[Samson Construction + Skapa Design]
Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography with additional exterior photos provided by Samson Construction, Inc
Just South of Fargo, Samson Construction completed a stunning Urban Farmhouse that begs to be explored. Relax in the speakeasy-inspired sunroom, warm up by the wood-burning fireplace under 16-foot, beam-adorned ceilings, or hang out in the clouds on their rooftop patio with salt water spa. To add in the finishing touches, the homeowners recruited Skapa Design to find the perfect art, accents and furnishings to complement the thoughtful architecture and craftsmanship.
Finding Inspiration & Proposing a Plan
As a custom home builder who constructs two to three homes a year, Samson Construction thrives on projects like these. The more innate and complicated, the better; this build was no exception.
"We're completely custom, so we have never built the same house twice," said Chad Samson. "This build, being very detailed, took around 11 months. They came to me a few years ago, knowing they were going to build and this was the third plan we drafted - each one with a completely different design."
"We designed the floor plan with them, then they brought in inspiration photos of what they liked for the exterior details, rooflines and other details. It took us probably four months to design the home and get homeowner approval, then have Joel Harms at Simonson Lumber draft it," said Samson. "Also, about a month in, Dan Elton, an architect who's a friend of the homeowners, come to a few meetings and tweaked some of the rooflines, then provided color renderings of the home. This home is completely unique in every room; it's definitely their own style and their own vision, we just helped them create it."
This summer, after the home was completed, Sara Bekkerus of Skapa Design was recruited to help add the furnishings and finishing touches. "There was just a lot of space and we were overwhelmed trying to do it all ourselves," said the homeowner. "We had some things done, like the table with Seth Carlson at Dakota Timber Company, and a few other pieces like the sofas and a couple of the chairs, but it just got to the point where I didn't have time to finish it. My husband knew Sara as a local designer, so she started working with us shortly after that."
With 16-foot ceilings and reclaimed wood beams, the home's architectural features and craftsmanship take center stage. Live-edge, Limestone built-ins flank the wood-burning fireplace with gas starter and a reclaimed, burley wood mantel from Dakota Timber Company. The massive ceiling beams demanded two lifts and additional manpower, with the Samson team spending around three weeks on their installation. Throughout the main level, Hickory wood, plank flooring from Carpet World lends a more traditional tone, while the black painted windows add a more contemporary element to contrast the custom trim work by Samson.
To complete the room, Bekkerus worked with some of the existing pieces like the rug and sofas from Hom Furniture, then accented those pieces with side chairs by Crate & Barrel and end tables and console tables by Restoration Hardware. Nearly all of the home's artwork was sourced and framed through Underbrush Gallery, including the Charissa Rubey, commissioned piece above the mantel.
Deciphering the Design
“When I first came on board, it was explained as having more of a rustic feel," said Bekkerus. "When I saw it, I didn't feel it was so much rustic as I did modern and industrial with all of the different metals and steel throughout. You can see that in the I-beams, stone and brick, then with the iron on the table legs. They have a minimalist style, so we really kept things simple and not too cluttered with accessories. In rooms as beautiful as this, you really don't need a lot of distractions to draw away from the home's architecture."
"It was nice to have Sara come in because she just knew what we didn't know ourselves. It's really what we wanted, but I think we had this farmhouse style in the back of our mind, so I kept buying these barn art pieces," laughed the homeowner. "Sara came in and led us in the right direction."
Near the main entrance, Bekkerus worked with the homeowners to help them take a photo they'd found online of the Globe Elevator in Duluth, Minn., and make it their focal point, and an ode to the reclaimed wood throughout the home. They were able to gain the copyrights to the photo through the Duluth Library, then Knight Printing blew the image up to size. To complete the foyer design, Bekkerus had the piece framed and custom matted at Underbrush Gallery, then added a credenza from Restoration Hardware and rug from West Elm.
The home features an open-concept dining space with sleek-edge Limestone built-ins, Cambria countertop, and inset, reclaimed wood planks with I-beam detailing. The ten-foot dining table was built with a salvaged, live-edge slab from F-M boulevard trees, sourced from Dakota Timber Company, with glue work by Kemmco and base/legs from Davis Designs.
At the Heart of the Home
With 11 reclaimed wood beams, the kitchen's impactful design grabs attention from floor to ceiling. The homeowners worked closely with Wendy Dynes of Wood Specialists to design their alabaster white cabinetry and unique grey island with Cambria countertops. Drop pendant lighting from Valley Lights and a tile backsplash from Carpet World complete the look.
“Large kitchens present a unique set of challenges. There is a need for economy of movement and workflow for a single cook, yet space for multiple cooks to work together without being in each other’s way. The layout of this kitchen is all about flexibility. The kitchen is divided into multiple working areas. By placing cold storage on each side of the kitchen and dividing the cooking appliances into separate areas, there are really several ‘kitchens’ within this kitchen. Wide expanses of countertops and multiple sinks allow many people to contribute to the food preparation, while the T-shaped island makes for a gathering place to visit for guests and cooks alike."
Just off of the great room and dining room, the homeowners have created a more informal space which is used as the TV den with an enclosed wine storage area and entrances to his and her offices. Bekkerus chose both console tables from Room & Board, with an area rug by West Elm and commissioned artwork by Emily Williams-Wheeler. The corrugated metal wall leads to the smaller of the two offices with beautiful, white built-ins, sconce lighting and a reclaimed wood ceiling.
The built-in wine storage was an add-on to the original plan, so Samson trimmed it out and supplied the glass and lighting. The shelving was a piece ordered by the homeowner from Finnu Designs with custom steel rods and live edge wood shelving.
The master bedroom features a tumbled brick accent wall with smaller, three and four-inch, reclaimed wood ceiling planks. Samson designed a reclaimed wood barn door with a mirrored back facing the bath side and multi-toned, custom lintel molding at the top frame of the doors.
Capturing the View
Designed to embrace natural light, Samson and the homeowners created a timeless sunroom with black-painted windows and tumbled, antique-look brick to resemble an old speakeasy. "This room is one of my favorites. These beams are from the Globe Elevator and it took four guys to get one of these up; they're roughly 300 pounds each," said Samson.
For the room's decor, Bekkerus worked with the existing chairs and leather sofas, taking a cue from their more contemporary style. She added tables from Crate & Barrel and a rug and credenza from Restoration Hardware. "I loved how the sunroom came together with the fun Elvis print," said Bekkerus. "I think this room called for something edgier and unexpected, without it being overwhelming. It was kind of a feat to have that piece done and the process that Underbrush Gallery had to go through because of the different copyright issues."
With multiple roof lines and a steep, 12/12 roof pitch, this house was a challenge, even for a seasoned builder. "When you design houses with a lot of angles and rooflines, you always have to go in and correct them," said Samson. "They look nice on paper, but they don't always function and drain properly; it was quite a process getting this design to work."
Adding ample curb appeal, Samson included cedar timber, tongue and groove and soffits with metal fabrication by AllFab. Landscaping was completed by A&L Landscaping and Samson opted for LP Smart Siding in a contemporary farmhouse design.
Upper Deck Design
Above the enclosed sunroom, a stainless steel and wood tread staircase lead to an IPE flat-roof deck with a salt-water hot tub and an additional rooftop sunroom and half-bath.
For those that would rather keep their feet on the ground, the home features a beautifully-designed, covered patio with large block base and an outdoor fireplace. The fireplace is both wood-burning and gas and features a pizza oven for entertaining on all levels.
Find the Finishes:
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