Midwest Nest Magazine

Midwest Nest Magazine

Culture, Entertaining, and Home Design

Category: Business

A Very Vintage Christmas

Story by Tracy Nicholson with The White House Co. Photography by The White House Co. When winter’s in the air and tinsel’s on the town, it’s time to spruce up…

Story by Tracy Nicholson with The White House Co.
Photography by The White House Co.

When winter’s in the air and tinsel’s on the town, it’s time to spruce up your tree and everything else around. Ask Santa for a little help and wait till Christmas day…or take your sleigh downtown now, and see what The White House Co. elves have on display. With an eclectic mix of vintage and modern goodies, these holiday collages will inspire hot cocoa and fuzzy footies. Katie Schiltz, Samantha Klinkhammer and Amanda Rydell – they’re the brains behind the design, so if you want to replicate their wintry scenes, they said, “It’s more than fine.” Go ahead, deck the kitchen, family room and hall, and don’t forget…find festive presents for all!

Ho ho ho, Santa baby! An easy way to add red into your Christmas décor without going overboard. Just looking at this jolly little fella can put a smile on anyone’s face. Popular vintage styles like this retro Santa can be found inside The White House Co.

Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. Not every bulb has to be shiny and bright.  Add these little creatures to your décor for a playful setting that everyone is sure to fall in love with.

“At Christmas, all roads lead to home.” – Marjorie Holmes.
Cozy, winter scene paint by numbers is a sure way to add that wintry touch without bringing the snow inside. It’s an easy way to mix your vintage collection in with your modern-day ornaments.

Conversation starters…whimsical décor outside of the norm creates a focal point leaving your guests with something to talk about. Who doesn’t need an eye ornament for their Christmas tree?

Tinsel, shiny lights, bottle brush trees, darling little deer and chubby rosy-cheeked Santas…oh my! These are a few of our favorite things.

Ornaments plus more ornaments…you can never have too many. Every ornament holds a story and memory, creating that family tradition where everyone has their favorites to hang on the tree. Mixing vintage and modern, you can never go wrong. {$2-$12 at The White House Co.}

From butterflies to shiny bulbs, anything can serve as a decoration for the tree. Being creative and thinking outside the box is one of our favorite secrets for designing the perfect tree.

Garland plays the role of a rug and creates the whole theme of the tree. Layers are the key and don’t be afraid to mix and match. After all, Christmas comes but once a year. Go big or go home, we say!

Merry Junking!

xo The White House Girls
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For more information, contact:
The White House Co. | Shop + Vintage Rentals
701.552.9881
thewhitehouseco.com

Retail Location:

14 Roberts Street North, Fargo |  Open Thursday – Saturday 10 A.M – 6 P.M.

Warehouse Location:
910 Main Ave, Fargo | Open by Appointment

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Cookies & Cocktails [Chef Judd Eskildsen, Proof Artisan Distillers]

Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman Meet Chef Judd Eskildsen of Downtown Fargo’s Proof Artisan Distillers. Just beyond his kitchen, you’ll find an array of nationally-awarded vodka,…

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman

Meet Chef Judd Eskildsen of Downtown Fargo’s Proof Artisan Distillers. Just beyond his kitchen, you’ll find an array of nationally-awarded vodka, gin and whiskey; proudly-produced from North Dakota agricultural products, and distilled daily. Those who visit Proof – The Tasting Room, would be remiss to overlook his spirited pairings. With a wide range of seasonal flavors, gracing fresh seafood, beef, pork and chicken, Eskildsen knows how to spin native ingredients with extraordinary flavors. This is a hands-on, foodie experience with spiked seasonings, distilled from scratch – only a few feet from the kitchen.

Pairing Cookies + Cocktails
Asking this master of meat to bake a holiday treat may have seemed like a stretch, but we promise, you’ll love his bacon, chocolate and peanut butter cup cookies. If that’s not enough, he served up one of his specialty entrees and taught us how to concoct a tasty Tipsy Mocha. This is one holiday menu that will bring the Christmas cheer, one perfectly-aged barrel at a time.

From the Chef: Judd Eskildsen
“I absolutely love cookies, but they have to be soft. Since I was asked to share a family cookie recipe or one of my favorites, I mixed it up a bit. I love chocolate chip cookies, but there are a million recipes for them. I also really love my Grandma Arlos’ molasses cookies, but I’m a chef, so I went ahead and created an over the top, one of a kind cookie – because it’s not every day that you get your picture taken for a magazine!”

Chocolate, Bacon & Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
1 – lb. bacon (chopped) – cooked until done, but not extra crispy
2 – c. flour
3⁄4 – c. cocoa powder
1⁄2 – tsp. baking soda
1⁄2 – c. softened butter
1 – c. brown sugar
1⁄4 – c. white sugar
3 – eggs
1 – tsp vanilla
14 oz. package mini peanut butter cups
1⁄2 – c. semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking soda.
-Add butter, brown sugar and white sugar to a stand mixer, and mix with wire whip.
-Add eggs and vanilla to mixer and mix until smooth.
-Slowly add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, and mix until a dough is formed.
-Switch to the paddle attachment, and slowly add peanut butter cups and bacon.
– Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes -Scoop dough and place on a greased cookie sheet, using a 1.25 oz scoop (#40).
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack immediately.
Note: Cookies will not appear to be fully done, but they will continue cooking during the cool-down.
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The Tipsy Mocha1⁄2 oz. 2 Docks Vodka
1⁄2 oz. 2 Docks Cream Liqueur
1 oz. 2 Docks Coffee Liqueur
6 oz. hot Cocoa or Warm Chocolate Milk

Add all ingredients to a coffee mug, top with whipped cream and garnish as needed. I used crushed, chocolate mint-covered pretzels from Costco.

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The Tasting Room Menu
Eskildsen’s seasonally-changing menu is an eclectic mix of comfort food, elevated bar food and fine dining. His emphasis features fan favorites; from smoked and braised briskets to Southwest, steaks, sliders, authentic Italian pasta sauces and artisan burgers. Throw in his Chicken Wings Confit from the Shareables menu, ask him to pair it with the perfect cocktail, and you’ll likely knock out every possible craving.Chef Judd Eskildsen creates a bi-weekly Chef’s Feature dish that gives him the opportunity to get creative. A recent Chef’s Feature, the Manhattan Filet with Langostino Lobster, Vermouth Sauce, Aged Gouda Potato Rosti with Sautéed Asparagus, was paired with The Chef’s Shifter.“I like the idea of ‘elevated bar food’ when it comes to appetizers,” said Eskildsen. “We all love a great dish like the Steak with Langostino Lobster and Vermouth Sauce, but who doesn’t like chicken wings? You really can’t beat a damn good sandwich either, and if you don’t like tacos, we probably shouldn’t be friends anymore. I’m usually very humble about my food, but I have a hard time believing that there is a better chicken wing than mine. There may be better sauces out there, but not a better wing. I haven’t found a decent way to dip a wing, so that led to the creation of Buffalo & Bleu…why not mix it in right away, and skip the dipping part?”

Local Favorites in the Tasting Room

BBQ Beef Burnt Ends – Hickory smoked brisket with crispy onion and honey mustard aioli
Chicken Wings Confit – BBQ, Buffalo & Bleu, or Sambal Chili
Tacos – Braised beef, Mojo pork, Salsa verde chicken, BBQ pork

“I’m very confident in my BBQ abilities because of the amount of time I’ve spent working on them. Any time you see my name and BBQ, I highly urge you to be a part of it.”
Chef Judd (Justin) Eskildsen, Proof Artisan Distillers
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Chef’s Shifter

1⁄2 oz. Glen Fargo American Malt Whiskey 1⁄2 oz Minions Old Tom Gin
1⁄2 oz. Sweet Vermouth
1⁄4 oz. Grand Marnier
1⁄4 oz. Maraschino Liqueur

Stir over ice for 30 seconds and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube and an orange peel garnish._______________________________________

Crooked Stocking Stuffers

Gift the host, stuff the stocking or brighten up your holiday party with Proof’s newest spirit, Crooked Furrow Bourbon Whiskey. Swing by their downtown distillery and create your own two or three-pack gift box with their hand-crafted collection including: 2DOCKS Vodka, 2DOCKS FirebyProof Cinnamon Whiskey, 2DOCKS Coffee and 2DOCKS Cream Liqueur, MINIONS Gin, MINIONS BARRELED RESERVE Gin, MINIONS OLD TOM Gin, MINIONS Vän Skap Aquavit, Glen Fargo – American Malt Whiskey or CROOKED FURROW Bourbon, and Harvest Blend-Blended Bourbon. You can also find their products at nearly 600 liquor stores, bars and restaurants throughout North Dakota and Minnesota.

Proof’s new Crooked Furrow Bourbon Whiskey was distilled and barreled three years ago. It has finally reached the age they’d been patiently waiting for. “The one thing about whiskey is, whiskey is not good until it is good, and there’s really no in between,” said Joel Kath, Proof’s founder and distiller. “Our initial limited release will expand to bar and liquor store shelves by January. However, we are not releasing all of the barrels at three-years; otherwise, we would never get any six, 10 or 15-year-old whiskey.”

One Batch at a Time

Kath takes pride in using locally sourced ingredients; North Dakota-grown corn and barley as well as oak barrels from Minnesota. “Our whiskey production is “one batch, one barrel” – and we patiently monitor it until it’s ready,” said Kath. “We’ve won over 20 national awards across our entire line of spirits and just made the cover of the premier trade journal for North America Distillers. One of four selected this year, out of 1,800 craft distilleries – right here in Fargo. We are all about the passion of the spirit; crafting quality spirits from local products. You can find our products at your favorite bar, restaurant and liquor store.”

Interested in a tour of the distillery? Kath suggests stopping in during happy hour on Wednesdays and Thursdays or calling ahead to schedule a group tour. If you’re interested in attending a seminar or special pairing dinner, follow them on social media for upcoming dates.

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Meet the Chef: Judd (Justin) Eskildsen
Eskildsen was born and raised in Moorhead, Minn., and has been the Executive Chef at Proof Artisan Distillers since 2015. Although he has no formal training, he started young in his mom’s kitchen and has worked in restaurants since he was 15-years-old. Once having plans to go to culinary school, he instead took on an eight-year career as a welder. With nights and weekend off, Eskildsen used his spare time to pursue his long-time passion, eventually purchasing a smoker which dove him deeper into the art of BBQ.Realizing he needed to pursue his true passion further, Eskildsen headed back to the kitchen, working in some of the best restaurants in Fargo-Moorhead. In the summer of 2015, he was asked to create a cocktail party-style dinner featuring Proof’s products. His debut, as a chef who could master pairings, would become the catalyst for a new career in the kitchen of Proof’s Fargo distillery. Many would agree that Eskildsen’s culinary career has been aged to perfection.

For more information, contact:
Proof Artisan Distillers, LLC
Judd Eskildsen, Executive Chef

315 North 5th Street #100, Fargo

218.979.1010
Judd@proofdistillers.com

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Take a Tour! [Dietrich Homes]

Photography courtesy of Tara Swanson, Hatch Realty If you missed out on our One-Year Anniversary Party and Design Challenge at this West Fargo dream home, here’s your chance to tour…

Photography courtesy of Tara Swanson, Hatch Realty

If you missed out on our One-Year Anniversary Party and Design Challenge at this West Fargo dream home, here’s your chance to tour the beautiful Inspired model home by Dietrich Homes. With a floor plan providing party perfection, vaulted ceilings, and a 180-degree scenic view of the pond, this model had guests feeling right at home. Since it’s difficult to see the finer details through the crowd, we decided to share a peek inside…but this time, without the guests.

Dietrich Homes – Inspired Model Stats:
6 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
3 fireplaces
5,951 square feet

Main Floor Masterpiece

This family home is currently on the market and features over 5,951 square feet including quarter-sawn white oak hardwood floors, a main floor master suite with vaulted ceiling, office, four-season sunroom with fireplace, vaulted two-story great room, and a gourmet kitchen. Just off of the family foyer with built-in benches and command center, you’ll find a large laundry with built-in craft storage cabinetry and pull-out drying racks. Head upstairs to find the loft and three spacious bedrooms with a split bath.

Inside this stunning kitchen with custom walnut island and Silestone countertops, you’ll find a professional-grade 48” Wolf range top, drawer microwave, steam and convection wall ovens, and 60” Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer.

The master suite’s spa-inspired bath features a custom tile shower, freestanding soaking tub, makeup table, and his and hers vanities.

Lower Level Lovely
The lower walkout level is specifically designed for entertaining with ease. The space features a theater room with 110″ screen and full audio/media package, pool table, custom bar, family room, lounge and covered patio with stamped concrete and full landscape design. The custom pub-style bar features Silestone countertops, stone accent wall, sink, drawer microwave and an under-counter wine and beverage refrigerator with ice maker. Just beyond the entertainment mecca, the lower level features two spacious bedrooms with walk-in closets, a split bath and convenient garage access. As if you could possibly want for more, the house is equipped with a 7-Zone whole-home Sonos Audio system, four Sonos Playbars and one Sonos Sub.

Special thanks to Clay and Suzy Dietrich and the team at Dietrich Homes for allowing us to celebrate in his beautiful model home.
Find the Finishes
Builder – Dietrich Homes
Floorplan design – Dietrich Homes – Inspired, with Melissa Meyer, CAD Designer
Interior Design – Heather Sagvold, Dietrich Homes Inspired Design Consultant
Cabinets – Ira’s Custom Cabinets
Granite – Spaulding Stone
Appliances – Rigels
Audio – Media Master
Wood flooring – Kensok’s Hardwood FloorsFloorcoverings – Carpet World
Fireplace – Hebron Brick
Light fixtures – Valley Lights
Closets – JL Shelving
Siding – Lemke Home Improvements
Masonry – Brick Stone Masonry
Windows & materials – Crane Johnson
Garage door – EZ Open Garage Door
Mirrors & shower doors – Frontier Glass
Landscaping – A&L Landscaping

 

To take a tour, contact:
The Erik Hatch Team, Hatch Realty
Erik Hatch, REALTOR®
4215 31st Ave. South, Fargo
erik@hatchrealtyfm.com
701-369-4849

For more information, contact:
Dietrich Homes
701-364-2781
info@dietrichhomes.com
dietrichhomes.com
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The Pines by Grain Designs [ Countdown to Wedding #1 ]

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…

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.”

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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.

 

Retreat Remodel
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

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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.”

 

Catered Cuisine
Chef’s Table Catering is The Pines exclusive caterer and they’re also helping to get the kitchen properly equipped. “If someone requests a different caterer, they can certainly do that; they would just have to 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.


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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.”

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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.


For more information, contact: 

The Pines

701.850.6064

sales@thepinesvenue.com

ThePinesVenue.com

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Back to School [ Growing Kids Preschool & Childcare ]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M. Schleif Photography After 25 years in the business, Growing Kids Preschool & Childcare of Fargo needed more room to grow. Finding a great,…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M. Schleif Photography


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

 

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


Learning…Room by Room
With six specific areas from infants to toddler and school-age groups, each room’s entrance has a color-coordinated number on the door, reinforcing colors, shapes, numbers and letters as the children transition through the rooms. For a fun feature at their feet, Kelley used custom-ordered carpet tiles to create coordinating color arrows for each room. Throughout the rooms, kids have their run of seven miniature playhouses and an array of fabric tents ready for fun.

This wing is specially designed for ages three through school-age. “This space is ideal for early childhood development. It checks every box for creating successful learners, creative minds and confident children,” said Kelley. “That is a dream for most educators.”


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


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

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

Designing a Brighter Future
Even though Kim Kelley’s first priority is always the children she cares for, her passion for design shines through in the everyday environment she creates for them. Outside of Growing Kids, Kelley has managed the builds and remodels of two houses and four cabins over the years.


“I had collected ideas from magazines and traveling of what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted clean lines and I tried to keep our decor simple – with childcare and fire codes, it limits what we can put on the walls. We stuck with mainly primary colors and clean lines that really seem to create a soothing environment for the kids,” said Kelley. “By putting the numbers, colors and words on the walls, it was a way for the kids to learn as they go about their day. I also started collecting street signs at the flea markets in Detroit Lakes and the Fargo Antiques & Repurposed Market, so you’ll see those near the entrance with working street lights around the building. We love how open this building is, with the high ceilings and large windows for bringing in natural light.”


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

Playground Paradise
Dakota Playground took on the task of transporting the large playground equipment over to the new site. Her husband, Brad Kelley, constructed a wood border with recycled tire mulch under the playground. To complete the playground’s design, Kelley recruited Mike Nicholson of Custom Landscaping to build up the area around the playground and make a foundation, with the end goal of creating an artificial turf running track. “Every day, the kids grab their sunscreen and spend hours out here playing on the equipment and racing around the track – they love it,” said Kelley.


The most recent addition to their expansive outdoor space is the new backyard playhouse. The interior of the playhouse is already underway with the shiplap going up and a porch being built within the month. “We have so much outdoor space here, so we wanted the kids to be able to really use all of the spaces, inside and outside,” said Kelley. “We’re also planning the build of a basketball court off to the side that we hope will be completed soon.”

 

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

 

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

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

Hannah Kelley

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

About Growing Kids:
Kim Kelley and her staff typically care for around 120 children with 56 preschoolers in the fall. Both Kelley and her director, Kayla Cichos are on site every day. Cichos manages all of the day-to-day tasks like parent communication, enrollment, accountability for all of the different age groups, staffing and overall organization. Shannon Rubertus, assistant director, handles direction of the infant and toddler wing, “Baby & Co.”

“Because we offer care to all ages, many of the kids have been enrolled since they were young infants and continue into their school-age years,” said Kelley. “We love that many of the kids get to grow up here alongside their siblings. We hope the memories they build here, last a lifetime.”

Find the Finishes:
Architect – T.L. Stroh
Stripe painting – Chuck Gingerich, Final Finish
Wood signs – Dakota Construction
Vinyl lettering – Lisa Palmer, Dabblin ‘n Design
Custom carpet tiles – Carpet World
Outdoor turf prep & install – Mike Nicholson, Josh Kellar – Custom Landscaping
Stuffed animal heads & wall art – Target, Hobby Lobby
Miniature playhouses – Costco, Sam’s Club
Rugs – Ikea
Miniature Adirondack chairs, Teepees, exterior turf – Sam’s Club
Street Signs – Fargo Antiques & Repurposed Market, Shady Hollow Flea Market
Melamine cabinetry and cubby stations – R.L.Engebretson
For more information, contact:
Growing Kids Preschool & Childcare
Kim Kelley, CEO  |   Kayla Cichos, Director
4324 20th Avenue South, Fargo
701.356.8210
growingkidsfargo@gmail.com
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Hub41 [ Cornering Lake & City ]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Scott Amundson The beachside strip of West Lake Drive in Detroit Lakes, Minn., is easily one of the summer’s hottest lakeside destinations. It’s home…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Scott Amundson

The beachside strip of West Lake Drive in Detroit Lakes, Minn., is easily one of the summer’s hottest lakeside destinations. It’s home to Lakeshirts, Lakeside Tavern & Brewery, Zorbaz, The Pavilion and a slew of beach bums ready to relax and bury their toes in the sand. Last summer, the strip got a little hotter with the opening of Hub41, a new restaurant designed by Chris Hawley Architects and owners Gretchen and Nate Hunter. See how this team created the perfect beach bum hang out with a stunning rooftop view and eclectic surf and turf menu.

Taking advantage of an old water park site that had been sitting vacant, owners Gretchen and Nate Hunter, set their sights on creating a new concept in beach dining. Just a stone’s throw away from their other property, the Fairfield Inn & Suites, this corner spot on the strip would provide a beach bum experience worth the drive. Wanting a casual beach vibe and killer lake views, the two recruited the help of Fargo’s Chris Hawley Architects to design their vision, and Detroit Lakes contractor, Josh Lessman, to build it.

Creating a Concept

When the Hunters built the nearby hotel, Fairfield Inn & Suites, they left a pad site that was originally intended for a single-story building. “The only stipulation was that it had to be 3,800 square feet on one level. We actually went back to the county and asked if we could split it into two – that would put us at 1,800 square feet on each level,” said architect Chris Hawley. “We just saw that on the first level, you can kind of see the lake, but mainly the view is of parking and boats. If we added a second level, guests would be able to take in the entire view of Detroit Lakes. In this project, the design had to more about the view than the building.”

For Chris Hawley Architects, their design process started with a little outside inspiration.  “We looked at ideas from a restaurant in Minnetonka that they liked – there were also a few residential projects that they thought were funky and pretty cool,” said Hawley. “I think the one thing they wanted was to differentiate themselves by not having the classic cabin forms you’d expect. They didn’t want the cutesy cottage feel – they wanted it to be more contemporary and edgy and just have a little more fun with it in terms of design”

“Really the whole project was about creating the perfect rooftop patio,” explained Hawley. “So, when you look at it, the design’s success is determined by having as many people sit outside as possible. This is a year-round restaurant, but like all lake restaurants, their whole livelihood is based on three months of having access to the exterior.”

Hot Curb Appeal

On the exterior, a sleek, contemporary design, bold pops of mod color and a tiki bar-type patio are bound to lure you in. But, look a little closer and you’ll see an ancient Japanese technique. The black siding is all charred wood, also known as shou sugi ban. “The owners actually did the charring. The beautiful thing about it is that once you char it, it has natural weather, rot and UV resistance, so you basically don’t have to touch it again. Bugs don’t like it and creatures don’t like to live in it.”

To fabricate the exterior signage using steel and exposed bolts, Chris Hawley Architects employed a hefty foundation to ensure stability for the massive, backlit logo.

Creating Calm

Like many larger lakes, the wind can take a toll on anything near the shoreline. With a rooftop patio plan in place, the team needed to ensure that guests would get a calm dining experience versus being literally blown away. “Rooftop patios are great, but if you’re getting drilled by the wind, nobody is going to enjoy it. To solve this, we used black glass as a windbreaker about five-feet in the air. When you’re sitting up there, you feel pretty tucked in and it gives you a nice little break from the wind,” said Hawley.

Inside Hub41 

Creating the perfect destination for beachgoers meant designing a bar and dining experience that would be fun, creative and non-fussy – a place where flip-flops and beach towels would be welcomed attire.

Guests will find a crisp white palette with details like black plywood with cedar strips, industrial plumbing pipe, exposed I-beams, a corner fireplace, a contemporary twist on sliding barn doors and birch bench seating. “The details are pretty fun, they did some really great workmanship and yet it’s not fussy, it’s simple and creative,” said Hawley. “Josh Lessman did all of the construction on this project – he did a really great job, especially considering it was a very fast-track kind of project – we started in Nov and it was open by May of last year.”

“This is obviously a fun strip down in Detroit Lakes and a building like nothing else on the beach.”
Chris Hawley, Chris Hawley Architects

Embracing the Outdoors

To bring the outside in, the design playfully utilizes the exterior siding elements and cedar slat detailing. Both levels feature an overhead garage door making the exterior and interior a unified space. “The cool thing is that no matter where you’re sitting in the bar, you’re looking at the lake,” said Hawley. “Instead of your back turned to the water and the bartender looking out, it’s the opposite. This is obviously a fun strip down in Detroit Lakes and a building like nothing else on the beach.”

“The one thing about doing an overhead door is that you can’t do anything overhead, so you have really limited storage in that area. The cedar slat details were one of the solutions to get as much storage as we can in a space that is occupied by an overhead door,” said Hawley. “The exterior siding became storage shelving for the bottles, glasses and other bar items.”

If you’d rather grab a booth, the dining areas offer plenty of natural light and interesting design details to create a true beachside experience. “This is just a really durable design and a little wear and tear will only give it more character. The blue material panel is all technically, exterior siding, but we’re using it in a pretty economical way,” said Hawley.
“In other areas, the same siding that we painted blue, we just painted black and screwed on the batton. I think of it like the rainscreen is the black panel, but then the wood is kind of the armor. This project is a very economical approach to design. It really takes common materials and uses them in a very creative way, but not breaking the budget.”

On the Menu:

If you think the design is creative, just wait until you experience their menu featuring weekend breakfast, lunch and dinner. “They have really good food, with kind of a funky menu – I’d say it’s a modern interpretation of a surf and turf,” said Hawley. For a taste of what Hub41 offers lunch and dinner guests, starters include the falafel, California sushi rolls, sweet potato nachos, Cajun shrimp bucket, Scotch eggs and lobster fries. Dinner will definitely delight with eclectic entrees like the shrimp po’ boy, muffuletta, chicken and waffles along with gnocchi mac and cheese, fish and chips and bangers and mash.

Find the Finishes:

Architecture & Interior Finishes  – Chris Hawley Architects

Project Manager – Wayne Schommer, Chris Hawley Architects

Contractor – Josh Lessman, Ledgestone, Inc.

For more information, contact:

Hub 41

104 West Lake Drive, Detroit Lakes

218.844.8488

info@hub41.com

hub41.com

 

Chris Hawley Architects

2534 University Dr #3, Fargo

701.478.4600

info@chrishawleyarchitects.com

chrishawleyarchitects.com

 

Ledgestone, Inc.

421 West Main Suite 104, Detroit Lakes

218.849.6140

Josh.Lessman@LedgestoneInc.com

ledgestoneinc.com

 

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Down Home [ A Space to Embrace]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Event Photography by Darren Gibbins Photography, Transformation photos by Chris Welsand We recently crossed paths with a non-profit by the name of Down Home and couldn’t…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Event Photography by Darren Gibbins Photography, Transformation photos by Chris Welsand


We recently crossed paths with a non-profit by the name of Down Home and couldn’t wait to meet with the founders, Jenessa and Jacob Fillipi to find out more. Follow them on social media and you’ll see why; there’s a steady stream of videos and photos showing them transforming vacant apartments and homes into warm, loving environments – all in a two-three hour time span. The difference is that they are not designers, home flippers or remodelers; and they’re certainly not getting paid for it. The Fillipis are simply a caring family working hard to help transition the homeless into homes. Going beyond the basic necessities, their fully decorated spaces have become the catalyst for a better life. Creating a new space to embrace would mean giving the gift of hope and a fresh start to those with limited resources. Last month, we were invited to join them at their first “Hoedown for Homes” fundraiser at The Yard, a gorgeous down-home setting on the Red River in South Moorhead.

Down Home: Their Story
Before we kick up our boots at The Yard, we need to introduce you to the people behind the cause, Jenessa and Jacob Fillipi. Their 16-year marriage has been blessed with many things, including four children, rewarding careers and a growing need to give back. As an elementary school counselor, Jenessa Fillipi had noticed a gap in the lives and transitions of the underprivileged and homeless, and she knew something had to be done. She would go on to combine her experience as a counselor and a love for interior decorating with her husband’s handyman skills. Sharing these gifts would mean providing a sought-after service to our community members in need.

“Jake and I started seeing a similar gap in both of our professions – the gap being that families and children were transitioning from place to place. When they actually do settle in, they don’t have enough money to purchase mattresses, pillows, bedding…really all of the things that so many of us take for granted,” said Jenessa Fillipi.

Prompted to find a solution, last September – Jenessa, Jake and their children quickly began brainstorming and realized a divine vision as Down Home came to life. Their name would come courtesy of a song by the band, Alabama, ‘Down home, where they know you by name and treat you like family.’ “This lyric rings true to our mission of empowerment and dedication to building a stronger community,” said Jenessa Fillipi. “It was evident there was a need, and now there’s a solution.”

The Down Home Mission
“Our mission is to provide furnishings and décor for families transitioning from homelessness into permanent housing,” said Jenessa Fillipi. “Our deeper purpose is to turn an empty space into a place to embrace, breath and feel safe. With this help, we want to empower families to dream big, succeed and be involved in the community; this is one step we can do to help break the cycle of homelessness. We aspire to empower lives one home at a time.”

“Our mission is to provide furnishings and décor for families transitioning from homelessness into permanent housing. Our deeper purpose is to turn an empty space into a place to embrace, breath and feel safe.”
Jenessa Fillipi, Founder – Down Home

Hoedown for Homes Event
At Down Home’s September 13th fundraising event at The Yard, located in rural Moorhead on the Red River, attendees kicked up their boots enjoying the likes of emcee Daron Selvig.  Guests enjoyed an array of down-home delicacies, a video presentation created by Tyson Kuznia of Creative Social Marketing, yard games by the Fargo Invaders, cocktails, craft beer served by Crooked Pint catering, live and silent auctions, and of course a little country music – courtesy of Nathan Kaiser of Harmon Entertainment.

Cliff Enns donated his venue, The Yard, while Troy and Brook Skjerseth donated their tent, tables and chairs which transpired into a gorgeous space for an unforgettable Hoedown.

“The Hoedown is really to launch us into the next stage of Down Home,” said volunteer and board member, Jill Waslaski. “Jenessa and Jake have a wonderful vision. It’s very organized and specific; they need a full-time person running Down Home and they have plans for a mentorship program already in place. They’ve got God on their side and what they’ve been able to do in the last year is amazing.”

These days, monetary donations are just as important as furnishings and decor. As their outreach and programs expand, their team is also expanding. The demands are high and hiring full time employees are inevitable to coordinate their programs and move-ins. Coordinating the Hoedown event at The Yard was one step forward to further spread the message of their work and reach their fundraising goals.

________________________

The First Gift
Down Home was officially established in November of 2017 and started with just Jenessa and Jacob Fillipi, Jenessa’s mom, Charlene Kuznia, and her brother, Tyson Kuznia. The team would get the honor of serving their first family just before the new year, purchasing most of the needed items with their own funds and gathering furnishings from their personal homes to help transition the family from a shelter into a home. “It was December 23rd, and I think it was the best Christmas present we could have given ourselves,” said Kuznia. “The recipient and her son were in tears which put all of us in tears; they were so humbled and so appreciative. At that point, we realized this was something we needed to keep moving on.”

Their first project began as a smaller side project they initially thought would be confined to their family. With an outpouring of support from those around them, their small family project didn’t take long to grow wings. Since then, they have acquired countless volunteers and donations throughout the community, allowing them to serve 11 other families. By the end of this year, they’re on track to serve upwards of 20 families and expand their offerings.

Gathering Good
Today, Down Home has a team of seven board members and 17 committee members and active volunteers. With each project, they garner more interest with new volunteers coming from churches, shelters, friends, family, corporations like Microsoft and organizations like the Fargo Invaders, all looking to give back to the community.

“I would have never imagined back in October of last year how the community would come together. I look at the fabulous furniture, decor, donations, the amazing volunteers that we currently have, and it’s very evident that this is more than just Jake and myself, this is a community coming together to serve those that need that additional help,” said Jenessa Fillipi. “Really, the sky’s the limit; there are so many miracles that we’ve seen along the way that I know we would have missed, had we not taken that step forward in trusting this Down Home process that the Lord really has us on.”

Stocking the Shelves
From their very first install to their 11th, a lot has changed for Down Home. They no longer work out of their own garages and basements; they’ve found an official home base in North Fargo, just off of 19th Avenue. This is where their team gathers, donations are collected and inventory is stocked, organized and ready for giving. High-quality furniture donations have been plentiful, but as their non-profit grows, so will their demand.

“Something that you don’t need anymore might mean absolutely everything to another family,” said volunteer marketing and development director, Chris Welsand. In the last one we did, everything they owned could fit inside one apartment closet. They came in with literally the clothes on their back and maybe a couple of bags.”

The Down Home Process
To find Down Home’s recipients, the team is connected with a number of homeless shelter agencies across the community. “If they see a family that they feel is ready to get back to the community, they will refer them to us and we connect and meet with the family. We get to know them and ask them about their likes and dislikes,” explained Kuznia.

The day of the move-in and reveal, coordination of items take place in the warehouse, and a U-Haul is rented for the day. The Down Home team has learned to streamline their process by placing items into labeled boxes for each room so volunteers can easily grab a box and get to work. Loading of items takes about 30 minutes and within two hours, the team can completely transform an empty space into a comfortable home to embrace.


The Transformation
“The homes we’re furnishing are homes that are just barely affordable for someone coming out of the shelter. When we first see the space, it can be frustrating,” explained volunteer and board member, Jill Waslaski. “For one recipient, she was bringing a newborn baby home to this space and it made us all upset to see how much needed to be done to the building; but it was the middle of winter and it’s what they could afford. By the time the team was done, we were shocked at how well it came together.”

“It had turned into this amazing and cozy place and each of the kids had their own space to sleep, designed just for them,” added Kuznia. “It was an amazing transformation.””Down Home is intentional in the decor and furnishings that go into each empty space,” said Jenessa Fillipi. “We put elements in every home that promote family time, self-worth and speak to our mission of empowerment. We incorporate inspirational quotes, a cross, soft pillows, blankets, games, books and devotionals into each home. It’s so important to surround each client we serve with positive messages and purposeful pieces.”

After the Move-In & Reveal

Part of the Down Home process is to follow up with the families they’ve served through their Pay it Forward plan. This gives them a chance to donate additional items or gather valuable feedback on how to improve their services and furniture selections, making sure each family has what they need to thrive.

This month, Down Home plans to begin phase two; their Empower Up program. “It’s an opportunity for us to reach a larger group of people and it would benefit not only those who have experienced homelessness, but also those who are at risk for homelessness, but still currently live in a home,” said Jenessa Fillipi.

To be part of the Empower Up program, recipients will still need a referral, but they will have the opportunity to participate in four weeks of empowerment training which is provided by Upstream growth consultants. After completing training at Down Home’s office, the team will work with the recipient in finding out what additional pieces they need for their home. The program is currently full, but a waiting list has been started for the spring session. Find out how you can sponsor a recipient by going to the Empower Up link on their site.
_________

“Thanks so much for everything! My home is super comfortable (for myself and newborn). I catch myself reading the quotes on the wall. It really works and helps me out.”

Denisa O., Down Home recipient

_________

Ready to Donate?
Monetary donations are a high priority right now as Down Home’s demands are continually growing, as is the demand for more storage space. The team encourages sponsorship opportunities for businesses, families and church groups to provide volunteers and to be a part of the move-in process, regardless of ability or skill level. If you’d rather donate furnishings, before you make your haul, check out their current list of needs. Right now, the team is searching for the following high-quality items:

New mattresses (queen and twin), queen and twin headboards, metal bunk beds, small TV stands, end tables, matching lamps, inspirational quotes and decor.

A Humble Home
“What we provide for the families isn’t possible without the entire community coming together and donating their furniture, time, their inspirational quotes, picture frames and everything else,” said Jenessa Fillipi. “Jake and I feel very humbled that the Lord really placed Down Home on our hearts and yet, it’s the entire community that he’s calling to be a part of it in different ways.”

For more information, contact:
Down Home
Jenessa & Jacob Fillipi
2102 12th Street North, Fargo
701.212.9783
info@down-home.org

Chris Welsand / Marketing & Development
612.747.9202
development@down-home.org

Search their Site: down-home.org
Find them on Facebook: downhome.org
View their video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aV268aQOFJnOYUOjV925OYYCGLolEMfb/view?usp=drive_web

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Dakota Vines Vineyard & Winery

Words by Tracy Nicholson / Photography by M.Schleif Photography With life-long careers devoted to education, Deb and Bob Grosz have been planting the seed to pursue a passion outside of…

Words by Tracy Nicholson / Photography by M.Schleif Photography

With life-long careers devoted to education, Deb and Bob Grosz have been planting the seed to pursue a passion outside of the classroom. After 14 years of studying the art of winemaking, their dream would finally become reality in a soybean field near Colfax, North Dakota. On June 15, the Groszes gathered their 5,780 bottles of wine and opened the doors to Dakota Vines Vineyard and Winery. With Crooked Lane Farm neighboring their vineyard from across the river, they may have just created Fargo-Moorhead’s newest day-trip destination.

In their nearly 33 years of marriage, Bob and Deb Grosz had spent much of their lives consumed with the activities of three children and busy careers. Now, empty-nesters, they’ve refocused their spare time and energy into a longtime passion for winemaking. “We are thrilled that our kids and family have been so supportive,” said Deb Grosz. “Our son in L.A. and youngest son from Minneapolis came down for the opening while our oldest daughter who lives in Fargo has been out here helping us. A big reason why we’re doing this is that they were so active and we were so busy when they were younger – it all just comes to a halt when the kids are moved out, it’s a huge change.”

“Some people buy a sports car and we just took a hobby and turned it into a business,” laughed Bob Grosz.

Turn at the Wine Barrel
Just off of I-29 near rural Colfax, you can’t miss Dakota Vine’s cedar wine barrel sign. Built by Bob Grosz and his friend, Todd Johnson, the two created an inviting backdrop for the custom metal logo by Red River Metal Art.

On the Grow
Starting with an at-home winemaking kit, Bob Grosz became enthralled with all aspects of the science and process behind the wine. “We had some grapes that were frozen, some from Washington and some from California and we continued to work with that,” said Bob Grosz. “Then, we met Rodney Hogen at Red Trail Vineyard in Buffalo and I started working with him. The only thing I asked was that I get to take some of the grapes with me after I’d help him prune or harvest. About three years ago, we decided this was something we wanted to pursue, so I’ve been working on earning a degree in Enology, or winemaking. It’s a two-year associates degree through the VESTA program (vesta-usa.org) with classes offered through various universities and all of them require some type of a practicum. I’ve been in wineries across Minnesota and Wisconsin, along with lab work in Cleveland. We decided that if this is what we wanted to do, we had better be good at it before we take that next step.”

True North Dakota Wines
Since their vines are newly planted and won’t produce for three years, the couple has been sourcing their grapes from other vineyards and the University of Minnesota. “We will only offer wines from grapes that can be grown right here in North Dakota,” said Deb Grosz. “You won’t find a Cabernet, Merlot or Chardonnay here because those grapes don’t grow in this climate. So, even though we could have used any grape we wanted this time, we still wanted our wines to reflect what can actually be produced in North Dakota.”

“For our licensing, by year five we have to be using 50% North Dakota product, but our goal is to get there much faster. Our hope is that more local vineyards will open and start growing so that we can buy more local product,” said Bob Grosz.

Tasting Room
To kick off their opening summer, Dakota Vines is offering two spectacular reds, two whites and three fruit wines in apple, pear and plum varietals. For those who prefer their hops over grapes, the tasting room will also feature locally-made craft beers from Fargo Brewing Company and other local breweries.

In the tasting room, the Groszes offer guests small glimpses of their personal life, infusing the space with rustic and schoolhouse elements in cozy, country surroundings. “With both of us being educators, we thought school chairs were appropriate,” said Deb Grosz. “We found the barn door and school chairs at Habitat Restore. We just wanted to pull it all together and make it reflect our life.”

Bob Grosz designed and drew-up the entire winery, working closely with Wahpeton, N.D., contractor, Matt Kinneberg. Kinneberg was able to repurpose the Grosz’s old fence boards to create the focal point above the fireplace and the beams in the ceiling.

“It’s so much fun to be at this point now – we had this in our imagination and now to see it is amazing,” said Deb Grosz. “My step-dad, Duane Radeck, actually built the bar and wine storage for us. We wanted the traditional wine x’s. He and my mom, Carolyn, have been very helpful and they didn’t miss a single work session for bottling.”

ND Wine Time!
Wine tasting options consist of five samples for $5.00, by the glass or by the bottle. Prices range from $17.99 to $18.99 per bottle. With names reflective of their North Dakota heritage, guests will find wines like Roughrider, Prairie Sky, Mighty Bison, Lake Agassiz, County Road and Peace Garden.

Labeled on the barn door are descriptions of each wine and the grape variety or fruit, such as Marquette, Frontenac, La Crescent and Brianna. These grapes have been harvested from the University of Minnesota’s program as well as independent breeders.

Tasty Pairings
This summer, Dakota Vines will be offering small plates with crackers and cheeses for anyone touring or tasting. “We do have a very small commercial kitchen in the back, so as we expand and go into year two, we have a few ideas to create special dinner nights, possibly once a week on Saturday nights,” said Deb Grosz.

The Wine Wall
Near the fireplace, the Groszes have created their own “Wine Wall”, featuring and showing support for other local wineries and cider houses who have offered valuable advice throughout their winemaking journey. “It was amazing to me when we let the other wineries know that we wanted to do this, they were all in,” said Deb Grosz. “They were so excited and said, please do it. It hasn’t been a competitive scenario, really just a collaboration. I know there are people in this community who still don’t know there are any wineries in North Dakota. Hopefully, they see this wall and want to take a road trip.”

“We visited quite a few local wineries as well as an array of wineries in Napa, but locally, our friends at 4e and Red Trail Vineyards have been so supportive and helpful,” said Deb Grosz. “They’ve also given their time. We’ve had so many people out here helping us bottle; crews of seven to eight people for six days in a row. All we had to do was ask, and keep feeding them, and they just kept coming to help.”

“It’s like our friends at 4e Winery in Mapleton said, ‘When you have a winery, you don’t need a gym membership,'” laughed Bob Grosz.

“Someone actually said to us, ‘Not only do we want you to do this, but we want you to do it well,'” said Deb Grosz. “That really spoke to me. He explained that if our wine is the only North Dakota wine that someone has tried, it has to be good. We don’t want anyone thinking that North Dakota can’t produce good wine – so, it’s really important that all of our local wineries do well.”

The Gallery
Just beyond the tasting room, the space overlooking the river is penned “The Gallery”. The rentable room is designed to accommodate up to 40 people for nearly any type of gathering.

The Gallery’s crisp, white walls feature an array of patchwork quilt art by local artists and watercolor art by Barbara Benda Nagle and Bev Benda. “Years ago, Barbara was our daughter’s fifth-grade teacher, so we asked her if she would like to be our first art show,” said Deb Grosz. Throughout the summer, the couple plan to rotate in new artists’ work so guests will have a unique experience with each visit.

Patio
Outside of the gallery, the Groszes have designed a small patio where guests can enjoy a dose of country life, river views and wildflowers. In future plans, the Groszes are working to design a small gazebo or pavilion-like structure closer to the river, where guests can enjoy live music or relax with a glass of wine.

Across the River and Through the Woods…
Just across the river, Mary Jo Schmid and Brent Larson, owners of Crooked Lane Farm, have a beautiful event and wedding venue with a 1940s barn. “Mary Jo and I were in grad school together at UND and our kids were in theatre activities together, so we’ve known them for a long time and asked them if they’d ever want to part with some land. They have been super helpful and really saw this as a good companion business for their own,” said Deb Grosz. “We feel the same way about them; we can work with brides and grooms for their wine and we’ll be setting up a table to sell wine at their concerts that they host every other Thursday, all summer. This year, our time and effort will be focused on the tasting room and the concerts at Crooked Lane Farm.”

Open for Tastings & Tours!
Dakota Vines is now open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Labor Day weekend. Guests can tour the tasting room, gallery and production room with Letina tanks.

Once the snow flies, make sure to check their Facebook page and website for updates on special dates for holiday shopping events and exclusive dining nights. “For the holidays, we have discussed partnering with Crooked Lane Farm to do a sleigh ride which would bring guests back to our tasting room for a mulled wine and provide a place to warm up and enjoy the season,” said Deb Grosz. “With river right outside our door, it’s really beautiful here in the winter.” Next summer, you can expect Dakota Vines to open their tasting room as early as Memorial weekend.

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Get to Know: Bob Grosz – Vineyard and Winery Manager, Winemaker
Bob Grosz has over 25 years of experience in public school education as a teacher, principal and associate superintendent. He has been the Associate Superintendent for the Fargo Public Schools for the past 10 years and has been an adjunct professor at North Dakota State University for the past five years, teaching classes to master’s level students. Bob Grosz has a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Dakota and is currently working on a degree in Enology (winemaking).

Get to Know: Deb Grosz – Sales and Tasting Room Manager
Deb Grosz began her career in 1989 as a 4th-grade teacher and has a doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of North Dakota. She spent ten years in various elementary and middle school classrooms prior to her current role at Concordia College as the Director of Field Experiences where she teaches children’s literature and various seminars to pre-service teachers.
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Hit the road for a North Dakota Tasting Tour!

4e Winery
3766 156th Avenue S.E., Mapleton, N.D.
701.936.9693
4ewinery.com
Red Trail Vineyard
3510 142nd Avenue S.E., Buffalo, N.D.
701.238.3337
redtrailvineyards.comMaple River Winery (Open year-round)
628 Front Street, Casselton, N.D.
701.347.5900
mapleriverwinery.comRookery Rock Winery (New!)
3660 147th Avenue S.E., Wheatland, N.D.
701.280.2470

Point of View Winery
8413 19th Avenue N.W., Burlington, N.D.
701.839.5505
povwinery.com

Wild Grape Winery and Kesselring Vineyards (Vineyard tours by appointment)
5720 160th Avenue S.E., Kindred, N.D.
612.741.5691
kesselringvineyard.wordpress.comPrairie Rose Meadery
3101 39th Street S., Fargo, N.D.
701.356.7706
prairierosemeadery.comDakota Sun Gardens Winery
955 73rd Avenue N.E., Carrington, N.D.
701.674.3623
dakotasungardenswinery.com

Bear Creek Winery
8800 South 25th Street, Fargo, N.D.
701.261.3171
bearcreeknd.com

Prairiewood Winery
12443 68th Street S.E., Lisbon, N.D.
701.683.5886

Cottonwood Cider House
14481 25th Street S.E., Ayr, N.D.
701.866.9913
cottonwoodciderhouse.com

Wild Terra Cider & Brewing
6 – 12th Street North, Fargo, N.D.
701.639.6273
wildterraciderandbrewing.com

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For more information, contact:
Dakota Vines Vineyard and Winery
17355 County Road 4, Colfax, N.D. (I-29 toward Abercrombie – exit 37)
(Open for tastings and tours through mid-September)
701.553.8807
dakotavineswinery@gmail.com
dakotavines.com
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Optical [Design] Illusions – Inside the New Aspire Optical Co. of Fargo

Words by Tracy Nicholson / Photography by Dan Francis Photography When we heard Trever Hill was collaborating with Grain Designs on the design of the new Aspire Optical Co., we…

Words by Tracy Nicholson / Photography by Dan Francis Photography

When we heard Trever Hill was collaborating with Grain Designs on the design of the new Aspire Optical Co., we couldn’t wait to contact owners, Ashley and Gillian Freeborn. It didn’t take long to see that guests at their stunning eyewear boutique were destined to get the VIP treatment, complete with an integrated guest experience right at their fingertips. With over 30 eyewear lines and 2,000 frames and sunglasses ranging from high-end designer to affordable and stylish, their eyewear begged for the perfect backdrop and distinguished displays. Take a tour with Midwest Nest as we check out the custom displays with a few unexpected design twists that will make you want to kick back and bury your toes in the sand.

Visualizing a Dream

The Freeborns moved from Canada to Fargo five-years-ago, relocating for Gillian’s residency at the VA Hospital where she now works as a Psychologist. With a new business and baby number three on the way in early August, the Freeborns have a life they are passionate about.

“I have worked in the optical field in sales and marketing for the past 13 years in Canada, and this has always been a dream of ours,” said Ashley Freeborn. “It was my job to work closely with accounts on the brands, inventory and marketing, which is now a culmination carrying over to my own optical boutique. I took note of all of the good things my accounts were doing and ideas that I had spent years counseling them to pursue. It’s really exciting to be able to bring that experience forward and finally open the doors.”

Optical Design Illusions

To come up with their design inspiration, the Freeborns spent late nights and many hours scouring Pinterest. “We brought everything together for the boutique’s design and decided to work with Trever Hill Design who was fabulous at making our vision come to life,” said Gillian Freeborn. “Trever chose all of the furniture, countertops, lighting, wall coverings and accessories. We love the furnishings that he chose, they’re beautiful, but also extremely comfortable and well-made. You can really see the detail in the stitching. Our contractor was Rogness Contracting and they were phenomenal to work with too; I would recommend them to anyone.”

“I knew from talking to Ashley and Gillian that I needed to add in multiple textures and keep the overall space cohesive, yet still distinguish the stations and unique spaces,” said Hill. “I also worked closely with Grain Designs to create the concepts for the freestanding and wall displays where I needed to figure out function and storage, texture and wood finishes. It was such a pleasure working with Aspire and Grain Designs on this project. I love anytime a project starts from a dirt floor to the last accessory being placed,” said Hill.

Ray-Ban Red? 

“I actually felt bad for Trever – initially, this space was going to be a lot different. Think Ray-ban red in one area and a man cave in another area. There was going to be so many competing concepts and he somehow, very tactfully, toned it down and changed my mind,” laughed Ashley Freeborn. “He took all of those ideas and managed to distill them into what you see now. Our partnership with Grain Designs was formed through Trever and the idea of that rustic and refurbished wood was always something that I feel like we wanted, but he really facilitated that for us.”

Display Design  

Within the boutique, each display needed to be custom-designed to suit the space and provide optimum storage and shelving. For a clean look with a reclaimed appeal, Hill and Grain Designs chose a white pine with a distressed finish, sourced from a 1880s church. Metal bases, trays and shelves were powder-coated along with industrial plumber’s pipe to give the displays sleek function with rustic style. Their team also custom built the free-standing displays and two digital monitor displays with touchscreen technology.

At the LED-lit counter, Hill chose a textured, stone-look wall covering as the backdrop for Aspire’s laser-cut, metal sign by Grain Designs.

On the back wall, Grain Designs built a slat wall featuring reclaimed wood with interchangeable metal shelving. “We wanted a wall that you could manipulate and change the display so that it’s a different feel for the customer every time they come in,” said Ashley Freeborn. “It’s kind of a take on an old slat-wall concept using reclaimed wood and powder coated metal shelving. It was an idea that I had, but really it was Grain Designs that developed the concept into what it is.”

The Interactive Guest Experience

With so much in-depth information behind their brands and lenses, Ashley Freeborn designed this touchscreen display concept to create an interactive guest experience right at your fingertips. “We realized that the younger generation focuses a lot on social and corporate responsibility – they want transparency,” said Ashley Freeborn. “With brands like Toms, you can see their collection, the lens features and also watch a really dynamic video on their charitable work across the globe. This really helps us to communicate what is generally a lot of information about each brand.”

Ashley Freeborn found the 1900s barber chair, originally from Toronto, Ontario, in an old optometry practice in Winnipeg. “We loved the chair, so we took it to Audubon Upholstery to refurbish the piece – we think it weighs around 350 pounds,” said Ashley Freeborn. “It’s a really fun chair to sit in and everyone who comes in comments on it.”

Paddleboard Paradise 

Distinguishing the sunglass displays are three paddleboards affixed on the wall with integrated shelving by Grain Designs. The boards were a fun idea that Ashley Freeborn had envisioned from the start, but worked with Hill to perfect.

“Ashley had originally wanted multiple zones for clients, but I was a little concerned about how busy it may be if all of those zones had a different design and varying bold colors. I thought he was on the right track though, so we did incorporate many of his ideas, but we made the colors more cohesive to unify the space,” explained Hill. “So, instead of going with the red paddleboards like he had intended, we changed the boards to white which helped unify the design. This also created a crisp, clean slate for the sunglass display.”

“You’ll see even with the wallcovering and leather on the furniture, we chose similar materials throughout the space to pull those areas together,” said Hill. “The wall covering is from the Phillip Jeffries collection at McNeal & Friends, while Weyer-For-Hire did the installation.”

At the Blink of an Eye

A competitive advantage over online shops, Aspire Optical Co. has over 2,000 frames, cuts their own lenses and is able to process common prescriptions often within the same hour or quicker. Their team of five, including two opticians, are all trained to find the best frame and fit, usually opting to have two team members assist every guest. This fall, they hope to bring an optometrist on-site to complete their team.

Seeing in Style

Aspire Optical Co. truly has something for everyone, but being located in a neighborhood that lends itself to luxury, the Freeborns have taken note and pride themselves on the array of lines from affordable and funky to high-end designer and exclusive frames.

“Right now, I believe we carry more designer lines than any other area boutique,” said Ashley Freeborn. “We also have our own Aspire Collection which starts at $189 with a single vision lens and anti-reflective coat, which is really competitive to most online offers. The idea was to allow people to stay on budget yet still purchase multiple pairs. We need eyewear for so many different tasks now, compared to what it used to be. Here, you can find a great designer pair of glasses and then also find something that would be more of a daily lifestyle choice.”

Aspire Optical’s Brands:

Coach, Swarovski, Vaurnet, Maui Jim, Ray-Ban, Tiffany & Co., Kate Spade New York, Oakley, Jimmy Choo, Rag & Bone, Polo, Guess, Alexander McQueen, Vanni, Prada, Toms, Gucci, Fendi, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Kliik Denmark, Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Monoqool, Evatik, Derapage, Etnia Barcelona, Fysh and many more.

Find the Finishes:

Contractor – Rogness Contracting

Interior Design- Trever Hill Design

Shelving, display and wood fabrication – Grain Designs

Furniture – McNeal & Friends

Accessories – SCHEELS Home & Hardware

Laser-cut logo sign – Grain Designs

Herringbone wall tile – sourced from Floor to Ceiling Carpet One

Countertops – Northern Stone

Cabinetry – Braaten Cabinets

Lighting – Noir, Perigold

Wall coverings – Phillip Jeffries, McNeal & Friends

Wall covering install – Weyer-For-Hire

For more information, contact:
Aspire Optical Co. Fargo
3265 45th Street South, Suite 104, Fargo
701.404.5172
aspireoptical.com
Follow @aspireopticalco on Instagram and Facebook
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Higher Education: Interior Design & Retail Merchandising

Words by Tracy Nicholson / Photography by Dan Francis Photography / Digital files provided by Sydney Fritz and NDSU Interior Design Program One of the first things I learned while…

Words by Tracy Nicholson / Photography by Dan Francis Photography / Digital files provided by Sydney Fritz and NDSU Interior Design Program

One of the first things I learned while writing for this industry was the distinction between interior design and interior decorating. Last fall, I was introduced to an NDSU student by the name of Sydney Fritz. Although many may consider her an interior design student, I soon found out that her major was one that I was not familiar with; Retail Merchandising. It was perfect timing because Fritz had just completed a lengthy project for one of her required interior design classes. So, we headed back to school to find out how her area of expertise translated to the design world.

Meet the Student
Sydney Fritz is a retail merchandising student with an emphasis on interiors. She will graduate in the spring of 2019 with a degree in Apparel, Retail Merchandising and Design, with a minor in Business at NDSU. Her major carries a heavier emphasis on the aesthetic side of interior design. Although the assigned project required space planning and construction documents, her retail merchandising emphasis does not rely on advanced qualifications to draw up construction documents like interior design majors. Regardless, this class will help her to understand this important aspect. Her degree is equally divided between interior design classes and business classes with over half the remaining classes taken in retail merchandising. With her retail merchandising major, Fritz is on her way to mastering the art of buying and merchandise planning, global retailing, promotion, global trade, consumer behavior, trend forecasting and the analysis of textile products.

The Project:
The Martin Residence
Assigned by NDSU Professor Ann Marie Ragan, this fictional project is a residential design assignment based on the needs of a retired couple, Clark and Ava Martin. The students were told that they had purchased a two-bedroom condominium in the 300 Building located in Downtown Fargo.

Project Requirements
The Martins requested the design of their home to have a more “urban” feel with Post War/Mid-century Modern influences incorporated throughout the home. Students selected a Post War/Mid-century Modern designer chair to incorporate into their final design solution.

Aging in place and universal design solutions had to be incorporated via finishes, furnishings, layout of the furniture, types and location of cabinetry and plumbing fixtures. As part of the assignment, students were told that sustainable design was to be an important component of the project. This would impact the material selection and use throughout the home. Students were asked to select and incorporated three works of art from at least one local or regional artist into the design.

According to Professor Ragan, students were also responsible for designing a custom light fixture for the Martins. “They began by sketching clothing from the same time as the Post War/Mid-century interior design style. These were provided by the Emily Reynolds Historic Costume Collection located at NDSU,” said Professor Ragan. “Students were responsible for selecting the furniture, finishes, materials, artwork, lighting, furnishings and window treatments for the project.”

In-Class Activity: Designing a Custom Light Fixture

Getting Started
“Getting this interior design assignment was really overwhelming at first; especially trying to figure out where to begin,” said Fritz. “The description laying out the project was pages and pages of details. We started with an empty shell, laying out where we thought bedrooms should go. Then we had to get more technical with our math, figuring out the square footage that we had to work with.”

Since Fritz has chosen retail merchandising as her major, it’s important to note that her major does not typically require this type of detailed space planning. Out of the 19 students in this studio course, only one other person shared her emphasis in retail merchandising. Regardless, the class itself and knowledge of the concept is required for her degree.

Challenges & Limitations
Before Fritz and her classmates could get started, they had to understand the requirements and limitations. “There’s an atrium in this project, so we had to make sure all of the plumbing was on a certain wall. The space planning was the most challenging side of this project,” said Fritz. “What I learned was to keep it simple. I initially wanted to do a lot of angles and curves, but I realized that these would have also made it difficult to place the bed, nightstands and lighting. Even though I wanted to be different, I learned to keep it simple and focus on creating an easy flow, not putting too many obstructions to have to walk around. Each floor plan takes many hours to complete with several hours to copy the rough draft onto the vellum. It’s kind of like a puzzle figuring out how each space should function with the given square footage.”

“I thought picking out the furniture wouldn’t be that challenging, but it was,” said Fritz. “We were limited to furniture that fit the room but allowed for space to move around it. We also kept in mind that the older tenants would require furniture that was firmer and it had to be in the required Mid-century Modern style. If the furniture was overly cushioned it would be hard to transition from a sitting position. Along with space planning, we each had to design our own custom island, custom light piece and custom drapery.”

Professional Presentation
For Fritz’s classmates, this interior design project required designing floor plans, elevations, custom cabinetry, light fixtures and room layout – along with design details like accent pillows, throws, wall coverings, lighting, drapery and flooring. According to Professor Ragan, students in retail merchandising complete all the same work for the project except for the presentation drawings used on the final presentation boards. “Retail merchandising students are not required to complete rendered perspective drawings since they are not required to take the course where the students learn how to do these drawings,” explained Professor Ragan.

Mid-century Modern Influence
“I wanted more of a classic and timeless Mid-century Modern design, instead of the bright geometric design most people immediately think of,” said Fritz. “The version I chose is more of an upscale take on Mid-century Modern versus the more casual bold colors. I did a lot of neutrals, then I would be able to add in the colors through my custom drapes and artwork. I chose a local artist, Jessica Wachter to represent the art pieces for the entire design. I chose brushed gold finishes and lighter wood flooring, knowing that the other wood finishes would be darker. We each picked an heirloom piece and I chose a wire chair piece which will be covered in the muted red fabric to coordinate with the blinds.”

Design by Lifestyle
Keeping in mind the profile of the tenants who were nearing retirement age, Fritz and her class were asked to create a space that would be accessible with a designated guest space for the tenant’s visiting parents. This apartment would be their primary home and last residence before moving into an assisted living facility. With this lifestyle in mind, Fritz designed her extra-large, walk-in, tile shower with a floor that would be level with the bathroom’s tile floor to avoid complications. She also kept this in mind when choosing the bed heights and space on each side of the bed.

Fritz and her classmates were asked to create bubble diagrams, adjacency matrices, and circulation diagrams. The primary purpose of bubble diagrams and adjacency matrices is to analyze the room/space adjacencies, while circulation diagrams consider the flow of the rooms/space.

For the research portion of the programming binder, each student compiled articles on Mid-century Modern design and universal design. Students completed annotated bibliographies about the articles and reaction papers on different businesses that were visited during the studio course.

Coordinating Color
“A lot of students chose different eras of Mid-century Modern, many of them focusing on the version with geometric patterns and bright colors like oranges and lime greens,” said Fritz. “I chose an era that I felt was more suited for this older tenant. I used a lot of sophisticated navy blues, darker olive greens with just a little bit of muted red and lighter blues. I added a lot of texture with my throw blankets and pops of more vibrant color with Jessica Wachter’s art pieces. I definitely used more accent or interchangeable pieces for the bold colors.”

Inspirational Mentors
When she’s not in school, Fritz works for a Fargo-based interior decor, furnishing store, and design firm, McNeal & Friends. This gave her the added benefit of accessing the store’s vast inventory of fabric and wall coverings. She also had access to their team of designers including, Trever Hill who suggested the concept of having the carpet inset into the living room floor, creating a level transition. “This concept worked to help make the living room two separate spaces even though it’s actually one large room,” said Fritz. “I also consulted with another designer at McNeal & Friends, Jayne Wilson about my drapery choice. Picking out the materials was definitely the most fun for me.”

Styling Spaces
For much of the furniture, lighting and accessories, Fritz opted for pieces by Restoration Hardware with additional pieces from Room & Board and Pottery Barn. “Since a lot of my furniture was in neutral tones, I had to be careful not to add too much color, but just enough to give it character,” said Fritz. “I found the wall coverings at McNeal & Friends and chose two different grasscloth textures by Phillip Jeffries. The grey-toned one is for the master bedroom and the lighter covering is for the guest bedroom. I thought the texture really gave it class and more of an upscale look. I also chose brushed gold hardware for a really authentic, Mid-century Modern finish.”

Objectives of the Project
“By showing this project, I want people to know how technical this field is, it’s not just picking out a cute bed frame or fun pillows,” said Fritz. “In our process, we need to understand how that furniture or kitchen island is going to fit and function for the space. It’s researching fabrics and coordinating textures as well as deciding the right amount of space between furniture for proper flow and function, all based on the tenant’s needs and lifestyle.”

“Some of the questions we ask ourselves are; can a wheelchair fit in between the furniture pieces and does the kitchen island allow for seating as well as ample walking space on each side? We also have to be aware of where all of our drawers in the kitchen are being placed. Should they be pull-out drawers or doors and does the client prefer soft-close options? ”

For every square inch of a home, there are endless options to choose from, so for this project, it’s Fritz’s job to really think about the client’s needs and figure out which of those options will work best for them and the space. “Sometimes that means adding things like pocket doors in place of a normal door to save space and provide better flow. We would also educate the client on the pros and cons, noting that this type of door might not keep as much sound out and discuss if that will be a problem for them based on the room,” explained Fritz.

The Final Project
The final project submittals included a detailed programming binder with an explanation of the design solution, programming information, diagrams and information gathered from research. This is where the students referenced specification information for the furniture, fixture, artwork, accessories and finishes. Detailed construction documents (floor plans, elevations, reflected ceiling plans, cabinetry sections and wall sections), study models and presentation boards were also required for the final design solution.

Reviews on Sydney Fritz’ Design Project:
“Sydney seemed to have a great understanding of the design style which can be seen in her furniture, material selections and in her programming information,” said Professor Ann Marie Ragan. “Her selections incorporated furniture pieces that were representative of the Post War/Mid-century designs and upholstered in rich colors and textures. Sydney’s selections of artwork provided vibrancy to the space and helped to connect the many interior design elements utilized throughout the space.”

A Student’s Perspective: Investing in Design
“If people are willing to put money into building a house, I think they should also set aside a portion of their budget for having the house designed professionally,” said Fritz. “If it’s done right, you won’t be buying new furniture every two years, you’ll be buying statement pieces or good, classic pieces that will last a long time and fit the scale of your house. Some people fill large spaces with furniture that’s too small and it can really diminish the space being used and limit the liveable space.”

“I think homeowners should also gain a designer’s advice on where light switches and lighting should go. The electricians will do what is most functional for them, but not always what is needed for you or the home’s design,” said Fritz. “Working with a designer can open up a world of new furniture lines and brands that most people have never heard of. Some of these lines are only available to designers and what they can offer can really transform a home. Designers work with many of the local and national stores to gain access to furniture, rug, drapery and fabric lines that can open up far more options than what you see in the stores.”

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Interior Design vs. Retail Merchandising
“There are technically students from two different majors who currently enroll in the ADHM 251 Interior Design Studio I: Residential Studio course, interior design and retail merchandising with a focus in interior merchandising,” said Professor Ragan. “While these students take some of the same classes, these are very different majors, but both happen to be in the Department of Apparel, Design, and Hospitality Management.”

The Degree:
Interior Design

Distinguishing between Fritz’s major and interior design degrees, is the program coordinator for the interior design program, Dr. Susan Ray-Degges. “The interior design program is accredited by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA). Here, students study design fundamentals, theory, process, communication, research and technology to identify and solve problems for a wide range of physical, interior environments for all individuals regardless of socioeconomic background or situation.”

Three Career Paths of Interior Design
As Dr. Ray-Degges explained, “There are three main career paths that are typically chosen by the design professional; residential, commercial and specialized design. Residential involves the design of personal living environments while commercial design deals with public and work environments. Design professionals may also pursue career opportunities in such specialized technical design areas as lighting, codes, product design or product representative.”

Sydney Fritz’s Major:
Fritz’s area of study is Retail Merchandising with Interior Merchandising focus in the Apparel, Retail Merchandising and Design major. To explain Fritz’s focus, we spoke to the Apparel, Retail Merchandising, and Design (ARMD) program coordinator, Dr. Jaeha Lee at NDSU. “The retail merchandising option in the (ARMD) program provides students with a firm grasp of retail business strategy. Graduates hold positions as buyers, store managers, visual merchandisers, marketing managers, sales and account executives, and trend forecasters with many retail companies. The course of study includes classes on buying and merchandise planning, global retailing, promotion, global trade, consumer behavior, trend forecasting and the analysis of textile products. Students in the retail merchandising option can choose a focus in the areas of textile product merchandising or interior merchandising. If students choose a focus in the area of interior merchandising, they take several courses in interior design that provide the knowledge needed to enter retail interior careers.”

Interested in a career in Interior Design or Retail Merchandising?
Contact North Dakota State University, Fargo
Academic Advisor
Connie Eggers
E. Morrow Lebedeff Hall 270
701.231.9847
Connie.eggers@ndsu.edu

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