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Design Wisdom: Creating a space for fellowship with family & friends

Words by Ami Baxter Photos by Dan Francis Photography Let us invite you inside The Kreps Residence…a home designed to create a variety of well-balanced spaces for fellowship with family…

Words by Ami Baxter

Photos by Dan Francis Photography

Let us invite you inside The Kreps Residence…a home designed to create a variety of well-balanced spaces for fellowship with family and friends. One of our favorite dictionary definitions of fellowship is “…the cement of community.” When we began working with Keith and Erin on their home, it was with the greatest of intention we design spaces that allowed for an ease of circulation and comfort to spur communication. The Kreps wanted their home to be a space to cultivate time with their family and friends.

We began this project (and each of the four phases within) balancing our textures along with keeping a constant evaluation of how the color palette and space is impacted.

Balancing Textures 
It is truly as simple as being mindful of each finish, added into the color palette. I.e. a cool stone mixed with a warm sanded wood or a cool grey wood layered with a delicate pastel embossed wallcovering.

Layering Finishes:
The lower level poker room was created with this piece of wisdom in mind. We created a rich coffered ceiling with contrasting shiplap and draped the walls in an embossed wallcovering. We also played into past trends with barn-door style hardware and reed glass doors for added detail.

Complimentary Colors: Design principals 101
Never leave home without your color wheel! Utilizing more stone, allowed us the opportunity to also include more warmth throughout the spaces with wood. Commissioned artwork by Liz Wahlberg and Rando, applied this principle with their palettes of blue, green and copper colors and texture to compliment the warmth in the spaces.

 

Throughout the Kreps home there is a variety of spaces designed for family and friends. The idea of fellowship within the spaces we design has and will always be one of our guiding principles. We have found a great deal of wisdom from our peer architects, clients and past projects on building beautiful spaces with areas to rest and reflect, as well as build community and camaraderie.

From our client

“People often think that if you have design help, it’s going to turn into the designer’s house and not your own. That’s one thing that’s completely inaccurate. Ami takes the time to search out the finishes that will work for our style of home, as well as décor that suits our level of accessorizing. I didn’t want to rush things and because of that, she was able to take her time and find the right pieces that we needed. Shopping for the décor can be overwhelming if you’re trying to do it yourself. Ami also narrows the choices down. For example, once she knew our style, the finishes and palette choices were made much easier and less stressful.” Erin Kreps, Homeowner.

 

ami baxter interior design

Details
Details are the personality added to the project or space. We have often times referred to the accessories of a space similar to the accessories in the world of fashion. Are there wrong or rights? Are details only accessories?

Let us elaborate!
Style, aesthetic and function are all part of the project’s equation.

I.e. Modern Style = Clean Design = Precise & Functional

I.e. Fusion Style = Blended Design = Balance & Meaningful

Let us pass along our wisdom regarding details…
Each project, phase or element of design begins with the base design; the elements of incorporating the basic needs of the project. Once the base design is finished, details are often times based on the project budget, client’s style and designer’s eye. After-all, the designer’s eye is the lens that recognizes potential beyond the existing.

Credits:
Interior design, interior architecture, space planning, cabinetry design, custom furnishings, fabrics and wallcoverings – Ami Baxter Interior Design
Contractor – Signature Improvements
Cabinetry Fabrication – Poss Cabinetry
Artwork – Bob Crowe, Liz Wahlberg, Rando and Ami Baxter Interior Design
Window Treatments: Judy Lee Interior Affairs, Ami Baxter Interior Design
Accessories – Hand selected by Ami Baxter from Northern Home Furniture & Design, McNeal & Friends, c. Lizzy’s, HomeGoods and others.
Estrem Woodcraft

For more information on Ami Baxter Interior Design, products featured in this article and product offerings please email or visit us online:

amibaxter.com

info@amibaxter.com

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Confessions of an IKEA Hack | Our Office Makeover Reveal

Words by Katie Sullivan Photography by Dan Francis Photography If the best things in life are free, the next best thing is a successful IKEA hack. When it comes to…

Words by Katie Sullivan
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

If the best things in life are free, the next best thing is a successful IKEA hack. When it comes to creating beautiful storage on the cheap, nothing works a room quite like a BILLY bookcase. Which is why when we realized my office seriously lacked storage, we turned to every discount shopper’s favorite Swedish retail giant, our local hardware store and Pinterest, to help us out.

The Back Story
On move in day, my office was light, bright and very empty. That is, unless you count the stacks of paper and boxes quickly adding up on the floor. Not long after moving in it became clear that we had serious storage problem, which equaled a not very inspiring office for me.

The clutter was bad enough, but then I found a stunning painting that was begging to live on the wall. Nothing about my office was doing it justice. Since I fancy myself a creative and am a little bit obsessive about organization, this was a problem. The other problem – we didn’t have much room to spare. How do you create an inspiring, organized space on a budget? After some intense brainstorming, my husband and I found the solution with the IKEA’s BILLY bookcase line and a can of dark paint.

katie sullivan fargoFrom IKEA Deal to Upscale Steal
We are not the first to execute this IKEA hack. One search for “BILLY bookcase” on Pinterest will produce thousands of stunning inspiration pictures, ranging from basic to extensive hacks. There is a reason for this. If you are handy, or have someone in your life who is handy, you can save some serious cash and completely transform a room. IKEA sells a range of sizes and configurations of BILLYs, and a few well styled bookcases, even without the added bells and whistles of extra trim, can take a room from dull to delightful in as much time as it takes to assemble.

For those who want a more custom look, like ours, things get a little more complicated. It takes some careful planning and labor. Think securing the units to the wall, trimming them out and covering them in a few layers of paint. However, the cost savings is still there. A custom wall-to-wall bookcase would have likely cost us thousands, while our do-it-yourself job rang it at under $800! This includes paint, trim and rope lighting. To save us time and energy, we even splurged on having custom drawers made by Wendt Custom Cabinets, since we were in desperate need of a filing system. You could easily execute a drawerless option for under $600.

Our IKEA shopping list:
2 31” BILLY Bookcases $70 x 2
3 16” BILLY Bookcases $49 x 3
2 31” BILLY Height Extension Units $20 x 2
3 16” BILLY Height Extension Units $15 x 3

______________________________________
Total Cost: $372

katie sullivan fargo  

The other great thing about BILLY bookcases is they are only 11” deep! They leave just enough space to style and store, without encroaching on valuable floor space. The only time this can be a problem is if you need drawers like we did. Lucky for us, the wall behind our bookcases is very thick and we were able to cut into it to make room. Keep in mind, drawers might only be a realistic option for you if you can do the same.

For more information, contact:
Katie Sullivan
hello@prettydomesticated.com

Connect with me on social media:
Facebook Pretty Domesticated
Instagram @PrettyDomesticated
Pinterest Ktmsullivan

For more tips and to tour the rest of our home, visit prettydomesticated.com. We will be sharing a full tutorial on how we IKEA hacked our office bookcases on the blog soon!

Inspired by You
A home office needs to be quite the workhorse, so you should style it to fit your unique needs. Here is how we customized my space:

Mounted the monitor.  To let the artwork shine and to free up desk space for my design work, we secured my monitor to the bookcase wall on a very long rotating arm. When needed, I pull it out, tilt it down, scoot to the edge of my desk and get to work.

Created a kid zone. As a stay-at-home Mom, it was important I made room for my daughter within my space. We created a small secretary desk, masquerading as a drawer, for her to work on her own creative endeavors.

Paint it Black. I’m all for light and bright walls, but sometimes your home needs a little attitude. Keep your home from feeling one note by adding some dark touches to the doors, walls or trim. My personal favorite and the color of my office is Sherwin William’s Inkwell.

SOURCES
Desk – Restoration Hardware
Rug – The Vintage Rug Shop
Desk Accessories – Kate Spade
Painting – McNeal & Friends
Chair – McNeal & Friends
Secretary Desk – Family Heirloom
Magnet Board – Petal Lane from Home Goods

 

 

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Home-Grown Design

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photos by Dan Francis Photography Both raised on family farms in Stephen, Minnesota, Angie and Jayson Kuznia are experts when it comes to combining home-grown heart…

Words by Tracy Nicholson

Photos by Dan Francis Photography

Both raised on family farms in Stephen, Minnesota, Angie and Jayson Kuznia are experts when it comes to combining home-grown heart with hard work. As the owners of Titan Homes in Fargo, N.D., this couple began their venture into building and designing in 2005 and have been happily raising kids and building houses together ever since.

Established Elegance
If you took in the HBA’s Fall Parade of homes, you may have noticed this two-story model home, not just for the stunning interior, but also the well-established neighborhood. Located across from the pond, in close proximity to the Edgewood golf course, this is one new neighborhood with a rare sight…fully grown trees. One of North Fargo’s last in-town areas to be developed, homeowners in Edgewood Estates enjoy plenty of green and sought-after privacy.

titan home fargo avaFor their modern farmhouse, craftsman mix of style, the Kuznia’s make seamless steel siding standard in every home. They also include landscaping, grass, patio and often trees as part of their standard plan.

 

Exterior Siding – Great Plains Construction
Landscaping – Valley Landscaping
Irrigation – Aqua Lawn

Angie + Jayson
A couple since they were 16, the Kuznia’s streamlined system of working together, began from the ground-up and is still rooted in hard work. Jayson Kuznia graduated from NDSU in mechanical engineering. He also achieved the North Dakota Professional Builder Certification. “I worked as an engineer for a while and when the business started taking off, we went full-time. It was kind of a natural fit. A lot of what I do in project management is making sure all of our jobs stay on schedule and on task. So a lot of my engineer skills, even my farming background, helped build up the skills required to do this kind of work,” said Jayson Kuznia.

Angie Kuznia’s design experience is self-taught and hard-earned.”I attended college for dental assisting, we had kids young, so we really started with nothing. Everything we’ve done we’ve had to do ourselves, from scratch,” said Angie Kuznia. “I was a stay-at-home mom for around seven years until we started this, then I began coordinating around my kids, and it took off from there. Now our youngest is a senior this year at Sheyenne.”

titan home ava fargo

Fusing Passions
The Kuznias know that building upwards of 30 homes a year takes patience, passion and dedication. After 12 years, they’ve perfected a system of working closely on each home. “We work well together as a team, we’ve got our system down. I do the design end of it from the beginning to the end and Jayson manages the construction process and sub-contractors. I have two design assistants that work with me. They assist going to meetings with our customers as well. They do a fabulous job.”

For Angie Kuznia, building and designing homes is a true passion, built on personal experience. “We built our first home in 2002 for ourselves, then we started with just one model, but it’s always been my passion. At the time, the market was slowing, but I was offering something much different than what was out there with the white trim and doors and additional features like mudrooms. During this time, we didn’t slow down, we just kept growing. I think it’s because I was coming at it with a different approach and just different ideas. We include a lot of upgrades already in our base price, so when people come in, not everything is an add-on, which they really like. A lot of the things that you see in our homes are standard options,” said Angie Kuznia.
___________________________________________________

Farmhouse-Inspired Design
Walking us through their gorgeous, farmhouse-inspired model home based on their “Ava” floorplan, Angie Kuznia shows us the custom finishes that make each of their builds unique. “I think it’s a good price-point for most people. You can get a lot of square footage for your money and people like the openness of it,” explained Angie Kuznia. “We’ve been building this plan for probably eight years now with many different renditions of it. Our style as a builder is typically more of that modern, farmhouse, craftsman look.”

titan homes fargo ava     titan home ava fargo

titan homes fargo ava

Staging – The Private Collection
Cabinetry – Wendt Custom Cabinets
Laminate flooring – Floor to Ceiling Carpet One

The Breakdown:
2,600 square feet – main and upper floors
Unfinished basement
Main floor – office, family room, kitchen, pantry dining room, mudroom and half-bath
Upstairs – Master suite plus three additional bedrooms, additional bath and laundry

titan homes ava fargo

Designing for the Heart of the Home
For this model home, Angie Kuznia designed a crisp, white kitchen made perfect for entertaining with its open floor plan. A custom-stained, alder island in Knotting grey, stands as the centerpiece of the room. Ample in-island storage, quartz countertop, custom tile backsplash and a farmhouse sink, complete the custom design.

Farmhouse sink – Home Plumbing & Heating
Tile backsplash – Floor to Ceiling Carpet One
Cabinetry – Wendt Custom Cabinets

titan homes ava fargo

Plumbing – Home Heating & Plumbing
Tile- Floor to Ceiling Carpet One
Cabinetry and built-ins- Alder in Knotting Grey, Wendt Custom Cabinets
Soaking tub – Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
Fireplace stone – Hebron Brick

“I think the thing for us is that we are very hands-on. A lot of our business is word-of-mouth from previous clients,” said Angie Kuznia. “Many of our contractors that we use have been with us since we started, so they’re really more like family. We just work hard to give people what they want and end up doing a lot of custom designs for people.”

Contact the builder or request a tour of the home:

Titan Homes
4631 40th Avenue S, Suite 110
701.793.6917
info@titanhomesonline.com
titanhomesonline.com

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Farmhouse Remodel Project

Room NO. 8 Words by Maria Bosak Before photos by Morgan Schleif After photos by Dan Francis Photography   I’m so excited to finally be revealing one of the final…

Room NO. 8

Words by Maria Bosak
Before photos by Morgan Schleif
After photos by Dan Francis Photography
 

I’m so excited to finally be revealing one of the final rooms in our farmhouse remodel project. Sometimes, well lots of times in remodeling, what you anticipate to be first on the list actually comes in at the end of the race. This was true for our kitchen remodel. When we moved into our home two years ago, I had great hopes of diving right into the kitchen because I was anxious to get it updated. But, it actually became the eighth room we tackled due to budget and time availability of contractors. Truthfully, I also had the need to live in the house for awhile before I completely understood what we wanted to do with the room. So let that be a lesson, that some times in life (and remodeling), the world around you will dictate your path and you just need to follow along. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at our newly-renovated kitchen.

Kitchen Demo

We began the process by first removing the wall that separated the dining room from the kitchen. As you know, everyone hangs out in the kitchen when you entertain so we wanted to open it up and gain as much room as we could.

As you can see in the photo we took after the demo, we tore the kitchen down to the studs and started over. In the photo to the right, I’m actually standing in what used to be a bedroom. We decided to sacrifice a bedroom to gain a butler’s pantry. Which would also give us another two feet to work with so we could fit all of the appliances into the kitchen. Because let’s face it, I wasn’t giving up my dream of double ovens. Watch for the reveal of the butler’s pantry in 2018. With the holidays fast approaching, we decided to rest the budget for a few months before we start that project.

You may also notice the popcorn ceiling with the racetrack edging is gone. This turned out to be a challenge, but we ended with a solution that we just love. To smooth the popcorn and the ripped edge from removing the edging detailing, we opted to go with a planked ceiling. This did add to the budget, but the end result was well worth it.

Life with the Blues

The other design decision that jumps off the page is the blue cabinetry. As you can see with the exterior view of our house, we are a blue family. My husband, Tate, and I have always loved the color blue (it may have something to do with our Duke team). Way back when we were dating, we bought a blue Weber grill, and so our life’s blue pattern began. While the blue cabinetry may not be practical or timeless, they make us smile, so we went with it and figured ‘heck’ if we hate it down the road we can just Chalk Paint® them. I’ve heard there is a store in town that sells that stuff (wink wink).

The process of remodeling our kitchen was simplified by the excellent carpenters at Eclipse Carpentry. Ryan and his team were exceptional and very patient as we walked through this process. A complete list of contractors can be found at the end of this article.

The photos tell most of the story, but I want to point out a few details that were very intentional and bring an interesting twist to a somewhat traditional kitchen.

1. The bricked wall. I’ve always loved brick and wanted to find a way to incorporate its warmth. I know brick doesn’t seem warm and cuddly by nature, but to me, it gives our home a sense of old world building style and toasty fireplaces. The added texture in the room also brings a design element that is unexpected and interesting.

2. The brassy, gold light fixtures and faucet. I know, I know. 1985 called and they want their light fixtures back. You almost expect there to be a Trans-Am car parked in our driveway (which actually Tate would love), but these are not your mama’s brass fixtures of the 80’s. Brass is the new black and I love them. So, once I spotted them on Houzz, I decided to base the entire kitchen color scheme around them. Let’s face it, the 80’s were some good times, and if you weren’t there to experience them, then I’m not sure how to talk to you. You will just have to take my word for it. I’m not mad at you, I’m just saying Justin Bieber has nothing on Huey Lewis.

3. The wood countertop and custom range hood. Let’s just admit it. We all want a white kitchen until we get a white kitchen and our husbands want to know why we made them live in a hospital. So you incorporate some wood elements to make him feel at home in his natural environment. Also, because they contrast nicely with the white cabinets and it just makes good sense. A shout out to my friends at Grain Designs who did both the countertop and range hood. I know the range hood has funny angles and is a pain to make, but you rocked it.

Table with a View

We also added a window in the dining room. This window now resides above the wood bench and pillows. This was a perfect spot because it gave us a beautiful, outside view when seated in the dining area.

Room No.8 Recap

The kitchen is complete and we couldn’t be happier. Now, it’s on to the next phase. As you can see from the photos, the butler’s pantry, as well as the entry bench and hooks, are still in need of a refresh. We will tackle these projects this winter and will be sure to give you a first look as soon as they are completed.

If you have any questions about how or why we did something, feel free to reach out to me at Eco Chic Boutique or drop me a message at:

maria@iLoveEcoChic.com

As always you can find us on:

Facebook @iLoveEcoChic

Instagram @ecochicboutique

Xo, Maria

 


 

Maria Bosak

Eco Chic Boutique

iloveecochic.com

4955 17th Ave. South, Fargo

701.356.6600

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Smart Space + Transitional Redesign

Words by Trever Hill Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography     Throughout my career, I’ve always been flattered when people in the industry ask me to be part of…

Words by Trever Hill
Photos by J. Alan Paul Photography

 

 

Throughout my career, I’ve always been flattered when people in the industry ask me to be part of their home building process or remodel. It’s really one of the highest compliments a designer can get. To this day, I’ve gotten the honor of working on two home builder’s personal homes and countless other homes. When Ursula Hegvik, owner of Smart Spaces approached me about remodeling the main level of her home, I said yes before the words had even left her mouth. Ursula already had great ideas of what she wanted in her new space, so together, our goal was to make it happen in ten short weeks.

Our Own Independence Day

Just one day after the 4th of July, we began the remodel of Ursula’s main level at her South Fargo home. This project was really fun for me. She’s a professional closet designer, so she acted as her own general contractor and did all of the space planning and the cabinetry, which was really cool to see. For me, this was a unique way of working, because typically I’m the one throwing out ideas to the client and figuring out the direction of the space plan. In this project, she already knew exactly what her layout would be, which walls to knock out, and what rooms would be redesigned for new functions. She was able to use her own software from Smart Spaces to do renderings of the original space, then renderings showing what it would look like after the remodel.

I came into the project to help choose all of the finishes, paint colors, cabinetry colors, and flooring. What you see here are the island and perimeter countertops, paint swatches, flooring samples and cabinet sample. Placing all of your finishes together is a simple way to make sure that all of your color tones can live harmoniously in the same space.

Ursula’s Remodel List:

* Give the space an open floor plan

* Reconfigure the stairwell

* Turn the original dining room into a large mudroom

* Create a large kitchen Island with interest

* Turn the original laundry room into the pantry

* Create a wall of windows

* Create a home office

* Update the foyer

In Ursula’s kitchen, we chose a unique, matte aluminum hardware paired with her custom, melamine cabinets in “Arctic”. This combination really set a sleek and contemporary tone for the remaining remodel. Melamine is an extremely durable and versatile material Ursula often uses in her closet designs at Smart Spaces. Drawing on her organizational expertise, Ursula was able to plan for hidden storage solutions throughout the kitchen, adding upright pan storage under the second oven, as well as three cool, pull-out accessories from Rev-a-Shelf; a knife block, utensil containers, and a full-height, spice storage rack.

A Bright Idea

If you notice something looks different about Ursula’s stunning island, you’re absolutely right. On a mission to find the island countertop at Stone Holding Co., I walked up to a piece of Quartzite only to be hit with “bright” idea. I placed my phone behind the slab to show Ursula how it illuminated the stone, it was amazing. With that, we decided we needed to build a light-box underneath the island counter, using mirrors to reflect light from LED strips. Northern Stone was able to do the fabrication, along with the quartz countertop on the perimeter.  We found the LED strips, controllers and remote at American Lighting through Border States Electric.

Taking the island’s wow-factor one step further, we added a controller on the side that allows her to change the color of the lighting. This proved to be her son Oliver’s favorite feature. He’s a Viking’s fan, so on game day, Ursula’s island goes purple.

Challenging Views

During the process, we had varying challenges to overcome, but as with every remodel, we figured out a way to make it work. We had the wall of windows installed, but due to their size, we needed to do other things to get it up to code, such as quartz window sills to make sure we could get outlets below the windows.

What was once the formal dining room just off of the kitchen, Ursula transformed into one impressively organized laundry and mudroom. Using Smart Spaces, melamine cabinetry she created an array of custom storage solutions for shoes, coats, accessories, laundry baskets and hanging items.

Keeping the existing brick fireplace meant refacing the top, and modernizing the design. This is something she had seen Amanda Schenfisch, one of her designers at Smart Spaces do in her own home. So, Ursula asked her to do the same here. The top of the brick was then refaced which completely covered up the arch. I suggested painting the brick black around the actual fireplace to make it appear larger. The lower brick was then painted to match the updated built-ins and white trim throughout the home.

The very first meeting we had, Ursula said, “The rest of my home is more on the traditional side, and I want a very contemporary kitchen. How are we going to blend the two?” So, we worked within a style that’s now referred to as Transitional. As you can see by the fireplace reface, the style Ursula used could be construed as traditional, but because of sharp lines and fresh color, it blends perfectly with her contemporary kitchen. We even used her existing, traditional lamps, but updated the lampshades for a great, transitional look.

Meet the Homeowner:
Ursula Hegvik, Owner of Smart Spaces

“Trever’s fabulous. He’s so talented and so fun to work with. This whole thing has just been awesome. He brought so many aspects to the project that I couldn’t. I was afraid to pick the paint color, and he had it picked in around a minute.  He has such a good eye for everything, and he just makes everything about a project easy and fun.”

“For this project, I worked with some really great sub-contractors. I’ve done thousands of closet projects, but I’ve never taken on a project of this scale before, so acting as my own general contractor was a brand new experience. I got a lot of advice and asked a lot of questions. The subs I chose to work with turned out to be good people who would show up when they said they were going to (for the most part), do quality work, and clean up after themselves. It’s come together really beautifully, and honestly, Trever helped me with every decision, definitely all of the really important ones.  I can’t even choose throw pillows without that guy!”

“My sons were so excited about the remodel. Oliver prefers the kitchen and loves changing the island color to Viking’s purple. Dexter thinks the mudroom is super cool because he likes to be able to easily find his socks and boots so he can run outside and play faster. I think they pretty much love everything, as do I.”

Find the Finishes

Engineered hardwood flooring – Floor to Ceiling Carpet One

Carpet – Cheney Carpet

Melamine cabinetry – Arctic, Smart Spaces

Perimeter counter and island fabrication – Northern Stone

Quartzite Island countertop – Stone Holding Co.

Lighting – Elan, Border States Electric

Windows, doors – Home, Design & Supply

Appliances – Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

Hardware – Smart Spaces

Paint color – Mega Greige, Sherwin Williams

Barstools – Unclaimed Freight Furniture

Dining table – Room & Board

Dining chairs – HomeGoods

 


 

Trever Hill Design

701.235.0031

trever@treverhilldesign.com

treverhilldesign.com

Smart Spaces

5226 51st Ave S. Fargo, N.D.

701.200.8770

ursula@smartspacesorg.com

smartspacesorg.com

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#nowords

It has been just under one year since North Dakota native, David Borlaug, along with the Lewis and Clark Foundation, opened Capital Gallery in downtown Bismarck. This gallery is a…

It has been just under one year since North Dakota native, David Borlaug, along with the Lewis and Clark Foundation, opened Capital Gallery in downtown Bismarck. This gallery is a gem not only for the community, but also for the state and the Midwest, at large. It’s an absolutely beautiful space for artists to showcase their work, and whether you’re a community member or a tourist, it’s definitely a destination worth seeking out. The space is large and open, allowing guests to step back from the everyday hustle and bustle, and breathe in some colors and inspiration.

I am so honored to currently be showing my work at this exceptional gallery through the end of 2017. After nearly a decade of being a professional artist, this is my first show in my hometown of Bismarck. This solo exhibition is entitled #nowords.

 

I don’t know about you, but it took me awhile to figure out hashtags. In fact, I had to ask a friend to give me a tutorial. She explained, “Hashtags can either be used as a tool to be witty or as a way to categorize a post.” My response was, “Wow, these things really communicate more than I thought!”

 

Single statements, or a single word in some cases, with the pound sign in front of it, can completely change the essence of a photo you’re viewing or change your mind about what you’re reading. Hashtags can spark a new conversation and a new perspective. At our fingertips is an abundance of ways to communicate; online, offline, this app, that app, emails, handwritten greeting cards, you name it. What an exciting time and place we live in.

For me, communication is much more than words and how they’re delivered. Life inspires me to look around, to be present, and to soak up the sights, sounds and smells. Life motivates me to question, “How do I color this?” rather than, “How do I put this into words?” That is someone else’s gift.

The best language I know how to speak is through texture and scale, movement and color on a canvas. The decisions I make about the scale of my canvases are part of the communication I want to create between myself and you as the viewer. When a painting has large scale, it is bigger than you. Part of the joy of these pieces is getting lost in the work. You can get closer to the art and see more.

Some of the pieces on display in the gallery have been months in the making, some I’ve been working on for several years. In all reality, my whole life got me to the point where I’m able to create the way I’m creating now. So, you could say, this show has been thirty-plus years in the making. As a viewer, my hope is that you’ll feel powerful energy and a new-found rhythm in me as an artist when you walk through the gallery.

Perhaps the most important thing I’d love to communicate with #nowords is that there is no right or wrong when it comes to what you see in my art. This new body of work is me loving to be alive, grateful for this life. All the pieces work collectively to reflect that. Which is why, when people ask me to talk about my art or bring words to it, I always hesitate. It is difficult for me to definitively express my passion for this art and this life, so don’t be surprised if I respond, “There are no words.” #nowords

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