Midwest Nest Magazine

Midwest Nest Magazine

Culture, Entertaining, Home Design, Fargo, Interior Design, DIY

Category: Design

Like Mother Like Daughter

By Tracy Nicholson Photography by Studio Three Beau Amidst our usual February freeze, we decided it was time to head to the lakes. This mother and daughter who both reside…

By Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Studio Three Beau

Amidst our usual February freeze, we decided it was time to head to the lakes. This mother and daughter who both reside in the Detroit Lakes area, enlisted the help of Aubrey Costello at Showplace Cabinetry of Fargo to create and define their entertainment spaces. Just in time for warm, winter gatherings, we show you two unique bar designs in two completely different spaces. The first is the unfinished basement of Mike and Amanda Habrat and the second takes us down the road to Darryl and Mary Beehler’s family room where Costello used an outdated entertainment center space to create a sleek and contemporary wet bar.

Project number one is at the home of Mike and Amanda Habrat on Big Detroit. This project would offer Costello a clean slate with a completely unfinished basement. The focal point would be the stunning, full-service bar area creating the perfect retreat for lower-level entertaining.

Bar Project #1: Challenges
Since this project started as an unfinished basement with walls already in place, the space for the bar was pre-defined. An additional space beyond the bar was then designated the workout room which would be hidden by rustic barn doors.

Knowing that defined spaces almost inevitably come with challenges, Costello and the Habrats came up with a creative solution to hide the existing ductwork. The bar space needed to have one of the ducts in the ceiling, so instead of working around it, they worked with it to box-out the entire ceiling. Combining the new ceiling feature with inset pine and heavy crown molding proved to be a perfect compromise, resulting in another beautiful focal point.

“We had never built a house, but doing this was kind of like a mini-house building,” said Amanda Habrat. “We had to figure out where light switches go, ductwork and everything else, so it was nice to have someone with a good eye to help figure it out.”

Bar Project #1: The Design
Costello worked with the Habrats to design their bar cabinetry in a unique Gun Smoke finish and leathered granite countertop. The lighter grey tone became the perfect backdrop and contrast for the shimmer of the antiqued mirror, subway tile backsplash. “We chose the mirrored backsplash because there are no windows down here and also, every old, cool bar I’ve been to has a mirror in the back so we thought that would kind of lighten it up a bit,” said Amanda Habrat.

“I think the color is kind of classic, something I don’t have to fix again in five years. We have cherry wood upstairs, so I just really wanted something lighter for down here,” said Amanda Habrat. “Aubrey gave me a lot of guidance, which is what I needed. I didn’t come into this knowing exactly what I wanted, I just had a general idea. It can be overwhelming, but she was really good to work with figuring out the color schemes, cabinetry, tile and countertops. I think she figured out what my style was and then she’d narrow it down to two options.”

Costello worked closely with the Habrats for the bar’s overall design and flow, making sure to include exact spaces to accommodate their behind-the-bar amenities, storage and appliances. Contemporary touches like the floating shelves and LED-lit backsplash create contrast for the antiqued mirror tile and leathered granite bar top. To give the bar top a more chiseled finish, Costello worked with Spaulding Stone to hand-draw the edge mimicking the look of a live-edge slab. They also included LED light strips underneath to illuminate the bar’s unique design.

Not wanting to display to guests everything in their upper cabinets, Costello helped the Habrats choose water glass doors which still allowed for fun lighting features, but made more practical use of storage.

To finish the look of their lower-level bar, Costello and the Habrats chose a wood-look tile in a herringbone design and industrial lighting elements. The rustic barn door leading to the workout room and the wood-planked ceiling with crown molding was completed by CNN Remodeling.

Bar Project #1: The Finishes
Cabinets – Showplace Cabinetry, Sterling door style in a Gun Smoke finish
Countertops – Leather finished, Cavalete Granite Installed by Spaulding Stone. Includes a chiseled edge on upper bar top with LED light channel cut into the stone underneath the upper bar top
Backsplash – Jeffrey Court brand 3”x 6” tile in Yesterday’s Glass, installed by Syverson Tile & Stone
Hardware – Top Knobs, Juliet collection in Nickel with a brushed stain
Floor tile – Ragno USA brand, Woodcraft collection in Grigio from Syverson Tile & Stone, 4”x 28” tile, set in a framed herringbone pattern
Contractor – CNN Remodeling
Lighting – Lowe’s

Bar Project #2: The Beehlers
The second project is in the Chesterfield addition home of Darryl and Mary Beehler, near Little Detroit. Once considering the high price of acquiring tickets to the Superbowl, the Beehlers instead decided to put that investment toward an entertaining space they could use all year long. Inspired by Costello’s work on their daughter, Amanda Habrat’s basement, the Beehlers decided to enlist Showplace Cabinetry’s help to complete their own bar project.

After living in their home for 21 years, the Beehlers felt that removing the outdated entertainment center would go a long way in updating their home. Soon, they began work to remove the bulky, existing entertainment center which once housed the T.V. To create a better flow into the family room, the T.V. was then relocated to its new home above the fireplace mantel.

“This whole space was originally a built-in, drywall entertainment center. The flooring had just been replaced the year before, so we were careful to cover the existing flooring and also wrap our design around the corners, which would eliminate the cost of having to fix the sheetrock and re-texture,” explained Costello.

Built seamlessly into the existing space, Costello used Showplace Wood cabinetry and designed this wet bar with a stunning, waterfall-edge, quartz countertop. Upper storage is perfectly styled with glass doors, inset LED lighting and floating shelves. For the Rustic Alder cabinetry, Costello worked with the Beehlers to choose the deep, Midnight stain and beautiful, chevron backsplash tile which sets the tone for elegant entertaining.

Since this bar is located just off the kitchen and within the family room space, it didn’t make sense to have another fully functioning sink, so Costello and the homeowners opted for an ice bucket sink which can also drain.

Costello designed the custom, Showplace Wood cabinetry on the lower portion to hold up to 24 bottles, cleverly hidden amidst five pull-out drawers.

“Basically, I wanted my pantry back, but I also wanted this space for entertaining,” said Mary Beehler. “Getting the bottles out of my pantry was awesome, I had cupboards again and more useful space. Also, the entertainment center was getting really outdated, so it was time to do something that would update the house a little more.”

“I got a lot of ideas from our daughter’s basement project, but we had much smaller space to work with, so Aubrey came and took some measurements and we went from there,” said Mary Beehler. “She gave a lot of suggestions and we compromised, but Aubrey was really easy to work with. It turned out awesome.”

To add a unique, stained glass design element to the home, the Beehlers worked with an artist who happens to be Mary Beehler’s brother, Roger Reinardy. Reinardy designed the glass above the bar area, then the Beehlers finished it themselves.

Bar Project #2: The Finishes
Cabinets – Showplace Cabinetry, Sterling door style in a Rustic Alder with Midnight stain.
Countertops – Q Quartz brand, Calacatta Classique installed by Spaulding Stone in a 2 ½” thick mitered edge, with waterfall legs.
Hardware – Schaub brand in a Satin Nickel finish
Backsplash Tile – Walker Zanger brand, 6th Avenue Collection, Chevron in Ink Matte
Contractor – CNN Remodeling

For more information, contact:
Showplace Cabinetry – Aubrey Costello
2553 Kristen Lane, Fargo

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A Repurposed Life – The Grain Elevator Project: Phase 1

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography Historic photos and plans provided by Dahm’s Design Scott Dahm photographed with his golden retriever Piper, inside his Baker, M.N., grain…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
Historic photos and plans provided by Dahm’s Design

Scott Dahm photographed with his golden retriever Piper, inside his Baker, M.N., grain elevator home.

This winter’s record-breaking, low temps haven’t been easy for anyone, but if you’re Scott Dahms and trying to renovate a grain elevator, it’s been an epic challenge.
Just a short drive south of Sabin, Dahms’ industrial home is located in the town of Baker, M.N. Although it’s a work-in-progress, it’s come a long way since day one when it was considered merely a dilapidated landmark along highway 52. When we found out he was currently residing in it with his two sons, we had to get a glimpse of what it’s like to renovate and live in a rural grain elevator.

Don’t try this at home. Scott Dahms is a licensed architect and contractor with his business Dahms Design. Even he doesn’t recommend taking on a project like this unless you either have an unlimited budget or the skills to do the work. Even with the knowledge, you’re likely going to need the help of someone like his project manager, Tom Meyer, and a whole lot of patience.

Phase 1
Since purchasing the elevator for $15,000 on Craigslist last December, Dahms has transformed the space into a shop and apartment space he’s proud to call home. Those who at one time thought he had lost his mind with this purchase, are now taking another look. Dahms and Meyer have countless hours of sweat equity into demo work, preservation and giving the space basic functions like running water, heat and electricity. Beyond these challenges, Dahms was able to create a kitchen near the main entrance, a dining room, office, bathroom and lofted family room with a second-story bedroom. While some of the spaces are completed or near completion, many of the rooms are a work-in-progress. For Dahms, building basic function and making it livable for him and his two sons, was the main goal. The additional space also needed to function for his architecture and contracting business, Dahms Design.

Rural Life in Baker
Dahms’ grain elevator is located in the small, rural town of Baker, Minnesota, and township of Alliance, just to the South of Sabin. Local historians can tell you that in the 1930s Baker was once a booming town often visited by those grabbing a train ride to the popular dance hall. With the addition of the interstate system, the hustle and bustle slowed and now a mere 55 people inhabit the town, all eager to share their stories. “When we first started working on it, there was a person a day stopping in to tell us a story from the past,” said Dahms. “Either their dad once worked here or they did. I’ve got a newspaper clipping that one guy dropped off from when the previous elevator that was here, burned down. Another guy dropped off an old stapler and actual grain bags from when it was the Red River Grain elevator.” The elevator has actually had three lives when it was still in business, with a couple of fires prompting rebuilds.

“When we first started working out here in March or April, we came in and started throwing stuff out and people would come by asking what we were doing. You could just see the questioning in their eyes of what we were trying to do. After about three or four months, people started seeing that we were making headway. I think they started to actually believe that these guys might get something done,” laughed Meyer.

“We’ve been extremely blessed with the surrounding community. It’s been such warm welcome,” said Dahms. “One of the first days I was out here, using a weed-wacker to cut down weeds, one of the farmers came over and said, you know, why don’t I bring my machine over here and I’ll get this done. I’m not very good at asking for help on things, but the next day I came out they were completely gone. He had done the old trees, brush, ditch, everything,” laughed Dahms. “Sometimes people just stop by and see how we’re doing.”

Weathering the Elements
“We bought this thing in February and we just went gangbusters on it all summer long. It was too big of a project to get completely buttoned-up by the time we needed. Plus, that surprise cold-snap in October, we thought that was it,” said Dahms. “We also had to keep revenue coming in from our other jobs. So, when we go in the other shop room, you’ll probably see drifts inside from the other night. When the storm came through, it went from nice in here to freezing the pipes in a matter of a few hours. We were smart enough to put in shut-offs so I can easily shut things off and drain lines if I have to. You almost have to change your way of thinking in terms of what a normal home does.” For Dahms, one of the biggest challenges right now is the plumbing. The property is not big enough for a drain field, so in terms of septic, he relies on tanks. As Dahms explained, this is a big project he needs to tackle before moving on to the other spaces.

“The thing with this project is, you get frustrated, but you just have to laugh,” said Dahms. “This project is overwhelming, but it’s exactly how I want it to be. I’m going through a propane tank about every two to three weeks which is usually $600 to $700 dollars. But, I don’t write a check to a bank or landlord every month, so when the first of the month comes, I’m not stressed out about it.” One small perk is that Dahms actually gets free internet by allowing the provider to use his elevator as a tower. He also won’t likely have a cooling bill in the summer. There happen to be two, 20-feet-deep pits on the other side of the elevator with ice build-up in them. With a little pipe fabrication, these will serve as free, geothermal air-conditioning.

Ignoring Rationale
If anyone’s wondering what inspires someone to take on a project of the magnitude, Dahms will tell you that it was a lot of life changes. After a divorce, he bought the elevator and a Porsche he’s wanted since he was eight-years-old. “It’s a total 180 of what I was doing before, which is exactly where I think I was meant to be,” said Dahms. “Sometimes you can’t bring rational thinking into it because it can kill the dream so to speak. For everything I know as an adult or as a responsible person, it doesn’t make sense. A banker is not going to step in and borrow money for this. What’s my resale value on this? Someone could buy it, but if I ever have an issue and have to go to a realtor and have them list my house, it’s not going to work. It’s a huge gamble but worth it.”

“Sometimes you can’t bring rational thinking into it because it can kill the dream so to speak.”
Scott Dahms – Dahms Design


Climbing Mountains
“We still have a long way to go in here. We’ve gone through a good number of guys this year. What we are doing is not for everybody, it takes a special breed I guess,” said Dahms. “I figure what better way for an architect and contractor to show what you can do than take on turning an elevator into a house. I’m proud to say it’s Dahms Design. Not everyone can do this type of work,” said Meyer.

“When you step back and look at this place, it’s a man and a mountain, really. The way we’ve approached this is small, little hills. We’ll get to the top eventually.”
Tom Meyer, Project Manager, Dahms Design

“I knew it was either going to be the best thing I ever did or the worst. I have a great support system of friends and family, so if I failed I knew I’d just start all over again and figure it out.”
Scott Dahms, Dahms Design

Living Space:
With a view to the prairie and railroad beyond, Dahms built his living space within the old bin site of the elevator. Using many of the original bin walls, which display the unique, stacked wood referred to as cribbing, Dahms has lent his living quarters an organic and raw warmth. Not at all influenced by design trends, he instead lets basic function and the historic elements of his space speak for themselves. In fact, Dahms takes pride in using salvaged material whenever possible, utilizing his own design sense to make it work. He estimates that around 80% of the finishes he’s used to build the living spaces have been salvaged or repurposed.

On the second level in loft-style quarters, is where Dahms’ bedroom, another small loft and future second bathroom are located. The space is functioning right now but is currently another project Dahms plans to complete down the road.

Displaying a bit of the elevator’s original character and personal nostalgia, Dahms displays skateboards and vintage signs on an original wall that once occupied the old manager’s office for the elevator.

What looks like an old chalkboard on the wall of the shop is actually the original bin board that was once used to identify all 42-grain storage bins. It’s been here so long that there’s no point in moving it as you’d still see the impression of where it was. Meyer pointed out that between 33 and 35, you’ll find the open bay where Dahms’ apartment is now located. This spot was once the location of three of the elevator’s bins.

Raising the Roof on Raising Kids
“Now that we’re in, the boys love it here. They’re eight and five and this place is kind of like Peter Pan and the island for them. Our first summer was great when the boys didn’t have school. We were working on this place, we had a firepit and we were grilling out every night.”

For Dahms, part of the fun of raising two boys in a rural environment is creating an authentic, small-town atmosphere for them to grow up in. “To open the garage door and watch your kids roll out on their dirt bikes, that’s pretty cool,” said Dahms. “There are a couple other kids in town and they come over. I set up a pool and trampoline for them. So, now the other boys will come over and swim, get out and jump on the trampoline, then go ride their dirt bikes around, have Nerf gun wars and build forts. It’s exactly the scenario that everyone talks about when we were their age. It’s kind of how the old neighborhoods used to be. I don’t have to be some helicopter dad, I know all of the other parents.”

Phase 2:
The goal we have for the winter is to try and find the right contact to take out all of the machinery that’s on the other side. Through that door is all of the old machinery that goes up to 75 feet. Once we get rid of that, we can get into that space and reconfigure our shop so a lot of it will go there. Eventually, we will have to repel down the inside of it and power wash each bin.” No stranger to the dangers of this project, Dahms is determined to find a means to conquer it.

In order to plan his next move on the remainder of the elevator, Dahms tracked down the original plans so he can better understand the complicated spaces and challenges that exist within his home’s walls.

On the Horizon:
Once the original equipment is removed in the bin space, Dahms has plans to put his focus on creating two bedrooms for his sons. “Anything I do in here is not going to be conventional. My boys are going to have double-decker, two-story rooms, so almost like little apartments. I’m just toying around with so many ideas. With a space this big, we could have a 75-foot rock-climbing wall if we wanted.”

This is one of the elevator’s original bin corridors separated by a door that leads to his apartment. There are countless corridors just like this one that Dahms has big, future plans for.

Beyond the living spaces, Dahms has been toying around with what to do with the additional square footage and height. One of his ideas for the future is to create studio spaces for artists to come and work. “I think having an element like that with my boys growing up here, would be extremely valuable to them,” said Dahms.

A skateboarder at heart, Dahms considers himself a big kid who has no intention of growing up. Inheriting some ramps from Watertown, South Dakota, Dahms plans to build a skate park on the north side slab. “I grew up skateboarding – if you were skateboarding in the 80s in North Dakota, you were automatically classified as drug-dealing satanist,” laughed Dahm. “It’s kind of one of those classic stories where teachers think you’re never going to turn out to be anything.”

These days, Dahms still enjoys tooling around on the skateboard, but he also loves being an unorthodox architect and contractor. “It’s fun, but I don’t wear nice shoes and I like having a level of knowledge that in this day and age people treat you for what they see at face value. I like just flying under the radar a bit. I’m 44 years-old and I don’t consider myself a grown-up. Why would I start now?”

Interested in following Dahm’s upcoming elevator adventures?
Midwest Nest Magazine will be keeping in touch with Dahms over the course of this project. Keep reading for exclusive follow-up stories on the grain elevator’s progress.

For more information, contact:
Dahms Design
Scott Dahms

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Smarter Homes Series: Centralized Lighting with Jamie DeJean of Smart Home Technologies

Words by Tracy Nicholson & Jamie DeJean Photography by J. Alan Paul Photography In new construction homes, options like centralized lighting are often overlooked. With the potential to drastically reduce…

Words by Tracy Nicholson & Jamie DeJean
Photography by J. Alan Paul Photography

In new construction homes, options like centralized lighting are often overlooked. With the potential to drastically reduce the number of light switches and increase functionality, lighting systems offer a wide range of options and benefits. To help homeowners break through the wall clutter, we contacted Jamie DeJean of Smart Home Technologies to shed some light on the benefits of a Centralized Lighting System. To show how these systems work, DeJean took us on a tour of a Heritage Homes stunner belonging to builder Tyrone Leslie. Located in South Fargo’s Rocking Horse Farm development, this home is full of bright ideas you need to know before you build.

What is Centralized Lighting?
“Centralized Lighting Systems allow us to replace groups of light switches with a single lighting control keypad. We do this in an effort to eliminate banks of several unlabeled light switches at every location where the ability to turn on lights is desired. This reduces the amount of wall clutter and makes your lighting easier and more intuitive to operate,” said Jamie DeJean, owner of Smart Home Technologies in West Fargo. “In Tyrone’s house, there are multiple lights in the great room. For this room, he simply needs to push one button, labeled “Great Room” and it will turn off the recessed can lights, fireplace accent lights and the cove accent lights. This doesn’t take away your ability to still run individual lights separately, there are other buttons for each of these different lights as well. It does provide simplified, labeled and illuminated buttons that allow for a better user experience whether you are a homeowner or a guest in the home.”

“Lighting control is one of the unique home features that Smart Home Technologies offers our clients,” said DeJean. “There are other places that offer home music, TVs and surround sound, but lighting control is one of the things we take a lot of pride specializing in. We work closely with several Fargo-Moorhead and lakes area electricians. We provide the lighting control equipment and programming. The installation is completed by a licensed electrician, such as JDP Electric who wired the Leslie home.”

The Outdated Alternative
As DeJean explained, the outdated alternative is to do things the traditional way by including a light switch for every location control is needed. In a typical kitchen and great room, that means a separate light switch or dimmer for the recessed lighting, cove accent lights, fireplace accent lights, pendants, under-cabinet lights and the list goes on. “For an area like this, you would typically need eight to ten unlabeled light switches, all of which require wall space and can take away from the aesthetics of the room,” said DeJean. If this sounds cumbersome to you, a Lighting Control System may be just the thing for you.

Simplify & Set the Scene
In order to simplify and declutter, DeJean’s team installed a system where the Leslies have the ability to either turn on whole scenes in a room or control individual fixtures. “It’s so much easier to just turn the whole kitchen on or the whole great room from one location, instead of searching for light switches spread around the room. As you move around to each of the keypads, the functions change based on the room,” said DeJean.

“You can also set up scenes, so if you want to have an evening scene for entertaining, you can program it so everything comes on to a certain level. You might have the island lights a little brighter, dim down the recessed lights, or bring up the accent lights to emphasize the stonework of the fireplace wall a bit more.”

How do I set a scene?
“There are a couple of different ways to set a lighting scene,” explained DeJean. “During the initial installation, we set the original keypad layout and scenes based on our experience of what past clients have enjoyed. We have two different systems. One is for the client who is hands-off and wants us to handle everything. Then there’s one for the homeowner who’s a little more involved. We give those clients the ability to set everything themselves. They’re able to pick what the buttons are, how they’re labeled, and everything they do.”

“Homeowners are also able to control everything from their iPads, iPhones, Androids or dedicated touch panels,” said DeJean. “The touch panels are built into the wall. They have a dedicated purpose, controlling the home automation system. They act much quicker than tablets and phones and they’re always in that consistent spot where you can find them.”

Motion Sensing Light
Arriving home with a Centralized Lighting System is probably a feature you’ve always wanted but never knew existed.”When you walk in the door into a dark entryway, it can sense motion, so the lights in the buttons will illuminate so you can read them. When you come in the door with your arms full of groceries, there’s a “Home” button you can push that will illuminate the mudroom into the foyer, down the hallway and into the kitchen and great room. On the way out the door, Tyrone can simply push the “Away” button and it will shut all of the lights off at one time.”

Managing Media
The Leslie home also has whole-house video and audio. Instead of having equipment in all of the different rooms like a Blu-Ray player, a media streaming piece like AppleTV, cable box or satellite box, it all goes downstairs into a central equipment rack. “Having a central rack allows the different rooms to have access to all of the home’s sources,” said DeJean. “It eliminates clutter and having multiple boxes in each of the rooms. It also helps parents do things like monitoring what their children are viewing. If you’re in the master bedroom and you want to see what the kids are watching in the theater, you can easily do that.”

Theater Room

On the lower level, the Leslies opted for a state-of-the-art theater room with a projector and 120” screen. “We have it set up down here so if it’s game day you can have the same game playing on the projector and the pool room television or you can have two different games playing at the same time,” said DeJean.

“There are multiple interfaces that can be used to control the home’s entertainment systems. You can use your iPhones, iPads or the Universal Remote Controls. The remote control is the interface that anyone could operate, even a guest who has never used the system. If you want to watch TV, all you do is pick the remote control and select TiVo. This turns on the projector and surround system, selects all of the correct inputs and then gives you only the controls you need. No matter what room they go into, the remote controls operate the same and they have access to all of the same sources.”

Setting up your System
If you’re not interested in adding this feature to your entire house, DeJean suggests starting with the primary living spaces of your home including kitchen, living room, and master suite. These are the areas that tend to have the most light switches, so they benefit the most from a simplified Lighting Control System. “With three light switches in the great room, four in the kitchen, two in the dining room, the number of light switches can really add up fast. Managing your lighting on the main floor makes a lot of sense. Then, from there if you wanted to add on things like the family room or other bedrooms, those can always go in later. If the home’s already built, it obviously doesn’t reduce down the number of switches on the wall, but they still can tie into a similar system with the same level of control.”

Alexa Integration
Adding one more feature to simplify everyday tasks, the Leslie home has Alexa Integration. “Their Alexa device has the ability to control an array of functions in the house. We can control the lights, music, heating and cooling,” said DeJean. “It’s as easy as telling Alexa what temperature you want her to change the room to. You can also use this to turn music on and off in different rooms.”

“We’re no longer in the early stages of voice control with devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home to control our homes. This is now a feature that clients are specifically requesting. This gives you the ability to turn on a series of lights with a simple voice command. For example, you could tell Alexa to turn on the “Home” lights and it would turn on main lights in the mudroom, hallway, foyer, kitchen and great room as you walk in the door.”

Astronomical Timers
As DeJean will tell you, a truly smart home is high-functioning on both the interior and exterior. Leslie’s Centralized Lighting System also runs the outside lights on what’s called an Astronomical Timer. “Instead of turning on at 6:00 p.m. every day and turning off at 11:00 p.m., it looks for what time the sun sets and rises for the area,” said DeJean. “So, for Tyrone’s house, we have it set for sunset to turn on the lights on the outside of the house and at 11:00 p.m. it turns off the exterior lights on the front of the house and the exterior on the back of the house if they were on. Then we have it programmed to leave the landscape lights on until sunrise.”

About the Home:
Tyrone Leslie’s home was built by his company, Heritage Homes and completed last April, just in time to be featured on the HBA’s 2017 Spring Parade of Homes. The home’s layout is a customized version of Heritage Homes’ Tuscany plans.

For more information, contact:
Smart Home Technologies
3306 Sheyenne Street. Suite #212, West Fargo

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Where we are at today… A room by room recap of our first two years and favorite renovations

Words by Maria Bosak Photography by M.Schleif Photography, Maria Bosak A cousin of my husband Tate’s recently asked how long we have lived in our house. I started to say,…

Words by Maria Bosak
Photography by M.Schleif Photography, Maria Bosak

A cousin of my husband Tate’s recently asked how long we have lived in our house. I started to say, “we just moved in last summer.” Then I paused and realized we have now been in our “new” home for two-and-a-half years. Where has the time gone? The old adage “time flies” has never been truer than it is right now as I look back over some of my favorite remodeling projects in our home.

The Kitchen
It’s hard not to start with the kitchen, the hub and heart of our home. This room is the most recently completed and the space where we spend most of our time. Just a couple of weeks ago, for the first time in the renovated kitchen, I was able to spend some time with a girlfriend and her daughter baking Christmas cookies. The giant island and double ovens were perfect, even for the messiest of baking endeavors.


The Girl’s Guest Room
The showstopper in this room is always the sliding barn doors covering the closet. While not necessary at all, given that this is a guest room and hardly seen, they were totally worth the added expense. I’m a firm believer that every room needs a focal point, (some eye candy) if you will. That one element that just makes the room come alive and sets it apart. You might say this room has two focal points because it’s hard not to notice the black 4-poster bed when you open the doors, but the stabilizing feature is the doors. I just love welcoming guests to stay in this room, it makes me happy to give them an inspiring and beautiful place to stay.

The Girl’s Bathroom
THAT FLOOR, GOSH … that floor! It was this cement tile flooring that made me re-evaluate my timeline for completing the remodeling on the entire house. What I mean by this is, I quickly realized that in order to get it done right, I was going to exceed the budget in every room (and that was just fine). Now when I say “right” it doesn’t mean that another selection of flooring wouldn’t have worked and done the job. It means that when I open the door to this room I smile, (I smile big) because I spent the extra money on the flooring I wanted and pushed back our deadline in order to save up for the other rooms. That is when you know you got it right. When you smile walking into a room. It just makes you happy. Don’t settle, not even in a bathroom, if the timeline and budget can be adjusted. Do it. Don’t rush, enjoy the process and get it right.

The Laundry Room
“It’s just the laundry room.” I heard that a few times, but once again we decided to make it fun and happy. Let’s be honest, nobody really loves doing laundry. So why not spice it up a bit and make the room one you love walking into. I’ve never had a laundry room that wasn’t just a storage area in the basement, so the thought of having a pretty room to sort, wash and dry was a dream come true.


Tate’s Bathroom
A month doesn’t go by that Tate doesn’t remind me that out of all the rooms in the house that I designed, the one that HE designed, is the one that Country Living Magazine wanted to feature in their June issue this past summer. I pretend to be annoyed by it, but the truth is that I love this room because it is totally Tate, from the reclaimed vanity built by our friends at Grain Designs, to the kitchen sink he picked to place in the vanity – he wanted something he could get his elbows down into. This is complete Tate logic and I love it, but no need to tell him, he already knows.


The Cedar Room
What was once a porch that was enclosed to avoid mosquitos, has become our primary living room. The evidence of a focal point is not hard to find in this room. The black French doors are the showstopper in this room. I almost didn’t order them when I found out that they would take eight weeks to get here, but luckily I did and I couldn’t be happier. We love that this room falls just off the kitchen so when guests want to be close to the action and the food, they don’t have to go far.


The Exterior
There are days I have a hard time remembering what the house once looked like on the outside. The change has been so amazing. In the beginning, we struggled with the decision of whether or not to take down the rock wall and exactly where to place the new windows. It is another reason we are glad we took it slow, we feel like living in the space for a while gave us all the right answers. We still smile when the snow falls and we can sit in the front room and feel like we are outside in it. The new patio has given us a space to entertain and enjoy during all seasons and well, the color blue just makes my Duke-loving husband happy, so then I’m happy.

What’s Next?
We have two rooms left, the butler’s pantry and the main living room, but for right now, we will be pausing our remodeling project so we can focus on what really makes our house a home. Those whom we share it with. Tate and I began our current journey as foster parents about this time last year and we never expected that the hardest work we would do this year would be the work that is happening in our hearts. So, while the pretty, French doors and the jaw-dropping, cement tiles are fantastic, we need to spend time focusing on the real reason we purchased this home.

Oh, don’t worry, we aren’t going anywhere, we have just developed a different pace for our current projects, one that puts snuggles in front of sheetrock.

From our house to yours,
Tate & Maria Bosak

Want to connect with Maria? You can find her at her retail store Eco Chic in Fargo or drop her an email at Maria@ILoveEcoChic.com

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From Midwest to Montana – A reclaimed retreat with Midwest roots

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography, Dakota Timber Company Kelsey Morrison and her husband may reside in the F-M area, but their life-long dream has led them…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography, Dakota Timber Company

Kelsey Morrison and her husband may reside in the F-M area, but their life-long dream has led them to Northwestern Montana. Although we don’t typically show homes from outside of our area, the Morrison’s Montana vacation home happens to be primarily constructed using reclaimed wood from all over Minnesota and North Dakota. Kelsey Morrison’s husband first drew out and designed every inch of the cabin’s layout, with the reclaimed wood details left to her brother and sister-in-law, Seth and Ashley Carlson, owners of Dakota Timber Company. See inside the Morrison’s reclaimed, lakeside retreat with a spectacular mountain view.

The Morrison’s would love to live full-time in Montana, but with their careers here in full-swing, for now, they’re happy to call it their vacation home. Growing up, Kelsey Morrison’s family often spent time in Montana which is when her love for the rugged terrain began. After many trips to the area as a couple, her and her husband found themselves dreaming of someday building a home amidst the untouched landscape and mountain views.

The couple finally saw their dream come alive when Morrison’s husband drew the plans and designed the cabin. After carefully planning out every detail, they eventually broke ground on the lakeside property in late summer of 2016. “We wanted to use as much reclaimed wood as possible throughout the home. So, in addition to the lumber and the wood you can see, we also used a lot of reclaimed wood structurally, wherever we could,” said Kelsey Morrison. Much of the cabin’s siding is done in a reverse, board and batten, which is a common Montana style. All of the wood for the siding as well as the soffit, exterior porches, corbels, window trim, trusses and timbers are sourced from Dakota Timber Company.

“The only materials that are not reclaimed is the metal roof, doors, Cor-ten, cedar shakes and the actual framing of the house,” said Morrison. “Pretty much everything that we could use reclaimed wood on, we did. We purchased it all from Dakota Timber and it was sourced from all over the Midwest. A lot of it came from a farmstead in Minnesota.” Keeping the exterior’s look raw and natural was one of the Morrison’s main goals. Leaving the wood in its natural, reclaimed state allowed the property to blend into its environment.

“I love the exterior siding and I feel like it’s something that should be utilized far more often in this area, especially with so many people in the Fargo area who have lake homes in Minnesota,” said Ashley Carlson. “People tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the interior of their home, then end up doing vinyl siding. What they don’t realize is that reclaimed wood can completely change the way a structure looks and it can actually be affordable.”


Inside, the main level of the cabin is around 1,500 square feet, with the unfinished basement doubling the footage. The main level features one bedroom and one-and-a-half baths, but eventually, the Morrisons plan to complete the basement which would add another bathroom, bunk room and living room.

Emulating the exterior, the interior exudes warmth and character from its reclaimed elements. “One of the favorite elements, for a lot of people when they see our house is the ceiling which was made from reclaimed, Minnesota barn wood,” said Morrison. “We did a full, paneled ceiling in reclaimed wood, using burly, original and unfinished patina.” This style is a light-sanded mix of pine and fir in fixed widths to keep the boards uniform. Two extra-long, solid ceiling beams from a grain elevator in North Dakota were chosen in contrasting tones to extend the length of the home.

The Morrison’s custom dining table was built by Dakota Timber Company and delivered to its new Montana home by Seth and Ashley Carlson themselves. To complement the table’s old-growth charm, Morrison scoured the Eco Chic Junk Market until she found these antique chairs to coordinate.

Fireplace Focal Point
In the main living space, the Morrison’s design centered around a real, wood-burning fireplace with a dry-stacked, stone surround. Wanting the mantle to wrap around the edges of the fireplace, they decided against a solid beam, in exchange for a custom-built, box beam from reclaimed wood.

Black, White & Wood
To obtain a rustic, timeless appeal for their Montana cabin, the Morrison’s chose mainly black fixtures to contrast with other white and wood elements. “Sometimes when you use a lot of different wood tones like we did, it can seem really busy, so I think it was good to keep everything else simple,” said Morrison.

“One of the things that I like about the cabin is that sometimes when you think of reclaimed wood you think super rustic or really farmhouse,” said Ashley Carlson. “I think their cabin is the perfect blend of modern and rustic, so it’s got warmth, but it’s also very clean. I love the choice of those black fixtures. The combination of black, white and wood is so timeless.”

On the main floor, the baseboard, trim work, and wide plank, Douglas fir flooring are all reclaimed wood from Dakota Timber Company. “The flooring being reclaimed is one of the most surprising things to people because they just assume it’s newer, wood flooring,” said Morrison. To get the finished look, Ashley Carlson explained that the wood flooring had been smooth-planed to take off any rough surfaces, then stained to their choice. “Dakota Timber Company manufactures flooring that is ready to install. That means it’s tongue-in-groove and matched so it can be installed just as you would any hardwood flooring,” said Ashley Carlson.

Old-Growth Elegance
The Morrison’s flooring was once from warehouse floor joists that Dakota Timber Company milled into flooring. “The nice thing about this style of flooring is that you get the character,” said Ashley Carlson. “There are nail holes and splits, but it’s graded. We grade out all of the wood that isn’t usable for flooring. So, this is nice and smooth, with some character, while still being a really functional floor.”

“As far as the integrity of reclaimed flooring, it’s already lived its life in a different application,” said Ashley Carlson. “Everyone associates pine and fir as being a soft wood, which can be true when you have a fast-growth pine that’s grown to be milled into lumber. This type of wood is really old-growth and it’s had time to gain that structure and hardness which makes this such high-quality flooring. Also, the finishes that we apply to our reclaimed flooring is what we call, “bomb-proof,” so we’re using products that are really protecting the wood against scratching and denting.”

One of the only rooms in the house that is not centered around reclaimed wood, is the kitchen. This space was designed with custom cabinetry in a traditional, shaker-style, accented by black iron hardware. Quartz countertops, a farmhouse sink, white subway tile and glass pendants help subtly fuse rustic elements with more contemporary amenities.

Using wood windows throughout is not as common as vinyl windows have become, but for the Morrison’s Montana cabin, it’s a look that blended seamlessly with their surroundings. “Our builder, Roger, had to manually stain all of the wood pieces of the windows, so it was a lot more time consuming than installing vinyl, but I think it looks much nicer in this environment,” said Morrison.

In the master bedroom with a stunning view of the Montana landscape, a custom, live-edge bench was built for the foot of the bed.

Designing with Family
With Seth Carlson and Kelsey Morrison being siblings, we wondered what it was like working together on new construction. “We pretty much put our builder in touch with Seth and Ashley right away,” said Morrison. “We didn’t really get in the middle of that and just trusted their ideas. It was definitely a little challenging because we weren’t physically in Montana and our builder wasn’t here, so we just had to make sure that everyone was communicating.”

“I don’t think Roger, our builder, had ever worked with that much reclaimed wood, but he had a really good time working with it. I know he loved how it all turned out. Even though we weren’t able to be there every week to see the progress, it all went really smoothly,” said Morrison. “Our builder was amazing and Seth loved working with him. We spent a lot of time planning it and a lot of time on the design and all of the little details. It was a long process even before they started construction.”

Perfectly Imperfect
“When you look at the inside wood finishes, from the flooring to the ceiling, nothing matches perfectly,” said Morrison. “I had to kind of get over that, and realize that it’s all just wood, it doesn’t need to match. In the end, it all turned out well and came together. The color I chose for the flooring was the one thing that I didn’t like at first, it just seemed too warm compared to the ceiling. But, I ended up really liking it. I just had to get past the idea that everything had to match. By keeping some of the other things really simple it kept it from seeming busy.”

Usually, people who love reclaimed wood, tend to love imperfection almost more than perfection. “I’m working with a client right now and they want every single piece of wood to be the same and I have to remind them that’s it’s reclaimed wood,” said Seth Carlson. “Even if you use new wood, everything is going to vary a little. The thing that you have to accept if you want to use wood in your house, is that it’s a natural product and it’s going to vary. We see people all of the time that are concerned about that in the design process, but once it’s in their house, they think it’s amazing.”


Since January marks Dakota Timber Company’s one-year anniversary in their new, larger location, we asked Seth Carlson to tell us what’s in store for year two here.

Two Wood Trends to Watch For:

Wood Tile
According to Seth Carlson, one new trend that’s coming up fast is wood tiles in varying shapes like hexagons, triangles, octagons and even a herringbone design. He’s already been getting requests for them from people that have seen them online. Shapes like these can be done in more of a mosaic design versus the usual paneling style. “We are also releasing all of our new finishes and styles in January,” said Seth Carlson. “We want to provide a unique selection that no one else has, so we update them every year now.”

Live-Edge Slabs
Live-edge slabs have been popular for some time now, but lately, there’s been a surge of people stopping in to choose their slab and create their own table, bench or artistic masterpiece. “I work with the City of Fargo on this, so when trees are diseased on the boulevard, they have to get taken down. Every summer they’re removing all of these trees and we buy the logs and we saw them into slabs, then kill-grind and plane them so people can use them. We usually have around 100-200 in-stock and they sell out every three weeks. So, the big new thing is “Urban Wood”, straight from the streets of Fargo,” laughed Seth Carlson. “I’m actually in the process of meeting with all of the major cities in North Dakota and setting up more programs like this one, so we can get logs in from every community.”

The New Lumberyard Concept
A visit to Dakota Timber Company is not your typical lumberyard stop. Since marrying into the business, Ashley Carlson has closed down her shop, aendee, to take on a bigger role at Dakota Timber Company. She’s used her business skills to create a shopper-friendly store and fun experience. Choosing the right stain, species and overall look can be an overwhelming task, but Ashley Carlson shows that with a little organization and creative display, this task can be an enjoyable one. A trip to their lumberyard means perusing beams, panels, slabs and an array of finishes, perfectly sectioned out, displayed and named. She also spends much of her time online, helping to promote their latest projects and in-store events, classes and new DIY kits, all via social media.

“We’re trying to make it as easy as we can for people to utilize this material,” said Ashley Carlson. “Just simply by naming our paneling styles and having someone be able to hop on our website and ask questions has been huge. We’ve also done some standardization of finishes and sizing, so it just makes it a little easier for people to understand. This space has been great too, because we have everything under one roof.”

For more information, contact:
Dakota Timber Company
3202 7th Ave N., Fargo, N.D.


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Next-Door Re-Design

Words by Tracy Nicholson and Christy Brawner Photography by Dan Francis Photography The Clara Barton neighborhood is known for the kindness of its neighbors, but when Air Force veteran and…

Words by Tracy Nicholson and Christy Brawner
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

The Clara Barton neighborhood is known for the kindness of its neighbors, but when Air Force veteran and retired special education teacher, Steve Street moved back into his South Fargo home, little did he know he’d soon be relying on the interior design expertise of his next-door neighbor, Christy Brawner. After a kitchen sink flooded and caused thousands of dollars in damage, Street leaned on Brawner and a fellow veteran, Robert Myers of Crestview Construction, to help fix the damage and redesign the home he could happily retire to.

After the water damage, Street brought in Steamatic to clean up the aftermath. Instead of a simple clean-up, he got an unexpected surprise, with the crew finding lead paint in the kitchen and asbestos in the basement. Street talked to his financial planner and decided instead of just fixing the damage, maybe it was time to remodel his outdated home. Brawner of Christy Brawner Interiors and Myers started work on the project just after Labor Day.

About the Homeowner:
Street is an Air Force veteran and retired special education teacher turned mentor. Twenty years ago he had resided in this home, but had moved around to pursue his career, teaching special education at Minot State, Minnesota State University of Moorhead, University of North Dakota and finally retiring from Winona State four years ago. After retirement, he moved back into the home as his primary residence. Street’s sister, Lynn McCullough has recently moved to Fargo and will be living with him. She is a retired graphic designer who once worked for Lyndon B. Johnson’s wife in the White House.

Veterans for Veterans
Brawner and Street interviewed four different contractors prior to this project. Myers had worked for Haugen Masonry prior, then recently decided to start his own contracting business after being deployed overseas for a year. “That was a big factor for us,” said Brawner. “Steve is a veteran and when he was interviewing contractors with me, he liked the idea of supporting another veteran’s dream.”

“When we sit and have dinner, we can see the house and my daughter Cate will say, ‘Rob and his dad are working late tonight, mom’,” laughed Brawner. “They’ve kind of become part of our family as well.”

Neighborly Love
When you’re a neighbor to your design client, it can offer a bigger hint into the client’s lifestyle. “I can actually see in Steve’s kitchen window from my baby’s bedroom, and we see him every morning sitting there reading and having his coffee,” said Brawner. “So we knew that was his spot. At the end of the day, I just think everyone should be able to have a house they love, especially from a quality-of-life standpoint.”

Thrifty Re-Design
After the kitchen flooded, the remodel was an added expense so Brawner did the entire project on a strict budget. “The idea was to keep all of the upper cabinets so that we could save money. We got bids on custom cabinetry from three different contractors and ended up going with Menards, unfinished oak,” said Brawner. “We then painted them all to match, then matched all of the hardware, so if you didn’t know better, you would think they all went together. Steve loved the color green in his room and on the exterior of his house, so that’s kind of how we decided to go with the soft green coloring in the kitchen.”

Brawner and Street also chose an inexpensive box-store, tile flooring that flowed from the kitchen to the entryway and also in the bathroom remodel. Throughout the home, Brawner opted to paint the original wood trim white to brighten up the space. “Robert was very hesitant about letting me paint the original wood trim white, but after seeing it, I think he was a believer,” laughed Brawner.

Crafty Countertops
“For the countertops, we looked at granite and quartz, but from a cost perspective, it just made more sense to go with a laminate,” said Brawner. “What they do with laminate styles now is crazy, most people would never know unless you looked closely that this was not the real thing. We decided to go with this and he loved the warmth of it. I think it really tied the design together. To save money, I got the two boxes of the limestone backsplash from Habitat for Humanity ReStore for ten dollars. When we put it up, we realized we didn’t have quite enough so we got an accent tile for $60. For the knobs, these were ones I had picked out and ended up finding them at Habitat’s ReStore for two dollars each which allowed me to spend a bit more on the others.”

Breakfast Nook on a Budget

“As you can see from the before photos, the kitchen was open, but very tight. It used to have a little table by the window and that is where he spent most of his time,” said Brawner. “He didn’t have a big kitchen and didn’t have a lot of storage. To create a new breakfast nook for him, we used the upper cabinets underneath here, so it added a ton of storage for him. Robert built up a base for us, so he has all of that storage under there. Then we created a counter here and we’re adding a second bar stool. He can sit here and have breakfast, so it becomes kind of a feature in the kitchen.

The adjacent built-in was actually original to the home and Steve initially wanted Robert to take it out, but I convinced him to keep it,” laughed Brawner. These days Street is glad he was persuaded otherwise.

“This is a $250 light that we got at Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $50,” said Brawner. “The light over the breakfast nook was a $400 Wayfair light that I got on closeout for $40. When it came, it was not the right color, so I spray painted the outside and kept the original silver on the inside. It’s a little higher then we would like, but we also didn’t want Steve to bump his head on it.”

“At the end of the day, I just think everyone should be able to have a house they love, especially from a quality-of-life standpoint.”
Christy Brawner, Christy Brawner Interiors

Accessorizing on a Budget
For the rest of the design, Brawner shopped around. “We did some thrift store shopping and added the little accent shelf from Grain Designs. I also went to Junk Market and got some of the fun accessories you see around the kitchen,” said Brawner.


Dishwasher Dreams
For the appliances, it paid to shop around. Brawner went to all of the local stores to find the best pricing on each appliance. “Christy started talking about stainless steel appliances and how much better they would fit and I just asked if I could have a dishwasher. I’d never had one before,” said Street.

Re-Designing Space
Another of the homeowner’s favorite features in the remodel is the removal of a base cabinet and upper cabinet near the kitchen door. This opened up the space and allowed for the door to fully open, instead of hitting cabinets.

“In the entry area, there was one door here, so we opened it up and moved the vent over,” said Brawner. “There was also carpet in the entryway leading into the kitchen area. The water from the flooded area had gone underneath the carpet pad and caused a lot of damage. So, we took the tile to the point where it was damaged and that actually made more sense. Especially since it’s the area where you enter the home. We decided to keep the entry’s wallpaper and just paint it to coordinate with the rest of the remodel. Wallpaper’s definitely coming back in, so it worked out very well.”

“The bathroom was all pink when we started, so we painted it a soft grey with blue undertones,” said Brawner. “It’s a pretty small bathroom, so we took some of the cabinetry out to create more space. The hexagon tile was a closeout tile that I found while out shopping one day. This entire strip cost about $50, and what a difference it makes to create that custom look.”

Vanity and countertop – Lowes
Shelf – Lowes
Accessories – HomeGoods

The Remodel:
Contractor – Robert Myers – Crestview Construction
Interior Design – Christy Brawner Interiors
Backsplash tile – Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Sink – Costco
Upper cabinetry – Menards
Kitchen overhead light – Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Nook light – Wayfair
Wood shelf – Grain Designs
Breakfast nook stool – Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch
Water Restoration – Steamatic Restoration & Cleaning

Phase II: Notes from the Designer, Christy Brawner
“The next phase of the project will be to work on Steve’s family room and the bedrooms. We’re ordering furniture and we’re almost ready to hang the curtains in the family room. Then we’ll move on to the two bedrooms, which he wants just lightened and brightened.”

“His sister has recently moved in with him, so it’s important to have the bedroom projects done soon. They’ve been staying in a hotel during the remodel. We also have to repair one of the bedroom walls which has water damage from the shower on the other side. The final phase will be to demo and reframe the basement. This new space will accommodate an entertainment room, bathroom and additional bedroom. Steve had lived primarily on the main level, but with his sister moving in, it was important to create enough space and privacy for the two of them. We’re also considering turning the basement’s bedroom into a larger master bedroom for him so he would then have an upstairs guest bedroom.”

Christy Brawner Interiors
christy@christybrawnerinteriors .com

Crestview Construction
Robert Myers

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Shabby Chic in Rockinghorse Farm

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Angela Ridl – Foto Art & Design, Dan Francis Photography, headshots by Gabe Haney at Haney’s Photography Homeowners, Kelly, Joe and their daughter Mia…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Angela Ridl – Foto Art & Design, Dan Francis Photography, headshots by Gabe Haney at Haney’s Photography

Homeowners, Kelly, Joe and their daughter Mia accompanied by their four-legged friends Milo (left) and Sophie.

For the Kerbers who both work in the medical field, coming home meant replacing their sterile work environment with a warmer, farmhouse-chic ambiance. Joe Kerber, a chiropractor at Strive Chiropractic and his wife Kelly, an Internal Medicine Physician at Sanford, recently completed their Krueger Construction build in the coveted Rocking Horse Farm development in South Fargo. See how this creative team was able to overrule the reigning trend of white trim and cabinets, in lieu of richer, inviting tones.

Customization & Craftsmanship
At just under 4,900 square feet, this beautiful, Krueger Construction home is fully finished, including the bonus room and lower level. Based on an existing Ana Beth two-story plan, the Kerbers worked closely with the design team at Krueger to customize the space to suit their growing family. “This floor plan, like many of our plans, was a bit of a passion project for me as I initially designed the plan for myself,” said Kimberly Krueger Tehan. “They customized the layout of the lower-level theater space and master bedroom suite, taking space from one of the upstairs guest rooms to create a larger master closet and bath. Kristi (Krueger Roscoe) our design director, worked with the Kerber family in every selection from start to finish. It’s been so fun to see the collaborative effort, both on our end of things as well as with the Kerber family, to make this house a truly custom home,” said Krueger Tehan.

“It was really fun working with the Kerbers and building this house because a lot of their personality came through in it – instead of doing what was on trend or popular at the time. They went with their gut for what they liked and it turned out gorgeous,” said design director, Kristi Krueger Roscoe.

Throughout the main level, the Kerbers chose a rustic, wood laminate flooring on multi-dimensional planks. “What we loved about this project, aside from the awesome family we got to work with, was watching the design selections come together,” said Krueger Tehan.

Main Floor

Vintage Kitchen

Feeling that the white cabinetry trend was a bit too sterile for two medical professionals, the Kerbers opted instead for an antiqued, ivory cabinetry with a shabby chic appeal. “Kelly fell in love with this antiqued ivory, so my stepfather played with some variations and she loved the Poplar version that you see here in the kitchen,” said Joe Kerber. It’s not every day that the homeowner will ask to bring in their own subcontractor, but in this case, Krueger Construction was happy to work with Joe Kerber’s stepfather, J.L. Rosewood for the custom cabinetry throughout the home.

Adding a pop of color, the Kerbers chose a colored subway tile to pair with Kelly Kerber’s favorite tone, a more vintage version of Robin’s egg blue. “We’re seeing a lot of fun takes on subway tile, especially tile with more dimension and movement in it,” said Krueger Roscoe. “They also opted for an extra-large and deep, 10-foot quartz island with farmhouse sink, giving them plenty of usable space.” To complete the kitchen’s warmer, vintage appeal, the Kerbers chose Pottery Barn glass pendants and Restoration Hardware linen chairs.


Modernized, Traditional Elements
“The adjacent built-ins were in our original plan that Kim came up with and we collectively decided to have it open and give it more of a pass-through feel which is reminiscent of a traditional dining room,” said Krueger Roscoe.

Warm vs. White
“I think sometimes doing all white can seem too sterile and cold, so I liked having that warm feeling to come home to. Also, with kids, I think a painted white can be harder to keep clean, so those are the two reasons we went with the darker stain,” said Kelly Kerber. “I’m glad we chose the antiqued white for the cabinets though, it’s still a lighter tone, so it brightens up the space.”

“We’ve seen so many versions of white, gray, greige and general cool tones over the past few years, so it was really fun to help them find more of a warm color palette with their darker wood trim package, creamy kitchen cabinet colors and warm touches in their paint, flooring, reclaimed wood accents and stone throughout their home,” said Krueger Tehan. “The pop of the cooler blue pairs beautifully with how they’ve decorated their spaces.”

Vintage Inspired
For homeowner Kelly Kerber, a love of vintage, farmhouse and antiqued furniture helped inspire the home’s finished design. “I think I’d call our style more of a shabby chic. I like things that look older, but I don’t have a lot of actual antiques. When I thought about what style we wanted, I really wanted to come home and feel cozy and comfortable,” said Kelly Kerber.

The Kerbers love to entertain, so having ample seating in the dining room was a must. Their Restoration Hardware nine-foot table expands with two additional sleeves, giving them another three feet for larger family functions. To create their signature, farmhouse decor, the Kerbers found a cut, wine barrel centerpiece and double hutch in antique ivory from Pottery Barn.

With an open concept flow from the kitchen, the family room became a major focal point with its stunning, stone fireplace and Grain Designs mantle and floating shelves. Antiqued ivory built-ins bring a more traditional warmth with modern elements like the darker toned ceiling, adding interest and depth.

The Kerbers worked with Krueger to bring character to every space of the home, including the main floor’s powder bath with reclaimed wood planks from Grain Designs.

Just off of the entry, through rustic barn doors, the Kerbers office features a Restoration Hardware bookshelf, ladder and lower filing space to serve as the focal point of their office space.

Find the Finishes:
Foyer and dining room lights – Restoration Hardware
Foyer bench – Grain Designs
Cabinetry – R.L. Rosewood
Family room sofa – Crate & Barrel



For the Kerbers, a bonus room meant being able to provide the perfect, shabby chic hang-out for their daughter Mia.


To create this stunning master suite, the Kerbers worked with Jimmy Tehan and Kristi Krueger Roscoe to alter the original layout. By simply taking space from an extra guest room, they were able to create a much larger closet and spacious master bath with added character from reclaimed wood.

Find the Finishes:
Cabinetry: J.L. Rosewood
Reclaimed wood backsplash – Dakota Timber Co.


Lower Level

A Space for Gathering
Creating the perfect gathering space, project manager, Jimmy Tehan, helped design a new layout for the lower level to accommodate the theater, wine/coffee bar, fireplace nook and guest suite.

The wine and coffee bar is accented with a farmhouse pendant, highlighting the reclaimed, wood backsplash with wood from Dakota Timber Co. Quartz countertops and a darker-stained cabinetry bring this lower level space warmth and character.

Elevating the warmth of the lower level, the Kerbers chose a craftsman style fireplace with lower built-ins and reclaimed wood hanging shelves and mantle by Grain Designs.

Find the Finishes:
Reclaimed wood, bar backsplash – Dakota Timber Co.
Cabinetry – J.L. Rosewood
Floating shelves and fireplace mantle – Grain Designs

Simplifying the Build
Throughout the building process, the Kerbers kept plenty busy raising their young daughter, both working full-time while Kelly Kerber was finishing her residency. “We’d always heard that building a house can be really stressful on a marriage, and we didn’t find that at all,” said Kelly Kerber. “They made the meetings so simple and let us chose things and there was not a lot of pressure with it. Along the way, they knew what the budget was and they were so open and honest. Everything was really transparent and I think that made the process much easier. I’m a pretty Type A person, so I would write emails and they’d have answers right away. That was so beneficial for our relationship with our personalities. I would build with them again in a heartbeat.”

From left; Kristi Krueger Roscoe, Kim Krueger Tehan and Jimmy Tehan of Krueger Construction

Krueger Family Values
When it comes to building homes, Krueger Construction likes to keep their talents in the family. Established by Greg and Bonnie Krueger, they have been family-owned and operated since 1984, with their children Kim Krueger Tehan, Kristi Krueger Roscoe, and Corey Krueger, now carrying on the tradition.

For more information, contact:
Krueger Construction, Inc. & Castle Realty
Kimberly Krueger Tehan
1133-A Harwood Drive, Fargo, N.D.

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Monochromatic Makeover

Words by Trever Hill Photography by J. Alan Paul Photography Every great design project starts with a great consultation. After meeting with Sarah and Sean Fredricks and seeing their home,…

Words by Trever Hill
Photography by J. Alan Paul Photography

Every great design project starts with a great consultation. After meeting with Sarah and Sean Fredricks and seeing their home, I knew this project was going to be fun and create a dramatic transformation. They loved their Charleswood home, but just desired a few updates to the overall finishes. After pulling together the finish choices and proposing them to the Fredricks, the tone was set. We would focus on a monochromatic space vying to keep each room’s color and textures, warm and homey.

In the kitchen, I worked with the Fredricks to choose all new finishes including cabinet paint, stain, hardware and lighting. Since the existing flooring was just replaced a few years back from Carpet World, there was no need to replace it. I selected tile from Floor to Ceiling and devised this layered, tile backsplash design.


To help the Fredricks visualize the finished look of each room, Rebecca Knutson at Floor to Ceiling aided the process by offering renderings to show how each of the finishes would come together.

Find the Finishes:
Countertops – Calcutta Quartz, Northern Stone
Cabinet paint and island stain – Weyer-for-Hire
Hardware – Floor to Ceiling Carpet One
Flooring – Carpet World
Pendant lighting – Four Hands, McNeal & Friends
Barstools – McNeal & Friends

We reconfigured the dining room with all new, custom furnishings for a fresh look. Regarding the sliding doors and spacial flow, I felt a round table would work better and provide a more comfortable flow. I found this gorgeous table and coordinating chairs while at the Las Vegas Market. We changed the blinds on the main level as well to keep it consistent throughout the space. To brighten up and modernize the space, I had the built-ins painted white and the walls painted a warm grey tone.

Find the Finishes:
Dining table – Gabby, (Las Vegas Market) McNeal & Friends
Chairs – Jeffan, (Las Vegas Market) McNeal & Friends
Area rug – McNeal & Friends
Painted tumbleweed – found in Western North Dakota
Blinds – Budget Blinds

In the living room, we updated their fireplace by building the entire wall out and refacing the tile. I also opted to extend the tile from floor to ceiling to create a beautiful focal point and illusion of height. I love that the ceramic tile looks like brick on the fireplace. All of the furnishings in this space were custom ordered through an array of local stores like SCHEELS Home & Hardware, Eco Chic, HOM Furniture, The Furniture Mart and McNeal & Friends.

Find the Finishes:
Sectional – Custom ordered from The Furniture Mart
Accent chair – Rachel Ray, HOM furniture
Accent pillows – McNeal & Friends
Area rug – McNeal & Friends
Sofa table – The Furniture Mart
Fireplace tile – Floor to Ceiling Carpet One
Built-ins and floating shelves – painted/stained by Weyer-for-Hire
Ottoman – SCHEELS Home & Hardware
Fiddle leaf tree – Eco Chic

The Fredricks wanted their master bath to emulate a spa. To make this happen, yet continue the overall look and feel of the home, we went with neutrals and again a clean, monochromatic look. For a dramatic effect, we extended the vanity backsplash to the ceiling and swapped out the original vanity lights for ceiling pendants. Finishing touches like the unique, suede-finished quartz countertop and gorgeous drop pendants completed their spa-like retreat.

Find the Finishes:
Tile – Floor to Ceiling Carpet One
Countertop – Suede-finished Quartz – Floor to Ceiling Carpet One
Pendants – McNeal & Friends
Art and accessories – McNeal & Friends
Cabinet and wall paint – Weyer-for-Hire
Mirrors – Target

Since the entryway opens to the stairwell and it’s the first thing guests see upon arrival, updating this space was important to the overall design. We worked with Weyer-for-Hire to re-finish the wood railing, giving the space a sleek and contemporary vibe. We almost painted the hand-railing white until Shannon Simon, the designer from Floor to Ceiling, suggested we go with a dark stain to better coordinate with the island and floating shelves. I’m so glad we went with her advice and did the darker stain. It really complimented the space well. The final piece was updating the stairwell’s chandelier. It’s a definite focal point, so we swapped this out for a beautiful, three-pendant fixture that clusters downward, creating an almost waterfall effect.

Find the Finishes:
Large art – The Furniture Mart
Branches – SCHEELS Home & Hardware
Chandelier – Four Hands, McNeal & Friends
Stairwell light – Four Hands, McNeal & Friends
Stained railing – Weyer for Hire

Insight from the Homeowner:
“Working with Trever was so easy from our perspective. He took some time to get to know us early in the process and incorporated our tastes into his overall vision for our house,” said homeowner Sarah Fredricks. “From there, he kept us engaged in decision-making, but otherwise we trusted Trever’s vision and he took care of the rest. The final results are incredible. Trever created beautiful spaces for us that basically define our tastes in ways we could have never envisioned on our own, and certainly could not have created on our own. Our house feels almost elegant, but with a charm that feels like home. That sort of defines Trever’s talent.”

For more information, contact:
Trever Hill Design

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Cheers to a Happier and More Organized 2018!

Words by Ursula Hegvik Photography by Dan Francis Photography, Amanda Schenfisch, Smart Spaces Ahhhhhh, a new year! A time of fresh beginnings, positivity and resolutions. I am a big believer…

Words by Ursula Hegvik
Photography by Dan Francis Photography, Amanda Schenfisch, Smart Spaces

Ahhhhhh, a new year!
A time of fresh beginnings, positivity and resolutions. I am a big believer in setting goals, writing them down or better yet, printing them out and putting them on my bathroom wall, so I’m reminded every day of how I want to improve myself and my life.

For the last couple of years, getting organized is on that list of goals and I’m not sure it will ever come off. And I’ll be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with getting organized. I abhor the process. I have a dear friend and personal organizer who comes over and we tackle projects that literally make me groan. For example, we recently cleaned out the closet under the stairs, where I keep Christmas decorations and apparently … extra tile from 30 years ago that is no longer in the house, extra pieces of carpet that have also been long gone and various other things I didn’t know I owned. So, we brought everything out of the dark and laid it all out. There were so many things that it hurt my brain. I groaned, I moaned and I complained. “I can’t do this!,” I wailed. “Get to work,” Denise said. So, I did. Sometimes we all need to be bossed around, right?

During any clean-out, many of the items can go in the trash. Anyone need a bunch of old tile? Don’t call me, cause it’s finally gone, ha! There is also always a donation pile. The “keep” stuff goes in different piles – with one pile for things that will go back into that closet, in an organized fashion, of course. And different piles for anything that needs to move to different places of the home.

Disaster Zone Rules
The rule is, if I’m going to keep it, I have to actually put these things away in their new spot. Sometimes I can’t find the right spot and decide I don’t need that item after all, so in the trash or donation pile it goes. And let me tell you, getting all of that junk out of the house, feels amazing. So, that’s what I love about getting organized. That feeling, the euphoria. The nirvana of a more organized space. There are few things in life better than getting all that junk out of the house. So that’s what I love about getting organized. That feeling, the euphoria, the nirvana of a more organized space. I love knowing that next time I need to visit that previous disaster zone, I’ll be able to find exactly what I’m looking for in 30 seconds. These feelings make all the trauma worth it. It’s such a fantastic sense of accomplishment. It’s the equivalent of “runner’s high” for the organizational part of my brain.

So this is what I’ve been talking about, people! THAT feeling. Getting organized has the ability to transform all aspects of your life and maybe even jump start your goals. And guess what? The whole process I mentioned earlier took under an hour. It always seems like it’s going take all day, but it doesn’t, I promise. I encourage you to try it with one small area; your kid’s closet, the laundry room or maybe just start with your kitchen junk drawer. And please, don’t spend all day on a big project, go have some fun too!

Get Started
There are many things you can do to declutter and organize your home. Here are just a few that may help you to get started:
1. Make a very specific list of areas that need attention.
2. Tackle small projects one at a time so it’s not so overwhelming.
3. Commit to one or two small projects each weekend and put it on your calendar so you’ve carved out time and have to do it.
4. Invite a friend over or hire a personal organizer to boss you around.
5. Be brutal with throwing things away and/or donating.
6. If you think you want to keep something, but it’s a “maybe,” that’s ok. Put the maybe items in a box and deliver that box to a super inconvenient place in the house or your freezing garage. If you don’t go searching for something in that box after a few months, it’ll be easier to part with at a later date.

Transforming Spaces Transforms your Life
There is one area that I actually do love and am passionate about, and that’s transforming closets and other areas of the home. When you start and end your day with organized spaces, you will be more at peace, tapped into that organizational higher level of zen. So, I’d like to share some examples of transformations that might inspire your own organizational goals.

1) The Small Reach-In Closet
In my business, we hear it all the time, “There’s probably nothing you can do for this closet because it’s so small.” Au contraire. I advocate on behalf of small closets everywhere, because in small closets, every inch counts.

The first set of “before” and “after” photos is a rather dramatic example of a system that actually fell off of the wall, and you’d be surprised how many calls we get about that. In the “after” photo, you can see how there is now a place for everything, with more than twice the amount of both hanging and shelf space. This small closet is now a proud one.

In the second set, you can see how the “before” closet was so dysfunctional. Hanging above totes and shelves makes things hard to see, the clothes are packed in too tightly, and there’s a serious lack of shelf space. It functions better, things are easier to see, and it’s also easier to keep everything organized.

2) The Inefficient Mudroom
Ugh, talk about a feeling…if your mudroom or entryway is a disaster every day, how does it feel trying to get out the door? It’s already hectic and you’re likely yelling at your kids to hurry up (or is that just me?!), you can’t find a shoe that’s buried under eight other ones, a glove is missing its partner and both of your kid’s hats are awol. If you open the door after a long day and see shoes everywhere, coats slung wherever they landed and backpacks half open in your path, it’s time to stop the madness. Everything needs a place.

Pics – Before: Stolfus A.JPG After: Stolfus B.jpg
The most important thing most mudroom/entry areas need is shoe shelves. Everyone in the family has shoes and boots, and they just cannot be all over the floor. That’ll drive anyone crazy. Of course, hanging space is important, and hooks for backpacks and kid’s coats. It’s also nice to have baskets for hats, gloves and socks. My favorite tip for this area of the home is to keep socks near the shoes. If I didn’t have that in my house, I would have to remind my kids every single day to run back upstairs to their rooms and grab socks. Why not keep them by the shoes? That makes life so much easier, and there’s less yelling. Win-win.

All I have to say about this example is that the “before” picture gives me hives and the “after” pic makes me feel at peace! I think it speaks for itself.

3) The Disaster Pantry
Have you ever bought a spice, only to come home and discover you already have three of the exact same spice, all open and half gone? Or sifted through your canned food, in search of donation items for some event, and wonder why on earth you have seven cans of refried beans? Can your kids go in and easily find their school snacks? Do you have nine boxes of granola bars, but really there is only one bar in each box? If so, we can relate, and you can have peace knowing that there is a solution.

Pics – Before: Haugo A.JPG, After: Haugo D.JPG, Haugo B.JPG
This is an example of a small pantry underneath stairs. The shelves aren’t tall enough for cereal boxes, the back wall is not optimized, and there just isn’t enough storage space for everything this pantry needs to hold. The “after” photo shows the importance and convenience of adjustable shelving in pantries so that you can have taller spaces for things like cereal and shorter shelving for things like canned goods. This client was able to fit a lot more in the space, have it look much nicer and certainly provide that sense of calm rather than the former chaos.

Happy organizing, everyone! Wishing you joy and peace this year!

For more information, contact:
Smart Spaces
Ursula Hegvik
5226 51st Ave S. Fargo, N.D.

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The Cotton Lake Project – From seasonal retreat to year-round residence

Once Moorhead residents, Mariah and Jamey Jessen loved spending their summer weekends at their Cotton Lake cabin with their three children. With plans to transform their seasonal lake retreat into…

Once Moorhead residents, Mariah and Jamey Jessen loved spending their summer weekends at their Cotton Lake cabin with their three children. With plans to transform their seasonal lake retreat into a year-round lake home, they listed their Moorhead house assuming they’d have time to spare for the renovations. When the home sold immediately, they contacted architect Jan Mevold of Mevold Studio to complete the renovation of their 1940s cabin. With no less than two additions having already been done on the lake cabin, this was an architectural endeavor with jaw-dropping results.

Architectural Endeavors
Having designed a cabin for one of the Jessen’s friends, Mevold Studio came highly recommended. “I usually design about two to four cabins a year. Much of my time is spent on renovations and additions. I really enjoy doing cabins because people are open to doing something a little different,” said Mevold. “I usually meet with a client and walk through their cabin, then give my suggestions on possible issues we might have. It’s always a lot more work than what they think it will be. A lot of them will call back after a year or so later and say they are ready to start.”

With two prior additions to this seasonal lake home, Mevold had to take into account all issues with the previous copy-and-paste building approach. The original cabin was built in 1940, so Mevold had a fair share of structural issues to be aware of during the renovation. The Jessen’s had originally intended to gut the home, but foundation issues prevailed. “They needed to make sure it functioned for all four seasons and meet all of their family’s needs. It was a really long cabin, so we talked about different options to do a renovation,” explained Mevold. “The best option was actually to remove the entire middle portion of the cabin. They have a large, corner lot, but it’s like all lake cabins, that in the remodel, they could not build any closer to the lake and had to stay within the same footprint but were able to push the construction toward the back a bit.”

“We would meet every Sunday night,” explained Mevold. “It was kind of fun just to see the excitement of the house coming together. Renovating additions is always the toughest, you just don’t’ know what kind of structural challenges you might run into. There were a few of these issues as expected, but we were able to resolve them pretty smoothly.”

Family of Five vs. 660 Square-Feet
According to Mevold, homeowners are typically advised to find alternate living arrangements during a renovation of this scale, but this was a unique scenario. The Jessens were general contracting their own renovation and since just the middle portion was being removed, they were able to live in the right side addition which was around 660 square feet. For the Jessen’s family of five, two dogs and two cats, this meant utilizing a small kitchenette and finding an outside source for laundry. “We had our three kids sharing one bedroom and my oldest was in 5th grade at the time,” explained Mariah Jessen. “My daughter’s dresser was in the kitchen area and we used the top of it as the pantry. Our pipes would freeze a lot, so that was really challenging. There was definitely a few tears shed, but it turned out great. Building is hard, and I hate to say that because it’s also a privilege, but I think this is one part that we can’t help but look back and laugh at.”


Mastering the Main Floor
“The more I got to know the Jessens, I realized they loved to mix and match finishes and textures,” said Mevold. Throughout the home, both Mevold and the Jessens worked with Phil Seabloom, the project’s contractor and carpenter to give each space a unique finish.

On the main floor, the Jessens chose a heated, polished concrete flooring paired with a stunning, reclaimed wood accent wall extending up the custom designed, floating staircase. Underneath the stairwell, their contractor built a special door and place for their pets to reside in style.

“The kitchen island has some really unique curves,” said Mevold. The Jessens wanted something unique so they worked with Wendy Dynes at Wood Specialists to come up with a stunning, grand piano shape. The remaining space features underlit, wall-hung cabinetry in a rich espresso stain, custom hood range and nine-foot, drop ceilings over the dining room and kitchen area.

“Large islands are becoming a new normal. The challenge is to create an island that is functional, yet friendly. The shape of this island accomplished both, by setting up multiple areas to prepare and serve foods while still inviting guests to socialize.”
Wendy Dynes, CKD, NCIDQ, Wood Specialists

Hidden Features
“We went to Smart Spaces when it came time to design the kitchen pantry and the master closet,” said Mariah Jessen. “They were great at listening to specific challenges and preferences. In the final products, we have great function such as a place for the coffee maker in the pantry, and pull-out racks for pants and belts in the closet. They also added fun details by including handles and pulls with bling on the ‘her’ side of the closet.”

“One thing they really wanted in here was a skylight for more natural light,” said Mevold. To give this space a unique flooring finish, the Jessens reached out to Maria Bosak of Eco Chic Boutique who was able to help them find the vintage-style, black and white tile which emulates the look of a printed rug, minus the maintenance.

The Jessens are avid runners, so a functional and spacious laundry room was a must.
“In working with Wendy Dynes at Wood Specialists, we were able to come up with some customized touches that made our laundry room aesthetically appealing, but also very functional,” said Mariah Jessen. “For example, when discussing how we wished there was something we could do to get all of the drying racks for our running clothes out of the middle of the room, she grabbed one of their builders and together we came up with a way to include built-in racks that fold into the wall when not being used.”


Walking from the new middle addition of the home, Mevold created a hallway that now connects it to the original addition. This smaller addition has since been renovated to accommodate a sunroom.

Just past the sunroom, that same hallway leads to the 800 square feet that the entire family once lived in during construction. This space has now been converted into a master suite with a spacious bath and this stunning view.

Second-Level Loft

Lofty Challenges
The Jessens weren’t keen on the idea of having the open, vaulted ceiling due to concerns with noise levels. Instead of designing confining walls, Mevold was able to come to a more aesthetically pleasing solution. The second level of the home consisted of a loft area featuring a fitness room and bedrooms, so Mevold incorporated windows where the loft leads to the rooms. This kept the noise down and resulted in a fitness room with an unobstructed view of the lake.


“We are so grateful for Jan’s ability to create a home that measures up to the vision we had in our heads,” said Mariah Jessen. “This was no easy task because from the very first conception to the final product, our vision evolved. Between Jan, Phil, and all of the other individuals who were willing to share their ideas and provide solutions to various challenges, we now have the privilege of living in what we hope to be our ‘forever home’.”

Third-Floor Loft

Bonus Room with a View
One of Mevold’s challenges was to find an interior space where the Jessen’s three children could run wild and have fun. Like most lake homes, this one did not have a basement, so instead Mevold looked upward to find the solution. “The attic was a pretty big space on the third level where the kids could go watch movies and play games and music, but it’s much better than a basement – they actually have a great view to the lake,” said Mevold.

Find the Finishes:
Renovation architect – Mevold Studio
Custom floating stair and railing fabrication – Phil Seabloom
Reclaimed wood accent wall- Phil Seabloom, Wood supplied by Dakota Timber Co.
Kitchen, laundry, main floor, second-floor bath cabinetry – Wendy Dynes, CKD, NCIDQ of Wood Specialists
Built-ins, linens and master bathroom cabinetry – Phil Seabloom
Laundry tile – Maria Bosak, Eco Chic Boutique
Custom paint designs in the kid’s rooms – Homeowners
Countertops – Granites Unlimited
Bonus room flooring – Carpet World
Masonry – Tim Erb Masonry
Lighting – Borderstates Electric
Appliances – Sears
Custom-built entrance door – Great River Door Company
Polished concrete floor – Zeis Concrete Solutions
Custom, master closet and pantry design – Smart Spaces

For more information, contact:
Mevold Studio
Jan Mevold
808 3rd Ave. S. Suite 400, Fargo, N.D.

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