Midwest Nest Magazine

Midwest Nest Magazine

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

Mapleton’s Modern Minimalist

[ MB & Will Dort | Radiant Homes ] Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman, Amdak Productions As the owner of Skill Cutz Barbershop and his own…

[ MB & Will Dort | Radiant Homes ]

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman, Amdak Productions

As the owner of Skill Cutz Barbershop and his own barber college in Fargo, Will Dort’s talent is anything but ordinary. When he and his wife, MB, decided to design their home with Radiant Homes, it was not surprising that the two were in search of something far beyond the typical build. Although Will Dort may be the creative mind in his shop, it’s MB Dort’s sleek and mod-minimalist style that dominates at home. Meet their newest addition, three-month-old son Blu, and take a tour through the family’s stunning Ashmoor Glen home, on the golf course in Mapleton, N.D.

Contemporary Curb Appeal 

Completed in November 2018 by Radiant Homes of Fargo, the Dort’s contemporary two-story intrigues at the curb and inspires inside. “Modern prairie, simple, cohesive, impactful.” This is how Radiant Homes president, David Reid, describes the Dort’s new abode. “Radiant partners with each of our clients to design a home specifically for the life they are building,” said Reid. “In this case, the Dorts came to us for a home that would reflect their affinity to modern design while meeting the needs of hard-working business owners and a growing family. We helped them develop a design program that would meet the project goals, and then recruited architect, Jan Mevold, and interior designer, Brandi Youngmark, to help bring their vision to life.”

“From the start, she had a clear vision of the overall feel she wanted for their home,” said Youngmark. “The exterior finishes were unique for a residential application – metal panels, EIFS and cedar accents were specified to fit the overall, modern look of the home.”

From the road, guests get a preview of the interior’s sleek style with stand-out exterior elements like larger overhangs, a low-sloped hip roof and a solid concrete porch. “The exterior of white and dark gray give it a more contemporary feel with refinished wood cedar along the front and the side, adding warmth and interest,” said Mevold.

A section of EIFS under the front porch, just to the right of the entry door, is finished to mimic the natural concrete look. “There are no ‘standard’ siding finishes; all of the metal siding is a commercial, box-ribbed metal panel,” said Reid. “The cedar tongue and groove siding provide a natural element and warm accent, in contrast to the stark color palette of black, white and gray. The front door is full glass, 42-inch wide by 8-feet tall and sets the tone for the window design featuring lots of wide open glass; no grids and large openings.”

Making Mapleton Home
Although moving to Mapletonwas not part of the Dort’s original plan, they compared the cost and size of lots with proximity to Fargo, and Mapleton was a clear winner. To assist them with their decision, the Dorts worked with April Bernabucci at Keller Williams Inspire Realty. “Once we drove back and forth a few times, we realized it wasn’t that far,” said MB Dort. “We used to live West of Sheyenne, near Eagle Run, and it would take us longer to get to work from there than it does from here.” 

Settling into a larger lot on the Mapleton golf course meant no backyard neighbors, allowing the couple to get creative with an interior wall of windows. The Dort’s open-concept, main floor layout is 1,107 square feet with 1,232 upstairs and 1,107 square feet in the lower level. 

Take a Tour! 

Throughout the home, the Dorts fuse their sleek style with Haitian artwork and framed photographs, along with MB Dort’s own art pieces. Each impeccable room carries a subtle nod to the couple’s past and present. Will Dort moved from Haiti to Fargo in 1997, while MB Dort grew up in Frazee, Minn. The two have been married for six years of their 16-years together and recently welcomed their first child, Blu, who’s now three-months-old. While Will Dort has made a name for himself in the barber industry, MB is a manager at Discovery Benefits in Fargo. With successful careers and a family on the grow, it was the perfect time to plant their roots and define their dream home.

Although the Dorts have called Fargo home for over two decades, they travel to Haiti whenever possible. “We were visiting family and we have some projects that we work on over there, so we were back and forth throughout the year in 2016,” said MB Dort. On their last visit, the two sold nearly all of the furnishings, coming back in 2017 to only a bed, table and their clothing. Starting fresh with new furnishings, the Dorts were able to customize each room and truly define their personal style. 

Interior Intrigue

Greeting guests, just inside the foyer, the Dorts worked closely with Radiant Homes and Youngmark to create a gorgeous, black-stained, oak screen wall. This unique feature defines the entry and provides privacy for the adjacent lounge, which was originally planned for office space. With a talented team at the helm and style-conscious homeowners, the interior results are high-contrast and high-design. 

Magnificent & Minimal
With near floor-to-ceiling windows, the Dort’s open-concept space embraces clean lines and fresh, gallery white walls to frame in the golf course view. A sleek, linear fireplace with floating wood hearth is the living room’s focal point, drawing the eye to MB Dort’s abstract imagery and the couple’s Haitian photography. Black-stained oak accents and the absence of traditional door and window trim helps emphasize the spaces’ perfect symmetry. “The home’s layout is open and flooded with natural light. I think it’s a timeless design and piece of the future with the homeowner’s sense of style,” said Mevold. 

For the room’s design, MB Dort relied on a mix of personal photographs and abstract artwork with furnishings from Miami’s Modloft and online sources like CB2 and West Elm. “This space is probably one of our favorites,” said MB Dort. “I really like the large windows and natural light; it’s what really makes the house for us.”

Designed to Dine
Fusing contemporary and comfort, the Dorts chose a warm-toned, walnut dining table from Modloft, with a mix of black velvet and acrylic chairs, flanked with fur. Also shown, is the most stylish infant highchair we’ve ever encountered; a Mima Moon chair with camel seat from Pottery Barn Kids.

“I would definitely say our home is modern,” said MB Dort. “We like to mix as many textiles and finishes together, so it has that modern and industrial vibe to it, while not feeling too cold. To warm up the space, we pulled in textures like the sheepskin over the acrylic dining chairs.”168, 152

High Gloss & High Style
“In the kitchen, we used a lot of recessed lighting, while decorative fixtures were used more sparingly and emphatically,” said Reid. “The beautiful chandeliers in the kitchen, stairway and powder room really stand out. A full-height quartz backsplash with under-cabinet outlets is utilized so the beauty of the quartz is uninterrupted.” Adding interest and personal reflection to the sleek space is a portrait painting entitled, Pipe Dream, by Haitian artist, Raynys F. Informe.

“It was great working with MB,” said Youngmark. “The interior features dramatically contrasting finishes throughout, to create a perfectly modern feel. Sleek kitchen cabinets feature high gloss, white slab doors with a full-height quartz backsplash. The black-stained oak island and the warmth of natural wood create a bold statement, but with a minimalist approach.”

Powder Room Perfection
Just beyond the kitchen, walk-in pantry and drop zone, the Dort’s powder room is a captivating visual in black shiplap. Mid-century mod, sputnik lighting, a floating vanity and styled mirror accentuate a more vibrant portrait by Haitian artist, Raynys F. Informe.

Heading upstairs has never been a more beautiful journey. White-washed tile treads give way to custom-fabricated steel and a black-oak handrail, with the finale drawing the eye to a neon, linear art piece created by the homeowner, MB Dort.
Elevated Design
Upstairs, the home’s spacious floorplan accommodates an office, laundry room, nursery, master suite, guest bedroom and guest bath. At the top of the stairs through a custom glass half-wall, their unique, loft-style office space features an Iris Apfel painting, another piece by Raynys F. Informe.

Mastering the Suite
Instead of relying on larger windows, the Dort’s gorgeous master bedroom features an expansive patio door for maximum exposure to natural light. To make this design work, Radiant Homes added a coordinated exterior guard rail, so it can be easily opened to enjoy fresh air and golf course views. An abstract, black and white painting by MB Dort is displayed bedside and alongside chic West Elm and CB2 furnishings.

Inside the galley-style master bath, the Dorts chose his and hers floating vanities in straight-grained, Brazilian rosewood laminate. Black shiplap creates the perfect backdrop for chrome fixtures, linear lighting and frameless mirrors. The stunning master shower features a custom glass enclosure with a timeless tile design. Around the corner from Will Dort’s vanity, the two have designed their own, cost-efficient master closet using IKEA finishes. 

“Our Interior Designer, Brandi Youngmark, was very involved – she definitely walked us through every single thing and helped us figure out all of the selections,” said MB Dort. “It was such a learning experience for us; it was our first time building a home together and we learned a lot about how the process goes; what’s important to us and what’s not. It’s just been nice to be in a house, have a garage and have a place that’s all ours.”

Find the Finishes:
Builder – Radiant Homes
Architect – Jan Mevold, Mevold Studio
Interior Designer – Brandi Youngmark Interior Design
Realtor – April Bernabucci, Keller Williams Inspire Realty
Flooring & tile – Carpet World 
Carpet tile foyer rug – Flor.com
Concrete foyer bench – CB2.com
Dining table – Astor in Walnut | Modloft, Miami
Portrait paintings – Haiti artist, Raynys F. Informe
Neon & abstract art – homeowner, MB Dort
Black dining chairs – Harlow Mink Velvet | CB2.com
Acrylic dining chairs & faux fur – Ikea.com
Infant high chair – Mima Moon High Chair with camel seat, Pottery Barn Kids
Artwork photo frames – CB2.com
Artwork canvas near fireplace and leather stools – CB2.com
Nursery chair – AllModern.com
Acrylic side crib – Pottery Barn Kids
Master bedroom dresser – West Elm

For more information, contact:
Radiant Homes
David Reid | President 
1  2nd Street North, Suite #122, Fargo

Skill Cutz Barbershop & Salon | Skill Cutz Barber College
1700 32nd Avenue South, Unit 2 – Fargo 

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Setting a Higher Standard

[ A&B Window Cleaning, Fargo ] Story by Tracy Nicholson / Portrait photography by J. Alan Paul Photography, additional project photos provided by A&M Window Cleaning and Essentia Health When…

[ A&B Window Cleaning, Fargo ]

Story by Tracy Nicholson / Portrait photography by J. Alan Paul Photography, additional project photos provided by A&M Window Cleaning and Essentia Health

When we say A&B Window Cleaning works with some of the biggest businesses in town, we mean it, literally. Scan your eye across the horizon and you’ll see plenty of commercial buildings scraping the sky. Ever wonder who’s fearless enough to tackle the window cleaning? This month, Midwest Nest is proud to introduce you to the A&B Window Cleaning team, a family-owned business that takes pride in scaling some of the area’s most vertically-challenging homes and businesses.

Elevating the Family Business

From its first day in 1997, A&B Window Cleaning has relied on the integrity of one hard-working couple; Barb and Tony Hampson. With a borrowed truck and a handful of basic cleaning tools, the two started from the ground up and set their sights higher with every passing year.

Two years ago, after the Hampsons retired, their children Amy Johnson and AJ Hampson stepped in to take over the business, carrying on their family tradition of hard work, integrity and innovation. Tito Santoya joined the close-knit team nearly five years ago and Corey Janes has been with them for the past eight months. Each team member is properly trained and capable of handling any aspect of their job. Whether it’s a bone-chilling 20 below or sweltering 95 degrees, you can bet they’ll be there with a smile.

Residential: Speedy & Streamlined

While they’re well known for technique and quality, A&B Window Cleaning is also known for speed. When it comes to the typical residential property, they take a streamlined and skilled approach, spending mere minutes at each property. Working as a team, they can properly manage cleanings on anywhere from 8 to 15 houses a day. “Some companies will send one guy and he’ll be there all day, whereas we’ll bring a team; we get in and get out, so people can move on and enjoy their day,” said Amy Johnson. A&B does both interior and exterior windows, making sure to get every inch, from the sills to the screens.

Reaching the Unreachable: Windows, Lighting & Bulbs

Construction is booming, and while modern design is leaning toward architectural lighting and window placements, the homeowner is often ill-prepared to manage the upkeep. To reach windows and lighting 20 to 30 feet high, A&B relies on a lift to safely navigate the cleanings and will even change out lightbulbs. This is a sought-after service that cleaning companies can’t typically offer.

“A lot of people, especially in really nice homes, rightfully get nervous when you bring a 20-foot ladder inside, especially around family heirlooms, pianos and furnishings. We go above and beyond to respect and protect their homes and family; our number one goal is to bring high quality and high safety to their residence,” said AJ Hampson. 

Commercial: Scaling the Skylines

If you’re a fan of extreme sports, the team at A&B does not disappoint. They are often seen rappelling down the side of our region’s tallest buildings. Rest assured, they carry the highest OSHA standard and high-rise training with aerial platform certifications; they even have their own OSHA consultant. For some of the more vertically challenging windows, the team relies on a Bosun chair and a rolling outrigger beam that sits on the roof. This is a portable system so it can be moved side to side as they work.   

Architectural Endeavors: Essentia Health

One of the architectural obstacles that their team has adapted to, is the interior spiral within Essentia’s 32nd Avenue hospital. “We knew no one in the area had the capability to do it, so we custom-built a rig that would allow us to descend down the spiral,” explained AJ Hampson. “We do a lot of things like this throughout the area and finding solutions for each business or home is what makes us so unique.” 

“Architecture is either our friend or nemesis,” said AJ Hampson. “With the new Sanford and the Essentia hospitals, these architects are pushing boundaries. Thankfully, we’ve been able to be involved in the architectural process of these buildings for OSHA standards; we teamed up to at least point them in the right direction. We’re very involved in our community as far as builders and contractors, and that sets us apart in our craft.” 

Superheroes by Day
Last month, the A&B Window Cleaning team transformed into superheroes and descended from the top of the new Sanford Medical Center in South Fargo. Afterward, they paid a visit to patients at Sanford Children’s Hospital. “It really tugs at the heartstrings,” said Amy Johnson. “We take great pride in being involved with this and we feel it is such a great event that lifts the spirits of so many. Any way we can come together for good, we are always in!”

The Pursuit of Perfection
For some commercial buildings and residential properties, they might be able to keep their feet on the ground, but their skills and strength are still put to the test. “When you have 30-foot poles in the air, it takes a completely different technique than just working with 10-foot windows in front of you,” said AJ Hampson.
In their nearly 23-years in business, the family has come to realize that easier doesn’t mean better. “We see many companies using water-fed poles because it’s easy, but we still rely on the old-school techniques; there’s a little extra elbow grease, but we can get a much higher quality clean,” said AJ Hampson. While the company has evolved its services and technique over the years, there’s one sentiment that remains the same; take the time to do the job right. “We want our clients to remember us for the quality of our work and know that we will always go the extra mile,” said AJ Hampson.

One Strong Family
Like all families who work together, the Hampsons have their trying days, but they’re always outnumbered by the good ones. “We get busy and it can get stressful, but we talk it out at the end of the day and it’s all good,” laughed Barb Hampson. “Tony taught everyone well; do a good job and have fun doing it.” 

“Half of us are military and we’re all into fitness; Corey, Amy and I, have all competed in bodybuilding competitions. We take care of ourselves which helps us offer trade services at the highest level possible,” said AJ Hampson. “At the end of the day, we could easily hire 10 more employees, but we’re a close-knit team, so I know I can count on everyone to get the job done properly, respectfully, and the customer’s always going to be happy.”

For more information, contact:
A&B Window Cleaning, LLC.
528 13th Street Northeast, West Fargo

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Next Stop: Brewhalla’s Open Doors

[Midland Door Solutions & the Transformation of Drekker Brewing Company]Story by Jenessa McAllister / Photography by J. Alan Paul Photography, with additional images by Ironclad Marketing Conversations buzz and beer…

[Midland Door Solutions & the Transformation of Drekker Brewing Company]

Story by Jenessa McAllister / Photography by J. Alan Paul Photography, with additional images by Ironclad Marketing

Conversations buzz and beer flows from the tap. In the distance, a train roars past. The train’s presence is subtle and fleeting, but not lacking significance. After all, the building that’s now home to a brewery and taproom spent its early years as a locomotive maintenance facility. Brewhalla is one of Fargo’s finest breweries, and it’s located in a building that’s older than the state itself. Named in honor of their Scandinavian heritage, the team at Drekker Brewing Company opened Brewhalla, its second location, in September 2018. With features heavily influenced by the building’s history and an entrance flanked with sizeable picturesque custom doors, the structure now appears breathtaking and effortless, but the road getting there was anything but.

From Trains to Beer

The Northern Pacific Railway Company (NPRC) built the 11,700-square-foot building that houses Brewhalla in 1883. It was primarily a foundry and repair building for railcars and locomotives, and later served as a storage and warehouse facility. When Kevin Bartram of MBA Architects purchased the abandoned building, he had a vision in mind. “Kevin always knew he wanted to make this his home and live in the north end of the building,” said Darin Montplaisir, one of Drekker’s four co-founders. “He had envisioned a brewery in the other half of the building, so he approached us and we jumped on the opportunity.”

With one Drekker location already established in downtown Fargo, a second location less than a mile away was a no-brainer. “We were running out of space downtown,” Montplaisir said. “It was perfect timing. And we had always thought that building would make an awesome brewery. Everything about it is so unique, and we knew we wanted to move in.”

Out with the Old, in with the… Old

Keeping the natural, original elements was one of the key goals of MBA Architects and the Drekker team when they started design in the summer of 2017. Brewhalla’s structure is built with masonry load-bearing walls and a timber wood-framed roof structure. Besides adding necessary structural reinforcements, most of the wood and brick in the building is original. “We were surprised by how much the engineers let us keep,” Montplaisir said. “It was important to us to keep the building as close to original as possible. We love that about it.”

Part of the restoration process was finding new uses for old elements of the building. Some of the original nuts and bolts were used in installing the new wood pieces, and the taproom tables are made from extra wood from the building. Outside, a repurposed footing now serves as a bench beside the fire pit. Even the skylights, which line the roof of the building, have an old purpose: they served as smoke shoots for the train exhaust. Old train tracks that were discovered below layers of concrete will be used in a future fixture in the taproom.

“People ask us, ‘How’d you get it to look like that?’ about a lot of things,” Montplaisir said. “And they can’t believe it when we tell them that’s the original.” Authenticity played a key role in the restoration of Brewhalla. That’s why, when it came to the building’s doors, MBA Architects knew exactly who to call.

A Trio of Showstopping Entrances

In its early days, trains entered the maintenance building through one of the three large doors along the east side of the building. The openings are now fitted with three custom-designed doors that each serves a different purpose. 

The middle door is a standard customer entrance door. The doors on either side of the patron entrance required a fully custom solution and were designed and installed by Midland Door Solutions. The West Fargo-based company specializes in custom hydraulic and bi-fold doors. In addition to architecture and design, they create and install doors for the aviation, industrial and agricultural industries. Customized solutions are Midland’s specialty, so Brewhalla was a perfect fit for their next undertaking. 

MBA worked with Midland to create a truly beautiful set of oversized doors. They each measure 12 feet wide by 16 feet tall and weigh 2,300 pounds. After several discussions between the architect and structural engineer, the team at Midland proposed a design to MBA and Drekker. They mirrored the pattern and elements of the main entrance door. Heavy, dark lines contrast the windowpanes and pop against the light brick building.

“Unique applications like this allow us to showcase our creativity,” said Jason Myrvik, Midland Door Solutions general manager. “We were excited to take on a local project and work with the customer to create the look and feel they were striving for.” MBA Architects’ team had seen photos of other Midland custom doors and knew they’d be a good fit for the unique situation. “We performed historical research and found drawings of similar doors in other NPRC buildings,” said James Monson, architect at MBA Architects. “However, we wanted the benefits of modern technologies.”

“The goal was to mimic the contour of the arches on the openings and custom windows in the middle arch,” Myrvik said. “So we ensured our glass followed the curvature of the arch. We utilized aluminum grids embedded in the glass to create the same look as the mullions in the windows. This helped create a cohesive look for all three sections.”

The southern door is a vertical bi-fold door that serves as a shipping and receiving entrance. It’s made with heavy-gauge steel tubing and has a fully automated operating system. The doors open and close quietly in seconds, a critical necessity when the doors are used throughout the day while customers are present. Forklifts bring loads of supplies, beer and trash through the doors upwards of 10 times per hour.

The door on the north side of the building is also a vertical bi-fold but operates manually with a pin and latch system. The handles inside the doors make it easy for one person to manually open them. The north side of Brewhalla features a patio area with outdoor seating and a parking area for food trucks, which makes the large opening ideal. “We plan on having the door open during warm summer nights,” Montplaisir said. “Being able to walk back and forth from the firepit to the bar will be convenient when the weather is nice.” Alternatively, both doors have a weathertight seal to help to combat the cold North Dakota winter weather. 

A Truly Custom Solution

When it comes to working with the structure of an old building, symmetry is never guaranteed. The settling and shifting of a building over time posed challenges for the contractors installing new pieces into an old building. “They had a hard time framing everything in here,” Montplaisir said. “We have a big cooler in the back that doesn’t sit up against the wall. The bottom of the cooler is 10 inches away from the wall and the top of the cooler is touching the wall. Everything in the building is a little crooked.”

The arches for the door aren’t symmetric, either, meaning the team at Midland had to precisely measure each door to ensure the perfect fit. Because the building is constructed out of uneven brick, the team had to laser measure the arches incrementally across the opening. They then had to lay out the measurements in modeling software, average out the dimensions and create symmetric-looking doors.

“Not only were the walls not perfectly straight, but we were attaching large heavy doors to the structure,” Myrvik said. “The building wasn’t built for the weight of these doors. The wall was angled in and not structurally capable to handle the doors. The structural engineer designed support columns that ran from the floor to the roof truss. We then anchored our frame to the supports.” After measuring and manufacturing the doors, delivery and installation took only a couple of days. Each of the two doors took a team of two men and roughly 16 hours to install. From there, they tested the mechanical components and performed operational tests on the doors. 

Equally eye-catching and conventional

When people enter the parking lot of Brewhalla, their awe is visible. “They get out of their cars and you can see them say ‘wow,’” Montplaisir said. “That’s one of our continuing goals: to keep people saying ‘wow.’” And they do. Customers are able to enjoy their beer and conversation, looking around the taproom with wide eyes. And while they won’t be interrupted by the sounds of opening and closing delivery doors, they may occasionally hear a passing train.

About Midland Door Solutions

Midland Door Solutions is a full-service door manufacturer that designs, builds and installs custom bi-fold and hydraulic doors for agriculture, aviation and commercial buildings, and custom designed doors for architectural plans for home and commercial uses. For nearly 25 years, it has provided customers with durable, high-quality doors and unparalleled customer service. Midland Door Solutions is a sister company to Midland Garage Door Manufacturing Company, West Fargo, North Dakota, a garage door manufacturer that has been delivering garage door solutions to homeowners since 1975. 

For more information, contact:
Midland Door Solutions
1021 7th Street N.E., West Fargo

Drekker Brewing Company
1666 1st Avenue North, Fargo

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Mezzaluna: After Hours [Taylor & Valerie Snelling]

Story by Tracy NicholsonPhotography by M. Schleif Photography If you’re in the fine-dining industry like Taylor Snelling, the end of the holidays marks a time to celebrate survival. To see…

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M. Schleif Photography

If you’re in the fine-dining industry like Taylor Snelling, the end of the holidays marks a time to celebrate survival. To see how Mezzaluna dines after-hours, we joined Taylor and his wife, Valerie at their Brandt Crossing home in South Fargo. This time, instead of pampering the guests, their hardworking team took a seat and toasted to another successful year; in the kitchen, and behind the bar. We started with the main course of maple-glazed duck, paired it with a side of white sweet potato and apple risotto, then chased it with a hibiscus punch that’ll make you forget all about your new year’s resolutions.

Curious to see how their upscale team does casual Sunday, we’re happy to report that we had a blast taste-testing and sipping with the Snellings, executive chef and co-owner, Joe Brunner, mixologist, Max Parker, and Mezzaluna’s manager, Matthew Bengston. Even outside of Mezzaluna’s historic walls, it’s easy to see that their lively conversation is based on comradery, friendship, and a shared passion for the industry. Between sipping, talking and tasting, we admired the floral from Prairie Petals; and like all good guests… we asked for seconds.

New Year…New Dreams
For Taylor and Valerie Snelling, this past year was a non-stop adventure that started with their wedding and ended with a smooth transition into co-ownership of Mezzaluna, with Executive Chef, Joe Brunner. Working with the previous owners, Sarah and Eric Watson, the two would get six months of running the Downtown Fargo restaurant on their own, before officially taking over ownership in April 2018. 

“Eric and Sarah have been wonderful. When April came around, we felt like we understood all of the important aspects of how to run the restaurant and the day-to-day tasks,” said Taylor Snelling. “The Watsons are great mentors of mine and I still keep up with them. They gave me an opportunity to do something, this early in my life, that I wasn’t expecting for another 15 to 20 years. Every day that Joe and I walk into Mezzaluna, we make sure that we don’t take it for granted. It’s such a blessing to be able to make our passion our lifestyle.”


“Punch is kind of the original, American cocktail.  traditional Jamaican punch that they usually serve around the holiday time – it’s also called ‘Hibiscus Sorelle’ punch. We use Appleton Jamaican Rum and Oleo Saccharum. To create the Oleo Saccharum, just take a bunch of lime peel, put it in sugar, and it macerates overnight; then you dilute it. Normally, with a cocktail in the bar, you would shake it and it would incorporate your dilution and air. With this punch, instead of diluting it with water, we use hibiscus tea. We use lots of ginger, some cinnamon clove and allspice. It’s a three-step process that’s not super hard to do, it’s just a bit time-consuming. Once it’s done, it’s very easy, communal, and you can store it for a long time.”
Mezzaluna Mixologist – Max Parker

Mezzaluna Mixologist Max Parker’s

25 oz. of sugar by weight

Zest of 12 limes

25 oz. of lime juice

75 oz. of Jamaican rum (Appleton V/X preferably)

6 quarts water 

1 lb. dried hibiscus flowers

2 tablespoons whole allspice

10 whole cloves

10 whole cinnamon stix

And 8 oz. fresh peeled and chopped ginger

To start, take the peeled limes and put them with the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cover and let macerate overnight.
Take the water, hibiscus, spices, and ginger and put in a large pot; bring to boil and let simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat and let steep until the tea is very tart and full flavored but not tannic and the spices come through. Strain into a separate container and measure 3-quarts of tea and incorporate into sugar until it dissolves. 
Add rum and lime juice. Put the entire punch in fridge to chill overnight. It will be ready to serve. Add ice, lime wheels and grate fresh nutmeg over top. If you want it to be bubbly pour some champagne over top and enjoy!

Max’s Tip for Cleaner Cocktails
To make the over-sized ice cubes, Parker uses one-directional freezing and a technique using nearly boiling water, frozen into containers. This directs the impurities to the bottom of the block, which then gets discarded. The ultra-clean top gets sliced off and cut into larger cubes to help keep the drink colder, longer and preserve the integrity of the cocktail.

As a self-taught mixologist, Parker has read over 33 books on mixology and never misses an opportunity to hone his skills. To create his signature cocktails, he often looks to the flavor profiles of desserts and pastries, for inspiration. His theory is that if it works in desserts, with a few sweet adjustments, it can work in a cocktail.

MezzalunaExecutive Chef: Joe Brunner’s 
White Sweet Potato and Apple Risotto with Bacon and Brussel Sprouts
Serves: 8                                                                                     

8 Strips of thick bacon (diced)

2 Shallots (minced)

5 cloves of garlic (minced)

4 Cups of arborio rice

½ Cup of white wine

¾ Gallon of chicken stock

1 Tablespoon of allspice

1 Tablespoon of cardamom

Salt and pepper to taste

12 Brussel sprouts, shaved

2 Tablespoons of butter

½ Cup of shredded parmesan

8 oz of toasted and crushed hazelnut

 Directions:-Start off by rendering the bacon on a large pot, big enough to fit all of the rice and liquid.-Remove the bacon once rendered, but keep the fat in the pan. On medium-high heat, sweat shallots and garlic until aromatic. Then toss in the Arborio rice and toast until the grains give off a nutty aroma.-Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Add your allspice, cardamom, then salt and pepper. -Slowly add chicken stock – 2 cups at a time, while continually stirring. The key to creamy risotto is the constant stirring to draw all of the starch out of the rice. -Once all of your stock is added, and the rice is al dente. Toss in your Brussel sprouts, cheese, and butter and mix until incorporated.-Finish by placing into whatever serving vessel you choose and garnish with the bacon and hazelnuts.

Rules of Risotto:
“Every holiday, I try to make risotto; I just want to bring a little bit of skill to the table, rather than the usual mash potatoes and stuffing. If you have a risotto recipe, my advice is to follow it. There are no shortcuts – the whole idea of stirring it the entire time is to draw the starch out of the rice and then make it creamy,” said Brunner. “Keep tasting it until it’s al dente, but not too crunchy or soft; then I always finish it with a small amount of parmesan cheese. I also think it’s important to toast the rice at the start, to extract the nutty flavor.”

“With roasting duck, there’s a lot of fat, so you first have to figure out a way to get rid of all the fat so you can achieve a crisp skin. Yesterday, we poached it in water for 10-minutes, trying to release some of that fat, so it can roast faster,” said Brunner. “My theory for roasting anything – duck, turkey, or chicken, is to do it fast and at a high temp, otherwise I think it gets too dry. Duck can also be eaten a little undercooked, but it’s not advised to eat the legs undercooked – it’s essentially like cooking a turkey.”

MezzalunaExecutive Chef: Joe Brunner’s Maple Roasted Duck
1 – 5 to 6 lb. whole duck, giblets removed2 – sprigs of rosemary2 – Sprigs of thyme1 – OrangeSalt & pepperButcher’s twineMaple syrup

Directions:NOTE: The day before you plan on roasting and serving the duck, make sure that you blanch the duck in simmering water to render some of the fat before roasting. Let air dry in your fridge so the skin is tacky and roasts easier.

1. First, stuff and truss the bird with butchers twine. Put the thyme, rosemary, and orange inside the cavity of the duck.

2. Next is trussing; this involves tying the two legs together and pulling the two strings around the bird and tying at the top. Trussing allows the duck to cook all at the same time instead of certain parts cooking before the others.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (roasting the duck at a higher temperature will ensure that the meat will stay moist as well as cook it a lot faster).

NOTE: Make sure the duck is sitting on top of a cooling rack, on top of a sheet pan because there will be a lot of fat rendering off, and it needs a place to collect the fat.

4. Insert the duck into the oven and set a timer for 45 minutes. Careful not to open the oven too many times to check because the mixture of fat and juices coming out of the duck will make your kitchen quite smoky.

5. After the first 45 minutes, open the oven and rotate the pan 180 degrees. Close the door and set another timer for 45 minutes. By this time the duck should be done. Remove from the oven and insert a digital thermometer into the inner thigh area and make sure it reaches at least 165 degrees.

6. Let rest for 15 minutes. Once rested. Pour the maple syrup over the top to make a glaze on the duck. Carve and enjoy!

Chef Joe Brunner is co-owner of Mezzaluna and graduated from NDSCS’s Culinary School in Wahpeton, N.D. in 2016. While he has been the head chef for nearly two years, he began his career as an intern for both Mezzaluna and Rustica, while attending college. _____________________________________________

Seasonal Inspiration
Our focus is to change our menu as the season changes; using the ingredients that are earth is providing to us, and featuring items that speak to our Midwestern culture,” said Taylor Snelling. “We love to source from our local purveyors and want to be as sustainable as possible.”

“During the fall and winter months, we bring in more savory items and comfort food. We also incorporate a lot of warmer flavors with seasonings like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cardamon,” said Brunner.

Get to Know: Mezzaluna’s Taylor Snelling
Snelling grew up in Litchfield, Minnesota and moved to the Fargo/Moorhead area in 2010. He was first introduced to the restaurant industry as a student at Minnesota State University, Moorhead, where he discovered a front-of-house passion for creating the ultimate guest experience. Snelling’s enthusiasm led him to a career behind the infamous horseshoe bar at Mezzaluna, in Downtown Fargo. He quickly transitioned from a host to a server, and ultimately, a bartender. While perfecting his craft, Snelling was promoted to Bar Manager, then later took on the role of General Manager. Today, he is Mezzaluna’s co-owner with Brunner, and thrives on setting a superior standard of service in one of Fargo’s most celebrated restaurants.

Gather with Grace 
“We’re having a great time and we just want to always be a business that takes care of our people. Our saying is, ‘If we take care of our people, then they’ll take care of the guests.’ Our team knows that the six-hours of each day that we’re open, is the most important part of the day,” said Taylor Snelling.

“We all have very strong feelings related to time around the dinner table,” said Taylor Snelling. Some of my best memories, either with family or friends, has been spent around the dinner table. Even though Mezzaluna is considered fine dining, we want to be able to always provide a high level of service, but in a humble and comfortable environment that guests will want to come back to, and bring their friends and family.”
For more information or reservations, contact:
Taylor Snelling / Owner
Joe Brunner / Owner & Executive Chef
309 Roberts Street North, Fargo


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From Our Tables to Yours [Grain Designs]

Story by Tracy NicholsonShop photography by Dan Francis Photography, Finished table photos by Grain DesignsStore photos by M. Schleif Photography Grain Designs has built their passion on embracing the imperfect….

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Shop photography by Dan Francis Photography, Finished table photos by Grain Designs
Store photos by M. Schleif Photography

Grain Designs has built their passion on embracing the imperfect. Every knot, scrape and nail hole, reflecting scarred wood that tells a unique story. This month, the team used their passion for design to ignite someone else’s; West Fargo’s Landon Solberg. At 11-years-old, Solberg has spent the last year courageously fighting brain cancer alongside his family and parents, Andrea and Travis Solberg. Although he loves sports, he also has a love of design, spending hours in the hospital watching HGTV, and expertly planning renovations for his family’s home. Recently, Landon’s family was nominated to take part in Grain Designs’ initiative, “From Our Tables to Yours”. This was Landon’s chance to gain first-hand experience at building a table with the Grain Designs team, and the team’s chance to give back to the community they love. 

From back left, Grant Koenig, Brayden Horgan, Zach Nelson, Travis & Griffin Solberg and Pat Bresnahan. From front left, Blain Mikkonen, Landon Solberg, Andrea Solberg, Emry Solberg, Cody Freestone.

Give Back & Gather
With work that’s been well-received throughout the community, Grain Designs wanted to find a way to return the favor. What transpired, was their unique table build initiative called, “From Our Tables to Yours”. This idea gave them a chance to give back in a meaningful way, and also remind people of the significance and often lost-art of gathering around the table. They asked the community to nominate deserving people to receive a hand-crafted table, then teamed up with At Your Service Clean & Cuisine to cater in a meal for a deserving family or community member. This will be the fourth project they’ve completed on behalf of community members. Landon Solberg was nominated by family friend and neighbor, Katie Sullivan.

“The community support puts food on our tables, so we want to do the same,” said Blain Mikkonen, founding partner at Grain Designs. “Since we partner with At-Your-Service Clean and Cuisine, it’s a two-part initiative; we actually gift a handmade table to a family in need, whether it’s through stewardship or hardship, and the community is able to nominate them. We’ve done this for three years now; this will be our third table and we’ve also done a large shelving project for a deserving family in South Dakota. Our first table was for a Moorhead resident who has since passed away. At the time, he was really a steward for the community and was facing some hardships.”

“Landon has a passion for design, so this project is a little bit unique in that he wanted to help design the table from start to finish,” said Mikkonen. “I met with him at the store and we designed the table on the computer – then he picked the stain and we talked about the dimensions and how the design process works. He’s also designed a bench to go with the dining table.”

To see their work in progress, we visited the Grain Designs rural workshop located on the site of their new wedding and event venue, The Pines. Between treatments and clinical trials in Cincinnati, Landon Solberg, along with his family, arrived ready and excited to get to work on the table he designed himself.

To walk him through the process, the Grain Designs team set up step-by-step stations, from the initial cutting stages to the table saw planing, then finally choosing between stain samples so he could make his final design selections.

“Landon’s really creative; you can tell he has a true passion for design,” said Mikkonen. “His parents and family were really excited for this project and they told us the story of him designing their house – he’s had a say in a lot of their renovations.”

“We have an unfinished basement, so Landon’s already put his personal touches on that space,” said Landon’s mom, Andrea Solberg. “He’s picked out the carpet, countertops, lighting and really everything. It’s a quaint, small area and he wanted Star Wars, NDSU and a little bit of Broncos. When we were in the hospital, we watched HGTV the whole time.”

“This is just icing on the cake that he gets to work on another piece for their home. When we designed the table together, we talked about functionality and how you seat the most people around a table, leg interference and the available space in the home,” explained Mikkonen.

“To seat more people, he decided on a metal, pedestal base. He chose a white pine wood, which is from the Globe grain elevator in Superior, Wisconsin,” said Mikkonen. “When it was built, it was the largest grain elevator in the world, so the wood has a ton of history. Since the base is welded metal, Landon was able to do some welding with Grant. For the top, he chose an ebony glaze, which is a grey finish and one of our most popular right now – so he’s made really good design choices.”

Sharing a Passion
“It’s hard for us to donate money as we’re trying to build our business, but donating product and time is something we can do,” said Mikkonen. “This is one way that we can give back while sharing our craft and passion with others. The beautiful thing about dining tables is that we feel it’s one of the most important pieces in the home. The dining table is the one place where you can really bring people together; it’s about creating that sense of community and family, especially in times of need. If we can bring them back to the table and talk about what’s important, that’s the premise behind this program.”

“The dining table is the one place where you can really bring people together. It’s about creating that sense of community and family, especially in times of need.”
Blain Mikkonen, Grain Designs

Counting their Blessings
Nearly one year ago, Landon was diagnosed with a grade III, aggressive brain tumor, also known as Anaplastic Astrocytomas. What began as severe headaches, quickly evolved into a much more serious condition that had doctors scrambling for answers. “It’s in his thalamus and down into his brain stem. Your brain stem is the control center of your body, so it can’t be removed and it can’t be operated on because it’s a grade III. It acts fairly aggressive and doesn’t normally respond well to chemo and radiation,” said Andrea Solberg.

One year later, Landon has undergone multiple brain surgeries at Sanford and Mayo and is now part of a clinical trial which has their family traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio, every four weeks. Although radiation has not shrunk the tumor, it remains stable which gives them hope. They may not know what tomorrow brings, but the Solbergs plan to keep fighting, praying and searching for a treatment that will provide a better prognosis.

“He’s a special kid; he’s so kind and he never complains,” said Andrea Solberg. “He missed quite a bit of school last year, so his school had a robot and it was the coolest thing. The West Fargo Technology Center brought it in; it was on wheels with a pole and a big iPad. He could control it, so he parked it in his seat and he’d walk in in the morning and the kids would say, ‘Hi Landon!’, and he’d wave back. I thought it was really cool because when we were in the hospital in Cincinnati, the doctors there had never seen anything like this.”

Landon’s Light
Landon’s Light was an idea that transpired from Casey Glandt of Go Promo while the Solbergs were with Landon in the hospital. Glandt is a family friend and attended school at Valley City with both Travis and Andrea Solberg. “He makes a lot of apparel at his company, so he and his wife made these shirts that say, ‘Landon’s Light’,” said Andrea Solberg. “Landon is a huge Harry Potter fan. So, the backs of the shirts have a Harry Potter quote.

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light.” – Albus Dumbledore

“At the time, when we were in the ICU, it was kind of a fog; we barely remember it,” said Andrea Solberg. “But, the one thing we do remember was, all of a sudden, everyone starting changing their profiles on Facebook to Landon’s Light and tagging us in it. We just sat and cried.”

Support the Solbergs
“We’re just really lucky to have all of this support and everyone’s prayers; we never expected it. My sister-in-law does the Landon’s Light Facebook page, there’s a CaringBridge page and a friend of ours started a GoFundMe link to help us,” said Andrea Solberg. “His school (West Fargo’s Freedom Elementary) and all of the teachers have really rallied around him. I know this project is a lot of time and energy on Grain Designs’ part, but it means a lot to Landon; he was so excited about it.”Any donations to the Solberg’s GoFundMe link will help to lessen the burden of their medical bills, lost time at work, and travel expenses like flights, lodging and meals. These are ever-growing expenses that their family endures each month for trips to Cincinnati as part of the clinical trials. 

Know a family in need?
Go to graindesigns.com and click on the “Give Back” link where you can fill out a nomination form for a deserving family or individual. Each giveaway includes a custom-designed table and a full meal catered from At Your Service Clean & Cuisine.

“Whether the deserving recipients are facing hardship or being rewarded for stewardship, our hope is that a custom Grain Designs table and a catered meal will be a beacon of hope and conversation, for years to come,” Grant Koenig, Grain Designs.

For more information, or to nominate a family, contact:
Grain Designs

At Your Service Clean & Cuisine
To Donate to Landon’s Light Medical Fund or follow his journey:

Follow his journey on Facebook: Landons Light

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Arizona Airbnb [Trever Hill Design]

Story by Trever Hill Photography provided by Jessica Knutson, Photos Copyright Vacasa.com – Listing AZSC120 on vacasa.com  When my longtime friend, Jessica Knutson, hired me to assist her with Scottsdale, Arizona…

Story by Trever Hill 
Photography provided by Jessica Knutson, Photos Copyright Vacasa.com – Listing AZSC120 on vacasa.com 

When my longtime friend, Jessica Knutson, hired me to assist her with Scottsdale, Arizona home, I quickly packed my bag and headed south. Even though she had me at ‘Arizona’, I was even more intrigued when she told me that she was considering renting it out as an Airbnb. After a few brief trips to the always-sunny state, the result was a beautiful space that would make anyone want to extend their vacation.  

Mid-century Modification
While Jessica lives in Bismarck, and me in Fargo, we had no problem making quick trips to a warmer climate to complete her redesign. When she made the decision that it was going to be a vacation rental, we knew there would need to be some modifications to our existing design. In the original plan, we had it furnished with one-of-a-kind art, some of which was by local artist, Jessica Wachter. We needed to decide which pieces should stay, and which would need to be replaced.

We decided to keep unique pieces like the floral print we found at a local vintage shop, which was done by an Arizona artist. Another piece that stayed, is near the front door; this was purchased at a Bismarck art gala and later brought to Arizona. The home was comprised of mainly expensive furnishings and a few more affordable pieces that we knew might work well for a rented vacation home. 

Jessica and I pulled together the final look with a lot of pieces from Restoration Hardware and various other places, including Wayfair. We also mixed in a few pieces from Jessica’s Bismarck home. The Arizona Airbnb market is competitive, so we wanted to make sure every detail was perfect, but also keep a cost-effective mindset throughout the process. Since this is essentially a vacation home for others, we made sure to choose only furnishings that we knew would be able to withstand heavy wear and tear.

Meet the Owner: Jessica Knutson“Traveling from Fargo and working with Trever was a breeze. He would fly in and we would hit the ground running; usually hitting up a modern furniture store closer to the airport, and then circling back to the house. He was a trooper – just, go go go, and had a great eye that did not get distracted as we searched. He was able to find things that I would have never seen or even thought about that were so special and really tied the place together.”

“The living room was a different shape and I really wanted to highlight both the fireplace and the seating area. Trever came in and moved the furniture around in a way that really opened up and brightened the space.”

“The fun part about this home was the style. I had existing, ‘chunky’ furniture from my North Dakota house, but I wanted to incorporate the Mid-century modern and make it a bit more fun. It didn’t take a lot of money or new pieces; just the right ones, in the right places, to really pull together and blend with what I already had.”

Find the Finishes: Common Area

Sofa, coffee table & accent chairs – RH ModernWhite swan chaise – Brickell CollectionDining table and chairs – Restoration HardwareArea rug – HomeGoodsDining mirror & outdoor coffee table – WayfairOutdoor furniture – Restoration Hardware,  Design Within ReachAccessories – Mixture of vintage stores, previous homes & HomeGoods

Find the Finishes: Bed & Bath

Master bedroom – Restoration Hardware
Spare bedroom beds – RH ModernSpare bedroom lighting – Vintage shopsSpare bedroom bedding – HomeGoodsSpare bedroom flooring – CoreTec Laguna OakSpare bedroom countertops – MarbleBathroom vanities – Ikea

For more information, contact:
Trever Hill Design

View the Full Vacation Listing: Copyright Vacasa.com – Listing AZSC120 on vacasa.com (smaller text)

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Refreshed Retreat [Lindsey Grace Interiors]

Story by Lindsey Christie Photography by Northern Stories A few months ago the Stibbe family reached out to me to help pull together the remaining of their upstairs bedrooms, which…

Story by Lindsey Christie

Photography by Northern Stories

A few months ago the Stibbe family reached out to me to help pull together the remaining of their upstairs bedrooms, which included their master bedroom. Trisha Stibbe is a wife and mother of four littles, a talented writer and somehow also finds time to give back to several amazing causes. Her home is full of love and a little bit of chaos, which is highlighted on her blog 3mistersandasister.com. She also has great taste and a knack for design herself, which only made this project so much more fun.

The space itself had great bones, a natural sliding barn door, a gorgeous existing light fixture and tons of natural light. We started the process out by reviewing inspiration images, and I immediately knew we were on the same page aesthetic-wise. I dove into designing and presented the Stibbes with digital design boards that gave them a realistic idea of what their space would look like.

When designing, I took into account the Stibbe’s busy lifestyle. I didn’t want to sacrifice the bright and airy look that they were going for, but also knew it needed to hold up and be functional for cozy, family movie nights. I presented them with an upholstered bed frame in an ivory, outdoor-grade fabric; gorgeous, cozy and easy to clean.

To add in a bit of contrast, I went with a set of updated grey/blue end tables. The little brass accents on the feet are my favorite! Since the tables brought not only color but also texture to the space, I went with a pair of subtle, but classic table lamps. Stibbe had an existing leather bench she wanted to utilize in the space, and I love the natural tones in the area. We tied it in with a rattan and acrylic, painted accent chair.

From the start, one of the biggest goals was to make the space feel finished. Since the room was already carpeted, Stibbe and I decided that we would forgo a rug in the space. Instead, we dove into designing a set of custom draperies, and it really brought the room to a whole new level.

When it comes draperies, there are so many details that go into making them right. It starts with the selection of fabric and hardware. Stibbe fell in love with the color and texture of the fabric. We tied in the brass accents in the space with the hardware. Karen Anderson at Rose Creek Designs then set the panels into production and executed them perfectly within the space. We sourced artwork from Etsy, and I worked with Stibbe to select the bedding for the space. The final accessories to pull everything together are sourced locally from McNeal & Friends.


If you ask any designer, install day is like our super bowl. I love creating that magical HGTV moment for clients. I got the call from my receiving warehouse that the items for the Stibbe’s home had arrived sooner than expected, and I knew that they were away on an end-of-summer family vacation before school started. The Stibbes came home to not only their own beds after vacation, but an entirely new space. These are the projects that make what I do so worth it, I couldn’t be more grateful for the trust that the Stibbe’s gave me as a designer; it definitely shows in the outcome of their beautifully finished space.

For more information, contact: 

Lindsey Christie of Lindsey Grace Interiors




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Girl Meets Farm [ Season #2 meets Baby #1 ]

Story by Tracy Nicholson & Molly Yeh Photography courtesy of Molly Yeh With holiday excitement in the air and a bun in the oven (due in March), Molly Yeh debuted…

Story by Tracy Nicholson & Molly Yeh
Photography courtesy of Molly Yeh

With holiday excitement in the air and a bun in the oven (due in March), Molly Yeh debuted the big news last month, during the premiere of her second season of Food Network’s show, Girl Meets Farm. Filmed in the home she shares with her husband Nick Hagen, a fifth-generation farmer in East Grand Forks, this local food blogger has been stirring up the food scene since 2009. Since her number one fans are right here in the Midwest, we reached out to Yeh to help us kick off our holiday baking with a fresh take on an old favorite, brown sugar cookies.

Meet Molly Yeh!

Years before I became hip to Levain or Birdbath (my two favorite cookie spots in New York), or Carol’s Cookies (my favorite in Chicago), or the salty bittersweet chocolate chip cookie at the town bakery, my older sister invented a cookie that is so jarring in principle, it’ll make you either scoot fast in the opposite direction, or stick around just to see if the world explodes; chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips.

No, it’s not just a sugar cookie, homogeneous throughout and frosted with glee. It’s a chewy, gooey, crackly puck that doesn’t have a name to ride on or a trust fund under its butt. It’s not decorated or fancy. All it has to offer is that it’s a quality cookie.

These will show you that with all of the research put out into the world by Jacques Torres and J. Kenji López-Alt, one can achieve a beyond-terrific cookie, sans the hook of them containing chocolate. Because a great chocolate chip cookie isn’t great because it has chocolate, a great chocolate chip cookie is great because it has a foundation of gold; something we don’t give enough credit to. Is this getting preachy? The point is, I appreciate the spaces filled between the chocolate chips, and just like I prefer my challah without raisins, I often prefer my cookies without any chocolate to disrupt the perfect blend of butter and sugar.

“I appreciate the spaces filled between the chocolate chips, and just like I prefer my challah without raisins, I often prefer my cookies without any chocolate to disrupt the perfect blend of butter and sugar.”
Molly Yeh



Molly Yeh’s
Brown Sugar Cookies

[Makes about 8 large cookies]

3 – c. flour

1 – tsp. kosher salt

1 – tsp. baking powder

¼ – tsp. baking soda

1 – c. unsalted butter, at room temperature

½ – c. sugar

1 – c. packed dark brown sugar

2 – large eggs

1 – tbs. vanilla bean paste or extract

Flaky sea salt, for topping

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each, then add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dry ingredients are incorporated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out hockey-puck-size mounds of dough (about two ice cream scoops of dough, balled up and flattened slightly) and place them on the baking sheet. It’s okay for them to sit snugly up against each other for this step. Sprinkle the tops with a pinch of flaky salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours or up to 72. (In a pinch, you can bake these after just 1 hour of refrigerating, but curing the dough for 24 hours will yield the best results.) Feel free to bake these in batches or freeze some to bake at a later date (frozen cookies can be baked right out of the freezer, but they’ll need more time in the oven).

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place the cookies three inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until the bottoms are lightly browned, but the centers are still soft. Begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes. Cool on the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove to the rack to cool completely.


Find this recipe in Yeh’s cookbook, Molly on the Range:
Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm © 2016 by Molly Yeh. Reprinted with permission from Rodale Books.Follow Molly Yeh!

  • Catch episodes from her TV series, Girl Meets Farm on Food Network, Sundays at 11:00 a.m.
  • Watch video exclusives with Molly Yeh and get how-to’s on cake decorating and making your favorite childhood snacks at FoodNetwork.com/GirlMeetsFarm.
  • Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #GirlMeetsFarm.
  • Follow Yeh on Facebook and Instagram @mynameisyeh.


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Style & Stage Through New Year’s Day [Trever Hill Design]

Story by Trever Hill with Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography With holiday and new year parties nearing, I decided to stage and style a photo shoot using locally-sourced…

Story by Trever Hill with Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography
With holiday and new year parties nearing, I decided to stage and style a photo shoot using locally-sourced finds, with the idea that it can then be recreated in your own home. The White House Co.’s downtown warehouse provided the perfect backdrop with a bonus – my pick from hundreds of vintage furnishings in a rainbow of rich colors and textures. This setting will show you a fun fusion of local art as well as vintage and modern decor that you can rent or buy to host your holidays. Since furnishing trends tend to emulate fashion trends, I made sure to include a few model friends to show off some bold party looks from my friends at Downtown Fargo’s Others and Proper & Prim.

Borrowing Beauty
In the midst of planning a party but don’t think your furnishings are festive enough? Most people don’t realize that if they want to spruce up their space, it’s as easy as hiring a local designer for a consult or renting a couple of items for a day or weekend. You can really make a huge impact by adding in just a few fun pieces in interesting colors or textures.

Lovely Lounging
Our festive lounge scene is focused on the velvet settee from The White House Co. along with a coordinating large-scale art piece from my friend, Jessica Wachter. To add a vintage-mod dimension, I included a vintage area rug over the sisal rug, modern coffee table and fun, velvet side chairs. The majority of these items can be rented or purchased in Fargo-Moorhead with the exception of the sisal rug – this was an online find.

Embrace your Inner Bookworm
Vintage, hardcover books are not just for reading. They also make great decor when you coordinate the colors in rows or stacks on shelves, side tables or tablescapes. The White House Co. sells these and often accents the colorful rows with rustic items like deer antlers. For this shoot, I added in a reflective disco ball which can carry the design from Christmas to New Year’s Eve.

Dine in Style
To create the dining area, I first found the dining table and tree at Eco Chic Home, then added some color with rustic wood chairs from O’Day Cache. On the tabletop, I strayed away from traditional holiday colors, yet still kept the look festive with floral from Love Always Floral and gorgeous place settings from McNeal & Friends.

Entertaining but Indecisive?
Sometimes you need a fresh pair of eyes, so whether you’re working with a designer like myself or a place that rents furnishings, make sure to keep an open mind. Bring a picture and The White House Co. can quickly help you choose from hundreds of rental options and colors. A consult with a designer in your home can help you to see outside of the traditional ideas of holiday decor and seamlessly fuse it with your existing style and furnishings.

Dress to Impress

Once I’d set the stage, our models had to be equally adorned, courtesy of two fantastic boutiques in Downtown Fargo. To dress the ladies, Myranda Ingram, Sydney Fritz and Cassandra Colling, we visited my friend Teresa O’Day at Proper & Prim and they were quickly outfitted in glitz, glam and fun materials that played into our vintage-mod vibe. Our lone male model, Atati Mita was dressed in clothing from Others.

Shop the Look

Sequined romper – $88, Proper & Prim

Black sequin dress – $84, Proper & Prim

Maroon glimmer dress – $60, Proper & Prim

Men’s dress shirt – $48, Others

Find the Finishes

Art – $2,200, Jessica Wachter

Dining table – $915, Eco Chic Home

Tree – $299, Eco Chic Home

Dining chairs – $65, O’Day Cache

Sofa rental – $100 daily, The White House Co.

Books – $3 each, The White House Co.

Place setting & stemware – $562, McNeal & Friends

Pillows – $29, The White House Co.

Sisal Rug – $279, Wayfair
Blue side chairs – $258 at Target/ Also available for rent at The White House Co.

Floral – $149, Love Always Floral

Roses grown/sourced from – Alexandra Farms
(Find them at Alexandrafarms.com & on Instagram at alexandrafarms)
Fun fact: Alexandra Farms specializes in boutique roses and grow over 60 different types!


Gift the Host
During the holidays, parties are plentiful, so make sure you’re prepared to pamper the host. Here are two fun gift ideas that will spark conversation and spice up the festivities.

Hot Ruby
Hot Ruby was created in 1950 in the kitchen of Ruby Faye in Mabelle, Texas. Faye’s cranberry cider recipe, infused with cinnamon and clove, was famous among friends and family and always served up simmering hot. For family-friendly functions, try it with sparkling water, ginger ale or club soda. If you prefer spicy and spiked, there are endless ways to serve it up cold with champagne, tequila or ginger beer or make it hot the way Faye intended with vodka, spiced whiskey or bourbon.

Get the full story and list of recipes at DrinkHotRuby.com.

Where to Buy in Fargo-Moorhead:
Shotwell Floral & Greenhouses
4000 40th Street South, Fargo

BĒT Vodka 

In 2016, BĒT (pronounced ‘beet’) VODKA came to life in Minneapolis. From generations of Midwest family farmers to the cooperative where the harvest is gathered, BĒT distills the bounty of sugar beets from the Red River Valley, down to its simplest and purest essence. The result is a sophisticated premium-pour meant be sipped and savored — unlike traditional vodka. Similar to Midwestern culture, BĒT is served best alongside good company. BĒT Vodka comes in mini bottles and 750 ml. bottles.

Check out their full story at betvodka.com.

Where to Buy in Fargo-Moorhead: 

Royal Liquors | Happy Harry’s Bottle Shop | Bottle Barn

Crown Liquors | 99 Bottles

For more information, contact:
Trever Hill Design

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A Very Vintage Christmas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Junking!

xo The White House Girls

For more information, contact:
The White House Co. | Shop + Vintage Rentals

Retail Location:

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

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

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