Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M. Schleif Photography, renderings by Grain Designs, Transparent venue image by Exposure Creative Group
In our last story introducing The Pines, we captured the guys of Grain Designs swinging golf clubs on a grassy plot of land, slated for their new venue, just South of Fargo. This month, we revisited the crew and instead found them swinging hammers on a framed-in, concrete foundation. By mid-September, 17 acres of rural beauty will be transformed into The Pines, the area’s newest wedding and event venue, unlike anything you can imagine. The clock is officially ticking and this countdown ends with an “I do”.
With their very first wedding booked for September 15, the guys of Grain Designs are hard at work finalizing the construction for The Pines and finishing the remodel of the adjacent home on the property. Fittingly, the first couple to get hitched at The Pines will be Grain Design’s own, Pat Bresnahan and his fiancé, Nicolette Berge.
Wrapping up Construction
“We are focused on getting the venue wedding-ready before that date, but we know we will still have a few construction projects to finish afterward,” said Bresnahan. “The things that won’t be done for our own wedding will most likely be aesthetic projects. We have another wedding booked for the end of October, so, without question, we will have any remaining work wrapped up by mid-October. The most exciting part right now is actually seeing the building start to come together and being able to see how grand the space is. It’s one thing to talk about how it’s going to be 35 feet to the peak, but then you stand in there and it’s just amazing to experience.”
Inside The Pines
The Pines is designed to be almost 9,000 square-feet and will accommodate 350 plus for a seated dinner. The interior is slated for a clean and classic white with black detailing and rustic, reclaimed wood elements. Design elements will include exposed beams, white reclaimed wood paneling, farmhouse windows and exposed concrete floors. Within the venue, they will offer a prep kitchen for the caterers provided by Chef’s Table Catering, full bar set-up, outdoor patio and private men and women’s restrooms. The venue will be equipped for year-round use and have capabilities to accommodate outdoor ceremonies, with ample space to move indoors in inclement weather. There will also be designated areas for outdoor wedding ceremonies and a patio for cocktail hour with an on-site bar and yard games.”On the Grain Designs side, we are in the process of building sliding barn doors and 60 tables for the venue right now,” said Bresnahan. “One of the unique challenges for us was building actual farmhouse tables, but with foldable or collapsible legs.”
Nicolette + Pat
As the first wedding at The Pines, both Berge and Bresnahan have delved into the project, offering their talents to nearly every aspect. The couple has been living in the property’s home for the past few months, taking on the bulk of the redecorating and renovations, while in the midst of planning their nuptials. Berge, who is already an event planner by day, has lent her talents to give tours of the property and venue every Thursday night. She has also managed the redecorating and new finishes that have gone into the house renovations. Since the house sits adjacent to where the venue is being built, this on-site bridal retreat has been prepped and primed for wedded bliss.
Welcome Home to The Pines
If you book a wedding or event at The Pines, the on-site home with in-ground pool is one amenity you don’t want to miss. Inside the home, the wedding party will be welcomed to relax, hang out by the backyard, in-ground pool and prepare for their big day. As part of the wedding package, couples can choose to rent the house for the day or for the weekend. “With the weekend wedding package, the families will be able to host the groom’s dinner on Friday, ceremony on Saturday, then the gift opening and brunch on Sunday,” explained Blain Mikkonen of Grain Designs.
Starting on the exterior, the Grain Designs team updated the outdated features and painted the home a farmhouse blue by Magnolia. The in-ground pool, decks and patios have been spruced up and more landscaping and signage is about to go in. “We already moved three pine trees into the center corridor near the house. This area will have retaining wall blocks, floral and landscaped areas to create a setting or backdrop for pictures,” said Grant Koenig of Grain Designs.”Before” photo:
Moving inside the home, Berge tapped into her own design skills and played off of the farmhouse vibe they’d already envisioned for the venue’s space. “I wanted to do a farmhouse style without screaming farmhouse – so more of a modern farmhouse with a simple, bohemian look,” explained Berge.
“I found a lot of the decor pieces at Moorhead Antique Mall and of course there are pieces from Grain Designs like the farmhouse dining table and centerpiece candle block. I also purchased pillows like the blush peach one in the family room from my friend at Olove Design; they are available at Etsy.com.”Over the course of three days, Berge and Grain Designs collaborated with Brushed Interiors to complete the main floor’s master bath renovation. Making use of the existing textured wall covering, Brushed Interiors gave the retro design a fresh look with a light and bright tone before she moved on to refinish the outdated oak cabinetry in a cool grey tone.
Giving the older home modern appeal, Grain Designs custom-designed a beautiful wall mirror and vanity top, then installed updated lighting, plumbing fixtures, trim and sleek new flooring. “Ashley Bakkegard of Brushed Interiors did a great job with the main floor bathroom paint and cabinetry refinish. Nicolette and I, along with some of our friends, helped paint throughout the home,” said Bresnahan.
Pat, Nicolette & friends helped with interior painting. Brushed Interiors did all bathroom painting
Just around the corner…
Just beyond the newly updated main-floor bath, the master bedroom and spare bedroom are nearly completed and will be featured in our final showing in October’s issue. The kitchen, which only needed minimal updates to its cherry wood facade, will be getting simple cosmetic upgrades like new lighting and decor.
Bridal Party Bliss
Right now, the upstairs has two bedrooms and a full bath, but this is the area that will soon have the most dramatic transformation. This will be a private bridal suite to accommodate the bride and her party. The downstairs will also be undergoing a change, turning the large space into sleeping quarters with a game room and a man cave for the groom and his party. “There is a separate entrance to the downstairs, so the groom and groomsmen will be able to come and go without seeing the bridal party. A lot of this renovation will take place this coming winter and hopefully, be ready by spring,” said Bresnahan.
Find the Finishes:
Interior wall paint & bathroom paint finishes – Brushed Interiors
Home decor – Nicolette Berge
Exterior paint – Hirshfield’s Vermont Slate (Similar to Magnolia Signature)
Vintage accessories & furniture – Moorhead Antique Mall
Dining table and candle block – Grain Designs
Bathroom paint and cabinetry refinish – Brushed Interiors
Booking the Big Day
Berge will continue to offer personal tours of The Pines every Thursday for brides and grooms who want to ponder the property. “We’ve had a lot of interest from companies regarding corporate events, but peak wedding season for 2019 and even 2020 are filling much quicker than we anticipated. We’ve had a healthy mix of both Friday and Saturday events, but Saturdays are definitely the more popular choice,” said Berge.”So far, everyone is doing the day package which includes being able to make use of the house from 8:00 a.m. on their wedding day to the start of their reception. For my own wedding, I’m having the hairstylist come to the house where the bridal party will be. I think there’s appeal in having everyone come to you instead of having your bridal party go from place to place on your wedding day. That can really eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress.”
Chef’s Table Catering is The Pines exclusive caterer and they’re also helping to get the kitchen properly equipped. “If someone requests a different caterer, they can certainly do that; they would just have to pay an ‘outsider caterer fee’ to use the space and equipment for that event,” said Koenig.
Collaborate & Design
“We are working with Taylor Belk of Epic Homes to complete The Pines building. We’re also working with Rhet Fiskness of Rhet Architecture – he executed the construction documents for the official, stamped drawings. Then Grant and I created the 3-D model based on Rhet’s floor plan and completed the renderings,” said Mikkonen.
“Trever Hill Design is helping us with all of the interior finishes and fixtures. We’re really trying to accent the bathrooms. They’re going to be really unique – something that people haven’t seen yet,” said Koenig. “We’re doing huge 2×4-foot tiles on the wall and long, farmhouse-style sinks. We’re also building a permanent bar in the venue. Having the White House Co. stage for Pat and Nicolette’s wedding will be great – I think their style and aesthetic really fits the venue and vibe, so I’m sure we’ll be working with them a lot.”
Setting the Outdoor Scene
When it comes to outdoor weddings, The Pines’ 17 acres offers endless possibilities. “When I give tours, I tell brides about the different options that what we have in mind; but the great thing is, we can do whatever you want – this is your day and this is an experience, it doesn’t have to be a cookie cutter version of a wedding,” said Berge. “We are planning to use that opening in the grain bins as a sort of aisle for our wedding. Guests will walk through the Grain Designs barn doors in between the grain bins and they will enter an outdoor living room scene staged by White House Co. with an outdoor rug, chandelier, lamps and vintage sofas. Back behind the bins between the field and trees is such a beautiful area for the ceremony and it’s really protected well from the wind.”
“An on-site pergola will be available for all brides to use, however, they’ll have the option to have Grain Designs build them a custom pergola, which after the wedding can be broken down into a queen size bed headboard,” explained Berge. “That’s one of our à la carte options along with a few other options like the wood and metal monogram signs, that guests can sign instead of a traditional guestbook.”
“We also are working on building fire pits and new walking paths through the trees with a procession area where the bride and party can walk through the house and down the stairs leading to the ceremony. We’ll have two designated, outdoor spots where ceremonies can take place, but wherever people want to get married on the property, we can try to accommodate,” said Berge.
Sneak Peek from the Designer: Trever Hill
To get an advanced peek into their collaboration with Trever Hill Design, we asked Hill to share a few of the finishes and fixtures you’ll soon find at The Pines.
“When Grain Designs asked me to be the designer on the project, I was so honored. I look up to them as being cutting-edge and always on trend,” said Hill. “I needed to execute their vision, but I also wanted to put a spin on the average venue space; doing our best to not use the same lighting and design elements as other venues. The Pines has a refined farmhouse feel that everyone will feel at home with.”
“The men’s bathroom, for example, will have a large format tile that has an appearance of steel. Above that tile, will be a woven grasscloth wallpaper. The sink that was chosen for both bathrooms is by Kohler, and we loved that the base can be custom painted to your liking,” explained Hill. “In the men’s restrooms, we are painting the base black with a textured black brick behind the main vanity. In the women’s we are painting the base of the sink a beautiful, blush pink with large format tile in a Calcutta marble look and a metallic wallcovering with a mirrored effect.””When you walk into the entryway of the venue you’ll be greeted with a beautiful, black chain chandelier hanging over a marble tabletop with a black iron base. Off in the distance will be a custom pergola connecting the front entryway to the main hall,” said Hill.
“The accent chairs from Eco Chic Home, table and chain chandelier are all for the entryway,” said Hill. “We chose a long vanity light for the men’s bathroom along with the sconces. To keep the refined, farmhouse feel, I found the shaded sconces with black, matte finish to go in the main hall with the diamond shaped chandelier with rope accent. The classic white chairs are for outdoor weddings and the walnut cross back chairs were chosen for the interior.”
Follow the Progress
“We’ve had really good success in booking the venue while under construction, so having it fully completed soon, will make a huge impact,” said Koenig. “With the success of The Pines, we’re not going to stop upgrading, renovating and building, so what it is now, could be drastically different in the future. We have a much bigger vision for what the whole property can become.”To make sure Midwest Nest readers get the scoop on The Pines first, we will be covering each step of their progress from the final reveal of wedding number one next month, to phase two where they will be transforming the on-site grain bins into guest lodging. The Pines might be slated for a venue now, but it will soon be a local destination with an extraordinary lodging experience that will attract adventure seekers everywhere.
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