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design | cuisine | art | culture | architecture

edition 2

november 2017

Autumn's Artistry





At Home with Autumn's Artistry On a mission to create the perfect backdrop for a Fall tablescape, designer Trever Hill set his sights on the stunning, historic residence known as the Ivers building. Using an array of furniture and local finds, Hill created a tablescape perfect for casual gatherings. To finish the Fall ambiance, friends Teresa O’Day and Erin Hafliger helped Hill set the scene in this shoot with photography by Morgan Schleif of M.Schleif Photography. With every changing season, this six-story, 1929 building in the heart of Downtown Fargo, becomes nature’s greatest canvas. These days, the Ivers building has been remodeled to accommodate 29 unique apartment units with character. If you’re interested in seeing this sidestreet, work of nature for yourself, just head to 6th Street and 4th Avenue North in Downtown Fargo. See the entire shoot and local shopping list on page #54

Pg. 14 South Fargo Renovation + Chris Hawley Architects In the coveted Fargo Country Club neighborhood of South Fargo, we show you inside the stunning renovation that elevated one family’s Spanish villa-style home to a more contemporary, craftsman-style retreat. Meet Dan Elton of Chris Hawley Architects and find out how they transformed the original space to meet the needs of their growing family.

Pg. 70 Plains Art Museum: Progressive Architecture Dinner Tag along with Midwest Nest Magazine as we tour three homes on the recent Progressive Architecture Tour hosted by the Plains Art Museum. The idea to fuse local architecture and food is a first for the museum, but the

Pg. 24 Epic Homes + Mevold Studio With a move from the Bismarck area to the Fargo market, the Epic Homes team is making big waves in homebuilding. With the addition of a unique partnership with Fargo architect, Jan Mevold of Mevold Studio, the result is nothing short of spectacular. We show you their recent spec home located in The Wilds of West Fargo.

combination has proven impactful, not only for the guests but also the museum. With its first event a success, the resulting fundraising promises to support PlainsArt4All, an initiative to keep the museum’s general admission free to the public.

Pg. 78 Rilos & MiMi Remodel If you watched the MTV Video Movie Awards last year or frequently shop sites like Etsy or Amazon, you may have seen Christy Remmick’s work. She

Pg. 46 Make-A-Wish: Inside an Authentic, Italian Gathering This Fall, we were invited to the beautiful, Sheyenne River home of Vonda and Jim Leiner to get a glimpse inside their authentic Italian, wood-burning pizza party. See inside the event that was donated by the Leiners on behalf of Make-A-Wish, North Dakota at the 2017 Wine & Wishes event.

is a designer and manufacturer of custom bags with her company Rilos & MiMi. Taking a break from designing bags and working with fabrics, Remmick decided to accept a new challenge to design and manage a complete firstfloor remodel of her personal home. See inside her extensive remodel that was completed in just three short months.


editor’s note



Moments of Gratitude

Photos by M.Schleif Photography

With our first issue in the archives, my publisher Susan Hozak-Cardinal and I decided that our second issue could not disappoint. Starting with another clean slate, we went to work on November’s issue and the let stories lead the way. Somewhere in between, we stopped the press and held our own Midwest Nest Magazine launch party at Elevate in Downtown Fargo’s, historic Loretta Building. Once again, we were overwhelmed and humbled by the community’s support. The night was spectacular, with so many people we couldn’t wait to talk to. Someone once told me that in the midst of days like these, one should make a conscious effort to stop and look around. What they meant is, instead of letting a magical night become a blur, stop and cement in your mind the night, the people and the experience. So, amidst the chaos, I forced myself to stop worrying about food, drinks, people and pictures. I simply took in the moment, and it was a really fantastic one at that. After the event, we spoke to one of the attendees who mentioned he normally doesn’t enjoy events like this, but this specific group of people had won him over. We couldn’t agree more. What could have been a bland open house like so many others, quickly became a vibrant celebration, having very little to do with our party planning efforts. The personalities in the room, the same ones that I have gotten the pleasure of getting to know over the past few years, became the bright light in the room. These are just a few of the people that have made us want to continue to write about the industry and show the community the beautiful work they do. These were big personalities with even bigger hearts. We could not be more grateful for those who came out to support us and for those who have encouraged and stood behind us in the making of our first issue. After the party, it was back to the topic of Fall entertaining. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we wanted to provide some inspiration for your own gatherings. Both Susan and I love to entertain, but this time, we decided to tag along on every culinary, art and fundraising event we could, to see how others entertain. Our goal was to expose the fine art of entertaining, from food, to conversation to atmosphere. As you’ll see in our pages, with every great

Susan Hozak-Cardinal, Tracy Nicholson

gathering, comes great design, setting the stage for celebrating life, love, and all of the things we are grateful for. May your Fall gatherings be filled with love, family and friends. And when your home fills with laughter and your kitchen turns to chaos, don’t forget to stop once in a while and truly enjoy the moment. Sincerely, Tracy Nicholson


Build Yours

Now INCLUDING deck/patio, appliances, sod yard and upgraded exterior, all within the base price of your new Thomsen home!




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 zach davis photography morgan schleif of m.schleif photography angela linden of ab images mandey marie photography abovo make-a-wish of north dakota emily remmick

EDITOR tracy nicholson


ADVERTISEMENT DESIGNER alison monke, creative monke



christy remmick shayla knutson trever hill

kelly schulz tracy nicholson

ADVERTISING SALES susan hozak-cardinal tracy nicholson kari lugo

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

alison monke noah kupcho susan hozak-cardinal tracy nicholson




Contributors + Team Alison Monke Christy Remmick

Monke is the owner and designer at Creative Monke in Fargo, N.D. As Midwest Nest’s lead advertising designer, Monke brings multi-faceted experience working with a variety of companies in their design and marketing departments. She received her BFA in Graphic Design from MSUM. Monk has worked on everything from t-shirts and brand strategies to websites. She is currently a full-time freelance designer helping many small to medium-

Remmick is a first-time contributor and UND graduate, originally from Selkirk, Manitoba,

sized businesses and non-profits in the F-M area. Monke designed Midwest Nest’s logo

but now residing in Devils Lake, N.D. As a child, she spent much of her time with her

and works closely with our team to create branding strategies and bring expertise to

grandmother who was a talented seamstress. She quickly learned that following patterns

ad designs, helping local businesses speak their own brand and capture the audience’s

was not her thing and would stay up late designing her own creations and sewing them

attention. Find Monke’s work at

from scrap fabrics in her grandmother’s sewing room. After college, she entered the corporate world in software project management and application consulting where she traveled all over the world working with large retailers. After returning to her husband’s hometown of Devils Lake, ND to raise her family, Remmick was able to spend more time on her childhood passion and launched Rilos + MiMi in 2012, creating custom handbags for large corporations and even the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards. This month she’ll be walking us through her recent remodel, showing readers that her creativity is not limited to the sewing machine. Connect with her on Facebook or on Instagram at @RilosAndMiMi and visit her online store at

Shayla Knutson Knutson is an NDSU graduate and local food writer with her blog entitled Sweetly Simple

Morgan Schleif

Life. Her culinary skills are self-taught from her time in the kitchen at a young age. She loves creating new recipes that are healthy, fun and family friendly. Knutson hopes to share with our readers her love of food and Midwest culture. Follow her adventures in recipes on Facebook or Instagram @sweetlysimplelife.

Schleif is a contributing photographer and is the photographer and founder of M.Schleif Photography. With a degree in Graphic Design and Public Relations from Concordia College, she found photography to be a natural combination in serving her abilities with people and composition. She has a passion for connection, community, and creativity which leads to endless opportunities in the F-M area. Her style is less ‘posed’ and geared toward capturing a realistic impression of whomever she is photographing allowing her clients to be themselves and fully embrace their current phase of life. A photographer by

Kelly Schulz

day and pint pourer by night at Junkyard Brewing Company, she is an extrovert who is most inspired by atmospherics, conversation, and human expression. She is eager to add her take on the vibrant lifestyle that is Fargo, N.D. to Midwest Nest. To find more of her

Schulz is Midwest Nest’s Copy Editor and works full time in marketing at Butler

work, connect with her on Facebook or Instagram @Mschleif Photography, or view her full

Machinery Company’s corporate office in Fargo, N.D. She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass

portfolio at

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



Dan Francis Trever Hill

Francis is the lead photographer for Midwest Nest and owner of Dan Francis Photography in Fargo, N.D. He is a Certified and Master Photographer who specializes in quality photography work. Francis is also a seven-time Kodak Gallery Award Winner for his fineart images. He is currently a board member of FMVA, Vice President of PPND and past president of the Fargo-Moorhead Camera Club. Francis brings 14-years of experience to Midwest Nest, contributing stunning home, art and portrait images to our pages. He is looking forward to showing readers his unique approach to commercial work that you

Opening his design business in 2009, Hill quickly secured his spot as one of the top

won’t see anywhere else. Francis works out of his Downtown Fargo studio and can be

designers in the F-M area. In 2016, Hill was named the F-M’s Best Decorator in the People’s

found at

Choice Awards and has consistently ranked in the top three for various, local nominations. As the owner of Trever Hill Design and design associate at McNeal & Friends, he takes on a wide range of projects including remodels, spacial planning, staging, decorating and designing new homes. Hill takes readers on an exclusive tour of his latest commercial and residential projects, dissecting the design elements that create beautiful and functional spaces. Hill introduces readers to his clients and their families while simplifying and debunking a few design myths along the way. Find more on Hill at

Angela Linden

Zach Davis As the owner of Zach Davis Photography in Fargo, N.D, Davis brings to Midwest Nest a talent of capturing natural light and creating remarkably real images. Combined with a knack for storytelling through imagery and words, Davis uses an uncommon approach to capture area chefs, artists and industry leaders. A self-taught photographer, Davis intrigued us with his thoughtful, journalistic style of photography capturing provoking images and blogging on notable, local artists. An avid traveler, he is inspired by nature and people pursuing their dreams. Davis looks forward to sharing his subject’s passions,

Linden is a contributor and owner/photographer at ab images. She opened the studio in 2007 and specializes in commercial photography, as well as being one of the F-M’s top children and family photographers. She graduated from Ridgewater College in 2007 with a degree in Professional Photography and Technology. Angela enjoys capturing worthwhile images for the private sector as well as marketing materials for businesses. Find more on ab images on Facebook and at

telling their story and showing the value of their work with our readers. Follow his wedding work and adventures on his site at


Par Three Overhaul Words by Tracy Nicholson Photos by Dan Francis Photography Before photos provided by Chris Hawley Architects

On a quiet, picturesque street near the Fargo Country Club, you’ll find a Mediterranean-styled home that’s recently received a contemporary overhaul. A beautiful home with great bones, the homeowners worked closely with Dan Elton of Chris Hawley Architects to fuse the original home’s style with their own more contemporary style. Revamping the layout meant creating a space that would be a perfect fit for their family of five.





CONSTRUCTION PROCESS Four years ago, amidst plans to build on a lot in West Fargo, realtor, Erik Hatch reached out to the homeowners with this pocket listing on the Par Three course of the Fargo Country Club. They had once told Hatch of their desire to live in this neighborhood, but at the time they were planning their build, nothing had been listed. At first glance, it was a beautiful home that was clearly well-built, but designed in a Spanish villa style they were not accustomed to. Beneath the Spanish facade, the homeowner’s husband had a vision for renovation and he soon convinced his wife that this could be their forever home. With beautiful, mature trees and plenty to do with the kids right in their backyard, the home was hard to pass up.








Mediterranean flair, the homeowners made subtle changes for big curb appeal. They replaced the original dark wood with a more contemporary, CorTen steel near the front door. Cor-Ten starts out as silver, then naturally rusts for a unique look. The landscaping was updated by taking out the old paver stone and replacing it with a natural stone sidewalk and stairs. Additional updates included a new garage door, new house numbers and exterior lighting.

RENOVATION GOALS Wanting to create a transitional style melding Mediterranean,




the homeowners reached out to Chris Hawley Architects to carry out their vision. Architects Chris Hawley and Dan Elton were tasked with figuring out a new floorplan which would fit the lifestyle of their family of five. After purchasing their home, and while coming up with a renovation plan, the homeowners lived in the original space for a few months before moving to a two-bedroom apartment in Downtown Fargo so the demo and renovation could get started. Demo was done on the entire home at once, stripping the main and upper levels down to the studs. The entire renovation then took about 12 months to complete.





For the homeowners, the great room was one of their bigger challenges, due to

“The home had really good bones and good flow, it was a great space for

the position of the fireplace. To lend more function to the space, they changed

entertaining,” said the homeowner. “It’s an older house, but had the open floor

their focus from sitting around the fire to designating a sitting area on one end,

plan we were looking for. My biggest worry was whether we could make it work

then chose a position for the piano as the transition to the dining room. “We

for our family. My husband recognized the potential and Chris Hawley and Dan

found this old piano at Schmidt music, someone had traded it in. We loved

Elton helped us create a home that was both beautiful and functional. Dan

the worn, matte finish and it fits perfectly in the corner of the great room,”

did most of the interior drawings, with Chris helping out with some with the

said the homeowner.

interior floor plan and exterior elevations.” “That’s the original 20-foot-high, wood ceiling and one of the reasons why we bought the home,” explained the homeowner. “There was darker wood on the cross beams, so we replaced them with painted drywall to lighten up the room. Changing the windows also made a big difference. The original windows were quite a bit lower so you could see right into the neighbor’s house.”


Find the Finishes Architect - Dan Elton, Chris Hawley Architects Contractor - Radiant Homes Landscaping, front sidewalk, and stairs - Natural Environments Landscaping & Outdoor Living Exterior house numbers - Eco Chic Boutique Kitchen and bathroom granite - Northern Stone Wood flooring - Carpet World Hearth stones - Hebron Brick Dining room chandelier - Restoration Hardware Great room side tables - Pottery Barn Custom registers and stair railing - Straightline Design Faucets, fixtures, and appliances - Ferguson

DAN ELTON, ARCHITECT “This project had some interesting challenges,” said architect Dan Elton. “We had plenty of room, so an addition wasn’t necessary nor possible on the small lot. But we were faced with a 70’s interior done in Mediterranean styling. Our goal was to update the house to better match a modern family lifestyle, yet retain some of the existing Mediterranean flavors, because it needed to stay connected to the exterior style.”

HOMEOWNERS “Enlisting the help of an architect was probably the best decision we made on this project,” said the homeowner. “We knew what we wanted out of the home and what our style was, but didn’t know how to make it all come together. Dan and Chris did a great job understanding our needs and coming up with a design plan that was perfect for our family. I knew in my head what I wanted our home to look like, but it’s amazing when they do the drawings how it all comes together and you can see those ideas on paper. The whole architectural process went really smoothly and we appreciated their patience with us. The best part was the design work that Chris and Dan did, it gave us a lot of reassurance that we could really turn this house into our home.”



“We added upper windows in the living room to bring in more daylight, removed the Meditteranean, red tile flooring in favor of warm wood-scraped oak, and re-built the dated stair to give a fresh, modern touch to the center of the house,” said Dan Elton. “The fireplace got a face-lift, yet the structure remained in place.” Beyond the beams and impressive hearth, a standout furniture piece is the 6-foot-long, matted, wood coffee table built by the homeowner over the course of four days.


A massive focal point in the great room, the home’s hearth was once comprised of stucco all the way up with a red brick around it, so it was one of the major factors creating the Meditteranean styling. The original walls were plaster and they were painted red, with orange, ceramic tile for the flooring. To give the hearth a style update, the homeowners worked with Elton to rebuild its facade. The homeowner searched Hebron Brick’s scrap lot for the smaller, remnants of Montana stones. Larger pieces were then found to match and used as a sitting area in front of the fireplace. The homeowner built the wood mantel himself, learning the craft from his dad and using timbers his dad had collected at the lake. Plans to switch it back to a wood-burning fireplace is a goal for a later date. With the high ceilings and the expansive great room connected to the dining room, this space called for an equally impressive chandelier to balance the space. Creating a dining table to fit their space to-atee, the homeowner spent one week building the eight-foot-long, wood table.

REVAMPED REGISTERS To update the original baseboard heat, they contacted Straightline Design to fabricate more contemporary registers throughout the home. “That was one of the hardest things to figure out,” said the homeowner. “You just can’t buy registers like this, the replacements we found all looked like they should be in an office building.”



Just off of the kitchen, the owners opted to keep the sunken layout of the living room, creating a casual den and TV room. “For this space, we just wanted everything comfortable and cozy, with usable space. We didn’t want a room that nobody sat in, all of our space gets used.” The homeowner’s husband built the unique, wooden coffee table from a timber that was once 15-feet long to fit the room’s laid-back style. Since the family room had baseboards all around, the homeowners opted for wall-hung built-ins, creating an entertainment center just off of the kitchen area. The kitchen probably needed the most work,” said Elton. “With new cabinets, floor, appliances and lighting, it went from an awkward, dark, uninviting space to an efficient showplace.” They also worked to change the layout, moving the patio door around the corner and widening the door to the kitchen to create more usable space. The newly designed space featured two islands and a larger perimeter counter space. The high-end range is one appliance the owners kept from the original home. “I really like the idea of two islands because the kids can be doing homework, while I’m cooking and using the one island for prep. The kitchen and living room are favorite spaces for us, this is really where we live. The open floor plan allows me to be in the kitchen, but still keeping an eye on the kids in the living room and be a part of what they’re doing,” explained the homeowner. For the kitchen finishes, new granite and white cabinetry replaced the original honey maple cabinetry. A smaller subway tile backsplash and vintage lighting in a transitional style, tied in both the existing Mediterranean and newer contemporary stylings. “Having a Mediterranean-style house, we felt like we couldn’t be too modern with our style. We wanted it to still work as well as it could with the exterior of the house,” said the homeowner.



In the original home, there was a long, narrow hallway coming into the bathroom, so this area was reworked for better flow. Now, entering from the master bedroom, a sleek, custom closet welcomes them to their master bath. Lightening the space, the homeowners replaced the dated, ceramic tile and dark cabinets. For the new, updated space, the homeowners chose heated flooring, Quartz countertops, and a Quartz soaking tub surround with chrome fixtures and lighter tones. “They just had a single sink in here, so by moving the door, we were able to put double sinks and a center linen cabinet in the master bath,” explained the homeowner. “Before there was a single shower and a little vanity sitting where the tub is now.” With the master bedroom located on the main level, this was a great selling point for the homeowners. “We changed the layout in the master a lot. The hot water heat registers make positioning furniture difficult, there were also existing doors and a window that we had to work around,” explained the homeowner. “The previous owners had the bed on the opposite wall, but we wanted to be able to see out the door if the kids were coming in. One of the unique challenges is making the design work within the confines of the existing space. We ended up positioning


the bed partly under the window and I made a collage of pictures to try to balance the wall and provide some symmetry.”




UPSTAIRS RENOVATION “Upstairs, we re-organized and modernized the bathrooms and closets to better fit the kid’s needs and added a small laundry,” explained Elton. “From there, the homeowners did a great job lightening the color palette and choosing materials, cabinets and fixtures that fit the overall theme. This was a fun upgrade for a fun family.” Upstairs, each of the girl’s rooms had a huge closet. There were two bathrooms and one of the rooms had its own bathroom. Revamping the space from


the closets, they were able to carve a bathroom for


the girls and create the smaller closets for each

homeowners have noticed that the kids come in








the patio door and throw their wet things down near the kitchen and family room. To eliminate

Keeping the staircase in the original location,

this, the homeowners are currently working with

the homeowners contacted Straightline Design

Chris Hawley Architects to create a screened-in

to fabricate a new railing. What was once a

porch which can also function as a drop zone for

Mediterranean-styled, metal staircase that was

their three kids.

not up to today’s code, was now a sleeker, more contemporary version that would be safer for their three, young kids. Finishing the styling, the homeowners added new wood and carpet to the stairs.

Chris Hawley Architects 2534 South University Drive, #3, Fargo, N.D. 701.478.4600



Epic Masterpiece Words by Tracy Nicholson Photos by Dan Francis Photography

A stand-out home on the HBA’s Fall Parade of Homes, this Epic Homes masterpiece, located in The Wilds subdivision, is a must-see if you’re in the market for a new home. Epic Homes may be newer to the area, but they’ve quickly made a name for themselves with top-notch craftsmanship and a unique spin on finishes. Mix in a partnership with architect Jan Mevold of Mevold Studios and they’ve got themselves a recipe for success. After originally building custom homes in Western North Dakota, see how this young team is now spreading their wings on the other side of the state.


THE WILDS Located in The Wilds subdivision of West Fargo, this transitional, craftsman-style home resides

From left: Taylor Belk, Parker Pladson, Tom Seifert, and architect Jan Mevold

on a massive, 16,850 square-foot lot with an oversized front porch and extensive, two-tiered, covered patio in the back.

THE TEAM Epic Homes started as Venture Building Company with the owner, Parker Pladson, just over seven years ago, but it wasn’t until this year that all three of the team members began their Fargo partnership and rebranding to Epic Homes. Pladson is the owner and one of the project managers, but wears many hats in running all aspects of the business. Taylor Belk is another project manager who was one of the first to join Pladson and help integrate the expansion to Fargo. Tom Seifert then joined the team and manages the sales and marketing for Epic Homes. Another relationship they consider pivotal to their building process is architect Jan Mevold, of Mevold Studios. Mevold and Belk are


NDSU graduates, while Seifert graduated from The University of Mary and Pladson from Dickinson

At first arrival of this home, one important feature

never want a garage to overpower a house. Also,

State University.

proves a pivotal detail in the design and enjoyment

if you have a big, covered front porch, people are

of their homes. “We believe in putting larger front

going to sit out there and you’ll share it with your

porches on our homes,” said Belk. “It brings the

friends and see your neighbors as they pass by. It’s

attention back to the front of the house. If you look

much more welcoming.”


at older homes that are still around, one big thing that you’ll notice is a lot of large front porches. In

“Even with the exterior and our LP Smart Siding,

“One thing we focus on is combining the interior

some of the newer neighborhoods, we feel they

we don’t believe in skimping or cutting corners

and exterior design together,” said Belk. “So,

really lack that. Every house we build has at least

ever, which gives us a better-quality product with

whether it’s modern, farmhouse, contemporary or

a 200 square-foot front porch.”

fewer issues related with our climate,” said Seifert. “One of the nice things about LP is it gives you

craftsmen, we try to carry that style throughout the entire home. That’s a major reason why we

“The first reason we do larger front porches is

that wood grain and plank look, and it allows us

work with Jan Mevold. When we have an idea of

because of the weather, and mainly snow in this

to do more architectural features on the outside

what we want the inside to look like, he is able to

part of the country,” said architect Jan Mevold. “In

of the house with several color options available,”

create the outside to complement the style.”

neighborhoods today, garages are huge and we

explained Belk.

build ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS + MEVOLD STUDIO “I’ve known Taylor and Parker for a long time, so I was very excited when Epic Homes decided to come to Fargo and we began designing this home for the Fall Parade Of Homes,” said Mevold. “We worked together on the design of this house and had several conversations about how to make a home different. We didn’t design this home for a specific client, so we wanted to create something that was different than other homes. The architectural bones were important to us because that’s something the homeowner can’t easily change. We needed to create something that would be timeless. We also wanted to take advantage of the location. This is a nice size lot with a really nice backyard, so we wanted to do great window placement and high ceilings.”


“As far as the architectural elements go the stone

Inside the home, the Epic Homes team, along with

on the fireplace is the same stone we used on the

Mevold Studio, designed a stunning space with

exterior. There are several pieces and details that

2,100 square-feet on the main level. In the primary

flow entirely throughout the home, which I think is

living area, vaulted ceilings reach an impressive

missing sometimes. For example, some spaces feel

20-feet with beautiful Alder ceiling beams. A stone

very masculine on the outside, while the inside is

hearth is at the center of the space, accented by

very feminine,” said Mevold. “We try to balance the

floating shelves and custom-painted built-ins. For

two together.”

Epic Homes, everything from the stain color to the painted built-ins is completely custom.

“Another thing Jan offers our clients is being able to show a King size bed to-scale in the master

In this space, Alder beams are stained to match

bedroom or if they drive a certain vehicle, we can

the floating shelves, mantel and stair railing. Don’t

put that to scale in the garage. This way they can

bother trying to search for the paint color on the

see how much room they’re actually going to have.

lower built-ins, this is a custom color created

The average person isn’t going to know until they’re

specifically for Epic Homes. They’ve also carried

living in the house that they should have made

this paint color through to the kitchen island.

one room a little bigger. We just don’t run into

“Even with stain, we don’t just find a stain color

those issues as often as some builders because

that works, everything’s custom made for the

Jan can help them imagine their home before it

home,” said Pladson. Even the stair railing leading

is completed. We can really show them from the

to the lower-level is specially fabricated in a

beginning what it looks like,” said Seifert. The team

unique, thatched design.

can even offer 3-D renderings so homeowners can see the space before it’s built.


GREY IS THE NEW WHITE An uncommon design choice, the team steered away from the typical white trim, instead opting to paint the trim grey. “That’s just one of the design details we really enjoyed. It’s something different that carries through all of the design and architectural elements,” explained Seifert on painted trim. “We go through an extensive finishing process to ensure that the color looks good and you can’t see any nail holes. It’s actually painted in place.” This gorgeous kitchen starts with varying ceiling heights creating a double-vault at 13.5 feet. A custom painted island in the same hue as the mantel built-ins creates a stylish presence with quartz countertops and a farmhouse sink. Sleek, white cabinetry with crown molding pairs perfectly with the grey, subway tile backsplash. The kitchen amenities include high-end appliances with double oven, 36” gas cooktopan island dishwasher and drawer microwave. “The island is 10 feet wide. One thing that we do when we put the sink in the countertop, we make the width of the island larger so you can actually use the area behind the sink,” explained Mevold.


build PANTRY PERFECTION If you haven’t yet spotted the pantry, that’s exactly what the Epic Homes’ team wanted. “This idea just came from wanting to incorporate a pantry but design it in a way that no one else does. We came up with the idea, and then figured out how to make it work,” explained Pladson. “We wanted to incorporate it into the cabinetry. “When it is closed, you would never even notice that it was there.” To complete the hidden pantry door, Epic Homes started with an interior door and worked closely with Clearwater Custom Cabinets to place actual cabinetry on the face of it. To give it a seamless look, they wrapped the whole area with cabinetry so that it looks like another cabinet door with drawers. It easily pushes open with a chalk ledge underneath the builtin chalkboard. Inside, the team made sure to create a space that’s ready for a full-size, standing freezer and even an additional fridge. “We like to take images that clients bring us and figure out a way to make them work in our clients’ homes,” said Belk. “This pantry is a great example of that process. To build this hidden pantry door, it took a few meetings with Clearwater Custom Cabinets to figure out the best way to open and close the door, and how to make it match the cabinets. It was a collaboration from installing the door during framing, reframing the door, uninstalling the door, taking it to the cabinet shop, going through options on how to lay out the doors and chalkboard, then re-installing it as a feature to the kitchen.”

MADE FOR LIFE The main level includes a separate laundry room with custom cabinetry and quartz countertops. For the walls, the team took a different approach with “dirty” shiplap, creating looser lines for a more interesting, rustic look. In the Mudroom, Epic Homes designed a drop zone for coats, shoes and a separate space for mail and media storage. Custom five-panel doors give the home a unique transitional look between craftsman and contemporary.






The Master Suite features a raised, box ceiling with crown molding around the perimeter and optional accent lighting that can change hues. For this room, they chose a “clean” shiplap in white and their signature, grey trim. A sliding barn door in Alder leads to the impressive master closet and master bath. Another custom color created by Epic Homes is featured on the master bath’s painted vanities with furniture-style legs and double sinks. The bath also features audio, a wood-looking ceramic tile floor, custom-designed tile shower and separate toilet room.



Epic Homes doesn’t just believe in large front

At Epic Homes, their minimum standards are far

porches, their excitement for enjoying the outdoors

from the minimum. “Cabinets are always soft close

is just as impressive in the backyard. Creating a

and we even have custom molding made so we

beautiful, covered patio with custom beams and

can get a truly custom design on all cabinet door

stonework is all just part of the foundation. “Our

panels,” said Belk. “For the garage, we automatically

raised porch areas are actually incorporated into

start at 26 to 27 feet in depth. So, even if you have

the foundation of the home,” said Pladson. “It’s

a full-size truck with a crew cab or a suburban,

a unique feature and we love doing it because

you’re still going to have ample walking space

you truly get a maintenance-free porch. Other

around your vehicle. We really think about what

decking materials will eventually lose the battle

is actually needed in a house. We don’t just build

with mother nature. With this, you can shovel

it according to someone’s minimum expectations.

it, you can set a hot tub on it and there are no

There are certain measurements that we rely on

weight restrictions. It’s never going to move.” In

Jan for, like the distance between the island and

addition to whole-house audio, the front and back

the outer cabinets to make sure the walkways are

porches feature audio that can be controlled with

big enough to provide a smooth flow throughout

a smartphone.

the home and the space fits what’s in it.”



brought us all together.” Pladson met Jan through Belk about two years ago when he designed the exterior of his personal home in Bismarck. “I thought he did a great job. I didn’t have a lot of experience working with an architect in the past,” said Pladson. “As soon as we started to work together it was an experience that I enjoyed and knew our clients would also appreciate. We all knew it was something that we had to stick with. Fast forward a few years, and we decided to reinvent ourselves a bit,” said Pladson. “We were building custom homes already, but we wanted to expand on that experience and make it even better for clients. This would allow us to be more creative from start to finish.

ANYTHING BUT COOKIE-CUTTER Epic Homes is anything but cookie-cutter. “We don’t have a set number of floorplans to choose from. Clients come in with ideas and we turn their ideas into their dream home,” said Seifert. “We work with Jan exclusively and won’t build a home without him. We also won’t build the same house twice. Every project is unique to the clients who call it home.” “When I started working for these guys, it worked out well because, from my point-of-view, I never want to design the same house twice,” said Mevold. It doesn’t matter how big or small a house is, we take the challenge to design a house that’s somebody’s dream home. If there’s a husband and wife, you have to create a design that makes them both happy. Usually the wife wins,” laughed Mevold.

“I came to NDSU for college and fell in love with laughed Pladson. Belk started off in commercial

Fargo,” said Belk. “I knew that would be the place

building in Dickinson and ended up building his

I wanted to call home. Now that we’re all working

own house on the side, propelling him into the

together, we all just enjoy the state of North

world of homebuilding. “I met Tom around the

Dakota in general. We’re going back and forth

same time period through a mutual friend. We

between friends and family all the time. It’s really

always talked about teaming up, but never knew

not as difficult as people may think to build in

what that meant or if it would happen,” Pladson

different cities.” Right now, the Epic Homes team


has built just about everywhere in the state and has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

“To further pursue residential construction, I moved from Dickinson back to Fargo,” said Belk. “I worked for another homebuilder for a couple of years after moving back. Meanwhile, I was still working with Jan, and still keeping in touch with Parker. Parker always gave me the guidance and the

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support while I was learning about homebuilding.

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Eventually, the timing was right to discuss what

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it would look like to take Epic Homes and branch

Interiors by France

out to Fargo. We took our time discussing it, and

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we knew this was our best opportunity to team up

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and see what we could do together.”

Architect - Jan Mevold, Mevold Studios Electrical – Axis Electric


Pladson met Seifert and over the course of five years, had many conversations about working

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For Epic Homes, building their team was a story

together, but not ever knowing if it would happen.

in full circle. Pladson began building in 2011 in

“I started talking to Tom more seriously, as I knew

Dickinson, then in 2013 started building custom

he was one of the pieces of the puzzle. I knew

homes in Bismarck. He met Belk and Seifert in

he was a really smart guy, would be an incredible


between, and without knowing it at the time, the

salesperson and a great marketer for the new

team had started to form.

company,” said Pladson. “I don’t know how or why,

but from day one we always ended up talking bettering



Epic Homes Taylor Belk

Mevold Studio

“We’ve all known each other for a long time and I


think what makes us special is how we all came

and life as a whole,” Seifert replied. “There were

together. Taylor and I became fast friends. He was

opportunities that we felt at some point we should

actually dating my cousin, who’s now his wife,”

pursue. It’s funny how life works out and how it

Jan Mevold 701.306.2938

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Lost River Treasure Words by Tracy Nicholson Photos by Dan Francis Photography

Just over the Horace bridge to the west of the Sheyenne River, is 220 acres of land that has been treasured by the Samuelson family for six generations. Nestled on the riverbank, the Samuelson’s 1889 homestead is part of the landscape that includes an abandoned river bed which is nothing short of postcard perfection. Jack and Rachel (Samuelson) Dwyer moved into the original homestead in 2009 after purchasing the home and part of the land from Rachel Dwyer’s grandmother, Sherry Samuelson. Like many family members before them, the Dwyers and their four kids eventually outgrew the home. Wanting to ensure the family’s legacy for years to come, the Samuelson family and the Dwyer family came up with a plan to keep the land in the family and also build the dream home their growing family desired.




LOST RIVER DEVELOPMENT Abundant trees and river views are just a couple of the reasons why the Samuelson family held tight to this coveted land. When Sherry Samuelson considered selling the land in 2015, Jack Dwyer, a lawyer who specializes in real estate and water law, delved in to see what they could do to preserve the land they had grown to love. Wanting to respect the Samuelson family heritage, he and Sherry Samuelson developed a plan that would give the Dwyers the space they needed and, for the first time, allow other families to build their own legacy on the land. “Sherry and I talked about it and we came up with a plan together to keep it in the family, and to develop it together,” said Jack Dwyer. “I would do the work and Sherry and her kids would maintain the ownership and try to create generational wealth and turn this change into a positive thing. The fact that three out of four of Sherry’s kids don’t get to enjoy the land, helped make the decision that financially it would be the right move for the family to develop it.” Samuelson saw it as a great idea. “I hope I do get to see all of it done. We have a lot of great memories here,” said Samuelson.

FROM CLASSIC 1889 TO MODERN DAY MID-CENTURY For the Dwyers, they felt honored to be able to move onto the original homestead back in 2009. “It’s a very special spot and really the best setting,” said Jack Dwyer. “We’ve always said that we have the best yard in Fargo. We haven’t had the greatest house and we didn’t have a garage or closets in the original homestead, but we had the best patio and really the most beautiful setting,” said Rachel Dwyer. “For years, we were trying


to figure out a way to maybe make enough money to buy the whole place, and keep it forever,” said Jack Dwyer.

Unlike most development plans, this one would be a bit more sentimental.

Building new was not the first plan the Dwyers had discussed. They had

This new neighborhood consisting of 120 lots, needed to honor the Samuelson

initially looked into remodeling the original house, so they had an architect

family and every street and park needed to be what they wanted for their

draw up a floor plan which would then fix the original brick foundation.

own kids that would be raised on the land. “With the design, we worked very,

“Our bids came back basically at what we spent on the new house, and

very hard laying out the subdivision in a way that we can be proud of,” said

we’d still be left with a house with mouse droppings in the wall, poor

Jack Dwyer. “We decided to create community space with walking trails and

insulation and no ductwork,” said Jack Dwyer.

park space that’s centered in the development. The park will include a hockey rink, skating pad, warming house, shelter, and eventually two big playgrounds.

Despite a few setbacks from age and wear, the Dwyers were very happy

There’s also a gazebo, soccer field, tennis court, youth baseball field and

with the home for many years. “We do love it, and we put a lot of energy

basketball court in the works.”

and care into the original home. We put in new flooring, wall coverings and windows,” said Rachel Dwyer. “It was kind of funny because my mom

With the new layout of the subdivision, Jack Dwyer and Sherry Samuelson

had done the same thing here in the early 90s. So, each person that lived

opted to create lots for all families, designating space for entry-level homes,

here put their own twist on the house. With three kids it was starting to

mid and luxury homes. Lots are protected by the Sheyenne River diversion and

feel tight, but then when we had our fourth child and it got hard to find

range from $19,900 to $174,900. Currently, 30 lots in the first phase are sold

places for everything. I really was starting to yearn for my kids to have a

with an additional 40 lots optioned to custom builders.

nice, big place to play, but also a space for them to relax.”



HISTORY IN THE MAKING Edward and Louisa Samuelson bought the original homestead in April of 1891. After Edward passed away in the early 1930s, Louisa Samuelson lost the land to a bank in a mortgage foreclosure in 1943. Edward and Louisa’s son and Rachel Dwyer’s great-grandfather, Didrick Samuelson, who worked for the Horace Post Office for over 40 years, and his wife, Mamie, were able to save up enough money to purchase the land back from the bank in 1948 and keep the land in the family. “I remember the first time I came across that bridge, I thought, am I going to another country?” laughed Sherry Samuelson. “Uncle John, who once lived here, I don’t think had ever been further than Minnesota, and that was only a couple of times. Other than that, he didn’t go off of the farm.” Didrick and Mamie Samuelson sold the land to their son Edward Samuelson and his wife Sherry Samuelson in 1965, who placed the land into a trust. For Sherry and Edward Samuelson, they would live in the upstairs of the 1889 home, a space that had been renovated into an apartment for prior family members. Her in-laws then resided on the main level of the home. Sherry Samuelson had often thought of Edward’s parents as her own. After raising two children in the upstairs apartment, anticipation of a third had them moving to a larger home in Fargo. After Edward and Sherry were divorced in 1978, she decided she could not take the farm away from him, so she suggested he keep the acreage. When a neighboring 50 acres of wooded land came up for sale in 1997, Sherry purchased the additional acreage. Sherry Samuelson eventually purchased the Samuelson land from her ex-husband Edward Samuelson in 2006, and she purchased an additional 60-acre tract from another neighboring landowner in 2006. In the end, with a goal to keep the land in their children’s lives, Sherry Samuelson would end up the owner of 220 acres of untouched nature and the original farmstead.

THE LOST RIVER ROUTE On a walk to the riverbank, Jack Dwyer showed us his favorite spots, including the land he bow hunts on and a canoe landing where he often fishes. Phase two, which is not yet begun, will likely include the picturesque, untouched land beyond the clearing. Taking us into the meadow past the cul-de-sac, Jack Dwyer explains that this is the abandoned riverbed where water once ran through, hence the name of the development, Lost River.



Find the Finishes Appliances - Rigel’s Homebuilder- Carpenter Homes

Island stools - Scan Design

Powder room wall covering - Scandinavian Tulips, Wayfair

Dining table lighting - Lowe’s

Lighting - Wayfair

Exterior landscape design - Boyle Landscape Architects

Powder room and kitchen backsplash tile - Imperial Flooring

Linear fireplace - Hebron Brick

Kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, family room floating shelves - Poss Custom Cabinets

Fireplace stone - Imperial Flooring

Quartz powder room sink and kitchen countertop - Northern Stone

Sofa, desk, dining table, rugs, chair, artwork & coffee table - Scan Design

White Oak flooring - JW Kitchens

Office artwork - Rando

BUILDING A NEW HERITAGE Just past Lost River road, down a street named after Rachel Dwyer’s great grandpa Didrick Samuelson, the Dwyers have completed the build of their new home. For the design of their dream home, the Dwyers worked with Jason Carpenter of Carpenter Homes. Going for a transitional design, they chose to intermingle craftsman quality with mid-century Family photo by Mandey Marie Photography

modern appeal. Even Rachel’s grandma, Sherry Samuelson was in agreement. “I was really pleased when Jack and Rachel built this, they’ve done such a good job,” said Samuelson. “I thought of building out here, but oh, I’d get carried away,” she laughed.


Throughout the home, the Dwyers opted to do their own design, choosing much of their furniture from Scan Design in Fargo, N.D. “We just chose the things that we have always liked. We had planned to go to the cities to buy much of the furniture from Room & Board, but once we went into Scan Design, we found everything we needed and decided not to leave town. They had so many great pieces.” They also searched high and low for an oil-brushed, white oak flooring they had seen on Houzz, finally spotting the elusive flooring in the JW Kitchens showroom. “In all of the really modern houses you see white walls,” said Rachel Dwyer. “But, we wanted it to stand out against our white cabinets and white trim, so we did Egret White (Sherwin Williams) so there’s some subtle contrast. Our perfect trim is no trim, but that’s not really an option. Our builder loves craftsman trim, so his perfect trim is as much trim as possible, so we found this to be a pretty likable balance. It frames everything out nicely, but it doesn’t have that typical strong, top molding like craftsman does.” “We were really inspired by mid-century modern and Scandinavian style,” said Rachel Dwyer of their new home. “When we looked through Houzz, we were always drawn to walnut and also a glossy white. We ended up having Poss Custom Cabinets do all of the cabinets in a white slab with a European overlay and walnut trim. Everywhere except the kitchen, we did walnut with our built-ins.” Sharing the same design preference, Rachel Dwyer and her grandmother both love contemporary styling. “I had a home in Seattle and I told Rachel, her hardware in the kitchen is the same as I had in my Seattle home,” said Sherry Samuelson. For the unique countertop, the Dwyers worked with Northern Stone. “They were great to work with,” said Rachel Dwyer. “We chose a lightly-leathered granite, so it has a matte look without having the ridges.” Coordinating perfectly, the backsplash is a wider subway tile, stacked, also in a matte finish. For the powder room, Rachel Dwyer chose midcentury modern lighting, penny round floor tile and a stunning tulip wall covering with Scandinavian flair. “We even borrowed some pieces like that vase from my grandmother, she has very modern taste, so it’s fun to bring those into our new home,” said Rachel Dwyer. “I think I got my love of modern design from her.”



For the exterior, the Dwyers chose privacy fencing on the side, then open-style fencing on the back to preserve the view to the river. “Peter Boyle of Boyle Landscape Architects actually transplanted flowers from the original homestead, so a lot of them are my great grandmother’s flowers, “ said Rachel Dwyer. “One of Jason’s ideas to customize this house was to bump out the platform outside of the base of the house in the stairwell. It really did change the look of the house on the exterior,” said Rachel Dwyer. “Jason called us while we were in France in June and said, you know with your high pitched roof, why don’t we put a bonus room up there. There was already an artificial window for exterior appeal, so we thought let’s bump it out over here and make it a playroom, then bump the other wall out and create another bedroom. That’s when we decided not to finish the basement. With our boys sharing a room, our older son can move up to the third level when he’s ready.” Homebuilder - Carpenter Homes Exterior landscape design - Boyle Landscape Architects Irrigation - Aqua Lawn Sprinkler Systems Siding - LP Smart Siding

The Dwyers second level consists of a master suite, laundry room, kids bathroom, and three kid’s rooms with spacious walk-in-closets. The Dwyers found the laundry room’s quartz countertop as a remnant at Northern Stone. “We just lucked out at getting the exact size we needed,” said Rachel Dwyer. They even managed to salvage some of the wood flooring from the old homestead remodel, gathering enough to cover the laundry floor. Upstairs in the kid’s bathroom, they leaned towards contemporary with a walnut linen divider and double under-mount sinks in quartz. “Since there’s no closet here and I didn’t want to lose space, I had Poss custom design a space for rolled towels,” said Rachel Dwyer. Flooring, shower tile and penny round tile - Imperial Flooring Lighting - Wayfair Quartz vanity counters - Northern Stone Master bedroom - Bamboo furniture, Scan Design Custom glass shower door - Red River Glazing

Saving a bird’s-eye of the river for their master suite, the Dwyers bedroom is completed with Scandinavian bamboo and contemporary stylings. Mod lighting sets a mid-century tone for the Dwyers master bath. Inside their spa-inspired shower, they chose a black penny-round tile complimented by a stunning, wood-look tile from Imperial Flooring.


For information on Lost River Development, contact: Jack Dwyer 701-235-2040

“It’s so special that our kids are the sixth generation to live on this land. The new house is just a really functional space for us and we’re still here on the family homestead.” Rachel Dwyer

Your Details, Our Expertise. With over 30 years in the FM area, expertise is where Wood Specialists rises above the rest. Details are everything, whether it’s in the design phase or service after completion, we promise the finest for your family.

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Create your dream kitchen, creative storage or unique bathroom today!

(701) 281-2427


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out of any occasion

In-home catering, office lunch socials, off-site dinners, and more: Chef’s Table is the smart choice for your holiday gathering. Ask us about custom menus and our unique venue partners for a party that really shines. | | (701) 566-3473


Live, Laugh, Love A Night of Wine, Wishes, and Pizza Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by AB Images

Have you ever been to a live auction and wondered what it would be like to attend one of the elite dinners that are often up for bid? This Fall, we were invited to the beautiful, Sheyenne River home of Vonda and Jim Leiner to get a glimpse inside their authentic, Italian, wood-burning pizza party. This event was donated by the Leiners on behalf of Make-A-Wish, North Dakota at the 2017 Wine & Wishes event held this past Spring. Casting the winning bid, Angela and Joe Kolling had a reason for supporting this cause that was close to home. In 2009, their own daughter Morgan was once the recipient of a Wish. Driven to show continued support for other children with life-threatening illnesses, the Kollings gathered friends and family in a celebration of life, love and pizza.

charity + community


Angela and Joe Kolling

THE POWER OF A WISH Inviting seven of their closest friends to the dinner,

“It’s been eight years since we went on our Wish

the Kollings know too well the need for Wishes

trip for Morgan and we have not missed a Make-

to be granted. Donating a dinner like this one can

A-Wish event since,” said Angela Kolling. “Make-A-

mean raising anywhere from a few hundred dollars

Wish was wonderful in making sure that her wish

to a few thousand, all going towards granting

happened. We had a setback the week before she

children’s Wishes throughout the state.

was going on her trip and so they were good about making sure plans were changed to accommodate Morgan, and honestly, Make-A-Wish is one of the best organizations out there. It truly gives kids that are going through this, something to smile about

“We could not grant the wishes to almost 50 children each year without the generosity of people like the Leiners, Dahls and Kollings.”

and gives their family that little break and reprieve. Whether it’s a trip, a new bedroom or a new swing set; whatever the wish may be, they make sure it happens for that child and make each wish special. After their daughter’s Wish was granted, the Kollings vowed to keep giving back. The group of friends they invited to the Leiner’s house comes every year to the Make-A-Wish event to show their support. “It’s nice to be able to share the night

Billi Jo Zielinski

with them,” said Angela Kolling. “I think Make-A-

Make-A-Wish North Dakota

Wish would agree, there’s no gift that’s too small. But, even just to get the awareness out there of the organization and what they do. You don’t have to give, you can also donate your time or help with the wishes, it’s not just about spending money.”


DONATING AN EXPERIENCE Co-hosting for the night’s dinner was Brad and


so it has more of a lemon taste to it.” “This peach one is our salad pizza and a favorite

Jennifer Dahl. Brad Dahl has been on the Make-

To create an authentic, Italian experience for the

of ours We got it from Muddy Waters, a restaurant

A-Wish board for the past 12 years and he and

Kollings and their guests, Jim and Vonda Leiner

in Minneapolis. There’s Parmesan, Mozzarella,

his wife were the two that proposed the pizza

spent nearly 12 hours preparing and sautéing every

Blue Cheese, Prosciutto, peaches, pears, toasted

party idea to Jim and Vonda Leiner. In past years,

type of pizza ingredient imaginable. Jim Leiner

walnuts and arugula. Then we just drizzle it with

typically executive chefs had donated dinners, but

made the pizza crust dough from scratch, planning

balsamic vinegar,” said Jim Leiner.

the Dahl’s knew firsthand that the Leiners could

for 16 pizzas.

create an experience that people would love to bid

For another popular pie, the Leiners use bacon

on. “This is more of an experience,” said Jennifer

To make the most of the experience, guests were

grease as the base, Pecorino Romano, Parmesan

Dahl. “The food’s going to be fabulous, I know that

invited to either create their own concoction or

cheese and a little Mozzarella. “If you look at

for a fact. It’s a beautiful home, there’s a set up

follow one of the Leiner’s favorite recipes they

different recipes, you can pretty much use any

to have a bonfire as well. This is a treat because

cleverly displayed on restaurant order pads.

kind of cheese and pepper,” said Vonda Leiner. “It’s

we’ve been out here for a lot of pizza parties and

called Cacio e Pepe which translates to cheese

there’s usually 10 to 20 people. It’s really fun and

“One of the pizzas that really throws people is our

and pepper in Italian. We’re planning a trip to Italy

you can make your own or they’ll make one for

bratwurst and sauerkraut with mustard sauce.

next year for our 30th wedding anniversary, so

you. Jim and Vonda have ruined pizza for us,”

Also, the shrimp pizza is a signature that not many

Jim’s actually learning how to speak Italian. Right

laughed Jennifer Dahl. “Once you eat their pizza,

people have had,” said Vonda Leiner. “The shrimp

now he’s about 40 percent fluent, he can read and

you don’t want to go anywhere else.”

pizza has a secret base, it’s something that Jim

write in Italian. I only know a few words, but he’s

creates as he’s sautéing for the sausage, onions

able to listen to it all day while he’s working, so

and garlic. This time he did more of a beurre blanc,

he’s actually pretty good.”

charity + community


WOODFIRE WHIMSY The Leiners wanted an authentic, woodfire pizza oven that could only be found in Italy. Jim Leiner, a long-time cabinet builder for Wood Specialists in Fargo, N.D., installed the pizza oven, beautiful cabinetry and stone surround. The couple typically reserved pizza parties for the winter, and for good reason. Their authentic pizza oven gets up to around 800 degrees, sufficiently heating up the house. “We roll the dough out, then place on cornmeal so it doesn’t stick,” explained Vonda Leiner. “The only other secret is not to add too much sauce to the very edge. Each pizza takes about three minutes in the brick oven.” Jim and Vonda Leiner


TOUR THE LEINER’S HOME Before guests arrived, Vonda Leiner gave us a tour of their stunning home. For new guests to the Leiner’s home, the experience starts at the street with a picturesque walk through a dreamy landscape framed with cafe lights, finally leading to their front porch, where Frank Sinatra is crooning through the speakers near the entrance. Inside, it’s easy to feel as if one’s been transported to another, more exotic location; maybe a gorgeous Italian villa, a beautiful resort in the mountains or your favorite restaurant in Napa Valley. Vonda Leiner’s flair for design and detail is in every nook and cranny of their gorgeous home. She doesn’t follow the standard rules of design, and it’s utter perfection. In fact, she doesn’t follow trends, and her style cannot be defined in one word. Some would say it’s an eclectic mix of French country, vintage,





everything in-between. To combine all of these styles seamlessly, with family heirlooms, flea market finds and handmade items is a skill all on its own. Each room is a reflection of the Leiner’s 32 years together. One walk through the home and guests feel as if they’ve gotten a glimpse of their personality, their life and their loves. “Her home is beautiful,” said Make-A-Wish mom, Angela Kolling. “It’s nice to be able to come into someone else’s home and experience a different style of dinner. We’ve had dinners through Make-AWish where they come to your home as well. So, this had a nice appeal, to be able to go into a different house and be with our friends and family, those that are close to us.”

charity + community


SEASONAL DECOR WITH A SPIN The Leiner’s table is set for Fall perfection. “We just hung the branch over the table last winter for Christmas and then we had antique icicles and snowflakes that hung off of it,” said Vonda Leiner. “After Christmas, we decided to keep it, we liked the architectural look and we didn’t want two more light fixtures in here because of the large kitchen pendants.” “So, this was an old farm table, but in 2010. I almost started our whole house on fire with a mix of candles, wood, pine cones and fresh greenery,” laughed Vonda Leiner. “It had huge burn marks down the center and I couldn’t find a table to replace it so, we just tried to think of another way.” As a solution, Jim Leiner had a stainless steel top fabricated to fit the lower legs, lending the space a mix of farmhouse, industrial appeal. An efficient self-taught designer, Vonda Leiner doesn’t decorate for one specific holiday, she decorates for the longer haul, focusing on the seasons. Her Fall decor for the dinner is a seasonal style which will easily last through Thanksgiving. “I’m not a big orange fan, but the white pumpkins are a must,” said Vonda Leiner. If you’re wondering about Christmas, she doesn’t like taking the decor down in four weeks, so Vonda Leiner opts for Winter-inspired decor to last through the next season.



DIY MASTERPIECE After sheet-rock, Jim and Vonda Leiner are known to take over the project and physically do all of the home’s finishes themselves. Putting to good use Jim Leiner’s 30-plus years as a cabinet-maker at Wood Specialists, they were able to build their cabinets themselves and have him do all of the custom rock work, tile and almost every finish. The Leiner’s master suite is an ode to love and family. Vintage photos of their great-grandparents represent both sides of their family, along with pieces from their past.

charity + community


In the Leiner’s entry, they display an old German bench that lifts at the bottom and pulls out. Back in the day, this would have typically been used at a farm table and then used for children to sleep in at night.

ORGANIC OUTDOORS Just off of the master suite, Jim Leiner built a swoon-worthy three-season porch with sliding doors to accommodate the seasons. A slightly more contemporary look at first glance, a second glance reveals an eclectic mix of vintage and flea market finds with a stunning view of the patio and woods beyond their home. Outside on the patio, Jim Leiner cut 400-pound tree trunks to brace their table top. The table top alone is an impressive 1,200 to 1,300 pounds. The white handrail on the deck was found at an antique store and was originally from a hotel in Minneapolis. “We’ve been here for 12 years. We wanted to keep the backyard rustic and we wanted it to feel like when you come out here, that you’re in Itasca or someplace like that,” said Vonda Leiner. “We’re just going to put down a little grass and those yellow, weed flowers that you see on the side of the road. We just want it to look really natural.”


charity + community

SUPPORTING A WISH To understand the purpose behind events like the one Jim and Vonda Leiner

“Joe and Angela’s daughter, Morgan, received her wish to go to Disney’s Animal

generously donated, just ask Brad Dahl, a longstanding board member, and

Kingdom in April of 2009,” said Make-A-Wish North Dakota President and CEO,

wish-granting volunteer. “The best part of being involved with Make-A-Wish is

Billi Jo Zielinski. “After the trip, Morgan began coloring pictures and selling

putting smiles on kid’s faces. We’ve got close to 50 kids that get Wishes granted

them to raise money for Make-A-Wish. From notecards to live auction prints,

in North Dakota. We have to raise money, the kids get a wish and we don’t

she has posthumously raised over $30,000 for other wish kids in North Dakota.”

want to have to deny it. It would be nice if this number would decrease. That means the kids aren’t getting sick with life-threatening illnesses. If someone

“We could not grant the wishes to almost 50 children each year without the

wants to get involved with helping, any ideas are listened to by our executive

generosity of people like the Leiners, Dahls and Kollings,” said Make-A-Wish

director, Billi Jo Zielinski. When we had this idea, we went to her and she said,

North Dakota President and CEO Billi Jo Zielinski. “Donated experiences like

“Absolutely.” We didn’t know how it was going to turn out if anyone would even

this go beyond just a moment at an event. They transform lives, one wish at a

bid on it, but we ended up having a couple of different people that bid on it.

time. One of the Kolling family’s favorite mottos is “live, laugh, love” and you

Every little bit counts.”

can bid on Morgan’s art piece with this motto, hear other wish children stories and enjoy wine from Happy Harry’s at next year’s Wine & Wishes event on Friday, April 6, 2018, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo.”

“It’s great that people do things like this, it’s a great setting and something that’s really attractive to bid on at the event,” said Joe Kolling. “It’s something different and a lot of fun for a night out. To come to an event like the MakeA-Wish fundraiser, you don’t need to spend $2,000. You can go and spend $25 and still make a huge impact. It’s a fun night to go whether you win something nice or just donate a small amount. It makes an impact and it’s worth going no matter how much you can offer. Going to an event like this is a big eye-opener for someone who hasn’t been through it. The lasting impact that Make-A-Wish has on these families, I can’t describe it. To go to the event at least helps give some kind of perspective on what they do.”

In loving memory of Morgan Kolling

To donate time or help support a Wish, contact: Billi Jo Zielinski President and CEO Make-A-Wish® North Dakota 4143 26th Avenue South, Suite 104, Fargo N.D. 701.280.9474



A Father-Daughter duo carrying on the family tradition since 1987!

Kaeli Wendt & Dale Wendt


Fall into Festive Dining Words by Trever Hill Photos by M.Schleif Photography



This month, I challenged myself to create a Fall-inspired tablescape, amidst the vibrant colors of the historic Ivers building in Downtown Fargo. In a setting like this, there was no shortage of inspiration. To complete the tablescape, I gathered a couple of dear friends that I’m thankful for and asked them to be my guest in a bit of festive, Fall dining.

BE OUR GUEST To create the perfect Fall ambiance, friends Teresa O’Day and Erin Hafliger helped me set the scene. The Ivers building is an iconic one that is locally known for its stunning seasonal colors. Vines extend almost the entire expanse of the North side, so when the season’s colors emerge, the building is illuminated with vibrant tones. This is the place that came to mind when thinking of a dream location to create a table for two.

SEASONAL INSPIRATION I started with just a few items: the velvet pumpkins and stemware from McNeal & Friends. From there, I began filling in other elements to coordinate with those two items.


Oranges are typically not something I would think of for Fall decor, but I saw these dried versions at Eco Chic Boutique and the tone melded perfectly with our pumpkins. Finally, I needed something fun for the guests to take home. This is where I incorporated Fall-themed favors from both Eco Chic Boutique and Mint & Basil.

November is a time to be thankful for those around us, so I like to make sure guests are surprised with a special gift at each setting. I love including fun, little items like these hand-cast ceramic turkeys from Eco Chic Boutique. These are an inexpensive way to gift your guests, at just over two dollars a place setting. I also included a beautiful, black-wrapped soap from Mint & Basil with a dried flower that coordinated perfectly with our Fall tablescape. They come in an array of flower choices and scents, so you can almost always find one to coordinate with your setting.




WINE & DINE For the wine display, I used this glass and rusted-metal cage. The shape and size were perfect, especially when I used a vintage, wood wine holder for the bottom. Lately, I’ve been using a lot of wood trays and bowls from O’Day Cache. Cindy O’Day is well-known for traveling all over the world to find authentic, aged-wood pieces for her store. She even labels many of them so patrons can see how old each piece is. Some of the wood I’ve used for the tablescape is roughly 150 years-old. Pieces like this create some extra interest and sometimes have a great backstory to share with guests.

PLUSH PUMPKINS I am in love with the original Plush Pumpkin collection out of St. Paul, Minnesota. I found these handstitched pumpkins and acorns at McNeal & Friends. They are made with the highest quality velvet and use real, handpicked pumpkin stems and acorn tops. They also come in a variety of rich color tones to go with any decor.

To display these beautiful pumpkins, I found the perfect, farmhouse-style, tin tray that would then serve as my centerpiece. I loved the contrast of the raw metal and rich velvet next to each other.

seasonal PLATED PERFECTION The raw edge of these pottery-style dishes really caught my eye at Mint & Basil. I go there often for unique items for gifting, but this time I came across their beautiful stoneware. I loved how organic and raw they looked, especially in the neutral tone. Ruffled, linen sleeves from Burlap Rustic Chic Boutique mixed with cast-iron flatware completed the look.

I like to shop at a variety of local stores to really get that pulled-together look. Yes, I could do it all from one store, but I like the result of shopping around. Even though most of the stores go to the same market, they all pour through millions of items to make sure their products coordinate with their store’s unique look. So, it’s really nice to pull those different pieces together and finish the tablescape with a fun, eclectic look.

Shop Around Table - Garisson drop-leaf table, Currey & Company Chairs - Jeffan, McNeal & Friends Ceramic turkeys - Eco Chic Boutique Tin tray - Scheels Home & Hardware Rusted metal and glass-panel cage - O’Day Cache

Raffia bow & feathered napkin rings - McNeal & Friends

Dehydrated oranges - Eco Chic Boutique

Plush Pumpkins and acorns - McNeal & Friends

Vintage, wood wine holder - O’ Day Cache

Linen table runner -McNeal & Friends

Cast-iron flatware - Michael Aram, McNeal & Friends

Soap & dried flower favors - Mint & Basil

Linen flatware sleeves - set of four, Burlap Rustic Chic Boutique

Tree trunk charger - Mint and Basil

Stoneware dishes - Mint & Basil

Jute charger - McNeal & Friends

Stemware - Juliska, McNeal & Friends

Iron handle, glass cloche - Europe2You, McNeal & Friends



Midwest Nest Magazine Launch Party October 19, 2017 Elevate, Loretta Building, Downtown Fargo Photos by M.Schleif Photography

With Midwest Nest’s first issue hot off the press, we wanted to properly thank those that have supported our vision from the very beginning. So, in celebration, we gathered our team, family and friends to toast to a successful first month, sharing ideas for many more to come.

launch recap



A Twist on Tradition Words by Shayla Knutson Photos by Zach Davis Photography


Thanksgiving is not too far away, and that means it’s time to start menu and tablesetting prep. Thanksgiving is about tradition and we all have our go-to recipes, but sometimes a little refresh is in order. With a small twist on tradition, those classic cranberries, stuffing, turkey and green beans will reach a whole new level of tastefulness. For some, it is hard to stray from the typical Thanksgiving menu, but this menu is simply taking a different approach to classic dishes. Perhaps finding a new family favorite dish is simply adding a small twist on traditional dishes.




If you are hosting and/or cooking, there are subtle changes that you can make to traditional family recipes that will keep things new and exciting. Traditions will always be important during holidays, but I think the way to keep everyone from falling asleep, is to spice things up a bit, whether you inject a little whimsy into the menu, or just experiment with new foods and flavor combinations. I especially love it when an experimental recipe transforms into its own tradition. That’s the way it was with my green bean casserole. It’s now demanded at every Thanksgiving. This menu of sides and dessert provides traditional Thanksgiving fare, but sprinkles in a few variations for good measure. I’m a strong believer in classic dishes, but there’s definitely room for creativity. I guarantee you’ll earn a major applause at the Thanksgiving table.



Floral: Love Always Floral

I recently developed an appreciation for a good cranberry sauce and realized

Half of the success of a dinner party is the presentation. Fall provides great,

that together, sweet and savory is an incredible combo. This cranberry sauce

natural elements you can incorporate into your table design ideas (e.g. wood,

is unique with the addition of cognac and walnuts.

greenery, pumpkins). Thanksgiving is also a great excuse to give your table a fun new makeover. A new tablecloth, runner, or throw blanket will give your

The stuffing is very classic but with a small twist of using bagels instead of

Thanksgiving table-setting a fresh new look. From there you can add many

bread. I love a good green bean casserole but hate using canned vegetables

natural items combined with items around the house to create a beautiful,

and processed fried onions. This recipe came about when my husband

layered Thanksgiving table.

became gluten-free and could not have those addicting, processed, fried onion toppings. The mashed potatoes have a hint of something new with the

I love mixing fun colors along with textures. I used a wool throw blanket instead

addition of ranch and greek yogurt.

of a table runner to keep it less expensive. I love blending sophisticated plates and glasses with organic wood pieces, greenery and florals.

For dessert, I am a lover of a good pumpkin pie...but switching it out is always good. Warm apple crisp is a nice change and uses a fruit that is seasonally

Don’t forget to incorporate the reason for the season in your Thanksgiving dinner plans. One tradition in my home that will never change is having each person at the table tell something he or she is thankful for. For this, offer small pieces of paper to everyone and have them write down what they are most thankful for and share after dinner.









For Apples:

• 1 C onion

• 1 pkg (12oz) fresh cranberries

• 1 C sugar

• 2 C celery

• ¾ C sugar

• 1 T g/f flour

• 1 C butter

• ½ C orange juice

• 1 t salt

• 2 2/3 t salt

• ¼ C triple-sec (or orange-flavored liqueur)

• 1 T cinnamon

• 2/3 t pepper

• ¼ t ground allspice

• 5 C apples

• 2 2/3 t poultry seasoning

• ¼ t ground cloves

Cut apples into ¼“ slices. Mix ingredients in large

• 1 t fresh thyme

• ¼ t ginger

bowl and place in 9X13 pan or 6 ramekins.

• 1 t fresh sage

• 1 T grated orange peel

• 6 plain white bagels

• ½ C chopped walnuts, toasted

• 1 C brown sugar

A day before, cube bagels to dry out. Chop the

In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries,

• 1 ½ C g/f flour

onion and celery very fine. In a pan, melt the

sugar, orange juice, liqueur and spices until boiling.

• 1 C butter

butter then add celery, onion, salt, pepper, poultry

Reduce heat to med-low and simmer, stirring

• 1 C g/f oats

seasoning, thyme and sage. Mix in the dried bagels

frequently until cranberries begin to pop and

Cream together sugar and butter. Add oats and

and stuff turkey.

mixture has thickened slightly approximately 10

For topping:

flour. Crumble on top of apples.

minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Bake for 50 minutes

Stir in orange peel and toasted walnuts





• 1 ½ lbs chopped green beans

• 4 lbs new baby potatoes

• ½ C onion chopped + 1 ½ C onion thinly sliced

• ½ C plain greek yogurt

• 1 12oz Pacific brand cream of mushroom soup

• ½ C butter

• 1 t salt

• 2 T dry ranch

• ½ t pepper

• 1 ½ C cheddar cheese

• 1 T Worcestershire sauce

• 10 slices cooked bacon

• 1 T minced garlic

• 1 t salt

• ¼ C milk

• ½ t pepper

• ¼ C + 1 T cornstarch

• ¼ C milk

• ½ C oil for frying onions

• ¼ C scallions chopped

Steam the chopped green beans for six minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Wash and cut

Remove and place in a bowl. Add the cream of

potatoes into large chunks.

mushroom soup, salt, pepper, Worcestershire

Place potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted

sauce, garlic, milk, ½ cup chopped onion, and 1 T

water and cook until fork tender, approximately

cornstarch. Mix in a bowl and pour into a medium-

15 minutes. Drain the potatoes, return to pot

size sauté pan. Turn the heat on to medium-high

with butter. Mash with a potato masher. Stir in

and let simmer covered for eight minutes.

milk, greek yogurt, bacon, dry ranch, salt, pepper and one cup of shredded cheese and mash until

For the crunchy onion topping: take the 1 ½ cup

desired consistency. Lightly spray a casserole dish

thinly sliced onions and toss them in ¼ cup of

with non-stick cooking spray. Place the potato

cornstarch. Drizzle several tablespoons of avocado

mixture in baking dish. Top with remaining ½ cup

oil into a sauté pan on high heat and pan fry the

cheese and scallions. Bake for 25-30 minutes or

onion slices. Place on paper towel to get rid of

until cheese is melted.

excess oil. Remove lid from green bean mixture and add the crunchy onions. Simmer to thicken for 3 to 4 minutes. To see more of my Sweetly Simple recipes, follow me on Facebook or Instagram @sweetlysimplelife.



Progressive Architecture Tour Words by Susan Hozak-Cardinal

Photos by Dan Francis Photography

Leave it to the art community to create an event pairing food, wine and a tour of three amazing homes, all in the same night. The 2nd annual Progressive Architecture Tour from Plains Art Museum took place on September 23 and walked guests through three homes of area architects and owners to share their stories and insights about the making of their dream homes.

THE CREW I, along with my husband Jason Cardinal, photographer Dan Francis and contributors Trever Hill and Jesse Masterson, were ecstatic to join a small group of 42 people touring three notable homes. It was a day and evening full of excitement, questions, and the chance to meet and mingle with the homeowners and architects. All proceeds raised from the event went to help support the PlainsArt4All initiative to keep the museum’s general admission free. If you missed out on the tour, no need to fret. Grab yourself a snack and glass of wine and join me as we tour three homes with three different courses.


House #1

HORIZON HOUSE | MOORHEAD Owners | Sunny Clark and Marc Wilson Architects | DandE Lab, Malini Srivastava and Mike Christenson Course #1: Hors d’oeuvres | Luna, Chef Ryan Nitschke

The first home we visited was the Horizon Home in Moorhead. When we arrived, we were greeted by Sandy Thompson. Thompson is the Development Director at the Plains Art Museum, and he and his staff did a wonderful job of organizing the tour for everyone to enjoy. Thompson encouraged the crew to enjoy the hors d’oeuvres


prepared by Chef Ryan Nitschke from Luna while touring the home. Towards the end of the hour, we would all gather together to hear

“Like with any budget, we had to think about things that mattered to us

from the home owners and architects.

and things that didn’t matter to us,” said the homeowner, Marc Wilson. “We looked through Dwell Magazine for ideas. We knew we wanted a sheltered effect in the backyard. We knew that we didn’t care about big spaces like big bathrooms and that we did want a nice sized kitchen and living area. We also wanted to be environmentally friendly and playful at


the same time.”

Off we went. We loved the clean lines of this house. We

Owners Sunny Clark and Marc Wilson found the perfect partnership

also loved the simplicity of the home in that everything

with architects Malini Srivastava and Mike Christenson from Design and

seemed to have a purpose. No space was wasted

Energy Laboratory, LLC (DandELab). DandELab provides affordable, high-

space. Yet, it was so bright and inviting too. Every room

performance, energy-efficient architectural design and won the 2014

and layout of the house made more sense after hearing

AIA North Dakota Honor Award for Residential Architecture for the work

from the owners on their story towards the building of

done on the Horizon House. Energy efficiency, no waste and leaving the

their energy efficient masterpiece.

smallest carbon footprint were top priorities of this project.


EFFICIENCY, EFFICIENCY, EFFICIENCY One example of moving forward on being energy efficient, yet cost effective, is with the windows. Windows that are high performance are usually very expensive. Through the H Window company, they were able to use rejected high performance windows that were not used in other projects because of size or color. “My idea of being green comes from multiple things - less material, less energy, being resource conservative,” said Srivastava. “Windows can be the weakest part of the equation in trying to get the home air tight. We would continually test before we finish to make sure the house was as air tight as we wanted it to be before moving forward.”


“Travis VanDoren was an amazing builder. We can’t even tell when the wind blows,” said Clark. “We look outside and see the trees moving but everything inside is so

“When we got together to talk about this project, we all just seemed to


click. This was a very enjoyable project to work on and we made a lasting friendship.”

Clark also explained how they purposely decided not to put an air conditioner in the home. They experimented on how to keep house cool in summertime by opening


windows at night, letting fresh air in, and shutting it down during the day. There is radiant heat as well - no ducts, no forced air. This was one of many aspects where Clark and Wilson had to juggle with priorities. Another was with the size of their

“What was really interesting about this project was that the conversation

master bath. They didn’t feel like they needed a large master bath in comparison

was about having a spatial quality but not a big house. So the connotation

to having a larger kitchen and living area, where most of their daily family activities

was about how it would feel, and so the answers weren’t obvious, but we

happen. They were also able to cut down on costs by doing some of the finishing

knew we would get there. Marc and Sunny had a list, and together we

work themselves, such as making the cabinets and the doors.

developed a design concept around it. They were willing to experiment and go on an adventure.”

THE EVER-CHANGING PROCESS Although Srivastava jokes about how slow the designing process took in order to get to where everyone wanted to be, Clark and Wilson didn’t think that at all. In fact, they felt like it was Christmas every time they got to meet with Srivastava and Christenson to make decisions on each phase. “Marc and Sunny were as much a part of the design process as we were. We did drawings as multiple options as a way to figure out where we were going,” said Srivastava. “As architects, we do work that lasts a long time. It’s easy to make mistakes and hard to know when it’s right so we have to take time to use models and drawings as a way of having conversations with the homeowners.”



House #2

CASA HAWLEY | SOUTH FARGO Owners | Sarah and Chris Hawley Architect | Chris Hawley Architects Course #2: Salad | Mosaic Foods, Chef Eric Watson

The second home on tour was Casa Hawley, home to Chris and Sarah Hawley. When we arrived at the home, Thompson explained to us that he and Chris Hawley worked together on creating this tour for the Plains Art Museum and will be teaming up for future tours. At Casa Hawley, the group enjoyed a salad by Chef Eric Watson from Mosaic Foods, and roamed around once more, taking in the thoughtful architecture, art and home.

ARCHITECT AND HOMEOWNER This home was unique to the others on tour because Chris Hawley was both the architects and homeowner. Hawley explained that his wife and family were living in an 880 square-foot house and thought, enough was enough, they needed a bigger space. They thought about building a new home but that changed when Chris Hawley noticed an “ugly house� for sale that was built in 1968.



CHALLENGES During the Q & A with Chris and Sarah Hawley, we learned about some challenges they faced during the remodel and what steered them towards certain aspects of the

CHRIS HAWLEY, ARCHITECT & HOMEOWNER “That has got to be the ugliest house. Who would be dumb enough to buy it? These were my first thoughts. But during the second weekend of looking at the house, I told my friend, you know what, there is something there. The neighborhood is right, the space is right, and there is something about the quality of the construction.”

home. Chris Hawley said that one thing they went back and forth on was the kitchen. They were deciding if the kitchen would just be opened up partially, but decided to make it big and open, warm and entertaining. “The kitchen island made sense for us and how we live,” explained Chris Hawley. “If we need formal dining, we use the screen porch for that. We live on the end of this table. We live very informally.”


And then there was a water mishap when it rained during

“Chris did a sketch within an hour. He has such a vision and I tend to trust him with most

for the family. Yes, it was stressful with the flooding, but

things. When he showed me the sketch, I loved it. I love modern and that is definitely our

we made the most of it. What can you do? I said, let’s play

style. As soon as I saw that sketch, I knew that he could pull it off.”

ping pong. I’m a pretty good sport,” laughed Sarah Hawley.

REFLECTION OF US Even with the challenges involved, the finished product of Phase One was a success. You can still see some of the original parts of the house with the pink and avocado bathrooms. So far, the house has a very polished and modern look, but the basement, Phase Two, will have a dramatically different look. It will be more industrial with exposed concrete and a family game room. But like the home above, it will be a reflection of Chris and Sarah Hawley and their family.

“I’m a minimalist and like reusing things. The table is from wood from an old restaurant in Minot and with repurposed spikes from that project as well. This house is a reflection of us. There is art from my brother or friends, each with personal stories that are near and dear to us.”

the process of changing the roof. “It became challenging


House #3

FARGO LAUNDRY BUILDING | FARGO Owners | Rondi and Keith McGovern | Fargo Architect | Chris Hawley Architects/Interior Remodel Entree | VIP Room, Chef Anthony Bachman Dessert | Nichole’s Fine Pastry, Pastry Chef Nichole Hensen The final home on the tour was what Fargoan’s refer to as, The Fargo Laundry Building, home to Rondi and Keith McGovern. When we arrived, we divided into two tour groups. My group went with Keith McGovern and


the other group with Rondi McGovern and Chris Hawley. Keith McGovern assured us we were in the group that would get a thorough run down of the

“I have to give credit to our governor, Doug Burgum. When he came over

place and he was right. There was just so many fascinating and story-filled

and I told him my plan, he said, if you are really going to do this, you need

parts to this home that I am going to have to just share a few with you.

to call this guy, he’s an architect. His name is Chris Hawley.”

Keith explained to us that after going through three floods, he wanted to move somewhere


where he didn’t have to worry about that again. So while he and his realtor were hard at work looking for a house, Keith McGovern suddenly came across an old laundry building for sale. He

Keith McGovern led us into a brick room and surprised the

immediately called up his realtor, Dave Noah, and said, “I can fix anything. Call those guys, I

crowd with what would undoubtedly be one of the most

want to buy that building.”

unique rooms in the city. He explained that he wanted an indoor patio that was essentially, outdoors. A moment later,

Our tour started in the large garage/shop portion of the building, the same area that Keith

concrete blocks started to move and a rustic garage door

McGovern had first looked at as well. “When I walked into this room, I decided that I wanted to

opened to reveal a heated, indoor, swim spa. This area was

buy this building,” Keith McGovern said. We were now in the original room where Leef Cleaners

originally the site where trucks backed up to doors that were

received laundry in 2,000-pound totes. This place use to have washing machines, all sorts of

operated by heavy, concrete blocks. To preserve the history

pipes, with lint and soap scum everywhere. This all required a massive cleanup but has now

of the building, Keith McGovern kept the original doors and

transformed beautifully into a shop, and garage complete with a mudroom and gear room.

replicated the massive, concrete counterweights.


THE BASEMENT The laundry building use to be its own self-contained building in 1923. It had its own water treatment, power plant, and fire system. In the east wall, a train would drop off coal which would then be shoveled into a huge boiler. The McGovern’s transformed this basement area into a gym which they now refer to as “The Pit”. “This is the cross-fit gym where the kids work out, and this is the normal gym or Rondi’s gym,” said Keith McGovern. “Her gym area used to be offices for Leef Cleaners.”

CHRIS HAWLEY, ARCHITECT “Keith gave me a call Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. and wanted to see some drawings the next day. After seeing the first sketch, I had until Friday and stayed up all night Thursday and those are the two drawings I came up with, and what is cool about it is that it didn’t change much.”



Through the Progressive Architecture Tour, organized by the Plains Art Museum, we

“I can’t stand CAD and I let Chris know that,” said Keith McGovern. “Chris is an amazing artist so he drew everything for me. We ended up with these drawings and then the building itself.”

were able to see three incredible homes in different stages of development and thought-process. What most people can only imagine from the street, this tour group, comprised of architectural admirers and dreamers, got an up-close and personal glimpse inside their doors and greatest design ambitions. Although each home and family revealed a different lifestyle, they all shared one commonality. Amidst an array of challenges, they had a vision and a dream to create a space that felt like their version of home.

WITH GRATITUDE To all of the homeowners and architects, thank you for sharing your story, your personal space and your unique vision. To the chef’s who created each sumptuous course along the way, thank you for sharing your talents. For more information about the Progressive Architecture Tour, contact: Plains Art Museum


Sandy Thompson, Director of Development

704 First Avenue North, Fargo, N.D.


Rilos & MiMi Remodel Words by Christy Remmick Photography by Emily Remmick

If you watched the MTV Movie Awards last year or love to shop sites like Etsy or Amazon, you may have seen my work. My name is Christy Remmick. By day, I design and manufacture custom bags with my company Rilos & MiMi. Taking a break from designing bags and working with fabrics, I decided to accept a new challenge and design and manage a complete first-floor remodel of my home. Having just moved from Grand Forks to Devils Lake, N.D., amidst a slow real estate market, our new home had plenty of potential projects. We started in January this year and gave ourselves only three months to complete the remodel, just in time for Easter dinner.


79 79

BACKGROUND OF THE HOUSE Our family moved from Grand Forks to Devils Lake in 2011 and at the time there was a huge housing shortage due to several long-term construction products going on. We had three months to sell our house in Grand Forks and find a new place in Devils Lake. We knew our biggest challenge was going to be having enough space for our family, which included three kids under the age of five along with my husband and myself. The house we purchased was built in the 70s and is a split level that had been remodeled several times in several different areas. It had the space we needed but was dark, dated, boxed up and full of shag carpet - even in the dining room. The original kitchen of the house was tiny, only 77 square feet (7’ by 11’) and closed off with cabinets. It had porcelain, tile counter tops and porcelain, tile floors that were chipping away with a 1970s oven that was roughly the size of a camper oven. There was a huge, stone fireplace dividing the kitchen and the living room. The tones of the room were dark green, brown, maroon and mustard with minimal lighting. Because we moved into the house so quickly there was no time to do any work on it before we moved in. The house needed so much work, so we had to do it in phases, carefully planning the order we completed projects. Unfortunately, the way we had to complete the house made the main floor with kitchen, living room and master suite last on our list. The house only has a very small, single stall garage so we added a garage to one side and converted the only garage into the entryway with a wet bar which would be used as our kitchen during our main floor remodel. Next, we had to remodel our basement to include three bedrooms that we all stayed in during the main floor remodel. After six years I was finally ready to remodel the top floor. Having to wait to remodel the kitchen gave me plenty of time to think about what I really wanted in terms of layout and function.



THE REMODEL I drew up the layout of the first floor on a piece of notebook paper and gave it

I knew I wanted a completely open floor plan, so for easy flow, we used the

to architect, Scott Meland of Meland Architects to make into building drawings.

same flooring throughout the whole first floor. The old living room was so long and narrow that the built-ins along the back wall became perfect for bringing

The details of the plans were brought to Wood Specialists in Fargo, N.D., and

the space together.

certified kitchen designer, Beth Kemmer helped bring them to life. I loved working with Beth. She had the most amazing ideas to make my ideas even

The long island provides a great division to the two rooms and gives us a lot of

better. I went in there thinking I knew exactly what I wanted and she proved

space for homework and also hosting holiday dinners.

me wrong. She got everything I wanted to fit in my kitchen including a 48” range. She had ideas for adding more details like putting shiplap on the back

The breakfast/coffee bar was a must for me. With family members living out

of the island. We also used the same rustic Maple with Cumin stain for the

of town, we have lots of company on the weekends and I wanted a place for

floating shelves in the kitchen and breakfast bar, and then carried them over

everyone to get coffee and breakfast without coming into the kitchen.

to the living room mantel and bathroom vanity, makeup counter and linen built-in.

The command center area was Beth at Wood Specialists’ idea and is a great addition for our family calendar, papers, and charging station.

The goal was to make the first floor bright and welcoming. I wanted it to be livable and practical. I spend a lot of time with my kids because I have such a

We moved the master bedroom to the back of our house and left a small

flexible work schedule owning my own business. We are often cooking, baking,

office/bedroom where our old bedroom was. We didn’t want to move plumbing

doing crafts or playing games together. I wanted it to be a neutral pallet to

too much or replace or add any new windows which made for some strategic

be able to change out décor colors easily, allowing it to grow with our family.

planning to get everything we wanted to fit.



Kitchen Design - Beth Kemmer, CKD, CLC, Wood Specialists Countertops - LG Viatera quartz, color: Minuet, Wood Specialists Cabinetry - Perimeter: Alabaster, Island: Gravel Grey, stain: Cumin on rustic Maple, Wood Specialists Bathroom design - Beth Kemmer, CKD, CLC, Wood Specialists Vanity countertop - LG Viatera quartz, color: Minuet, Wood Specialists Bathroom Cabinetry - Cumin on rustic Maple, Wood Specialists

FINALLY HOME I still have a hard time believing this space is mine. Since the completion of the remodel, I have been able to do things that I was not able to do in our old first floor, such as watch my children play in the living room as I am cleaning up from supper, and bake pies with all three kids in the kitchen at the same time. I feel so lucky to be able to create my dream home in Devils Lake, N.D.

MASTERING THE DETAILS The new master suite is now L-shaped with our new master closet in the back half of our old bedroom with a window in it. We walk past the custom built vanity with sink on one side and carefully planned makeup station on the side. For our vanity, it’s all about the details with outlets to plug in toothbrushes in the cabinets and a drawer with outlets for hair dryers and curling irons. Turning right at the vanity takes you to the water closet on the right side and built-in linens cabinet on the left side. I love the look of open shelving with bath decor, but I also knew there are some things I don’t want everyone to see, and this cabinet is a perfect combination. Going past the linen closet and water closet is a fully tiled, walkin shower and bathtub room that is like a dream.



this kitchen functional, such as a Magic Corner in the blind corner base cabinetry, a dish drawer organizer and two pull out base pantry organizers on either side of the range for spices and cooking oils. I knew the addition of the command center cabinet next to the refrigerator would come in handy for a busy family and would help to keep papers and other daily items tucked away. The open shelving in the corner and above the coffee bar added some interest and areas where Christy could display some items. She has such a fun sense of design and was so organized which made her project move quickly.”


“I discovered Rilos & MiMi at an area craft show last fall and I purchased some bags as Christmas gifts for my teen daughter. When Christy was referred to me to help her design her cabinetry for her remodel, I didn’t put two and two together until we met in person to work on her project. What a small world - Rilos & MiMi bags are so fun, creative and functional!” “For the start of her project, Christy came in with an initial kitchen layout. After visiting with her and going over a wish list, I suggested rotating the island so that it could be longer. By making


the island longer, we could have the sink and dishwasher on the island, along with a seating

The name Rilos & MiMi comes from nicknames for

area for three at the end by the coffee bar. We

my identical twin daughters Riley and Emersyn.

were then able to fit in the 48” range which was

These names were given to them by their big

Kitchen Design

at the top of Christy’s wish list. They cook for large

brother Hunter. The company has been around

Wood Specialists

groups and the added oven and burner space

since 2012, designing and manufacturing travel

Beth A Kemmer CKD, CLC

would definitely be put to good use. The coffee

bags and other accessories that are sold online


bar area was originally planned to be very shallow

on Etsy and Amazon and are also available in over

3221 4th Ave S, Fargo, N.D.

to allow for a dining table. We relocated the dining

45 retail shops throughout the country. Beyond

table to sit up against the back of the island to

designing bags for the 2016 MTV Movie Awards, I

create sort of a “bridge” between the kitchen and

have also designed custom diaper clutches for the


living spaces.”

past three years for Intermountain Health Care in

Becker + Deckert Construction

Utah, given as gifts to new parents. My company “By moving the dining table we were also able to

is currently working on 600 bags for the National

Rilos & MiMi

design the coffee bar to be standard depth and

Jewish Health Annual Gala in December and 450

be much wider to accommodate large gatherings.

custom designed, resort bags for the Elegant Hotel

We added some “bells & whistles” to really make

Group based in Florida.


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design | cuisine | art | culture | architecture october 2017

Gathered by Design edition 1

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Profile for Midwest Nest Magazine

Midwest Nest - Edition 2 - November 2017  


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