[Kilbourne Group, Downtown Fargo]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
Over the years, Kilbourne Group has become a catalyst for change, centering their focus on revitalizing Fargo's downtown neighborhood. With thoughtful design in mind, Bostad's Scandinavian-inspired apartments, lofts and Airbnb units respectfully preserve the building while reimagining its future use. What used to house the Bristol & Sweet Harness Company of 1907, is now home to 22 carefully curated apartments, including two stunning lofts. No two apartments are the same, and many feature at least one of the 12 original skylights in the building as well as 17-foot ceilings.This month, we'll give you a glimpse inside Bostad on Broadway, a simplistic hygge lifestyle that will make home your favorite destination.
RENOVATION + PRESERVATIOn
Prior to Bostad's completion in May of 2019, Kilbourne Group had plans for a simple renovation at the Bristol & Sweet Harness Company building. The building had already been occupied by apartments, but it wasn't long before the structural engineers found uneven floors and an array of structural issues that had weakened the integrity of the building. Many structural beams were broken, floor joists required repair, and the roof needed to be replaced; all discoveries that would impact the extent of the project.
"Completing this project was a challenging task while facing unforeseen renovation costs that quickly added up," said Heather McCord, Development Project Manager at Kilbourne Group. McCord worked with a powerhouse team to bring Bostad to life: Jared Jensen of Shultz + Associates Architects; Tyler Gefroh, an NDSU Architecture student and former Kilbourne Group intern; and Nick Giobres, KCM's superintendent on the construction site. Together, they worked to renovate the building in a way that preserved the its historic details.
Kilbourne Group drew inspiration for the building’s branding and design from our region’s own Scandinavian heritage, drawing the name for the apartments from the Swedish word for dwelling or home. Even the signature ‘B’ in Bostad’s brand mark is an homage to our community’s roots; it’s the symbol for the Nordic rune , which means birch. Birch plays a significant role in the building’s interior design, which includes birch bark art by local artist Mike Marth, as well as art from Pirjo Berg and Meghan Duda featuring horizontal lines of blacks, whites and grays. The overriding feeling is one of warmth, nature, and authenticity to Scandinavian heritage," said McCord.
Since our climate is similar to Scandinavia, it was important to Kilbourne Group's team to implement the design mood of hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”), relating to comfortability and warmth. To achieve this, the team gained as much natural sunlight as possible with oversized windows and retained all the original skylights. They also added warmth by installing wood-tone flooring, preserving the original trusses and 110-year-old Douglas Fir columns and beams.
"One of Kilbourne Group’s core values is respect for the past. We tried our best to honor and preserve as much of the original building and every one of its unique features, such as the Red River Valley yellow brick found in every apartment, the 12 original skylights, towering 17-foot ceilings and storefront windows overlooking Broadway. Tyler Gefroh had a vision that we all supported and embraced," said McCord. "The interior is normally a task handled by an interior design team, but we felt we could deliver with scrupulous attention-to-detail. We all visited and called on supply houses for every interior design element including lighting, plumbing, flooring and cabinets. Every detail was scrutinized and weighed, down to the drawer pulls and window sills."
"Many of the skylights had been concealed over the years and were a surprise to us as we started demolition," said McCord. "We had an idea they existed, as we could see them on the roof, but once they were uncovered, we felt we had to reinstall and honor the original plans for natural light. Skylights were a way to historically harvest as much natural light as possible."
The building was constructed 24 years after Fargo first acquired electric lighting, and skylights were a long-standing Scandinavian design concept. "Bostad's roof slopes from Broadway to the alley with the Broadway side being the high point. We were able to keep the open truss ceilings on our third-floor units which added an amazing amount of interest and history with some ceilings reaching a towering 17 feet on the Broadway side," explained McCord.
THE BEAUTY IN BOSTAD
Bostad's apartments consist of four general bed/bath options with 22 unique designs including two lofted units. Each space features historic brick, original skylights or light wells, designer lighting, exposed ductwork and ceilings ranging from nine feet to 25 feet. The units also offer regal, eight-foot black entrance doors, designer tile, European kitchen sinks and local, original art.
Bostad's bathroom design consists of sleek sliding doors, high-end tile and walk-around spa showers with rain heads. "Every unit is unique. Third-floor apartments feature a varying number of skylights, all placed differently. Some units overlook Broadway, while others overlook the alley, which gives Bostad’s hygge a very urban feel. Some units are naturally lit by giant light wells positioned between Bostad and the neighboring building," said McCord. "One unit even has four skylights, including one over the shower in the master bath."
A DOWNTOWN LIFESTYLE
Beyond its striking historic design and downtown views, Bostad is a pet-friendly building with simple, all-inclusive pricing. Their lease package includes central heat and air conditioning, electricity, water, in-unit washer and dryer, 100 Mbps Internet and cable. Residents here can embrace the downtown vibe with its centralized location offering a 96/100 Walkscore® and 94/100 Bikescore®. Nearby you'll find over 50 local restaurants, an array of cultural events, plus 83 retailers including clothiers, grocery, boutiques and art galleries.
Airbnb at Bostad
If you're looking for a staycation immersed in downtown's vibrant atmosphere, Bostad's Airbnb units are a natural hot spot. There are two Airbnb units available. Stiga (meaning “rise” in Swedish) is a one-bedroom loft that can sleep up to four, This lofted unit features a bedroom overlooking the 25-foot tall living area and is filled with natural light from the massive skylight overhead. Hamn (meaning “haven” in Swedish) is a one-bedroom unit on the third floor that features skylights over the entryway, bedroom, and kitchen island.
"All the original columns, beams and trusses were preserved wherever possible. This gave each unit its very own floor plan, carving living space out of a 110-year-old harness supply company’s office and warehouse," said McCord.
"These units feature stunning lighting inspired by an iconic Danish lighting designer, Poul Henningsen, which was supplied by Scan Design, located directly across from Bostad on Broadway. We were attempting to stay as true as possible to our vision and inspiration of Scandinavian design and what Bostad meant to us."
"Bostad's Airbnbs are a great way to showcase the downtown urban experience to visitors who want to be close to the bars, restaurants, art galleries and shopping," said Mari Hall, Airbnb Coordinator at Kilbourne Group. "It’s also an opportunity for our tenants to have their friends or family members stay in the same building when visiting. It’s a space that’s both welcoming and feels like home."
"We have a lot of people who do staycations here, and others who book the space for photoshoots," said Hall. "The Airbnb stays come with complimentary beer, a personalized welcome, a curated downtown guidebook of recommendations, and Bostad's modern Scandinavian style." As for the rates, Airbnbs change depending on demand, but they typically range from $95 to $129 per night.
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