Midwest Nest Magazine

Midwest Nest Magazine

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

Category: Design

Epic Masterpiece

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography A stand-out home on the HBA’s Fall Parade of Homes, this Epic Homes masterpiece, located in The Wilds subdivision, is a…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

A stand-out home on the HBA’s Fall Parade of Homes, this Epic Homes masterpiece, located in The Wilds subdivision, is a must-see if you’re in the market for a new home. Epic Homes may be newer to the area, but they’ve quickly made a name for themselves with top-notch craftsmanship and a unique spin on finishes. Mix in a partnership with architect Jan Mevold of Mevold Studios and they’ve got themselves a recipe for success. After originally building custom homes in Western North Dakota, see how this young team is now spreading their wings on the other side of the state.

The Wilds
Located in The Wilds subdivision of West Fargo, this transitional, craftsman-style home resides on a massive, 16,600 square-foot lot with oversized front porch and extensive, covered patio in the back.

The Team
Epic Homes started as Venture Building Company with the owner, Parker Pladson, just over seven years ago, but it wasn’t until this year that all four of the team members began their Fargo partnership and rebranding to Epic Homes. Pladson is the owner and one of the project managers but wears many hats in running all aspects of the business. Taylor Belk is another project manager who was one of the first to join Pladson and help integrate the expansion to Fargo. Tom Seifert joined the team this Spring and manages the sales and marketing for Epic Homes. Another team member they consider pivotal to their building process is architect Jan Mevold, of Mevold Studios. Mevold and Belk are NDSU graduates, while Seifert graduated from University of Mary and Pladson from Dickinson State.

Design: Exterior Vs. Interior
“One thing we try to do is bring the outside look of the house inside,” said Belk. “So, whether it’s modern, farmhouse, contemporary or craftsmen, we try to carry that style through to the inside. That’s a major reason why we work with Jan Mevold, he can help if we have an idea of what we want the inside to look like, he can help carry that to the outside.”

Expanding the Front Porch
At first arrival of this home, one important feature proves a pivotal detail in the design and enjoyment of their homes. “We believe in putting larger front porches on our homes,” said Belk. “It brings the attention back to the front of the house. If you look at older homes that are still around, one big thing that you’ll notice is a lot of large front porches. In some of the newer neighborhoods, we feel they really lack that. Every house we do, we have at least a 200 square-foot front porch.”

“The first reason we do bigger front porches is because of the weather, and mainly snow in this part of the country, ” said architect Jan Mevold. “We also never want a garage to overpower the house. In neighborhoods today, garages are huge. Also, if you have a big, covered front porch, people are going to sit out there and you’ll share it with your friends and see your neighbors as they pass by. It’s much more welcoming.”

“Even with the exterior and our LP Smart Siding, we don’t believe in skimping or cutting corners ever, which gives us a better quality product with fewer issues dealing with our climate,” said Seifert. “The nice thing about LP is that it does give you that wood grain and plank look, it allows us to do more architectural features on the outside of the house with a lot of color options,” explained Belk. “There’s also whole-house audio that includes the front porch and back covered porch that can be run through your phone.”


Epic Interior Design

Architectural Elements + Mevold Studio
“I’ve known Taylor and Parker for a long time, so when I decided to come to Fargo they wanted to do a spec home,” said Mevold. “So, we worked together on the design of this house and had a lot of conversations about how to make a home different. For a spec home, you don’t have a client, so we wanted to create something that was different than other homes. The architectural bones were important to us because that’s something the homeowner can’t easily change. We needed to create something that would be timeless. We also wanted to take advantage of the location, this is a nice size lot with a really nice backyard, so we wanted to do great window placement and high ceilings.”

“As far as the architectural elements, this stone on the mantel is the same stone we used on the outside. So, you have a lot of big pieces, which I think is kind of missing sometimes in a space where the outside is very masculine but the inside is very feminine,” said Mevold. “We try to balance the two together.”

“It’s hard to explain until you see it, but what Jan does for our clients is being able to show a King size bed to-scale in the master bedroom or if they drive a certain vehicle, we can put that to scale in the garage. This way they can see how much room they’re actually getting. The average person isn’t going to know until they’re living in the house that they should have made that one room bigger. We just don’t run into those issues as often as some builders. We can really show them from the beginning what it looks like.” The team can even offer 3-D renderings so homeowners can see the space before it’s built.

Inside the home, the Epic Homes team, along with Mevold Studio, designed a stunning space with 2,100 square-feet on the main level. In the primary living area, vaulted ceilings reach an impressive 20-feet with beautiful Alder ceiling beams. A stone hearth is at the center of the space, accented by floating shelves and custom-painted built-ins. For Epic Homes, everything from the stain color to the painted built-ins is completely custom.

In this space, Alder beams are stained to match the floating shelves, mantel and stair railing. Don’t bother trying to search for the paint color on the lower built-ins, this is a custom color created specifically for Epic Homes. They’ve also carried this paint color through to the kitchen island. “Even with stain, we don’t just find a stain color that works, everything’s custom made for the home,” said Pladson. Even the stair railing leading to the lower-level, is specially fabricated in a unique, thatched design.

Grey is the New White
An uncommon design choice, the team steered away from the typical white trim, instead opting for a tone called Mindful Grey. “That’s just one of the design details we really enjoyed. It’s something different that carries through all of the design and architectural elements,” explained Seifert. “We go through an extensive finishing process to ensure that the color looks good and you can’t see any nail holes. It’s actually painted in place.”

This gorgeous kitchen starts with varying ceiling heights creating a double-vault at 13.5 feet. A custom painted island in the same hue as the mantel built-ins create a stylish presence with Quartz countertops and a farmhouse sink. Sleek, white cabinetry with top, crown moldings pair perfectly with the grey glass, subway tile backsplash.
The kitchen amenities include high-end appliances with double oven, an island dishwasher and lower microwave. “The island is 10 feet wide. One thing that we do when we put the sink in the countertop, we make the width of the island larger so you can actually use the area behind the sink,” explained Mevold.

Pantry Perfection
If you haven’t yet spotted the pantry, that’s exactly what the Epic Homes’ team wanted. “This idea just came from wanting to incorporate a pantry but design it in a way that no one else does, so we came up with this idea. We found some pictures of things that were similar and then just figured out how to make it work,” explained Pladson. “But, we wanted to incorporate it in a way that made it look like it’s part of the cabinetry. “With it being closed, you’d never even notice that it was there.”

To complete the hidden pantry door, Epic Homes started with an interior door and worked closely with Clearwater Custom Cabinets to place actual cabinetry on the face of it. To give it a seamless look, they wrapped the whole area with cabinetry so that it looks like another cabinet door with drawers. It easily pushes open with a chalk ledge underneath the built-in chalkboard. Inside, the team made sure to create a space that’s ready for a full-size, standing freezer and even an additional fridge.

“We do sub everything out when we build a home, and the reason we do that is that we find the people that are the best at what they do,” said Belk. “To build this hidden pantry door, it took a few meetings with Clearwater Custom Cabinets to figure out the best way to open and close the door, and how are we going to make the door match the cabinets. It was just a collaboration of us installing the door during framing, pulling it out, bringing it to the cabinet shop and going through a couple of different options on how to lay out the doors and chalkboard, then re-install it. We like to be able to take images that clients bring us and figure out a way to do it.”

Made for Life

The main level includes a separate laundry room with custom cabinetry and quartz countertops. For the walls, the team took a different approach with grey shiplap, creating looser lines for a more interesting, rustic look.

In the Mudroom, Epic Homes designed a drop zone for coats, shoes and a separate space for mail and media storage. Custom five-panel doors give the home a unique transitional look between craftsman and contemporary.

Epic Homes doesn’t skimp on their guest bedrooms. Larger than average windows and closets bigger than most master closets, make this a guest bedroom everyone will want to stay in. To gain valuable, natural light, Epic Homes often includes windows in the closets as well.

The Master Suite features a raised, box ceiling with crown molding around the perimeter and optional accent lighting that can change hues. For this room, they chose a cleaner shiplap in white and their signature, grey trim. A sliding barn door in Alder leads to the impressive master closet and master bath.

Another custom color created by Epic Homes is featured on the master bath’s painted vanities with furniture-style legs and double sinks. The bath also features audio, a wood-look ceramic tile floor, custom-designed, tile shower and separate toilet room.

Crafting Backyard Bliss
Epic Homes doesn’t just believe in large front porches, their excitement for enjoying the outdoors is just as impressive in the backyard. Creating a beautiful, covered patio with custom beams and stonework is all just part of the foundation. “Our raised porch areas are actually incorporated into the foundation of the home,” said Pladson. “It’s a unique feature and we love doing it because you truly get a maintenance-free porch. Whereas even a deck, relative costs are close in price. With this, you can shovel it, you can set a hot tub on it and there are no weight restrictions. It’s never going to move.”

In the Details
If the Epic Homes’ team sees something they like, they figure out how to do it and incorporate it into their homes in a unique way. “With all of us so young, none of us are really set in our ways,” said Pladson. “We actually always looking for something different and better ways to do things versus thinking we know every way that something needs to be done, which I think gives us a huge competitive advantage. As a team, we do the lighting choice and finishes ourselves. I love the design part of it, interior-wise so I work with the designer on everything in here.”


One thing the team does is poll their Facebook followers, giving them design choices and asking which they prefer. This gives them insight into current trends and what homeowners are looking for. “People vote on it and they really take that info and incorporate it into the interior space,” said Mevold. “A lot of the images people seemed to like, had more of that masculine feel, it wasn’t just feminine styling.”

At Epic Homes, their minimum standards are far from the minimum. “Cabinets are always soft close and we even will have special knives made so we can get a truly custom design on the door panels,” said Belk. “For the garage, we automatically start at 26 to 27 feet in depth. So, even if you have a full-size truck with a crew cab or a suburban, you’re still going to have ample walking space around your vehicle. We really think about what you actually need in a house and not just build it according to someone’s minimum expectations. There are certain measurements that we rely on Jan for, like the distance between the island and the outer cabinets to make sure the walkways are big enough and the space fits what’s in it.”

Anything but Cookie-Cutter
Epic Homes is anything but cookie-cutter. “We don’t have a set number of floorplans to choose from, clients come in with some ideas and we take it from there creating their dream home,” said Seifert. “We work with Jan exclusively and won’t build a home without him. We also won’t build the same house twice. Every home is start to finish working with our clients.”

“When I started working for these guys, it worked out well because, from my point-of-view, I never want to design the same house twice,” said Mevold. “It’s not fun for me. It doesn’t matter how big or small a house is. The proportion is smaller in a smaller home and we just take that challenge to design a house that’s somebody’s dream. If there are a husband and wife you have to come up with a design that makes them both happy, usually the wife wins,” laughed Mevold.

Building a Partnership
For Epic Homes, building their team was a story in full circle. Pladson began building in 2011 in Dickinson, then in 2013 started building custom homes in Bismarck. He met Belk in between, while he was employed at Roers in the same area.

“We’ve all known each other for a long time and I think what makes us special is how we all came together. Taylor and I became fast friends, he was actually dating my cousin, who’s now his wife,” laughed Pladson. “I met Tom around the same time period through a mutual friend.” Belk started off in commercial builds in Dickinson and ended up building his own house on the side, propelling him into the world of homebuilding.

“While I was in commercial, I met Jan and going from commercial to residential, I ended up moving from Dickinson back to Fargo,” said Belk. “I worked for another homebuilder for a couple of years. Meanwhile, I was still working with Jan, and still keeping in touch with Parker. Parker always gave me the guidance and the support while I was learning about homebuilding. Eventually, I had contacted Parker and he came down to Fargo and we immediately discussed what it would be like to take Epic Homes and branch out to Fargo. We spent about a week together discussing it and we knew each other well, our strengths and weaknesses. This was our best opportunity to team up and see what we could do together.”

Pladson met Jan through Belk about two years ago when he designed the exterior of his personal home in Bismarck. “I thought he did a great job. I didn’t have a lot of experience working with an architect in the past, I worked with him and had a really good experience,” said Pladson. “As soon as we started to first work together it was just an experience that I enjoyed and knew our clients would also appreciate. We all knew it was something that we had to stick with.”

Pladson met Seifert and over the course of five years, had many conversations about working together, but not ever knowing if it would happen. “I don’t know how or why, but from day one, we always ended up talking business, bettering ourselves, just life really,” said Seifert. “There were opportunities that we felt at some point we should take advantage of. It’s funny how life works out and brought us all together.”

“Fast Forward a few years, and we decided to reinvent ourselves a bit,” said Pladson. “We were building custom homes already, but we wanted to expand on that experience and make it even better for clients. This would allow us to be more creative from start to finish. I started talking to Tom more seriously, I knew he was one of the pieces of the puzzle. I knew he was a really smart person and would be an incredible salesperson and great marketer for the new company.”

“I came to NDSU for college and fell in love with Fargo,” said Belk. “I knew that would be the place I wanted to call home. Now that we’re all working together, we all just enjoy the state of North Dakota in general. We’re going back and forth between friends and family all the time, it’s really not as difficult as people may think to build in different cities.” Right now, the Epic Homes team has built just about everywhere in the state and has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

Find the Finishes
Stonework – Swenson Masonry
Cabinets – Clearwater Custom Cabinets
Countertops – Northern Stone
Painting – Weyer-For-Hire
Interior Design & staging – Mary Richholt and Amber Flick, Interiors by France
Siding – Allied (supplier), ICP (installer) 
Whole-house Audio – Pacific Sound and Video
Electrical – Axis Electric
Interior Millwork – D&M Industries and NT Woodworks
Appliances – Karl’s Appliance

Architect – Jan Mevold

Epic Homes
Taylor Belk

Mevold Studio
Jan Mevold

No Comments on Epic Masterpiece

Par Three Overhaul

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography On a quiet, picturesque street near the Fargo Country Club, you’ll find a Mediterranean-styled home that’s recently received a contemporary overhaul….

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

On a quiet, picturesque street near the Fargo Country Club, you’ll find a Mediterranean-styled home that’s recently received a contemporary overhaul. A beautiful home with great bones, the homeowners worked closely with Dan Elton of Chris Hawley Architects, to fuse the original home’s style with their own more contemporary style. Revamping the layout meant creating a space that would be a perfect fit for their family of five.

Construction Process
Four years ago amidst plans to build on a lot in West Fargo, realtor, Erik Hatch reached out to the homeowners with this pocket listing on the Par 3 course of the Fargo Country Club. They had once told Hatch of their desire to live in this neighborhood, but at the time they were planning their build; nothing had been listed.

At first glance, it was a beautiful home that was clearly well-built but designed in a Spanish villa style they were not accustomed to. Beneath the Spanish facade, the homeowner’s husband had a vision for renovation and he soon convinced his wife that this could be their forever home. With beautiful, mature trees and plenty to do with the kids, right in their backyard, the home was hard to pass up.

With the original home’s exterior having a Mediterranean flair, the homeowners made subtle changes for big curb appeal. They replaced the original dark wood with a more contemporary, Cor-Ten steel near the front door. Cor-Ten starts out as silver, then naturally rusts for a unique look. The landscaping was updated by taking out the old paver stone and replacing it with a natural stone sidewalk and stairs. Additional updates included a new garage door, new house numbers, and exterior lighting.

Renovation Goals
Wanting to create a transitional style melding Mediterranean, craftsman and contemporary, the homeowners reached out to Chris Hawley Architects to carry out their vision. Architects Chris Hawley and Dan Elton were tasked with figuring out a new floorplan which would fit the lifestyle of their family of five.

After purchasing their home, and while coming up with a renovation plan, the homeowners lived in the original space for a few months before moving to a two-bedroom apartment in Downtown Fargo so the demo and renovation could get started. Demo was done on the entire home at once, stripping the main and upper levels down to the studs. The entire renovation then took about 12 months to complete.

Architectural Aspirations
The home had really good bones and good flow, it was a great space for entertaining,” said the homeowner. “It’s an older house, but had the open floor plan we were looking for. My biggest worry was whether we could make it work for our family. My husband recognized the potential and Chris Hawley and Dan Elton helped us create a home that was both beautiful and functional. Dan did most of the interior drawings, with Chris helping out with some with the interior floor plan and exterior elevations.”

“This project had some interesting challenges,” said architect Dan Elton. “We had plenty of room, so an addition wasn’t necessary nor possible on the small lot. But we were faced with a 70’s interior done in Mediterranean styling. Our goal was to update the house to better match a modern family lifestyle, yet retain some of the existing Mediterranean flavors, because it needed to stay connected to the exterior style.”

“Enlisting the help of an architect was probably the best decision we made on this project,” said the homeowner. “We knew what we wanted out of the home and what our style was, but didn’t know how to make it all come together. Dan and Chris did a great job understanding our needs and coming up with a design plan that was perfect for our family. I knew in my head what I wanted our home to look like, but it’s amazing when they do the drawings how it all comes together and you can see those ideas on paper. The whole architectural process went really smoothly and we appreciated their patience with us. The best part was the design work that Chris and Dan did, it gave us a lot of reassurance that we could really turn this house into our home.”

For the homeowners, the great room was one of their bigger challenges, due to the position of the fireplace. To lend more function to the space, they changed their focus from sitting around the fire to designating a sitting area on one end, then chose a position for the piano as the transition to the dining room. “We found this old piano at Schmidt music, someone had traded it in. We loved the worn, matte finish and it fits perfectly in the corner of the great room,” said the homeowner.

“That’s the original 20-foot-high, wood ceiling and one of the reasons why we bought the home,” explained the homeowner. “There was darker wood on the cross beams, so we replaced them with painted drywall to lighten up the room. Changing the windows also made a big difference. The original windows were quite a bit lower so you could see right into the neighbor’s house.”

“We added upper windows in the living room to bring in more daylight, removed the Meditteranean, red tile flooring in favor of warm wood-scraped oak, and re-built the dated stair to give a fresh, modern touch to the center of the house,” said Dan Elton. “The fireplace got a face-lift, yet the structure remained in place.”

Beyond the beams and impressive hearth, a stand-out furniture piece is the 6-foot-long, matted, wood coffee table built by the homeowner over the course of four days.

A massive focal point in the great room, the home’s hearth was once comprised of stucco all the way up with a red brick around it, so it was one of the major factors creating the Meditteranean styling. The original walls were plaster and they were painted red, with orange, ceramic tile for the flooring. To give the hearth a style update, the homeowners worked with Elton to rebuild its facade. The homeowner searched Hebron Brick’s scrap lot for the smaller, remnants of Montana stones. Larger pieces were then found to match and used as a sitting area in front of the fireplace.

The homeowner built the wood mantel himself, learning the craft from his dad and using timbers his dad had collected at the lake. Plans to switch it back to a wood-burning fireplace is a goal for a later date.

To update the original baseboard heat, they contacted Straightline Design to fabricate more contemporary registers throughout the home. “That was one of the hardest things to figure out,” said the homeowner. “You just can’t buy registers like this, the replacements we found all looked like they should be in an office building.”

With the high ceilings and the expansive great room connected to the dining room, this space called for an equally impressive chandelier to balance the space.
Creating a dining table to fit their space to-a-tee, the homeowner spent one week building the eight-foot-long, wood table.

The kitchen probably needed the most work,” said Elton. “With new cabinets, floor, appliances and lighting, it went from an awkward, dark, uninviting space to an efficient showplace.” They also worked to change the layout, moving the patio door around the corner and widening the door to the kitchen to create more usable space. The newly designed space featured two islands and a larger perimeter counter space. The high-end range is one appliance the owners kept from the original home. “I really like the idea of two islands because the kids can be doing homework, while I’m cooking and using the one island for prep. The kitchen and living room are favorite spaces for us, this is really where we live. The open floor plan allows me to be in the kitchen, but still keeping an eye on the kids in the living room and be a part of what they’re doing,” explained the homeowner.

For the kitchen finishes, new granite and white cabinetry replaced the original honey maple cabinetry. A smaller subway tile backsplash and vintage lighting in a transitional style, tied in both the existing Meditteranean and newer contemporary stylings. “Having a Spanish-style house, we felt like we couldn’t be too modern with our style. We wanted it to still work as well as it could with the exterior of the house,” said the homeowner.

Just off of the kitchen, the owners opted to keep the sunken layout of the living room, creating a casual den and TV room. “For this space, we just wanted everything comfortable and cozy, with usable space. We didn’t want a room that nobody sat in, all of our space gets used.” The homeowner’s husband built the unique, wooden coffee table from a timber that was once 15-feet long to fit the room’s laid-back style. Since the family room had baseboards all around, the homeowners opted for wall-hung built-ins, creating an entertainment center just off of the kitchen area.

With the master bedroom located on the main level, this was a great selling point for the homeowners. “We changed the layout in the master a lot. The hot water heat registers make positioning furniture difficult, there were also existing doors and a window that we had to work around,” explained the homeowner. “The previous owners had the bed on the opposite wall, but we wanted to be able to see out the door if the kids were coming in. One of the unique challenges is making the design work within the confines of the existing space. We ended up positioning the bed partly under the window and I made a collage of pictures to try to balance the wall and provide some symmetry.”

In the original home, there was a long, narrow hallway coming into the bathroom, so this area was reworked for better flow. Now, entering from the master bedroom, a sleek, custom closet welcomes them to their master bath. Lightening the space, the homeowners replaced the dated, ceramic tile and dark cabinets. For the new, updated space, the homeowners chose heated flooring, Quartz countertops, and a Quartz soaking tub surround with chrome fixtures and lighter tones.

“They just had a single sink in here, so by moving the door, we were able to put double sinks and a center linen cabinet in the master bath,” explained the homeowner. “Before there was a single shower and a little vanity sitting where the tub is now.”


Upstairs Renovation
“Upstairs, we re-organized and modernized the bathrooms and closets to better fit the kid’s needs and added a small laundry,” explained Elton. “From there, the homeowners did a great job lightening the color palette and choosing materials, cabinets and fixtures that fit the overall theme. This was a fun upgrade for a fun family.”

Upstairs, each of the girl’s rooms had a huge closet. There were two bathrooms and one of the rooms had its own bathroom. Revamping the space from the closets, they were able to carve a bathroom for the girls and create the smaller closets for each side.

Keeping the staircase in the original location, the homeowners contacted Straightline Design to fabricate a new railing. What was once a Mediterranean-styled, metal staircase that was not up to today’s code, was now a sleeker, more contemporary version that would be safer for their three, young kids. Finishing the styling, the homeowners added new wood and carpet to the stairs.

Future Projects
With the country club’s pool nearby, the homeowners have noticed that the kids come in the patio door and throw their wet things down near the kitchen and family room. To eliminate this, the homeowners are currently working with Chris Hawley Architects to create a screened-in porch which can also function as a drop zone for their three kids.

Find the Finishes
Architect – Dan Elton, Chris Hawley Architects
Contractor – Radiant Homes
Landscaping, front sidewalk, and stairs – Natural Environments Landscaping & Outdoor Living
Exterior house numbers – Eco Chic Boutique
Kitchen and bathroom granite – Northern Stone
Wood flooring – Carpet World
Hearth stones – Hebron Brick
Dining room chandelier – Restoration Hardware
Great room side tables – Pottery Barn
Custom registers and stair railing – Straightline Design
Faucets, fixtures, and appliances – Ferguson

Chris Hawley Architects
2534 South University Drive, #3, Fargo, N.D.

No Comments on Par Three Overhaul

Rilos & MiMi Remodel

Words by Christy Remmick Photography by Emily Remmick If you watched the MTV Video Movie Awards last year, shop sites like Etsy or Amazon, or have attended a Pride of…

Words by Christy Remmick
Photography by Emily Remmick

If you watched the MTV Video Movie Awards last year, shop sites like Etsy or Amazon, or have attended a Pride of Dakota or other craft shows in North Dakota, you may have seen my work. My name is Christy Remmick and I design and manufacture custom bags with my company Rilos & MiMi. Taking a break from designing bags and working with fabrics, I decided to accept a new challenge and design and manage a complete first- floor remodel of my home. Having moved from Grand Forks to Devils Lake, N.D. amidst a slow real estate market, our new home had plenty of potential projects. We started in January this year and gave ourselves only three months to complete the remodel, just in time for Easter dinner.

Background of the House
Our family moved from Grand Forks to Devils Lake in 2011 and at the time there was a huge housing shortage due to several long-term construction products going on. We had three months to sell our house in Grand Forks and find a new place in Devils Lake. We knew our biggest challenge was going to be having enough space for our family, which included three kids under the age of five along with my husband and myself.

The house we purchased was built in the 70s and is a split level that had been remodeled several times in several different areas. It had the space we needed but was dark, dated, boxed up, and full of shag carpet- even in the dining room.

The original kitchen of the house was tiny, only 77 square feet (7’ by 11’) and closed off with cabinets. It had porcelain, tile counter tops and porcelain, tile floors that were chipping away with a 1970s oven that was roughly the size of a camper oven. There was a huge, stone fireplace dividing the kitchen and the living room. The tones of the room were dark green, brown, maroon, and mustard with minimal lighting.

Because we moved into the house so quickly there was no time to do any work on it before we moved in. The house needed so much work, so we had to do it in phases, carefully planning the order we completed projects. Unfortunately, the way we had to complete the house made the main floor with kitchen, living room, and master suite last on our list. The house only has a very small, single stall garage so we added a garage to one side and converted the only garage into the entryway with a wet bar which would be used as our kitchen during our main floor remodel. Next, we had to remodel our basement to include three bedrooms that we all stayed in during the main floor remodel. After six years I was finally ready to remodel the top floor. Having to wait to remodel the kitchen gave me plenty of time to think about what I really wanted in terms of layout and function.

The Remodel
I drew up the layout of the first floor on a piece of notebook paper and gave it to architect, Scott Meland of Meland Architects to make into building drawings.

The details of the plans were brought to Wood Specialists in Fargo, N.D. and certified kitchen designer, Beth Kemmer helped bring them to life. I loved working with Beth, she had the most amazing ideas to make my ideas even better. I went in there thinking I knew exactly what I wanted and she proved me wrong. She got everything I wanted to fit in my kitchen including a 48” range. She had ideas for adding more details like putting shiplap on the back of the island. We also used the same rustic Maple with Cumin stain for the floating shelves in the kitchen and breakfast bar, and then carried them over to the living room mantel and bathroom vanity, makeup counter and linen built-in.

The goal was to make the first floor bright and welcoming. I wanted it to be livable and practical. I spend a lot of time with my kids because I have such a flexible work schedule owning my own business. We are often cooking, baking, doing crafts or playing games together. I wanted it to be a neutral pallet to be able to change out décor colors easily, allowing it to grow with our family.

I knew I wanted a completely open floor plan so for easy flow, we used the same flooring throughout the whole first floor. The old living room was so long and narrow that the built-ins along the back wall became perfect for bringing the space together.

The long island provides a great division to the two rooms and gives us a lot of space for homework and also hosting holiday dinners.

The breakfast/coffee bar was a must for me. With family members living out of town, we have lots of company on the weekends and I wanted a place for everyone to get coffee and breakfast without coming into the kitchen.

The command center area was Beth at Wood Specialists’ idea and is a great addition for our family calendar, papers, and charging station.

We moved the master bedroom to the back of our house and left a small office/bedroom where our old bedroom was. We didn’t want to move plumbing too much or replace or add any new windows which made for some strategic planning to get everything we wanted to fit.

Kitchen Design – Beth Kemmer, CKD, CLC, Wood Specialists
Countertops – LG Viatera quartz, color: Minuet, Wood Specialists
Cabinetry – Perimeter: Alabaster, Island: Gravel Grey, stain: Cumin on rustic Maple, Wood Specialists


Meet the Kitchen Designer

Beth Kemmer, CKD, CLC
Wood Specialists

” I discovered Rilos & Mimi at an area craft show last fall and I purchased some bags as Christmas gifts for my teen daughter. When Christy was referred to me to help her design her cabinetry for her remodel, I didn’t put two and two together until we met in person to work on her project. What a small world – Rilos & Mimi bags are so fun, creative and functional!”

“For the start of her project, Christy came in with an initial kitchen layout. After visiting with her and going over a wish list, I suggested rotating the island so that it could be longer. By making the island longer, we could have the sink and dishwasher on the island, along with a seating area for three at the end by the coffee bar. We were then able to fit in the 48” range which was at the top of Christy’s wish list. They cook for large groups and the added oven and burner space would definitely be put to good use. The coffee bar area was originally planned to be very shallow to allow for a dining table. We relocated the dining table to sit up against the back of the island to create sort of a “bridge” between the kitchen and living spaces.”

“By moving the dining table we were also able to design the coffee bar to be standard depth and be much wider to accommodate large gatherings. We added some “bells & whistles” to really make this kitchen functional, such as a Magic Corner in the blind corner base cabinetry, a dish drawer organizer and two pull out base pantry organizers on either side of the range for spices and cooking oils. I knew the addition of the command center cabinet next to the refrigerator would come in handy for a busy family and would help to keep papers and other daily items tucked away. The open shelving in the corner and above the coffee bar added some interest and areas where Christy could display some items. She has such a fun sense of design and was so organized which made her project move quickly.”

Mastering the Details
The new master suite is now L-shaped with our new master closet in the back half of our old bedroom with a window in it. We walk past the custom built vanity with sink on one side and carefully planned makeup station on the side. For our vanity, It’s all about the details with outlets to plug in toothbrushes in the cabinets and a drawer with outlets for hair dryers and curling irons.

Turning right at the vanity takes you to the water closet on the right side and built-in linens cabinet on the left side. I love the look of open shelving with bath decor but I also knew there are some things I don’t want everyone to see, and this cabinet is a perfect combination. Going past the linen closet and water closet is a fully tiled, walk-in shower and bathtub room that is like a dream.

Finally Home
I still have a hard time believing this space is mine. Since the completion of the remodel, I have been able to do things that I was not able to do in our old first floor, such as watch my children play in the living room as I am cleaning up from supper, and bake pies with all three kids in the kitchen at the same time. I feel so lucky to be able to create my dream home in Devils Lake, N.D.

Bathroom design – Beth Kemmer, CKD, CLC, Wood Specialists
Vanity countertop – LG Viatera quartz, color: Minuet, Wood Specialists
Cabinetry – Cumin on rustic Maple, Wood Specialists


About Rilos + Mimi
The name Rilos + MiMi comes from nicknames for my identical twin daughters Riley and Emersyn. These names were given to them by their big brother Hunter. The company has been around since 2012, designing and manufacturing travel bags and other accessories that are sold online on Etsy and Amazon and are also available in over 45 retail shops throughout the country. Beyond designing bags for the 2016 MTV Movie Awards, I have also designed custom diaper clutches for the past three years for Intermountain Health Care in Utah, given as gifts to new parents. My company is currently working on 600 bags for the National Jewish Health Annual Gala in December and 450 custom designed, resort bags for the Elegant Hotel Group based in Florida.

Kitchen Design
Wood Specialists
Beth A Kemmer CKD, CLC
3221 4th Ave S, Fargo, N.D.

Becker + Deckert Construction

Rilos & MiMi

No Comments on Rilos & MiMi Remodel

Design + Discuss with Grain Designs

Words by Grant Koenig and Blain Mikkonen Photos by Grant Koenig, Dan Francis Photography, Kuda Photography, Nick Friesen Photography, and Shawn Thomas Creative For those that aren’t yet familiar with…

Words by Grant Koenig and Blain Mikkonen

Photos by Grant Koenig, Dan Francis Photography, Kuda Photography, Nick Friesen Photography, and Shawn Thomas Creative

For those that aren’t yet familiar with us, Grain Designs is based in Fargo, N.D. and started out of a joint passion to build and develop new ideas through furniture making. As designers, our minds are in constant pursuit of inspiration and Grain Designs became our outlet to create tangible products out of ideas. We also quickly realized that the furniture market was over-saturated with poorly made, generic pieces and we knew that we could provide something better. We don’t believe in buying new things day after day or year after year, we want the products that we create to hold value and function for years to come. Quality to us means everything and is more important now, than ever.

grain design fargo


Why reclaimed wood?
By choosing to work with reclaimed wood it has taught us to be mindful of the resources we have. This has enabled us to breathe new life into seemingly useless materials giving us the ability to provide a meaningful product and experience unlike anything else.

Fall’s Most Popular Products

grain designs fargoThe Frederick Farmhouse Table
Typically built with reclaimed floor joists out of barns or warehouses, this table has become a staple product for us and is continuing to evolve as design styles change.


The Sliding Barn Door 
This product has taken on a life of its own and has found so many more applications than we had originally imagined. They are most commonly used to replace existing swing doors however we have used them as window shades, large room partitions and even doors on dog kennels.

grain designs fargo


Custom Desks
Work spaces have become so much more flexible, and this had created a whole new market for us in both the home and business industry. The custom desks that we have designed are truly built with the user in mind and have featured everything from hidden whiskey storage to full magnetic, steel wall features.
Instagram Inspiration
In our constant pursuit of new ideas, we find inspiration from businesses across the country and throughout the Midwest, combining their ideas with our own local flavor. Here are a few outstanding businesses that are worth the follow.

Junkyard Brewing Company

This Moorhead, M.N. based brewing company has set out to not only create a delicious product but to facilitate a customer experience unlike any other. Stop by their Taproom in North Moorhead and get inspired with their weekly rotation of experimental beers and live music.


Jordan Iverson Signature Homes 

Three words describe this Eugene, Oregon home builder; architect, designer, visionary. It’s not hard to be inspired by Iverson’s fusion of modern and traditional design elements, materials and color palettes.

Workshop Denver 

Owner Brad Weiman started his Denver, C.O. venture as a construction and concrete furniture company, but over the past five years, they’ve grown to become much more. These days they are a design + build, construction and project management company that specializes in custom features. Follow them to see their take on creative applications of concrete and wood in countertops, custom wood cabinets and floating staircases in their portfolio of over 60 spec homes.


Contact us:
(by appointment only)
6218 53rd Ave S., Fargo, N.D.

(by appointment only)
4487 165th Ave SE, Davenport, N.D.

Blain Mikkonen

Grant Koenig

No Comments on Design + Discuss with Grain Designs

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

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

Words by Ami Baxter

Photos by Dan Francis Photography

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

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

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

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

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


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

From our client

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


ami baxter interior design

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



No Comments on Design Wisdom: Creating a space for fellowship with family & friends

Confessions of an IKEA Hack | Our Office Makeover Reveal

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

Words by Katie Sullivan
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total Cost: $372

katie sullivan fargo  

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

For more information, contact:
Katie Sullivan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



No Comments on Confessions of an IKEA Hack | Our Office Makeover Reveal

Home-Grown Design

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

Words by Tracy Nicholson

Photos by Dan Francis Photography

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

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

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


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

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

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

titan home ava fargo

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

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

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

titan homes fargo ava     titan home ava fargo

titan homes fargo ava

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

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

titan homes ava fargo

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

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

titan homes ava fargo

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

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

Contact the builder or request a tour of the home:

Titan Homes
4631 40th Avenue S, Suite 110

No Comments on Home-Grown Design

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


No Comments on Farmhouse Remodel Project

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.




No Comments on Smart Space + Transitional Redesign

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.

No Comments on Sophisticated Comfort

Type on the field below and hit Enter/Return to search