Page 1

design | cuisine | art | culture | architecture

edition 12

september 2018

Autumn in the City


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Autumn in the City On the Cover Downtown Wine Cooperative: Shayla & Cam Knutson Midwest Nest was invited to gather on the rooftops to experience the 38th Downtown Wine Cooperative event with local sommelier, Jean Taylor. To double the fun, hosts Shayla and Cam Knutson joined rooftop patios with their neighbors, Terry and Darla Johnson to pack in over 40 wine enthusiasts, ready to learn and taste. Learn more about this extraordinary event that’s gathered over 1,400 attendees and served an impressive 7,000 glasses of wine, in unique locations all over Downtown Fargo. Read more on page 12. September Cover photography by: M. Schleif Photography



Artist, Anna Lee: Gray Matter Series

The Pines: Countdown to Wedding #1

Lee with her company Workerby (pronounced worker-bee), has recently taken over an 800 square-foot studio near the Red River in Moorhead. See how this space and place would help her to redefine her artistry and rediscover community. With a renewed purpose that’s taken her back to her roots and ultimately, her love of abstract painting, Lee finds brilliance between the lines with her exhibit “Homecoming”, now on display at Luna in South Fargo.

If you missed our last coverage on Grain Designs’ new venue, The Pines, this is your chance to get caught up and follow their progress leading up to Pat Bresnahan and Nicolette Berge’s wedding on September 15. Soon, 17 acres of rural beauty will be transformed into The Pines, the area’s newest wedding and event venue, unlike anything you can imagine. The clock is officially ticking and this countdown ends with an “I do”.


Monte & Jerry’s Garden Party



Lakes Area Home Tour: At Home with Paula and Casady Thiel


Designer Homes: Robert & Melissa Leslie

Healthy @ Home: Essentia Health

This month, we met up with a local builder, Robert Leslie, to see inside his extraordinary personal home in The Wilds of West Fargo. This stunner by Designer Homes is 6,700 square feet of the latest design trends and amenities, you need to see before you build. Step inside their laid-back style with high-tech entertaining, and fun-filled features around every corner. As a family retreat for Robert, his wife Melissa, and their three children, home is truly where the heart is.

Now is a great time to make sure your pantry is well stocked to ensure school lunches and weeknight meals are a snap. To give you a helping hand in the kitchen, we caught up with Essentia’s Tara Ekren and shared some much-needed food prep advice from local expert, Jennifer Bednar - a Registered Dietitian with Essentia Health-Fargo. Find out how your recipe for success is just a simple meal plan away.


Lofty Ambitions: Trever Hill Design


Back to School: Growing Kids Preschool & Childcare


because emergencies don’t wait DR. CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON | EMERGENCY MEDICINE

We are called to make a healthy difference in people’s lives.



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 m. schleif photography j. alan paul photography studio three beau essentia health michelle warren photography kylee and christian creative lauren krysti grain designs exposure creative group

EDITOR tracy nicholson

GRAPHIC DESIGN - LAYOUT alison monke, creative monke

GRAPHIC DESIGN - ADVERTISING alison monke, creative monke dennis krull, 5foot20 design lounge

CONTRIBUTORS COPY EDITORS kelly schulz tracy nicholson

CIRCULATION darren gibbins hal ecker

trever hill tara ekren shayla knutson jennifer bednar janet iverson veronika pribyshchuk


MIDWEST NEST MAGAZINE 4150 40th Avenue South, #310 Fargo, ND 58104

susan hozak-cardinal tracy nicholson kari lugo darren gibbins sierra trosvik-marty

Read Midwest Nest Magazine online each month at For subscription requests go to For advertising inquiries in Midwest Nest Magazine or on, call 701-640-3284 or email

SOCIAL MEDIA susan hozak-cardinal tracy nicholson 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.




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hite ctu tur e | arc art | cul cui sine | des ign |


Fall into Faith

re 2017


by Desig

oct ob er


edition 1

Welcome to Chapter 12 of our Midwest Nest journey! For those of you who eagerly joined Susan and me, or encouraged our off-the-wall endeavors this past year, we want to extend our sincere gratitude. You changed our leap of faith into leaps and bounds, with every passing issue. Thank you to the community, contributors, team members and devoted readers, for making our first 12 issues a leap of faith we’ve loved. To celebrate the year, we cannot wait to formally invite our contributors, team, family, friends and readers to join our anniversary party on September 20 at a stunning Dietrich Homes build. Our gathering will include plenty of food, fun, cocktails and gratitude. We’re also orchestrating a unique, one-day design challenge you don’t want to miss. Imagine three rooms and a bevy of talented designers grouped into teams, all working together to out-design the other teams. The reveal will take place the night of our party and the decor will be donated to a non-profit that is near and dear to our hearts; Down Home. You’ll even be able to tour the finished rooms during the Fall Parade of Homes. Beyond our own celebration, September is brimming with tours, markets, exhibits and fundraisers that will provide plenty of design inspiration and fall fun. Mark your calendars and make sure to snag your mag - you’ll find Midwest Nest at every one of these local events! Progressive Architecture Tour: September 8 Down Home’s Hoedown Fundraiser: September 13 Artist, Anna Lee and the Gray Matter Series Launch @ Luna: September 15 (‘Homecoming’ show runs through September 29)

Publisher, Susan Hozak-Cardinal & Editor, Tracy Nicholson

Fargo Junk Market: September 21 - 23 Lakes Area Home Tour: September 29 HBA’s Fall Parade of Homes & Remodeled Home Tour: September 29 - 30, October 6, 7

With Midwest regard, Tracy Nicholson & Susan Hozak-Cardinal

contributors + team


Contributors + Team

Susan Hozak-Cardinal

Kelly Schulz

Alison Monke

Dan Francis

Morgan Schleif



Schulz is Midwest Nest’s Copy

Monke is the owner and designer

Francis is the lead photographer


Nest’s publisher and owner.

Editor and works full time in

at Creative Monke. She helps

for Midwest Nest and owner of


She graduated from Minnesota

marketing at Butler Machinery

many local small to medium-



photographer and founder of







contributing and




Company’s corporate office in



Fargo, N.D. He is Fargo’s only

M.Schleif Photography. With a

with a BS, and then from the

Fargo, N.D. She has a bachelor’s

profits speak their brand and

Master, Photographic Craftsman

degree in Graphic Design and

University of Mary, Fargo Center,

degree in Mass Communications

capture the audience’s attention


Public Relations from Concordia

with an MBM. Hozak-Cardinal

from Minnesota State University

through visual design. Monke



College, she found photography

is the Marketing Director and


a Master of

brings multi-faceted experience

currently vice president of the

to be a natural combination



Business Administration from

from working with a variety of

Professional Photographers of

in serving her abilities with

Smiles Cosmetic Dentistry and

University of Mary. She resides

companies. She received her BFA

N.D. and past board member

people and composition. She

a REALTOR® at Beyond Realty.

in North Fargo with her husband

in Graphic Design from MSUM.

of the FMVA. Francis brings

has a passion for connection,

She is also co-owner of The

and two children. In her spare

Monke designed Midwest Nest’s



community, and creativity which

Private Collection, a furniture



logo, develops ads and also

quality work to Midwest Nest,

leads to endless opportunities

rental business in Fargo.

thrifting, chalk paint projects,

completed the layout design for


in the F-M area. Her style

pretending to read books for

this September’s issue.

art and portrait images to our


book club and chasing after her

pages. He is looking forward


little ones.

to showing readers his unique

impression of whomever she

approach to his art that you

is photographing- allowing her

won’t see anywhere else. Francis

clients to be themselves and

works out of his downtown


Fargo studio and can be found

phase of life. A photographer


by day and pint pourer by night











Professional Francis

experience stunning












at Junkyard Brewing Company, she is an extrovert who is most inspired by atmospherics, conversation,



expression. She is eager to add her take on the vibrant lifestyle that is Fargo, North Dakota to Midwest Nest. To find more

Kari Lugo Fargo native, Lugo partnered

of her work, connect with her

with Midwest Nest to specialize

Dennis Krull

in business development and

Krull is the owner and creative

advertising sales. Twenty years

at 5foot20 design lounge in

in media have taken her through

Moorhead, M.N., where on any

national radio, television, and

day you will find him working

film markets as well as global




and artist. He received his BFA

her an interesting palette of

in Graphic Design from MSUM.

experience. Upon her return

He creates and photographs for

to the Midwest five years ago,

many different businesses, both

Lugo has held positions in both

locally and nationally. When he

media and marketing in Fargo.

is not designing or working in

She is happy to be living and

photography, he can be found

working back in her hometown

creating art with his encaustic

again, where she is also a


caregiver for her mother, who

president of Gallery 4 artist co-

has ALS.

op in Downtown Fargo.















or view her full portfolio at

contributors + team


Darren Gibbins

Trever Hill

Shayla Knutson

Gibbins is a believer in the

Opening his design business

Knutson is an NDSU graduate

power of print. An itch for

in 2009, Hill quickly secured

and local food writer with her



his spot as one of the top

blog entitled Sweetly Simple

awareness led him to pursue

designers in the F-M area.

Life. Her culinary skills are

a career in photojournalism

In 2016, Hill was named the

self-taught from her time in

upon graduating with a BS in

F-M’s Best Decorator in the

the kitchen at a young age.

communications at Minnesota

People’s Choice Awards and

She loves creating new recipes



has consistently ranked in the



top three for various, local

family friendly. Knutson hopes

throughout the Midwest for

nominations. As the owner of


the better part of two decades

Trever Hill Design and design

her love of food and Midwest

molded him into someone who

associate at McNeal & Friends,

culture. Follow her adventures


he takes on a wide range of


Are you? Marketing a product




Instagram @sweetlysimplelife.

or service doesn’t have to be




difficult. He understands that.

decorating and designing new

His role here is a simple one.

homes. Hill takes readers on

Get your brand noticed. Eat.

an exclusive tour of his latest

Sleep. Repeat!






University at




are share


healthy, with









projects, dissecting the design elements that create beautiful and






Hill his

clients and their families while simplifying and debunking a few design myths along the way.

Find more on Hill at

Tara Ekren Ekren


a media relations

specialist with Essentia Health in Fargo. As a member of the marketing and communications team, Ekren has the privilege of sharing stories about their mission to make a healthy difference in people’s lives. No stranger to the medical world, Ekren was raised in Langdon, N.D., where her dad was the hospital administrator and her mom a nurse. Ekren graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a few years later, landed in Fargo. She has worked in a mix of communications,


and event management roles during her career.



Downtown Wine Cooperative Words by Shayla Knutson, Sweetly Simple Life Photography by M. Schleif Photography

On a brisk night in August, we invited Midwest Nest to gather on the rooftops to experience our 38th Downtown Wine Cooperative event with local sommelier, Jean Taylor. To double the fun, we joined rooftop patios with our neighbors, Terry and Darla Johnson to pack in over 40 wine enthusiasts, ready to learn. To give our guests a night of wining and dining, my husband Cam and I prepared small plates and hors-d'oeuvres using recipes from my Sweetly Simple Life food blog. This perfect evening would mark 1,400 attendees and an impressive 7,000 glasses of wine served in unique locations all over Downtown Fargo.

wine & dine

DOWNTOWN WINE COOPERATIVE The event began in 2014 as a one-time gathering to further our wine education, but quickly progressed to a monthly event. Although the first event was at our home, our focus shifted to help others experience new downtown places and meet new people. We keep it very casual and proudly proclaim that there is no dress code and we don’t try and make it fancy. We believe wine should be approachable and doesn’t need to be stuffy.

Our local sommelier and educational host, Jean Taylor, has been in professional wine service for over 10 years, working in fine dining at esteemed, local hot spots like Maxwell's and Mezzaluna. When she's not teaching us the fundamentals of wine, she works for a boutique wine distributor called Small Lot, based in the Twin Cities.


wine & dine


PEOPLE & PLACES To experience more downtown locations, we've held the wine cooperative at a number of downtown condos, businesses and homes in the area. We've also ventured out to interesting locations we felt everyone should experience like, Troll Bar at the Sons of Norway, Elevate in the Loretta building, Sanctuary, Abovo, Woodrow Wilson apartments (one before renovation and one after), APT Creative Incubator Space, a 102 Broadway rooftop and many more!

LIFE & WINE Cam and I will soon be making the move to Bismarck, but we plan to keep our downtown condo and return often. We hope the wine cooperative will continue with Jean and we'll be making the trek home to attend whenever possible. To sum up our experience, I'll leave you with a note from my husband, Cam Knutson; "The biggest thing that I've learned from this is that wine is a life-long journey. There's no point that you're going to reach a peak and say, I've mastered everything there is to know about wine. You're going to keep learning throughout your entire journey in life - to just be intentional as you're talking about wine whether you're at an event, traveling or out for date night. When you have a chance to be thoughtful about what you're drinking and where it's from - read up on it, learn more and keep continuing on this journey to learn and enjoy wine."

2. Simplify the menu.


Sweetly simple

TIPS For Hosting


1. Give yourself plenty of time. Start prepping a day or two in advance. I prep everything I’m

Don’t try to make something

4. When someone offers help, accept it!

new. Stick with things you

Have them help with something

enjoy making and know taste

as simple as putting dishes


in the dishwasher or setting the table.

cooking ahead of time and set out all the serving dishes I’m going to use. Being prepared takes a lot of the stress out of hosting an event and will let you enjoy yourself more when the day arrives.

3. Set the right mood. To set the mood, turn down

5. Relax and enjoy yourself!

the lights, play some music

Nothing makes guests more

and pick up some inexpensive

uncomfortable than a nervous



or anxious host. It’s your party,

store, Costco or your local

so allow yourself time to have

farmers market.

fun and enjoy the company.



wine & dine


Onion Relish & Sausage Crostini • 1 package Kiolbassa Smoked Sausage (find this at Costco or Sam’s Club) • ¼ C. oil • salt and pepper • 1 med/lg yellow onion (finely chopped) • ½ C. balsamic vinegar • 3 Tbs. honey • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme • Pinch red pepper flakes • 1 ½ C. ricotta • 2 baguettes

For the Sausage:

For the Onion Relish:

For the Baguette:

Slice the sausage at a 45° angle into ½” to 1”

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the

thick pieces. Place the sausage on a grill, in

heat. Add the onions, thyme, red pepper flakes, ½

baguette diagonally into ¼ inch slices.

a grill basket on medium to high heat. Keep

teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring

Place the slices on a baking sheet and

a close eye on these as they cook very fast.

occasionally, until the onions are golden and tender,

brush with olive oil. Bake for 10 to 12

13 to 15 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and honey.

minutes or until they are golden brown.

Assemble the Crostini: Top the toasted bread with a dollop of the ricotta, a piece of sausage and a spoonful of the onion relish.

Candied Pecans • 4 C. pecan halves

• 2 tsp. cinnamon

• 1 large egg white

• ½ tsp. salt

• 1 Tbs. water

• 1 dash of cayenne pepper

• 1 C. sugar

Apple Manchego Salad • 5 to 6 apples (Fuji, Honeycrisp or Granny Smith) • 7 oz Manchego cheese • 1/3 C chives (chopped) • 1/4 C fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the egg white and water until completely combined. In a large mixing bowl add the pecans, egg white and water mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, cayenne and salt. Pour the cinnamon sugar mixture over the pecans and stir until all of the pecans are fully coated. Place the pecans onto the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 300°F for 45 minutes, stirring






Remove and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.

• 1 T olive oil • Pinch of salt Slice the apples into matchsticks. Toss the apples with lemon juice. Slice the cheese into matchsticks and add to the apples. Toss apples and cheese with chives, olive oil, and salt. Note: Do not make more than two hours ahead.

wine & dine


Whipped Feta & Tomato Crostini

For the Whipped Feta: Place the feta, cream cheese, 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a bowl and beat with hand mixer until smooth.

• 6 oz. feta

For the Tomatoes:

• 3 oz. cream cheese (softened)

Combine minced onion, garlic, vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/3 C. olive oil (divided)

and ½ teaspoon pepper. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

• 1/3 of a lemon (juiced) • 1 small onion (minced) • 1 Tbs. minced garlic • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar • 2 pounds cherry tomatoes (halved) • 3 Tbs. julienned basil leaves

Before serving, add the julienned basil.

For the Baguette: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice the baguette diagonally into ¼ inch slices. Place the slices on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are golden brown.

• 2 baguettes • 1/4 C. toasted pine nuts

To assemble the Crostini:

• Salt and pepper

Spread each slice of bread with whipped feta mixture. Place the tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with extra basil and toasted pine nuts.

Smoked Pork Belly Sliders For the Marinade: • 2-4 pound pork belly

Whisk together the garlic, ginger, hoisin

• ¼ C. hoisin sauce

sauce, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, sesame

• 2 Tbs. soy sauce

oil and pepper. Add the pork belly, cover

• 2 Tbs. honey

and place in the refrigerator for at least

• 2 Tbs. minced ginger • 2 Tbs. minced garlic • 2 tsp. rice wine vinegar • 2 Tbs. sesame oil • ½ tsp. pepper

3 hours. • 24-32 King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls • Cucumber

Smoked Pork Belly: Traeger Smoker Option: When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on smoke with the lid open until fire is established (4-5 minutes). Set temperature to

For the Pickled Carrots & Daikon:

275°F and preheat, lid closed, for 10-15 minutes. Place pork belly directly on

• 1 C. julienned carrots

For the Spicy Onion Mayonnaise:

• 1 C. julienned daikon radish

• ¼ C. mayonnaise

reaches 200°F. Remove from grill and let rest 10-15 minutes.

• ½ C. sugar

• 3 green onions thinly sliced


• ½ C. rice wine vinegar

• 2 tsp. minced garlic

• ½ C. water

• 1 tsp. sriracha

Stovetop Option: Thinly slice the pork belly. Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a pan.

• ½ tsp. smoked paprika

Add the pork belly and cook until crisp and browned, about 4-5 minutes.

Combine the carrot and daikon

• Dash of salt and pepper Serve pork belly on toasted Kings Hawaiian rolls with pickled daikon and carrots,

radish in a bowl. In a small pot, whisk together the sugar, vinegar and

Combine the mayonnaise, green

water. Bring to a simmer until sugar

onions, sriracha, smoked paprika,

dissolves; let cool for 10 minutes.

salt/pepper and garlic in a small

Pour the sugar mixture into the bowl.


Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

the grill grate and cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature

thinly sliced cucumber and spicy onion mayonnaise.

To see more of Shayla Knutson's Sweetly Simple recipes; Follow her on Facebook or Instagram @sweetlysimplelife

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Finding Grace in Gray Words by Tracy Nicholson | Photography by M. Schleif Photography Logo and behind the scenes photos by Kylee and Christian Creative, Lauren Krysti


In 2016, Fargo native Anna Lee said goodbye to her St. Paul abode and moved back to the area, leaving behind a plethora of accomplishments in her wake. Since her college days at MSUM and NDSU, she had spent 16 years working in the fashion industry, ranging from independent start-ups to a major retailer, all while developing a non-profit and line of hats and accessories. Today, Lee with her company Workerby (pronounced worker-bee), has taken over an 800 squarefoot studio near the Red River in Moorhead. This is the space and place that would help her to redefine her artistry and rediscover community.

AT THE HEART OF ART With a renewed purpose that’s taken her back to her roots and ultimately, her love of abstract painting, Lee would find brilliance between the lines with her exhibit “Homecoming”, now on display at Luna in South Fargo. Lee’s work as an artist and expert in product design and development in fashion and accessories, has allowed her to live a life that has taken her around the world. Both large corporations and independent companies readily embraced her technical skills and ability to blend them with creative vision. After spending much of her life working amidst the fast pace of fashion and manufacturing, Lee had begun to feel lethargic and less enthused about the role that had once inspired her. Upon reconnecting with an old friend in her hometown of Fargo, it seemed that finding love and planting new roots was just be the inspiration she was missing. One year before making the decision to return to Fargo-Moorhead, Lee founded her company Workerby, with a vision to remotely continue her work in product design and development. “I knew that I was going to be living here - it’s something that would allow me to maintain my career and grow it in ways that I really wanted to and still be located in the same city as my partner and his kids,” said Lee. “Getting to know them was really important to me, instead of being off in another city. I can create all I want, but without that connection to the people I really care about, it’s a lot more difficult.” Although Lee experienced a fair share of challenges in her transition, she quickly adjusted her perspective and embraced her roots.



THE HOMECOMING “Around the time I started getting ready to move back to Fargo, I started painting again - but it was coming out in these abstract paintings that were unlike anything else I’d ever done; I was painting my emotions,” said Lee. “I was trying to get in touch with my emotions, but I didn’t have words for them. It wasn’t as if I was just angry, it was just a time that I was trying to synthesize a lot of different things.”

COLLECTIVE CREATIVITY Pointing to a styled photo of a model with an

“When I moved to Minneapolis in my 20s, I thought ‘OK, now these are my people’. So many opportunities,

abstract painting backdrop, Lee explained that the

so much possibility, so many like-minded people. Now that I have returned home, I realize that these are

piece behind her is from the debut Gray Matter

my people too,” said Lee. “By some miracle, I am painting again after over a decade. I am making prettier

collection. To give it new life, she decided to ‘chop

pictures than ever, but now I have plenty to say. For the first time in ages, I am creating because I can’t

it up’. “The interesting thing about that painting is

not create. I am back on the soil I was planted in, and here I am being me.”

that the foundation of it was a piece of art that I made 20 years ago,” said Lee. “Something I’ve been doing is going over a lot of my old art and ridding it of any preciousness and turning it into something new.” With the idea of projecting healing powers into her art, Lee has found solace in developing a series she refers to as “Collective Paintings”. These paintings are created as a whole but are meant to be given or purchased as individual, mini abstracts. “We all have individual contributions to the greater whole. I use my art to make one big statement and everybody pulls a different piece of it for his or her own, something that makes sense to them,” explained Lee. “Recently, I did two larger canvases and gave them to a bride and groom so it was one painting together, but two separate

"For the first time in ages, I am creating because I can’t not create." Anna Lee, Workerby

canvases. They had the paintings up during their reception, then they were able to give prints of the art to the wedding party. I also recently made a painting that I turned into a textile that is being used in a wedding dress. So, the painting itself was a gift to the bride, then the fabric is being used in her dress.”



ART + FASHION For Lee, bridging the gap between art and fashion meant finding purpose in the middle ground. “Growing up in this area, I kind of had this inherent need for art to be functional so I always had this inner turmoil about just making pretty things,” explained Lee. “Now, as I start to develop more intention with my work and different directions, to me, the beauty of the work is what draws people in and the intention is the function or message of whatever collection I’m putting together.”

EMBRACING THE MIDDLE GROUND Two years ago, Lee ventured to Australia to hone her craft of millinery at a conference where she would learn new techniques in design. While searching social news feeds back home, she would come across a tragic event that would change the course of her craft. This was the week of the Philando Castile shooting and she was watching it unfold from two hemispheres away. As she scrolled through the endless feeds, she was struck with people’s raw emotion response and a backlash that she struggled to understand. “It broke my heart. One thing that was really shocking and frustrating to me was that there was an argument about whether it was a tragedy or not. It just hit me that we are so polarized that there is so little that we can agree on; something that’s clearly a tragedy seems to polarize people even further and that should not be the case,” said Lee. “What’s actually going to bring us together? How do we find the middle ground?”



Last year, she would find its purpose when The

Lee also collaborated with a team of other

withdrew into her work. Trying to perfect her free-

Rourke Art Museum held a Midwestern Invitational

artists including Kentucky-born illustrator,

form techniques using felt, she began to notice

with a ‘Revolution’ theme. This exhibit was the

Allegra Lockstadt, to create 12 Kentucky Derby-

that its design was emulating what she explained

platform Lee needed to expose the community to

inspired fascinators and hats. Each hat was

as “brain-like” ripples. “It all just came together in

the conversation behind the Gray Matter Series of

created to capture the essence of one of the

this moment of finding the gray in between black

hats. “This was a type of headdress that was worn

past Triple Crown Winners, paired with a hand-

and white,” said Lee. “It was turning into this gray

in pre-revolution Russia that denoted a female’s

drawn illustration of the horse and jockey.

matter of a brain - so that’s how my Gray Matter

status. You wouldn’t think it was a revolution piece

Series collection began. It was created to start

by looking at it, but the underpainting is basically

a conversation about finding the middle ground

my rage - I painted over that rage and vulnerable

- because I knew it was bigger than this event,

emotion in yellow, which represented her shield,”

however tragic it was. I blocked this hat during the

explained Lee.






same conference and it took just under a year to figure out exactly what to do with it.”

After the invitational, Lee would take her collection of hats away from the canvas but carry the billowing, yellow fabric within them as a continuing symbol of the tragedy, her responsive rage and ultimately, her shield. As a self-taught milliner, this would mark her first attempt at marrying her painting and her textile design.



SENSE OF SELF Gathering her observations, Lee struck another note in her Gray Matter Series: Sense of Self. “Sense of Self is about the heroine’s journey or another take on the hero’s journey, a natural story arc for a lot of mythologies, movies and action-adventures,” explained Lee. With this collection, she would analyze the anatomy of her mind, learning to portray humans for what they are - a constant process of deconstruction and reconstruction.

DISMANTLING JANTELOVEN For Lee, the Gray Matter Series would evolve into a hat collection, a film, and a 50-piece painting inspired by the Law of Jante, a concept that author and performer Kari Tauring had once told her about. “There are ten unspoken rules in the Law of Jante (Janteloven) in Scandinavian communities.” You’re not to think you are anything special. You’re not to think you’re as good as us. You’re not to think you are smarter than us.

Lee’s series of ocean-inspired paintings evolved into

You’re not to convince yourself you are better than us...and the list goes on.

a grant from The Arts Partnership to create scarves from her artwork, helping her to build up her textile

“It was meant to keep us humble as a community, but instead it keeps us bound by the limitations of our

skills. “I had four prints in four sizes. I sold those

surroundings. This work of art encourages conversation, awareness, and a new thought when it comes to

along with the hats and two custom lipsticks, Ruby

supporting the individual and their unique contributions to a vibrant, inclusive and thriving community.”

and Rosa, that I developed with the cosmetics company Elixery. Rosa’s the name of my niece.”

In an effort to evolve the dynamic, the following words were painted on the foundation of this painting, made possible by the support of The Arts Partnership: “We are special. We are all good. We are brilliant and are imagining an inspiring future where all can thrive. We benefit from new ideas an innovations in our communities. We each have important contributions to make. We can find humor in the human experience and in ourselves. We are all cared for and cherished for who we are. We each have knowledge and stories to share. We can be seen for who we are. We can see others for who they are.”

SENSE OF PLACE After the debut collection, Lee would go on to create a more whimsical collection entitled, Sense of Place. The painting and hat collection is inspired by time spent with her sister and niece on Long Island, New York.



MUSICAL MUSES As Lee dissected the process, she listened to the appropriately titled, Deconstruction by The Eels. This is the song she is working to gain copyright on to use as the backdrop for her four-minute film which she wrote and directed. “I think this process is something that everyone can connect to - she is trying so hard to pull it together and the chaos is overwhelming,” explained Lee regarding her film. “But it doesn’t have to be if we understand what is happening, and how to seek what we truly need.”

“There’s a natural progression of dismantling all of

For Lee, it’s about falling apart and rebuilding

the things that you think are you, but don’t feel

stronger, taking away the stigma of struggle and

like they are - then consciously rebuilding who you

mental health - reintroducing this chaos as simply

are. My goal for this next project is to start building

part of being human where it’s encouraged to seek

a conversation around the deconstruction and

help from those around us.

reconstruction of our lives as a natural process where we can ask for help and support others.”

PURPOSE + PERFECTION Throughout every collection, Lee continues to build on the idea of merging fashion and art as well as product with a purpose. “Color and shape and emotions are what draw people in,” said Lee. “In the past, those are things that I would have tried to use to build a perfect portrait, but now I just want to express an emotion and a feeling and see if people connect with that. Instead of trying to make things perfect, I’m just trying to make things real - finding perfection within that, wherever I can.”

SPEAKING OUT During the artist’s talk, Lee will debut her film and speak regarding the concept of deconstruction and reconstruction, investigating the role of the heroine’s journey, its impact on our mental health and our ability to connect. The film and photographs feature the AW2018 collection of one-of-a-kind Ruby3 hats, two 25-piece “collective” paintings, two digitally printed scarves derived from these paintings, and two custom lipstick colors from the Elixery. “An artist talk will feature a panel discussion with women in the community who are doing the work to keep us connected, empowered, and engaged with the work that needs to be done to deepen our Sense of Self, while establishing that we are not alone on our respective journeys,” explained Lee. “September is Suicide Awareness month, so a portion of my sales from the show will go to NAMI Minnesota; the National Alliance for Mental Illness. For me, this is really about using art for a cause, but it’s also my business, so I am selling the work, but I’m doing it in a way that I can keep doing the work,” said Lee.

Meet the Artist: Anna Lee Dan Francis Photography


Whether you want to have an extraordinary culinary experience amongst fine art, learn about Lee’s artistic process, or help donate to a worthy cause - Lee’s show, entitled ‘Homecoming’, is a must-see for those in search of a more beautiful middle ground.

Although one collective painting from the latest collection is already on display at Luna in Fargo,

“Homecoming” Exhibit

The Gray Matter Series is concurrent with Lee’s show,

her official launch for the Sense of Self film and hat

Artist Talk and Gray Matter Series Launch:

“Homecoming” running through September 29 at

collection will be on September 8 in Minneapolis

September 15, 2018 | 1:00 p.m - 3:00 p.m.

Luna. The event is free and open to the public.

and September 15 at Luna. The location is meaningful to Lee; the last solo show she created

Luna Fargo -1545 South University Drive, Fargo | @luna.fargo

View her collections and blog:

was in 1997, also at Luna. This time, her solo show

Shop and find local workshops:,

will be entitled ‘Homecoming’.

@workerbystudio | @ruby3annalee





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Everyone's Cordially Invited to... MONTE & JERRY'S GARDEN PARTY

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M. Schleif Photography

When a petite garden soiree becomes a fullblown fundraising affair, you can bet that Monte Jones and Jerry Erbstoesser have something to do with it. This dynamic duo has become well-known for their annual get-togethers during the holidays, and now more recently, their end-of-summer, garden gatherings. Take a walk down the block and see inside their quaint garden party turned inclusive block party. When this couple decides to entertain, the theme is always, 'The more the merrier'.

GAINING A GARDEN Last summer, we heard that Jones and Erbstoesser had recently transitioned from a downtown condo to a new home in West Fargo. Their new, larger home meant gaining a backyard so Jones could once again pursue his love of gardening...and of course, garden parties. It wasn't long before their July 29th plans for a quaint garden party escalated. Their small gathering had become a full-blown, inclusive block party with a bevy of supportive sponsors and the Front Fenders entertaining the crowds. To give the event a meaningful purpose, the couple reached out to United Way and set plans in place for a silent auction and proceeds to benefit their cause.



GREETINGS FROM THE GARDEN Midway through Monte and Jerry's block party, we headed to the backyard to see their relaxing retreat including a pool, hot tub and garden gazebo. Following a charming stone pathway, we took a tour through the wildflowers, ponds, bird baths and whimsical sitting areas. While Erbstoesser steers clear of the garden work and focuses on pool maintenance, Jones is always at work gathering rocks, placing stepping stones, bird baths and an array of floral he aptly names after Hollywood characters - a nod to his early years in theater.


In just one summer, Jones has transformed a vacant field into a beautiful, backyard retreat. "The Maple trees are Fire Red Maples, so I've named them Scarlett and Neely O'Hara - Scarlett's from Gone with the Wind and Neely is a character from a really bad movie that nobody knows about called Valley of the Dolls," laughed Jones. Next, we meet a Korean Willow he refers to as Winifred and another as Wilimena. "The Wisteria on the lattice is Whinny. I'm still trying to think of a really great sister act to name the Poplars."



[IN]CLUSIVE INVITES "The reason it all started years ago, is that we have all of these people that we really like, but they don't know each other. So, we thought if we really like these people...let's get them all together to meet the other people that we really like," explained Jones. "I don't know exactly what it is we do, but the feedback that we get from people about these parties validates everything that we do. This is just what brings us joy." "We extended our invite to everyone in Brooks Harbor and also over to the Eagle Run neighborhood. One of the first to arrive was a couple with their young son; they had just bought a house in Brooks Harbor a few months ago and they didn't know anybody. I told them to come on in and we'll introduce you - you'll know everybody by the time you leave," said Jones.

From left, party guests; Don & Dianne Swenson, Lois & Roger Koppang

"The garden parties have always been fun. At the first one we went to, back at their historic home, it was just the most eclectic group of people - we saw pink hair, clergyman, elderly folks bringing hotdish, a neighbor playing piano in the backyard and everything you can imagine," laughed Dianne Swenson. "They are wonderful guys; we love them and when we're invited, we definitely try to be there." "I think the inclusive side of the party is great they love everybody and that's what it's about," said Lois Koppang.

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD... When Jones and Erbstoesser move into a new neighborhood, you'll definitely know when they arrive. "Either you're going to like us or you're going to hate us," Erbstoesser laughed. "This is who we are; we like to entertain, so we entertain. Once the neighbors found out about this garden party, they were completely on board with everything, even the live band. They were all asking what they could do to help."

"Bottom line is, it's not about us, it's about what we can help bring to the community this time the community gave back far more than we did." Monte Jones

"We haven't even been here a year yet, and the whole street is wonderful," said Jones. "Every Friday and Saturday night we have our garage doors open, we walk the street - people have bonfires in their driveway - it almost reminds me of being at the lake, minus the water."



GATHERING SUPPORT Gathering supporters, the two soon found out that many local businesses were willing to donate auction items, food, time and talent to their party. Happy Harry's donated 10 cases of wine and 30 cases of beer while Proof Artisan Distillers coined a specialty drink for the occasion. An array of donated auction items included NDSU football tickets, theater tickets, plaques and everything in between.

GIVING BACK IN A BIG WAY When the day was done, Jones and Erbstoesser had officially raised $4,661 with the help of their sponsors and the community! On August 20th, Jones and Erbstoesser presented one giant, garden party check to United Way of Cass-Clay's Kristi Huber and Travis Christopher. From left, Kristi Huber-President, United Way of Cass-Clay, Jerry Erbstoesser, Monte Jones, and Travis ChristopherResource Development Director, United Way of Cass-Clay

MEET MONTE & JERRY Based on Jones' bigger-than-life personality, it

"When I was growing up in this area, I had nothing

would be easy to assume that he was born and

to compare myself to," said Jones. So, when we

raised in the big city. In reality, he was born and

got married, we decided to do it very publicly. That

raised in Fargo as the son of a farmer. Coming from

night, I thought we were making a statement of

a conservative family and community, he decided

some kind, then I realized, that the only people

that he wouldn't be able to stay. With big dreams in

that were making a difference were those 900

mind, he packed his bags and headed to New York

people that chose to join us for our celebration.

where he lived an extraordinary life in theater and

That's amazing to find that acceptance right here

dance. It wasn't until his return in 2003, to open the

in Fargo, North Dakota."

infamous Monte's restaurant in Downtown Fargo, that he met his life partner, Jerry Erbstoesser.

"If there's even one poor farm kid like I was, left out on the farm, with no reassurance that you'll

Their venture into party planning would begin

be accepted - just look at how the community's

with their 104-year-old, six bedroom house in

embraced us four years ago...and now today."

the historic Hawthorne neighborhood. Having a mutual love of entertaining, the two eventually found adjacent careers at Delta by Marriot Erbstoesser as the Banquet Manager and Jones as the Restaurant Manager for Urban 42. In 2014, the couple threw their biggest party to date - their

Garden Party Sponsors:

own wedding comprised of 350 at the ceremony

Delta by Marriot, United Way, Happy

and nearly 900 at the reception.

Harry's Bottle Shop, Firestone, Bob 95, Front Fenders, The Teehive, Proof Artisan Distillers,

Jerry Erbstoesser & Monte Jones




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Luxury & Livability

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by J. Alan Paul Photography

This month, we met up with a local builder, Robert Leslie, to see inside his extraordinary personal home in The Wilds of West Fargo. This stunner by Designer Homes is 6,700 square feet of the latest design trends and amenities, you need to see before you build. Step inside their laidback style with high-tech entertaining, and fun-filled features around every corner. As a family retreat for Robert, his wife Melissa, and their three children, home is truly where the heart is.

A PASSION FOR BUILDING When Designer Homes' founder, Robert Leslie, decided it was

I personally work with clients on every build when it comes

time to rebuild, the goal was all about fusing extraordinary

to the design elements of their home; I really pride myself

design with the latest in technology and amenities. "This house

on the relationship I have with each of those clients."

will host private tours, by appointment, so that we can walk our clientele through all of the different ultra-custom features

Nearly every inch of Leslie's six bedroom, six bath home

that are now available," said Leslie. "Our clients deserve to

is automated, controlling each room's specific lighting,

know the latest trends and technology in new homes, and it's

shade controls, media, security and audio settings. "It's

our job as home builders to always be educating ourselves

great to be able to show people all of the different things

on new trends, as opposed as just knowing how to build.

we do, and also showcase our subcontractor's work."


LAID-BACK LUXURY "Our family and our style is laid back; it's kick your feet up, enjoy your home and enjoy your family," said Leslie. "We’re not fancy people and I appreciate every style of living, but for me, I wanted our home to be a place where we could just be at home and be comfortable."




Near the great room, Leslie displays Designer Homes'






patterned stair railing, fabricated by Straightline Design. These are just a couple of the endless features that Designer Homes can bring into their homes, giving each client their own signature look.

HEART OF THE HOME In the kitchen, Leslie designed the custom cabinetry with Braaten Cabinets and worked with Spaulding Stone to create the three-inch-thick, quartz waterfall countertop. A gourmet kitchen and appliance package is featured, including a more modern, raised dishwasher design. Entertaining is made easy with a spacious butler's pantry which doubles as a second kitchen. This space showcases multiple storage options, another set of gourmet appliances and unique amenities, hidden behind closed doors.



PRISTINE PRIVACY To offer their homeowners a well-rounded experience to complete the interior or exterior design, Designer Homes offer additional services through two different divisions. "Through EnVision Builders, we are able to provide the install and design of decks, fences and basement finishes. We also offer designer window treatments and window films through our subsidiary company, Designer Window Treatments," said Leslie. "A lot of people don’t want to put blinds on their windows, but they still want their privacy. This is a linen look and it’s simply a film we apply to the windows; if you get tired of it in two years and you want a different look, you peel it off and you can easily replace it. All of the windows on the back side of the house have a custom film which blocks out around 99% of ultraviolet rays. This will help protect your flooring, furniture and cabinets from fading."

CONTEMPORARY MEETS VINTAGE For Melissa Leslie, the home's host bar, pantry and built-ins provided the perfect backdrop for her vintage dishware collections, in cheerful tones of Hazel Atlas, Jadeite, Blue Charm and Ruby Red. "It adds a pretty pop of color, but I also think it makes a house feel like a home because of its sentimental value," said Melissa Leslie. "My inspiration comes from my grandma and my mom; they always made meals the most important part of our day as a family."

To perfectly complement the space, Designer Homes custom-built Leslie's oneof-a-kind dining table base with three-inch-thick quartz to mimic the adjacent kitchen design. Furniture design is just one of the many features his company can now offer clients who crave custom.



MASTERFUL SUITE Custom dresser built-ins with waterfall-edge, quartz countertops, white shiplap and tray ceilings make this suite any homeowner's dream. Their masterful retreat also comes complete with a private patio, double crown molding and LED strip lighting.

Inside this Designer Homes master bath, the Leslie's start their day with plenty of natural light, gorgeous ceramic tile, clean white finishes and a spacious walk-in shower. "I love big spaces, so to me, this is how I want to start my day," said Leslie. "The tiled walk-in shower has interior and exterior controls, glass doors with a custom film for privacy, as well as more appealing, tile drain basins. It's also a steam shower with two separate steam units and five shower head options for each person."

LOWER LEVEL LUXURY In the Leslie's lower level, Designer Homes worked with Straightline Design to create the custom wine racks in a glass-enclosed space between the bar and theater areas.

With custom wood columns and LED lighting,

"We have seating for 12 and we worked with Custom

guests are greeted with thick quartz, waterfall

Cinema & Sound to incorporate the best theater

countertops and seating for four. This alcove

features like silver lenticular screen technology, so

features a beverage center, ice maker, dishwasher

you can watch a movie and get a perfect picture,

and wine bar with a separate chamber for

even with the lights on," said Leslie. "It actually has

temperature control.

the LED built into the back side, so you can change it to over 100 different colors.



EXTRAORDINARY EXTERIOR "Tricked out and lit", might be the most accurate phrase to describe the Leslie's stunning exterior with stamped concrete and stone surroundings. Directly off the home's back entrance, guests can enjoy the pond view through tempered glass railings in the patio's dining area, fire pit, playground or custom-designed, outdoor kitchen and grill station with granite countertops.

In the backyard, Leslie wanted the pond, but not the slope. As a solution, he incorporated an eightfoot retaining wall that extends all the way across the back, with varying levels stepping down to another level-ground yard near the pond.

If that's not enough to keep you entertained, keep walking and you'll find the salt water pool with automated cover, spa, built-in fireplace cove and the garage room; which is fully equipped with a poolside bath, flat screen, state-of-the-art sound system, smart home technology, cozy seating, game room and built-in storage room. There’s also wireless hubs throughout the entire house, so you never have a poor signal, even around the pool.

Leslie's stunning, fireplace cove is a jaw-dropping, limestone haven with a massive flat-screen, fireplace, automatic shade controls to control sunlight, wind and mosquitos - as well as color-changing LEDs to coordinate with your favorite team.

"As a builder, I feel it’s our responsibility to have a design background. For me, when I built BUILDING BETTER We all know that Designer Homes can wow us with their ultra-custom, luxury line of homes; but if given the challenge, they're ready to show off what they can do in other areas. "People don’t know that we can

this house, I didn’t just design a house, I designed the home around

build high quality in a lower range like $275,000 to $500,000 including lot," said Leslie. "This year, we'll still

this location. We kept every detail

be focused on the high-end, ultra-custom homes, but we're excited to showcase a few examples of this

of this land in mind and designed

type of high quality at a different price point."

the home around maximizing the space and the views."

Find the Finishes:

Theater seating -

Builder - Designer Homes

Metal fabrication - Straightline Design

Designer - Cheyenne Jundt, Designer Homes

Spa & fiberglass pool - Hot Springs Spas

Cabinetry - Braaten Cabinets

Playset - Rainbow Play Systems

Countertops - Spaulding Stone

Plumbing & HVAC - Precision Plumbing

Furniture - Scan Design

Drywall - Red River Drywall

Tile & flooring - Floor to Ceiling Carpet One

Exterior dryvit and stone install - Ottertail Stucco & Stone

Home automation & theater system Custom Cinema & Sound

Siding - Knoke Seamless Siding

For more information, contact:

Concrete and stamped patios - All-Finish Concrete

Designer Homes/Remax Legacy

Fence - Envision, a division of Designer Homes

4342 15th Avenue South

Electrical - K&D Electric

Suite 105, Fargo

Window films - Designer Window Treatments, a division of Designer Homes Power shades on patio doors - Pella Windows Power shades in bedrooms - Kateva Glass door fabrication - Frontier Glass Fixtures, lighting, plumbing and appliances Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

Home security - Laser Systems Landscaping - Scenic Landscaping Sprinkler system - Aqua Lawn Stone supply & fireplace - Hebron Brick

Robert Leslie, Designer Homes




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Lofty Ambitions Words by Tracy Nicholson, Trever Hill Photography by J. Alan Paul Photography



After six years in their Downtown Fargo lofted condo, Jesse Masterson and designer Trever Hill decided it was time to tone down the bold colors and soften the hard lines of their contemporary abode. Sleek lines and rich tones had always been Hill’s preference, while Masterson favored comfortable fabrics and monochromatic tones. Hill knew that in order to find a happy medium, this time he’d have to compromise. The only way to design for a style that wasn’t his own was to make his husband his client...without him knowing, of course.

OPPOSITES ATTRACT When it comes to Hill and Masterson’s style, thankfully,






has better taste than me, so I trust his opinion. I occasionally pick out accessories, but he’s not usually on board with it,” laughed Masterson. “I’ll give my input on the pillows and throws. If I don’t like something, I let him know.”

START LARGE & GO SMALL... “I’m so used to doing everyone else’s remodels, I figured it was time to put a little time into our


own space. When working with clients, I always

“This is the fourth update that we’ve done to

tell them to start large and go small. What I mean

change out furnishings and repaint,” said Hill. “The

by that is, we start with the home itself, then

way that we had our home most recently, was just

focus on furnishings, and lastly accessories. Oddly

really not Jesse - it was very contemporary and

enough, I did the opposite and didn’t listen to my

colorful. I thought, well, I do this for my clients

own advice,” laughed Hill. “We wanted to change

all the time, but this time I made Jesse my client,

things up and switching out furnishings is a quick

without him knowing, and tried to do his dream

and relatively easy change. We then had Weyer-

living room. I watched him when pieces started

for-Hire paint our space one solid color. Long gone

coming in, and he loved all of it. One day, he told

are the days of colored accent walls. We knew we

me that this was his favorite living room we’ve

didn’t want to spend much but needed to make

ever had. I said, ‘Perfect, because you were my

the most of each dollar spent.”

client’,” laughed Hill.



KITCHEN In the kitchen, Hill and Masterson repainted the cabinetry in Repose Gray by Sherwin Williams and left the original hardware and appliances. “Even though the cabinetry is gray, a lot of people think it’s white when they first see it,” said Hill. “The difference is that although the light gray may have the same overall lightening effect as white cabinetry, its finish is a little more subtle than the bright, glaring result that pure white tends to have.” To complete their kitchen remodel, the couple had a new faucet and sink installed as well as countertops by Northern Stone. To save money, but still achieve their high-end look, Hill chose an MSI Quartz that perfectly mimics a Calcutta Marble. The kitchen wall art is photography that Hill and Masterson came across on a trip to New Orleans. “It was at this late night art expo that they have in an alley - it’s such a cool event,” said Hill. “The photographer told us that this is how it was right after the city flooded, he didn’t touch or move anything - we just thought it was really interesting.” “I really like designer and potter Jonathan Adler, but his work is really pretty expensive,” said Hill. “One of the ceramic pieces near the sink is an actual Jonathan Adler, the other that’s almost identical, is a piece that I found at O’Day Cache.” “Even though the flooring, railings and trim have an orange tone to them, to stay within budget, we decided to work with them, lending cooler tones to the surrounding spaces,” said Hill. “Changing those features out would have been really expensive and time-consuming, so instead, we opted to do more of a light refresh on the space. We did paint the trim just under the cabinets so it had a more cohesive look. A common question I get asked often by clients is, ‘Can I keep my trim and paint my cabinets?’. I think this really shows that yes, you can.” “Since this is a lofted condo, from the upstairs, guests are able to see the unfinished tops of the cabinets. As a solution to hide this, we brought in this large piece of reclaimed wood that was from my grandma’s barn,” explained Hill. “The art is a scene from New York in 1930 that we found at Ikea a long time ago. Displayed in front, are Starbuck’s collector’s mugs from their Architect Series - we used to collect them everywhere we traveled.”

RAW EDGE TILE “For our kitchen tile, I wanted there to be some movement with it and be in a unique design that I haven’t worked with before. I found the backsplash at Lowes for $6.95 a square foot. It’s an inverted trapezoid that was displayed horizontally, but we decided to flip it vertically to create a really unusual design with a raw edge,” said Hill. “I loved that it didn’t have a perfectly straight line; with cabinets always being a little inset, I think it gives the wall an interesting finish with a Midcentury modern appeal. My friend, Ben Anderson of Benjamin Custom Homes, taught me how to tile and grout so we did the install together.”



DINING ROOM “In the dining area, we switched out the lighting from a company called Jeffan and found our table and chairs at McNeal & Friends. We loved the unique texture of the table - it’s a rough, raw marble, but they sealed it and crafted it with a more industrial, steel ring around it,” said Hill. “We have stone-washed slipcovers on the bench and dining chairs - these are from FourHands, also found at McNeal & Friends.”

Because of the small space, Hill and Masterson

“We used to have storage cubbies that extended

Hill and Masterson found the glass art case on

wanted to create as much guest seating as

vertically up this wall, but since we moved the

clearance at McNeal & Friends and thought it

possible, so a five-foot bench flanked on the wall

bench there, we flipped them on their side and

would work perfectly to display the wood art piece

would be beautiful and functional. The pillow on

moved them to the other wall. It’s one of the only

by local artist, Dale Cook. The large-scale piece

the bench is a screen-printed art piece by local

pieces that we kept in the refresh, just because it

on the wall behind it is another stunning work by

Jessica Wachter, as well as the three stunning

works really well for extra storage for art, pottery

Bismarck artist, Jessica Wachter.

paintings above the bench.

and glassware,” said Hill.



LOFTY LUXE The newest statement piece in the upstairs bedroom is a grey linen, textured headboard and frame that happens to be higher than the average bed. “I upgraded the nightstands from Wayfair but kept the bedside pendants the same,” said Hill. “We added in some driftwood art pieces from Target and of course, our bunny art above the dresser. We got the bear’s head for a Christmas present and I think it works so well in the space,” said Hill.



Across the open expanse on the opposite end

“I prefer comfort, so this sofa from McNeal &

of the bedroom, the Masterson’s favorite space

Friends is the perfect compromise. It has the

was originally designed to be a second bedroom.

straight lines, and it’s deep and cozy. I also love the

Instead, Hill transformed the open space and

monochromatic look,” said Masterson. “After the

closet into a living room and TV den. To give this

remodel, it just feels so much more inviting and

room renewed purpose, the couple added all

the furniture choices are much more comfortable.”

new furnishings, accessories and lighting. “We repainted all of the walls, but kept the same color throughout the upstairs and downstairs,” said Hill. “We have pine on the lofted ceiling that was here when we moved in and I think it works to keep some warmth in the space, especially with the grey tones of the Baby Elephant paint color.” To give the living room a refreshed look, Hill turned to a mix of sources like McNeal & Friends, SCHEELS Home & Hardware, HomeGoods, Eco Chic Home, Furniture Mart and finds from market. “With the smaller footprint up here, we had to buy for the space. These are actually dining chairs from McNeal & Friends that we’re using as side chairs,” explained Hill.



Meet Beverly Hill, Trever and Jesse’s adorable, bunny roommate. This Mini Lop hopped into their lives from Detroit Lakes and just turned 3-years-old in May. According to Trever, she’s most active at dusk and dawn, spends her day devouring lettuce and carrots, and has taken a completely unfair preference to Jesse.

Hill found the ottoman/coffee table on clearance

“When you do this for a living, your own project

at Furniture Mart. Although he wasn’t in love with

always gets put on the backburner. When it’s a

the original bright orange tone, he was in love with

client, I devote specific time to put the project

the price and shape, which he knew would look

together,” explained Hill. “Since it was my own

fantastic reupholstered in a leather. “You don’t

and I had to piece it together in my spare time,

always have to love the fabric of an item if you like

I noticed how much longer it takes. We also had

the shape and the style of it. If it’s a really good

some back-ordered furniture, so the project took

price, you can usually get it reupholstered and

nearly a year for us to complete. If this was for an

then you have a one of a kind, brand-new piece of

actual client, it would have taken a small fraction

furniture,” explained Hill.

of that time. That’s the same thing I hear from a lot of my clients. Even if they enjoy or are capable

“The industrial floor lamp is from O’Day Cache -

of doing it themselves, they know at the end of the

It was gifted to me by a friend and client. I had

day, the project might not get done, so they just

picked it out for their space, but they weren’t quite

need to hire someone to complete it.”

sure it was for them. They knew I loved it, so they bought it for me,” laughed Hill.

“We’ve lived here six years now and we knew it was getting outdated, but we love our space; it’s


affordable and we love the downtown location,”

Since Hill and Masterson were trying to stick

explained Hill. “We just didn’t want to move at this

to a budget, Hill kept his eyes peeled for great

point in our lives. So, investing a little bit of money

deals. “We love these Jamie Young lamps. They’re

into the home we love, made the most sense.

typically at least $300 each, but we found them at

After a little refresh, it feels like a completely new

HomeGoods for $40,” said Hill. “This white-washed

space. We can keep our roots planted, and once

twig light was around $50 - it was from a company

again be really happy to come home.”

that actually went out of business. You can find the Fiddle leaf fig tree at Eco Chic Home and the macrame wall art at HomeGoods. For any exposed nails, we used decorative nails from McNeal & Friends.”

Find the Finishes: Living room standing lamp - O’Day Cache Living room area rug & Fiddle Leaf Fig tree - Eco Chic Home Living room sofa and accent chairs - McNeal & Friends Living room lamps - Jamie Young, HomeGoods Living room mirror - SCHEELS Home & Hardware Living room macrame - HomeGoods Dining light - Jeffan, McNeal & Friends Dining area rug - Wayfair Dining table, bench & chairs - FourHands, McNeal & Friends Art display case - Hickory, McNeal & Friends Kitchen countertops - Northern Stone Kitchen tile backsplash - Lowe’s Cabinet paint - Repose Gray, Sherwin Williams Wall color - Baby Elephant, Clark & Kensington Bedside tables & dresser - Wayfair Bedside light pendants - Gordman’s Bedroom bear head - Target Bedroom bunny art - HomeGoods Bedside artifact art pieces - Target Bed & Re-upholstered ottoman - Furniture Mart Painting - Weyer-for-Hire

For more information, contact: Trever Hill Design

3-Light Flush Mount

B E S T. DECISION. EVER. When it comes to your dream home – making sure it is perfect means tons of tough decisions. Let our knowledgeable product experts relieve the stress and restore the fun while introducing you and your design team to our extensive collection of products from the most sought after brands. Request your



©2018 Ferguson Enterprises, Inc. 0818 927307

appointment today at





In our last story introducing The Pines, we captured the guys of Grain Designs swinging


golf clubs on a grassy plot of land, slated for their new venue, just South of Fargo. This month, we revisited the crew and instead found them swinging hammers on a framedin, concrete foundation. By mid-September, 17 acres of rural beauty will be transformed into The Pines, the area's newest wedding

Words by Tracy Nicholson

and event venue, unlike anything you can

Photography by M. Schleif Photography

imagine. The clock is officially ticking and this

Renderings by Grain Designs

countdown ends with an "I do".










September 15, the guys of Grain Designs are hard at work finalizing the construction for The Pines and finishing the remodel of the adjacent home on the property. Fittingly, the first couple to get hitched at The Pines will be Grain Design's own, Pat Bresnahan and his fiancé, Nicolette Berge.

WRAPPING UP CONSTRUCTION "We are focused on getting the venue weddingready before that date, but we know we will still have a few construction projects to finish afterward," said Bresnahan. "The things that won't be done for our own wedding will most likely be aesthetic projects. We have another wedding booked for the end of October, so, without question, we will have any remaining work wrapped up by mid-October.” “The most exciting part right now is actually seeing the building start to come together and being able to see how grand the space is. It's one thing to talk about how it's going to be 35 feet to the peak, but then you stand in there and it's just amazing to experience."

Grain Designs & The Pines founders; from left, Phil Bruckbauer, Blain Mikkonen, Grant Koenig, Pat Bresnahan

Transparent venue image by Exposure Creative Group



INSIDE THE PINES The Pines is designed to be almost 9,000 squarefeet and will accommodate 350 plus for a seated dinner. The interior is slated for a clean and classic white with black detailing and rustic, reclaimed wood elements. Design elements will include exposed beams, white reclaimed wood paneling, farmhouse windows and exposed concrete floors. Within the venue, they will offer a prep kitchen for the caterers provided by Chef's Table Catering, full bar set-up, outdoor patio and private men and women's restrooms. The venue will be equipped for year-round use and have capabilities to accommodate outdoor ceremonies, with ample space to move indoors in inclement weather. There will also be designated areas for outdoor wedding ceremonies and a patio for cocktail hour with an on-site bar and yard games. "On the Grain Designs side, we are in the process of building sliding barn doors and 60 tables for the venue right now," said Bresnahan. "One of the unique challenges for us was building actual farmhouse tables, but with foldable or collapsible legs."

NICOLETTE + PAT As the first wedding at The Pines, both Berge and Bresnahan have delved into the project, offering their talents to nearly every aspect. The couple has been living in the property's home for the past few months, taking on the bulk of the redecorating and renovations, while in the midst of planning their nuptials. Berge, who is already an event planner by day, has lent her talents to give tours of the property and venue every Thursday night. She has also managed the redecorating and new finishes that have gone into the house renovations. Since the house sits adjacent to where the venue is being built, this on-site bridal retreat has been prepped and primed for wedded bliss.

WELCOME HOME TO THE PINES If you book a wedding or event at The Pines, the on-


site home with in-ground pool is one amenity you don't want to miss. Inside the home, the wedding party will be welcomed to relax, hang out by the backyard, in-ground pool and prepare for their big day. As part of the wedding package, couples can choose to rent the house for the day or for the weekend. "With the weekend wedding package, the families will be able to host the groom's dinner


on Friday, ceremony on Saturday, then the gift

Starting on the exterior, the Grain Designs

opening and brunch on Sunday," explained Blain

team updated the outdated features and

Mikkonen of Grain Designs.

painted the home a farmhouse blue.



The in-ground pool, decks and patios have been spruced up and more landscaping and signage is about to go in. "We already moved three pine trees into the center corridor near the house. This area will have retaining wall blocks, floral and landscaped areas to create a setting or backdrop for pictures," said Grant Koenig of Grain Designs.

Moving inside the home, Berge tapped into her own design skills and played off of the farmhouse vibe they’d already envisioned for the venue’s space. “I wanted to do a farmhouse style without screaming farmhouse - so more of a modern farmhouse with a simple, bohemian look,” explained Berge.


"I found a lot of the decor pieces at Moorhead Antique Mall and of course there are pieces from Grain Designs like the farmhouse dining table and centerpiece candle block. I also purchased pillows like the blush peach one in the family room from my friend at Olove Design; they are available at"




Over the course of three days, Berge and Grain Designs collaborated with Brushed Interiors to complete the main floor's master bath renovation. Making use of the existing textured wall covering, Brushed Interiors gave the retro design a fresh look with a light and bright tone before she moved on to refinish the outdated oak cabinetry in a cool grey tone.

Giving the older home modern appeal, Grain Designs custom-designed a beautiful wall mirror and vanity top, then installed updated lighting, plumbing fixtures, trim and sleek new flooring. “Ashley Bakkegard of Brushed Interiors did a great job with the main floor bathroom paint and cabinetry refinish. Nicolette and I, along with some of our friends, helped paint throughout the home,� said Bresnahan.



Just beyond the newly updated main-floor bath,

Right now, the upstairs has two bedrooms and a

the master bedroom and spare bedroom are

full bath, but this is the area that will soon have

nearly completed and will be featured in our final

the most dramatic transformation. This will be a

showing in October's issue. The kitchen, which

private bridal suite to accommodate the bride and

Brushed Interiors

only needed minimal updates to its cherry wood

her party. The downstairs will also be undergoing

Home decor - Nicolette Berge

facade, will be getting simple cosmetic upgrades

a change, turning the large space into sleeping

like new lighting and decor.

quarters with a game room and a man cave for the groom and his party. "There is a separate entrance to the downstairs, so the groom and groomsmen will be able to come and go without seeing the bridal party. A lot of this renovation will take place this coming winter and hopefully, be ready by spring," said Bresnahan.

Find the Finishes: Interior wall paint & bathroom paint finishes -

Exterior paint - Hirshfield's Vermont Slate (Similar to Magnolia Signature) Vintage accessories & furniture - Moorhead Antique Mall Dining table and candle block - Grain Designs Bathroom paint and cabinetry refinish Brushed Interiors



BOOKING THE BIG DAY Berge will continue to offer personal tours of The Pines every Thursday for brides and grooms who want to ponder the property. "We've had a lot of interest from companies regarding corporate events, but peak wedding season for 2019 and even 2020 are filling much quicker than we anticipated. We've had a healthy mix of both Friday and Saturday events, but Saturdays are definitely the more popular choice," said Berge. "So far, everyone is doing the day package which includes being able to make use of the house from 8:00 a.m. on their wedding day to the start of their reception. For my own wedding, I'm having the hairstylist come to the house where the bridal party will be. I think there's appeal in having everyone come to you instead of having your bridal party go from place to place on your wedding day. That can really eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress."

“When I give tours, I tell brides about the different options that what we have in mind; but the great thing is, we can do whatever you want. This is your day and this is your experience, it doesn’t have to be a cookie cutter version of a wedding.” Nicolette Berge, The Pines

CATERED CUISINE Chef's Table Catering is The Pines exclusive caterer and they're also helping to get the kitchen properly equipped. "If someone requests a different caterer,


they can certainly do that; they would just have to

When it comes to outdoor weddings, The Pines'

pay an 'outsider caterer fee' to use the space and

17 acres offers endless possibilities. "When I give

equipment for that event," said Koenig.

tours, I tell brides about the different options that what we have in mind; but the great thing is, we


can do whatever you want - this is your day and

"We are working with Taylor Belk of Epic Homes

this is an experience, it doesn't have to be a cookie

to complete The Pines building. We're also

cutter version of a wedding," said Berge. "We are

working with Rhet Fiskness of Rhet Architecture

planning to use that opening in the grain bins as

- he executed the construction documents for

a sort of aisle for our wedding. Guests will walk

"We also are working on building fire pits and new

the official, stamped drawings. Then Grant and I

through the Grain Designs barn doors in between

walking paths through the trees with a procession

created the 3-D model based on Rhet's floor plan

the grain bins and they will enter an outdoor living

area where the bride and party can walk through

and completed the renderings," said Mikkonen.

room scene staged by White House Co. with an

the house and down the stairs leading to the

outdoor rug, chandelier, lamps and vintage sofas.

ceremony. We'll have two designated, outdoor

Back behind the bins between the field and trees

spots where ceremonies can take place, but

is such a beautiful area for the ceremony and it's

wherever people want to get married on the

really protected well from the wind."

property, we can try to accommodate," said Berge.

"Trever Hill Design is helping us with all of the interior finishes and fixtures. We're really trying to accent the bathrooms. They're going to be really unique - something that people haven't seen yet," said Koenig. "We're doing huge 2x4-foot tiles on the wall and long, farmhouse-style sinks. We're also building a permanent bar in the venue. Having the White House Co. stage for Pat and Nicolette's wedding will be great - I think their style and aesthetic really fits the venue and vibe, so I'm sure we'll be working with them a lot."

"An on-site pergola will be available for all brides to use, however, they'll have the option to have Grain Designs build them a custom pergola, which after the wedding can be broken down into a queen size bed headboard," explained Berge. "That's one of our à la carte options along with a few other options like the wood and metal monogram signs, that guests can sign instead of a traditional guestbook."



SNEAK PEEK FROM THE DESIGNER: TREVER HILL To get an advanced peek into their collaboration with Trever Hill Design, we asked Hill to share a few of the finishes and fixtures you'll soon find at The Pines. "When Grain Designs asked me to be the designer on the project, I was so honored. I look up to them as being cutting-edge and always on trend," said Hill. "I needed to execute their vision, but I also wanted to put a spin on the average venue space; doing our best to not use the same lighting and design elements as other venues. The Pines has a refined farmhouse feel that everyone will feel at home with." "The men's bathroom, for example, will have a large format tile that has an appearance of steel. Above that tile, will be a woven grasscloth wallpaper. The sink that was chosen for both bathrooms is by Kohler, and we loved that the base can be custom painted to your liking," explained Hill. "In the men's restrooms, we are painting the base black with a textured black brick behind the main vanity. In the women's we are painting the base of the sink a beautiful, blush pink with large format tile in a Calcutta marble look and a metallic wallcovering with a mirrored effect." "When you walk into the entryway of the venue you'll be greeted with a beautiful, black chain chandelier hanging over a marble tabletop with a black iron base. Off in the distance will be a custom pergola connecting the front entryway to the main hall," said Hill. "The accent chairs from Eco Chic Home, table and chain chandelier are all for the entryway," said Hill. "We chose a long vanity light for the men's bathroom along with the sconces. To keep the refined, farmhouse feel, I found the shaded sconces with black, matte finish to go in the main hall with the diamond shaped chandelier with rope accent. The classic white chairs are for outdoor weddings and the walnut cross back chairs were chosen for the interior."

FOLLOW THE PROGRESS "We've had really good success in booking the venue while under construction, so having it fully

For more information, contact: The Pines

completed soon, will make a huge impact," said Koenig. "With the success of The Pines, we're not going to stop upgrading, renovating and building, so what it is now, could be drastically different in the future. We have a much bigger vision for what the whole property can become."


To make sure Midwest Nest readers get the scoop on The Pines first, we will be covering each step of their progress from the final reveal of wedding number one next month, to phase two where they will be transforming the on-site grain bins into guest lodging. The Pines might be slated for a venue now, but it will soon be a local destination with an extraordinary lodging experience that will attract adventure seekers everywhere.


spaces with



2553 Kirsten Lane S | Fargo ND

tours & events



Words by Tracy Nicholson

Mark your calendars for the fourth annual Lakes Area Home Tour. This self-

Photography by Studio Three Beau

guided tour of seven homes takes place for one day only, on September 29. To give our readers a sneak peek, we met up with tour coordinator, Emily Dreyer, to walk us through one of the stunning, featured homes owned by Paula and Casady Thiel of Ottertail, Minn. If spectacular homes don't pique your interest, maybe their charitable cause will. Find out how taking a tour will benefit the 549 Family Foundation and go on to support the valued student programs in their Perham, Minn., area school district. TAKE A TOUR / HELP A STUDENT "The Lakes Area Home Tour started in 2015 and has been a great way to showcase many of the beautiful homes in our area, as well as help our local vendors promote their businesses and the work that they do," said Dreyer. The 549 Family Foundation is based in Perham, Minn. and composed of 250 alumni and community members who work to counteract budget cuts and provide creative

Emily Dreyer, Lakes Area Home Tour

contributions to programs, activities, educational tools and facilities.

tours & events



When Paula and Casady Thiel, along with their son Phoenix, began the design of their rural home, they were not without inspiration. Their gorgeous lot is uniquely positioned between three lakes, just outside of Ottertail's city limits. Employing the help of talented friends, family and RHET Architecture, Casady and Paula Thiel constructed a dream team of creative visionaries to complete their build. Although a design we’d classify as one-of-a-kind, this type of project is one of many for the Thiel family. They’ve become well-known in the area for their artistic endeavors with scrap metal and salvaged materials. Take a drive down Main Street in Ottertail and we have no doubt you’ll be able to spot their family’s handiwork. In fact, you can tour one more if you’d like - Paula Thiel is the owner of Ottertail’s infamous Red Brick Boutique, also designed in their signature style and located in the restored Ottertail Creamery. Casady & Paula Thiel with their son, Phoenix

INSPIRATION SPARKED Influencing the home's design was the initial work of Casady's father Pete Thiel, the founder of Firestarters Worship Center in Ottertail. Pete Thiel's desire to create a unique space for his ministry and restore the old Ottertail Creamery, eventually led their entire family to become local experts in making use of salvaged materials. For the Thiels, the family that builds together...stays together. Casady and Paula Thiel began their build in September of 2015, reaching out to RHET Architecture to help with the layout and placement on the lot. From the beginning, Casady Thiel, who runs his own tile business (Thiel Tile & Stone), worked closely with architect Rhet Fiskness, to make the most of the beautiful, three-lake lot, positioning all of their main living spaces south, toward the lake. "Technically, this is lakeshore, but as you can see this is a backlot of Donald Lake. The lot is split in half by Three Lakes Road with Long Lake; our lakefront is across the street on Portage Lake," explained Paula Thiel.

INSIDE Just in the entrance, the Thiel's design-forward thinking is in full force. Referring to the rough-sawn red oak, Mid-century modern chandelier and vintage tin ceiling tile, Casady Thiel sums up their style as 'rustic elegance'; a complementary combination of Paula's career in fashion and Casady's in construction.


tours & events

Head up the stairs to the great room and office, and you'll find the stairwell's glossy, wood-paneled walls


- a unique take on an ordinary building material. "This is actually B-grade plywood from Menards that we

The East wing of the house features an open

stained and polyed," said Paula Thiel. "We went through a lot of plywood at the store, trying to find the

concept with the kitchen, living room and dining

best pieces. They ended up looking really random because some of them took stain better than others." To

room sharing one unified space. Rough-sawn oak

finish the pieces, the Thiels worked with their friend Wendell Danielson who helped them roll on a high-

flanks the ceiling while Carrara marble countertops

gloss floor polyurethane and cut each one into 32x48 panels - getting roughly three pieces out of every

and custom tile designate the kitchen space.

sheet of plywood. "I think the sheen is the reason this design works," said Danielson.

"Casady found the tile at Menards, but they were sold as 12x12s. It just didn't look very interesting, so

Custom fabrication by local welder James Virnala was used in the making of the raw steel stair railings. Throughout the home, Casady Thiel's eye for perfection takes center stage with the precise install of raw steel wall panels with exposed bolts and steel trim work.

he cut them down to 6x12s," explained Paula Thiel.

tours & events


Inside the master bath, Casady Thiel used rustic corrugated metal on the ceiling, antiqued brass plumbing fixtures, vintage pendants and his wife's white Carrara marble tile as the elegant focal point. "Since tile is what I do for a living, I had to go big with the shower," he laughed. "We just did marble everywhere in here."

The living room is a favorite spot for the Thiels to relax, build a fire and take in the view. With only one TV in the home, the outdoors is considered their primary source of entertainment.

Just a few steps away, the couple created closet perfection with an inexpensive IKEA system that fit so well, it left them with only 1/8-inch to spare. According to Casady Thiel, about 80 percent of the closet is currently his wife's terrain, inhabited by an array of personal favorites from her clothing store, Red Brick Boutique. For this project, Andrew Campbell helped with the framing and finish work. With his prior construction experience, Casady Thiel was able to work on the entire building project from start to finish, with help from friends and family. "My dad helped me with the foundation and fireplace masonry and my father-in-law helped me frame it," he said. "We also had Andrew Costin of Costin Construction and our long-time friend, Wendell Danielson, helping with a lot of the work." The Thiels have 4,000 square feet of rough-sawn oak, so in some areas, it's white-washed and in other areas, it's the raw, natural color like on the ceiling in the family room, kitchen and dining room. "We found the red oak from a guy in the woods up by Park Rapids, Minn. When we found a material that either Paula or I really liked, I would just buy a lot of it, so we actually had to use it," laughed Casady Thiel.


tours & events

EXTRAORDINARY EXTERIOR With their picturesque lake view setting, the

Look closer and you'll find rough-sawn wood on

Thiels chose to keep their exterior as organic as

all of the soffit and fascia, which is carried over

possible with elements like rough-sawn wood,

to the exterior, underneath the lean-to. Also on

salvaged corrugated metal, and raw steel which

the roadside, the garage entrance doors have

will naturally age with time. "I've always like the

been wrapped with raw steel for a more cohesive

look of the shed roof and modern lines, but with

exterior design.

rustic and salvaged materials," said Casady Thiel. "Rhet came up with the idea of doing a sort of 'pod'


design so that the materials would be different on

On the lakeside, the Thiels ongoing plan is to build

each section of the house," said Paula Thiel.

a boathouse and continue working on the lakefront area which already includes a finished volleyball

"To make this work, we sided it with all different

court. On the exterior, they will be building a

styles of accent panels. Call it O.C.D., but I really

Juliet-style deck on the second level coming out

needed all of the exterior windows to align,"

from the upstairs office and great room. They also

laughed Casady Thiel. The section encompassing

plan to design a trellis over the garage doors to

the living room is in a naturally rusting raw steel,

bring in more of the rough-sawn wood elements.

while the master's exterior is wrapped in salvaged, corrugated metal they purchased for 25 cents a square foot in Fergus Falls.

tours & events

Find the Finishes: Architect - Casady Thiel, Rhet Fiskness, RHET Architecture, Fargo, N.D. Landscape - Paula Thiel with floral by Swedberg Nursery, Battle Lake, Minn. Plywood walls and tile supply - Menards Tile design & install - Casady Thiel, Thiel Tile & Stone Countertops - Carrara Marble, Syverson Tile & Stone, Fargo N.D. Masonry - Casady Thiel and Pete Thiel Metal fabrication - James Virnala Master closet system - Ikea Construction - Andrew Costin, Costin Construction, Wadena, Minn., Pete Thiel, Casady Thiel, Andrew Campbell Woodwork - Casady Thiel, Pete Thiel and Wendell Danielson



"This year, we have homes in Perham, Frazee, New

The tours Title Sponsor is Lumber Depot of New

sponsors are present in the home on the day of the

York Mills and Ottertail," said Dreyer. "We want to

York Mills, Minn. "They have been our Title Sponsor

tour to showcase their business and assist with

have a little something to inspire everyone in their

for the past few years, and their knowledge

the tour traffic. "This year, you’ll find Bremer Bank,

own decorating, remodeling or building projects.

and expertise in the building industry has been

New Horizons Realty, Hilltop Lumber, Refreshing

The homes range in sizes, decor styles, locations

instrumental throughout the planning process,"

Designs & Karvonen’s, United Community Bank,

and more. We try to pick homes that have done

said Dreyer. "Their goal is to help people find

and Thiel Tile & Stone at different homes on the

some updates, are new builds, or have interesting

inspiration that suits their lifestyle and make their

tour. They change each year based on the different

features that would be fun to see. Inspiration can

spaces uniquely their own."

homes that will be featured," said Dreyer. The tour also consists of "Friend Sponsors" and "Neighbor

come from anywhere, and I think people just enjoy seeking that inspiration out and then bringing it to

Each home also has designated ‘Host Sponsors’

Sponsors" that


support the tour while

life in their own space."

which are businesses in the community that are

marketing their products and services.

affiliated with the home on some level. These

Lakes Area Home Tour: Saturday, September 29, 2018

For more information:

9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Facebook Page - Lakes Area Home Tour *Be sure to 'like' their page to see updates and

Cost is $25/ticket with proceeds benefiting the 549 Family Foundation.

sneak peeks of each featured home!

[Tickets come with a coupon for a free seasonal beverage at Brew Ales & Eats in Perham!] To Support 549 Family Foundation, contact: Find Tickets At:

Emily Dreyer

Nest, Bremer Bank, Refreshing Designs in Perham or at Lumber Depot in New York Mills

800 Coney Street West, Perham, M.N.

Purchase Tickets Online:

Facebook - Lakes Area Home Tour



Healthy Pantry, Healthy Family Words by Tara Ekren, Jennifer Bednar Photography by Essentia Health

Back to school means back-to-routine and activity-filled evenings. Now is a great time to make sure your pantry is well stocked to ensure school lunches and weeknight meals are a snap. To give you a helping hand in the kitchen, we gathered our best advice and sought out food prep tips from local expert, Jennifer Bednar - a Registered Dietitian with Essentia Health-Fargo. Find out how your recipe for success is just a simple meal plan away.



“A weekly meal plan for your lunches and evening

Planning a weekly menu for packing lunches is

fruits and vegetables, explain why eating a variety

meals can be the difference between success and

also a good idea. Avoid the rut of daily peanut

of foods is necessary for their bodies to work.

throwing in a frozen pizza after work for supper,”

butter and jelly by planning out a week of meals

Bednar said. Taking time on Sunday or another point

and making sure to include variety. Quesadillas,

For both school lunches and evening meals, it’s

during the weekend to prep food and batch-cook

roll-ups, cold noodle salads, bagel pizzas, wraps

important to remember the food groups that should

for the upcoming week is another key to success.

and veggie kabobs are all great options. Bednar

make up your plate. Bednar recommends dividing

Batch-cooking is the process of preparing multiple

recommends getting your kids involved in the

your plate into quarters. Fill the bottom two-

portions of several meals at the same time and

planning of the menu, so they are more inclined to

quarters of the plate with fruits and vegetables. In

storing them for future consumption. This will cut

eat what’s packed because they helped with the

the upper quarters, devote one-fourth to protein

down on the time it takes to get your family’s dinner

planning and even assembly. Explaining why you

and one-fourth to starch. This method is easily

on the table each night. “Tools like a slow cooker

are packing the foods you are packing is helpful,

scalable to all plate sizes and all ages.

can be a great help as well,” Bednar adds.

too. Instead of just telling your child to eat these

ask the experts









encourages feeding children a variety of vegetables for the nutrients and fiber they provide; whole grains to give kids B vitamins, minerals and fiber to help them feel fuller longer; meats, dry beans, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds provide protein and iron; fruits to provide fiber, and dairy to provide calcium, protein and vitamin D. Visit to learn more about food groups and what your plate should contain. “Meal planning and prepping ahead of time or batch-cooking really is the key to being successful at healthy eating,” Bednar said.

GROCERY STORE KNOW-HOW Knowing the best way to eat healthy is one thing,

Then, pay attention to the number of calories,

but it all starts with your trip to the grocery store to

the fat content, sodium and sugar in the food.

stock your pantry. Bednar recommends shopping

Sodium is one important factor to watch out for

the perimeter of the store. That’s where you’ll find

in processed foods, pre-marinated foods and pre-

the healthiest options and least processed foods.

packaged foods. Check the “% Daily Value” column

It is also important to make a list and stick to it.

in the label. Keep in mind that 5% is low and 20%

Impulse buying is generally less healthy and more

is high.

expensive. When you are selecting a product, look up and down the shelves and not just at the eyelevel products.

HEALTHY DOESN’T MEAN EXPENSIVE Eating healthy on a budget is possible. Make sure

20 BEST FOODS in Your Grocery Store These foods are proven to help fight fat, build muscle and prevent disease!

ʸʸ Almonds ʸʸ Asparagus ʸʸ Avocado ʸʸ Berries ʸʸ Bell Peppers ʸʸ Black Beans ʸʸ Broccoli ʸʸ Brussel Sprouts ʸʸ Butternut Squash ʸʸ Chicken Breast ʸʸ Edamame ʸʸ Eggs ʸʸ Flaxseed ʸʸ Garlic

ʸʸ Onion ʸʸ Spinach ʸʸ Salmon ʸʸ Sweet Potatoes ʸʸ Tomatoes ʸʸ Yogurt

Essentia Health Registered Dietitians Janet Iverson

to compare the labels on store brands versus

and Veronika Pribyshchuk stress the importance

name brands. Often, the cheaper store brand is

of reading nutrition labels to make smart choices

just as healthy. If possible, buy in bulk or in family

at the grocery store. Key things to look for in the

packs and freeze for later. Shop the grocery store

nutrition labels are the serving sizes. The labels

sales and choose fresh fruits and vegetables that

list the values per serving. Many products contain

are in season. They’ll be the best quality and

multiple servings in one package.

lowest prices.



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After 25 years in the business, Growing Kids Preschool & Childcare of Fargo needed more room to grow. Finding a great, central location with plenty of square footage, CEO Kim Kelley and her staff, packed up the playground and headed down the road to a new building near the Multiband Tower. To transform the space, which was once occupied by cubicles and offices, Kelley used her personal passion for design to create an open concept, in a nurturing atmosphere. See inside Kelley’s vision for a brighter future, with opportunities to learn and play, around every corner.

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M.Schleif Photography



GROWING KIDS, GROWING SPACES As a place designed to nurture growth, Growing Kids has become a trendsetter. Kelley’s future vision called for less confined spaces and more room to expand their offerings. Gathering her own creative ideas and concepts, Kelley recruited the help of a friend, Terry Stroh of T.L. Stroh Architects to redefine the layout. It wasn’t long before their new space became a vibrant environment, with a focus on gathering, learning...and fun.

LEARNING...ROOM BY ROOM With six specific areas from infants to toddler and school-age groups, each room’s entrance has a color-coordinated number on the door, reinforcing colors, shapes, numbers and letters as the children transition through the rooms. For a fun feature at

This wing is specially designed for ages three

their feet, Kelley used custom-ordered carpet tiles

through school-age. “This space is ideal for early

to create coordinating color arrows for each room.

childhood development. It checks every box for

Throughout the rooms, kids have their run of seven

creating successful learners, creative minds and

miniature playhouses and an array of fabric tents

confident children,” said Kelley. “That is a dream

ready for fun.

for most educators.”

Infants have their own entrance as well as an indoor and outdoor play area, complete with a turf base and white picket fence. This wing is designed to cater solely to infants six weeks to two-years-old.



HAPPY GATHERINGS When they moved into the new building, the large communal area’s high walls were completely grey, so adding a crisp, white coat of paint with a handpainted navy pinstripe brightened up the expanse. “We have over 20,000 square feet to work with, so I wanted a big open space where the kids could come out and be together, instead of just being confined to their rooms,” said Kelley. “This is also where they have snacks and eat lunch together.”

Before lunch and snacks are served, the kids happily head to the wash and drink station, which is one of the features that Stroh helped Kelley design. With simple wall decals and white subway tile, this space encourages and makes cleanliness fun.

DESIGNING A BRIGHTER FUTURE Even though Kim Kelley’s first priority is always the children she cares for, her passion for design shines through in the everyday environment she creates for them. Outside of Growing Kids, Kelley has managed the builds and remodels of two houses and four cabins over the years. “I had collected ideas from magazines and traveling of what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted clean lines and I tried to keep our decor simple - with childcare and fire codes, it limits what we can put on the walls. We stuck with mainly primary colors and clean lines that really seem to create a soothing environment for the kids,” said Kelley. “By putting the numbers, colors and words on the walls, it was a way for the kids to learn as they go about their day. I also started collecting street signs at the flea markets in Detroit Lakes and the Fargo Antiques & Repurposed Market, so you’ll see those near the entrance with working street lights around the building. We love how open this building is, with the high ceilings and large windows for bringing in natural light.”

“When the kids come here, they always feel safe and know that they’ll have a great learning experience. It’s a fun environment where they have a lot of room to play!” Hannah Kelley, Early Childhood Educator



To create an inviting entrance for both wings, Kelley worked with Dakota Construction to help her build their wood and corrugated metal entrance signs using letters from Hobby Lobby. The corrugated metal was a design feature that was then carried through to the restroom design. The wood benches were custom-built by a local craftsman, then painted by Kelley.

PLAYGROUND PARADISE Dakota Playground took on the task of transporting the large playground equipment over to the new site.

The most recent addition to their expansive

Her husband, Brad Kelley, constructed a wood border with recycled tire mulch under the playground. To

outdoor space is the new backyard playhouse. The

complete the playground’s design, Kelley recruited Mike Nicholson of Custom Landscaping to build up the

interior of the playhouse is already underway with

area around the playground and make a foundation, with the end goal of creating an artificial turf running

the shiplap going up and a porch being built within

track. “Every day, the kids grab their sunscreen and spend hours out here playing on the equipment and

the month. "We have so much outdoor space here,

racing around the track - they love it,” said Kelley.

so we wanted the kids to be able to really use all of the spaces, inside and outside," said Kelley. "We're also planning the build of a basketball court off to the side that we hope will be completed soon."



"We believe in the power of play. This space gives the children the room to develop, play, giggle and be a kid while they are learning. That is exactly the vision we had for Growing Kids." Kayla Cichos, Director Growing Kids Preschool & Childcare

IN THE FUTURE: What we haven't shown is the additional 6,000 square feet in the upstairs loft. Right now, part of the space is being used for on-site dance lessons offered to children during their daily schedules. This fall, they will begin offering piano lessons on their upstairs grand piano. With an idea to utilize the rest of the space, Kelley is working on a plan to create a miniature city with individual buildings for the children to play in think post office, bank, school, grocery store and everything in between.


Find the Finishes: Architect - T.L. Stroh Stripe painting - Chuck Gingerich, Final Finish Wood signs - Dakota Construction Vinyl lettering - Lisa Palmer, Dabblin ‘n Design Custom carpet tiles - Carpet World Outdoor turf prep & install - Mike Nicholson, Josh Kellar - Custom Landscaping From left, Hannah Kelley, Kim and Brad Kelley

Stuffed animal heads & wall art - Target, Hobby Lobby Miniature playhouses - Costco, Sam’s Club Rugs - Ikea

For the Kelleys, caring for children seems to run in the family. While Brad Kelley takes on the majority of his wife's design projects for the children, their daughter, Hannah, recently graduated from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn., obtaining her degree in early childhood education. After graduation, she has since moved back to work full-time at Growing Kids, alongside her mom.

Miniature Adirondack chairs, Teepees, exterior turf Sam’s Club Street Signs - Fargo Antiques & Repurposed Market, Shady Hollow Flea Market Melamine cabinetry and cubby stations R.L.Engebretson

ABOUT GROWING KIDS Kim Kelley and her staff typically care for around 120 children with 56 preschoolers in the fall. Both Kelley and her director, Kayla Cichos are on site every day. Cichos manages all of the day-to-day tasks like parent communication, enrollment, accountability for all of the different age groups, staffing and overall organization. Shannon Rubertus, assistant director, handles direction of the infant and toddler wing, “Baby & Co.” “Because we offer care to all ages, many of the kids have been enrolled

For more information, contact: Growing Kids Preschool & Childcare Kim Kelley, CEO |

Kayla Cichos, Director

since they were young infants and continue into their school-age years,” said

4324 20th Avenue South, Fargo

Kelley. “We love that many of the kids get to grow up here alongside their


siblings. We hope the memories they build here, last a lifetime.”


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Midwest Nest Magazine - September 2018