like sweet wine, the secret is to check the alcohol content on the bottle. Alcohol and sugar have an inverse relationship – the higher the alcohol, the lower the sugar. Seek out 9-10% alcohol content or higher if you prefer a drier style.

KINGS RIDGE At 12%, Kings Ridge Riesling from Willamette Valley, Oregon, is technically dry and showcases that Riesling is NOT the simple quaff many think it to be. Peach, green apple, and rose predominate, and the distinct petrol (think brand new yoga mat) aromas are a hallmark of the grape.

BOLLIG-LEHNERT PIESPORTER GOLDTROPFCHEN Approaching the other end of the spectrum is Bollig-Lehnert Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Spätlese. Try polishing off a bottle and saying that five times fast. This gorgeously complex bottling is from the Goldtropfchen vineyard, one of the most esteemed in the Mosel region of Germany. Spätlese means late harvest, suggesting more developed fruit character. At 8% ABV, expect more sweetness - perfectly balanced by crisp acidity..

Moscato SWEET JUSTICE Sweet Justice Moscato, produced by boutique Australian winery, Shinas Estate, has won over many Moscato naysayers. Only 500 cases are produced each vintage and astonishingly, over 300 are consumed right here in North Dakota. With a bit of a cult following, this is not your dorm room variety Moscato. It is ethereal in nature, with stone fruit and tropical flavors, and a touch of effervescence. You be the judge, but we bet Sweet Justice will win you over.

Dan Hurder is Managing Partner of Twist, Boiler Room This Riesling is a perfect partner with spicy side dishes like the jalapeno

and Chef’s Table Catering. Laura Botten is Fine Wines

poppers from Boiler Room but also pairs perfectly with spicy Thai or Indian

Manager of Johnson Brothers ND. For more information

cuisine. Only 700 cases produced and with a 91 point rating from the Wine

or if you want to chat about wine with Dan or Laura,

Spectator, this is a gem to seek out.


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