Midwest Nest Magazine

Midwest Nest Magazine

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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:


As always you can find us on:

Facebook @iLoveEcoChic

Instagram @ecochicboutique

Xo, Maria



Maria Bosak

Eco Chic Boutique


4955 17th Ave. South, Fargo


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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




Smart Spaces

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




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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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Sophisticated Comfort

“A designer makes all the difference. We knew what we wanted, but our designer (Rebecca Knutson) had the skills, vision, and taste to make it happen. We couldn’t be happier…

“A designer makes all the difference. We knew what we wanted, but our designer (Rebecca Knutson) had the skills, vision, and taste to make it happen. We couldn’t be happier to see our dream come true.”  -Homeowner

Inspired Entry

Having that trust from the homeowners allowed me to introduce a variance of textures, patterns, and materials from the entry to the kitchen. One step through the front door and guests are overcome with a sense of comfortable sophistication and the breathtaking view of the valley beyond.

In this project, the entry helped set the tone for the homeowner’s style. We chose two styles of arabesque tiles intersecting to form this visually appealing foyer floor. Terracotta tiles have their rich brown stain applied with a brush and then hand rubbed with a varnish coating for a unique patina. The arabesque floor tiles provide a certain design interest that evokes both comfort and sophistication. It also gives guests a taste of the many textures and patterns they’ll see throughout the home.

Throughout the main level, I chose an engineered oak, wood flooring in a 7.5 inch-wide plank. This style has a wonderful, linear graining and low-gloss finish which calls to mind vintage, European oil-rubbed flooring. The richness of the warm, wood flooring pairs well with the grey tones throughout the home.

Lighting the Way

No room is complete without proper lighting and the entry is no exception. We chose two sconces which house a beautiful combination of glass and metal which are materials that trickle throughout each space. Adding substantial lighting fixtures were the key to drawing the eye up to the many details in the custom, coffered ceiling beams.

Recipe for Success

This home’s kitchen was designed for a chef. The appliances needed to answer to their calling and the materials had to be able to withstand everyday use and entertaining, equally. I love that the home allowed so many textural elements to come together. Rich woods, patina metals, depth-defying crystal quartzite, Carrara stone, and even mercury glass appear throughout. Each brings a uniqueness to its selection, pattern and placement.

With the island as our focal point, we chose a stunning Quartzite. I loved the transparent, crystal appearance with waves of chocolate, grey and canary yellow. The rich grey tones created an interesting contrast without competing with the warm wood flooring and stain of the perimeter cabinetry.

On the back perimeter counter, we opted for a Quartz with a unique blend of deep browns and light colored veins. For the perimeter cabinetry, I chose an interesting Pumice finish that’s hot and on-trend. This tone can lend itself toward a warm grey but still allow the beauty of the wood grain to shine through. The Pumice stain coordinates well with the trend of rustic or reclaimed wood while resulting in a more sophisticated style.

For the kitchen backsplash, I used a honed Carrara marble mosaic which wraps the sink and range wall. I chose this because the honed stone pattern accented the Pumice stain and repeated the curve of the glass doors on the range wall.

Prepping Perfection

For the final kitchen element, I decided to add in a sense of sophistication by designing a custom, coffered ceiling, painted white to coordinate with the interior windows and door casings. To unify the two entertaining spaces, we carried this timeless ceiling detail through to the nearby dining room. The finished space is cohesive, beautiful and high-functioning, with a unique design made to effortlessly accommodate two or twenty.

Elevated Style

For the final kitchen element, I decided to add in a sense of sophistication by designing a custom, coffered ceiling, painted white to coordinate with the interior windows and door casings. To unify the two entertaining spaces, we carried this timeless ceiling detail through to the nearby dining room. The finished space is cohesive, beautiful and high-functioning, with a unique design made to effortlessly accommodate two or twenty.

In this kitchen, some of the most useful spaces are the ones guests cannot see. We’ve added a warming drawer below the oven and spice organizers hidden behind wall cabinetry doors. A chef’s storage cabinet is located in the island, placed directly behind the range. This allows for easy access to commonly used items like oils, vinegars and bulk spices. Dish storage near the sink and dishwasher allow clean up and meal-prep to happen in one discreet space.

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Culinary Masterson

With Fall entertaining in full-swing, I thought this was the perfect time to introduce one of my own party essentials, the gourmet charcuterie tray. I’m not a professional chef or…

With Fall entertaining in full-swing, I thought this was the perfect time to introduce one of my own party essentials, the gourmet charcuterie tray. I’m not a professional chef or an expert in wine and cheese, but when it comes to hosting, I love to make the presentation pop. With a little creativity, I’ll show you how a gourmet tray can serve as a gorgeous and edible centerpiece that will impress even the most discriminating of guests.

Stock Up

Creating the perfect palate pleaser is easier than you think. Typical cheese trays have a variety of meats, fruit, preserves, honey and olives to fill in the gaps and help create a mix of flavors and interest. I bend the rules a bit and throw in sweeter elements like dark chocolate almonds and a spicy dark chocolate dip which works well with the lighter cheeses and fruit. I love that you can get creative and there’s really no limit as to what you can do. Just make sure it’s appealing to the eye and tastebuds with an array of colors, textures and tastes.

Where to Shop

If you want to find unique items and super-fresh produce, head to Prairie Roots Co-op in Downtown Fargo. While in the vicinity, visit Pinch & Pour, where they encourage guests to taste test until you find the perfect olive oil and balsamic concoctions. For the cheeses, I used a mix of local favorites from Pinch & Pour, Prairie Roots Co-op, Luna and even Costco. If you’re not sure how to choose the cheese, the experts at Luna are happy to help anyone navigate their impressive cheese selection.

Wine & Dine

After choosing four varieties of cheese, we asked The Spirit Shop’s Ronni Heggen to coordinate the perfect wine pairings to complement our selection. When hosting, never assume your guests are master sommeliers. Positioning the wines directly behind each cheese lets guests enjoy the experience without the guessing game.

10 Tasty Tips

1. If you’re new to cheese trays, keep it simple. Select at least one soft cheese like brie, one hard or semi-hard cheese like cheddar and another bolder variation such as blue cheese. In this tray, I included a coordinating cracker or bread for each cheese. Example, water crackers and artisan crisps pair well with the Brie. Use a french baguette with Blue cheese or olive oil, and any other unique cracker for the Cheddar and Montamore.

2. For a more festive and fresh approach, make sure to include spreads and produce that are currently in-season.

3. If you don’t have a specific cheese tray or cutting board, take a look in your pantry and get creative. Any large serving ware or clean, flat item can work. If you’re doing trays for larger parties, consider splitting the food up by category breads and crackers, cheeses, produce, dips and spreads and even a bite size dessert tray.

4. To achieve the fullest flavor, make sure to take your cheese out of the refrigerator at least a half hour before you serve it. Cheese should always be served at room temperature.

5. To begin your tray design, start with placing the cheese, spacing them out so you have room to add in the complimenting produce, nuts and spreads. Placing largest to smallest is an easy way to create an appealing tray.

6. Make sure you thoroughly drain olives and capers before placing them on the tray. This will help eliminate runny messes. If you need to use watery fruit like watermelon, you can also use small ramekins to keep the foods separated.

7. If your tray includes meat varieties, create sections of each separate meat near the cheese. Then get creative and fold, flower or roll the meat for added visual appeal.

8. Get creative with your garnish. A finished tray is not complete without a little greenery. I like to use fresh herbs like Rosemary and Thyme, ferns, flowers or pine branches depending on the season. If you opt for herbs, throw a sprig in your olive oil for an extra punch of flavor.

9. Try making your own candied nuts. You can find multiple recipes online, but most just call for roasting the nuts in the oven at 350 degrees first, then quickly stirring them into a saucepan with melted sugar. Once coated, lay them out on parchment paper and sprinkle with salt. Just remember to work quickly as you’ll only have seconds before the sugar starts to crystallize.

10. As any good host knows, keeping food and drink flowing is a tough task to keep up with while entertaining guests. Simplify the process by pre-cutting extra fruit, cheese, and meat, then placing them into presentable ramekins or small bowls in your refrigerator so that you can easily restock, even in mid conversation. This will help keep wrappers and plastic produce containers out of sight and you won’t have to stop mid-party to slice and dice.

The Price to Party

As an appetizer, our tray with four cheese selections would typically accommodate about six to eight people. For this size, expect to spend around $100 to $150, with plenty of leftovers to create another. If that’s out of your budget, just scale it down using fewer cheese and cracker options with less produce. The price of the cheeses vary, but the ones we selected ran about $10 to $15 dollars per block.

Love Your Leftovers

To get a longer life out of your leftovers, make sure to store your cheese according to its type. Soft cheeses like Brie should be kept in an airtight container. Semi-hard cheeses like Cheddar and Blue cheese can be wrapped in plastic wrap. Hard or aged cheeses should be wrapped in parchment paper or cheese cloth. If you need a quick storage solution for hard or semi-hard cheeses, you can also purchase special parchment bags at most grocery stores.

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