Midwest Nest Magazine

Midwest Nest Magazine

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

Chocolate Coffee Cake with Whipped Mascarpone Frosting

Story by Katie Sullivan, Pretty Domesticated Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman16 I don’t know about you, but when the holiday’s roll around, I survive on two things to get me…

Story by Katie Sullivan, Pretty Domesticated
Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman16

I don’t know about you, but when the holiday’s roll around, I survive on two things to get me through decking the halls, wrapping gifts and hosting my family; it’s coffee and sugar. But, I’m a mom and that means I’m all about efficiency. Enter my holiday cake, where I’ve combined my two great loves (other than my family, of course). This cake is sure to impress your guests. One: everyone makes holiday cookies, but does everyone make a holiday cake? I think not. Two: it sounds fancy. Throw in words like mascarpone, espresso and naked cake, and people might even think you went to culinary school, when really, you’re whipping up a pretty basic chocolate cake. You may even impress your mother-in-law, but let’s not get carried away. I’m not a miracle worker, I just know a good cake when I taste one.

Chocolate Coffee Cake

3 c. all-purpose flour

3 c. granulated sugar

1 ½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tbs. baking soda

1 ¾ tsp. baking powder

1 ½ tsp. kosher salt

4 large eggs

1 ½ c. buttermilk

½ c. canola oil

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ c. hot coffee

Whipped Mascarpone Frosting

2 c. heavy cream, cold

2 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of kosher salt

16 oz. mascarpone cheese, chilled (two 8 oz. containers)

Sugared Cranberries

½ c. water

¾ c. granulated sugar, divided

1 c. cranberries

(save room for one missing pic – side table full of ingredients)


To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 °. Grease and line the bottom of three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt on a low speed until well combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, canola oil, vanilla and hot coffee, and beat on a medium speed until smooth.

Divide batter evenly among the three pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes, and then turn cakes onto a cooling rack.

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, combine heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the cream holds a soft peak. Add the mascarpone cheese and whip until blended.

To make the cranberries: In a small pot, whisk water and ½ c. of sugar to combine. Bring to a simmer and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in cranberries until they are well coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cranberries to a baking sheet and let dry for at least 1 hour. Roll cranberries in remaining sugar until well coated. Let dry for a least 1 hour.

To assemble: Once cakes are fully cooled, level them and stack with a generous amount of frosting between each layer. Lightly frost the entire cake. Decorate with cranberries as desired.

This cake and hot cocoa are a match made in holiday heaven. I like to dress up store bought cocoa with a drop of peppermint oil and some homemade whip cream. To make whip cream, use an electric mixer to beat 1 c. heavy cream, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and 2 tbs. granulated sugar until fluffy. 

environmental pics to use: #2, 7, 9, 17,  18(#1 – photo caption of family)
Katie Sullivan resides in West Fargo, N.D., with her husband Daren and their two children, Eva and Kristian.


Florals – Love Always Floral

Holiday & select kitchen decor – Eco Chic Home

Art – The Atelier Collection


Keep up with Katie and her family at prettydomesticated.com

Instagram: @PrettyDomesticated

Facebook: Pretty Domesticated

Pinterest: KtMSullivan

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All Things Merry at Rocking Horse Farm [Design by Julie Alin & Steve Johnson, SCHEELS Home & Hardware]

Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography23   Part two of our walk through the 32nd Annual Homes for the Holidays tour takes us to the home of…

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography23
Part two of our walk through the 32nd Annual Homes for the Holidays tour takes us to the home of Lauren and Alex White, in Fargo’s Rocking Horse Farm development. Since design consultants, Julie Alin and Steve Johnson of SCHEELS Home & Hardware had already worked with the Whites to choose the home’s furnishings, they joyfully volunteered their time and the store’s decor to deck the halls for Christmas and a great cause.

Welcoming the White Family to Fargo
When the Whites transferred to Fargo for their careers and left their furniture behind, they recruited the help of Alin and Johnson of SCHEELS Home & Hardware, to furnish every square-inch of their stunning home, built by T&S Custom Homes. Alin and Johnson have donated their time and talents to many homes throughout the tour, all of which were previous design clients. The Whites graciously agreed to donate their home for the tour, and the designing duo was thrilled to once again collaborate with their clients that they now call friends. Sadly, this will mark one of Alin’s last professional design projects as she is soon retiring after 24 years with SCHEELS Home & Hardware.

“It’s been awesome, I love working with Julie and Steve,” said Lauren White. “When they first came in a year ago, they did our whole house; now I consider them great friends. They are amazing at what they do.”

Making All Things Merry!
For the home’s holiday design, Alin and Johnson first met with Lauren White to discuss her color preferences. Even though the tour is catered to tour-goers, they also wanted to make sure they chose decor that would fit her preference and personal style. After the Whites had decided on a classic red and green holiday, the duo spent nearly three days assembling the decor for each of the main floor rooms. The family brought in their own 12-foot tree in the great room and Alin and Johnson got to work, hauling in holiday cheer. To fill the 2,200 square-foot main level, they would need a 17-foot cube truck and two carloads, filled to the brim with Christmas decor.

“Since the Whites chose reds and greens, which tend to be more traditional, we brought in a few more contemporary items for contrast,” said Johnson. “Even though the home has more of an open concept, with the dining room, kitchen and family room sharing the same space, we chose a coordinating, but slightly different flavor for each. The dining room is full of sparkling glitz and glam with silver and metallic accents. We kept the pops of red mainly in the kitchen and a small amount in the family room. In the master bedroom, we chose a metallic and vintage look with a pale blue and green in the ornaments.”

Vintage in the Kitchen
In the kitchen, Alin and Johnson found the perfect recipe for rustic chic, inspired by the cabinetry’s more traditional detailing. “SCHEELS Home & Hardware has an entire department of Christmas decor and we wanted to showcase as much as possible,” said Alin. “Many of the pieces were purchased at market and made up, as is, so we did a lot of layering so we could more easily create that farmhouse vintage look.”

Oh, Christmas Tree!
For the tree that would be the transition between each of the styles, Alin and Johnson chose a dash of glam to complement the rustic metals, wood tones and pops of classic red. “The birch ribbon adds a great texture, but it also lends a woodsy look while pairing it with our galvanized ornaments and adding contrast with some of Lauren’s Mercury glass ornaments,” said Johnson. “It’s nice to have the rustic base, but then have that glint of finer ornaments.” For a finished look, Alin and Johnson also added in branch sprays and red Mercury bulbs in two different sizes to give the room a hint of color.

To spruce of the family room, Alin and Johnson adorned the furnishings (all from SCHEELS Home & Hardware) with warm and cozy textures like Mongolian sheep wool, faux furs and soft, cable-knit throws.


Tips & Tricks for a Designer Christmas
[Julie Alin & Steve Johnson]

1. Design in threes. When it comes to holiday tablescape vignettes and layering, Alin suggests working in threes and making sure to allow for a high, medium and low height in items. Creating those peaks and valleys helps add interest and depth to your design.

2. Create easy, walk-by whimsy.  Alin and Johnson add simple garland and sprays to everyday items like wall sconces, mirrors, door knobs, coat hooks and stair railings. “We love long garland because it can easily wrap around things like chandelier chains and then we can spruce it up with bulbs, floral, sprays, twigs or lights,” said Alin. “One of our biggest tricks of the trade is using long pipe cleaners; they’re soft, they bend easy and they don’t scratch your wood banisters or metal decor. We can pull a whole house together for Christmas with one bag of pipe cleaners.”

3. Brighten up dull displays. Complete your design and vignettes with candles, faux candles or mini LED light strings to create a warm glow. “Now you can add lights, where you couldn’t in the past,” said Johnson. “Sometimes the bulky cord of traditional string lights can ruin a look, so I love how the fine wire of the seed LED lights work so well in table arrangements – the wire itself looks like part of the design.”

4. Let the home’s craftsmanship inspire the design. In the kitchen, Alin and Johnson took note of the more traditional details like the cabinetry’s braiding and moldings to inspire the surrounding design. “The exterior has a modern farmhouse look, while the interior is more of classic, cottage-style with a twist of traditional,” said Alin. “To make this design work, we brought in a lot of things that looked like they had been collected over time, such as vintage or flea market-style finds.”

5. Go big and unbreakable. Where glass ornaments were once the only option, they have since been replaced with plastic that looks identical to glass. This allows the duo to display larger sizes without adding unneeded weight. “With bigger trees, you really do need bigger ornaments,” said Alin. “On a tree this size, it’s nice to have a mixture of small, medium and large.”

6. Transform everyday elements. Since the home already had a base of farmhouse decor, Alin and Johnson used some of the on-site items like herbs and ferns, which could easily transition to holiday decor. “We pull a lot of everyday merchandise before we even start installing the holiday decor,” said Alin. “We typically gather as many big urns, pots, tins, buckets and baskets as we can.”

7. Find your Christmas contrast. If you’re taking a rustic farmhouse approach, Alin and Johnson suggest using a variance of textures for high-contrast holiday design. Where they’ve used duller finishes like birch, galvanized metal or rustic woods, they’ve also used hints of shimmering metals, Mercury glass or sparkle.

8. Appeal to seasonal senses. Once you’ve brightened up the space with string lights, LEDs or candles, Alin suggests finishing the ambiance with Christmas music and holiday aromas to match the decor. One of her go-to scents for this time of year is Scentsy’s Fresh Cut Christmas Tree, which can also be found at SCHEELS Home & Hardware.


For more information, contact:
Homes for the Holidays
Facebook at fmhomesfortheholidays

SCHEELS Home & Hardware
Design Consultants: Julie Alin & Steve Johnson
3202 13th Avenue South, Fargo

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From the Mountains to the Midwest [Basement Remodel with studioBARRED architecture & interiors]

Story by Reyna Bergstrom Photography by Dan Francis Photography Although the Midwest is not known for mountains nor rustic chalets, this Horace couple wanted to bring their love for the…

Story by Reyna Bergstrom
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

Although the Midwest is not known for mountains nor rustic chalets, this Horace couple wanted to bring their love for the great outdoors and passion for skiing and travel, into their 1994 home. They entrusted the 1,778 square-foot basement overhaul to architect and interior designer, Elizabeth Medd of studioBARRED architecture & interiors. To the homeowner’s delight, Medd fused both talents to give them more than they could have ever imagined. Their open-layout basement is based on beautiful craftsmanship with a Spanish, mountain-lodge influence, that is every bit as light and bright, as it is warm and cozy.

Raw Beauty Underfoot
Heading downstairs, guests are likely to take their time, admiring the sturdiness and raw beauty of the custom staircase. Solid steps made from three-inch-thick reclaimed wood from Dakota Timber Company can be felt underfoot, accompanied by a curved, sleek steel railing from Fargo Fabricators. This design was the brainchild of Medd and created a seamless flow from the original first-floor to the redesigned lower level. To help with the construction, Medd and the homeowner recruited general contractor, Dan Savageau. Recessed lighting illuminates the handrail and Spanish-inspired arches lead the way from room to room.

Open Floor Plan = Endless Options
Designed to capture the natural light, Medd worked with the homeowners to create a cozy, travel-inspired escape using Spanish elements with beautiful wood and stone, accompanied by soft textures and colors. The new layout allowed for a redesign of the kid’s bedrooms, as well as plenty of extra space for entertaining. “With two kids sharing the lower level, I wanted the space to be able to take a beating; be durable enough for running around and playing, yet still look beautiful and elegant for entertaining,” said Medd. With an open floor plan and nine-foot ceilings, the kids requested to keep the long hallway unobstructed and the homeowners obliged. This hallway was the perfect spot to let their two kids, 10 and 11, kick the ball around, especially in the winter months.

White textured walls accent earth-toned furnishings and provide the perfect balance of light and airy with warm and cozy. Wood ceilings and arches add dimension and character to the newly reopened floor plan. A wine bar, pool table area, movie theater and family room all flow effortlessly through the open space. Medd’s goal was to create a space that was every bit as comfortable as it was aesthetically appealing.”It is fairly rare to be a licensed architect and hold an NCIDQ certificate,” said Medd. “Because I am passionate about both fields (architecture and interior design), it was important for me to pursue both. It allows me to design projects that tell the client’s story through the entire language of the project, from the very beginning and down to the last detail.”

Wine & Dine
Just beyond the stairs, the wine bar makes a stunning first impression with it’s warm, wood ceiling tiles and illuminated space. Medd designed the bar to be fully functional with a sink, full refrigerator and freezer. The woodwork and cabinetry were completed by Fargo Cabinets, Inc. with details executed by Dan Savageau Construction, along with custom, built-in cabinets Medd designed for wine storage. Floating shelves accented with lighting are accompanied by a backsplash made of a geometrically patterned, porcelain tile from TileXDesign.

The blue-grey pool table, which is ornamented with Buffalo nickels, is a statement piece that Medd came across at Hot Spring Spas & Pool Tables in West Fargo.


Movie Night + Tee Time

A few steps from the wine bar and pool table is the family’s sunken movie theater with nearly 10-foot ceilings. Comfy loungers, side tables and plenty of pillows make the space cozy and inviting. Instead of typical home theater seating, Medd opted to install a more versatile design with specially-designed benches and one large, custom-made cushion.

One of the benches is designed to transform into additional bedding for guests. “The idea was to have one large cushion, custom-made, so it wouldn’t slide around and have uncomfortable separations between cushions,” said Medd. “We included a large screen for the theater, and soon this space will also accommodate a golf simulator, so the extra space will definitely be used.”Stained, knotty alder wood continues throughout the space with deep Benjamin Moore tones on the walls. To hone in the room’s acoustics and manage any potential moisture issues in the basement slab, Medd chose Kinetics flooring from JJ Flooring; an ideal choice for a lower-level movie theater.

It’s not just the home’s design that was mountain-inspired; their dog, Alta, takes its name from a ski resort in Utah.

Fun by the Fire

The large, see-through fireplace is the primary focal point of the connected rooms and was selected by Medd, then sourced by the homeowners. With a reclaimed, timber mantel from Dakota Timber Company, the clean, simple design is larger than average and placed closer to the floor for a more authentic and connected look. On the pool table side of the fireplace, an additional fun detail includes two arched inlets with chalkboard paint (Benjamin Moore Ebony King) that flank the stone hearth. “Using chalkboard paint allows the homeowners a fun design element where they can keep track of game scores or write fun notes for birthdays or other gatherings,” explained Medd.”Growing up in Arizona, I was exposed to a great deal of desert architecture. When I design, I like to incorporate some of those unique elements that I grew up with and studied early in my career,” said Medd. “It’s a part of who I am, so it always comes out in some way in the design process.” As an architect and interior designer, this remodel was Medd’s first residential project in the Fargo-Moorhead area, but she has worked extensively with many residential projects in Arizona, Utah and Georgia before she returned to the area.“It is important for me to really understand my client and use my knowledge and experience as an architect and interior designer to deliver a design that reflects who that client is, and what that client is passionate about.”
Elizabeth Medd, studioBARRED architecture & interiors

Travel-Inspired Retreat

On the opposite side of the fireplace, the family room’s design is centered around the stone hearth and their mountain-top travels. Deep-stained, wood built-ins flank the fireplace and warm wood extends to a coffered ceiling. According to Medd, the empty wall facing the fireplace was originally designed to have built-ins and bookcases, but after further discussion, they decided to keep the wall open. This would allow them enough space to eventually create a gallery wall, filled with art pieces and photos from their family’s travels.12
For the family room furnishings, Medd needed to provide ample seating and textures that would reflect elements that were reminiscent of a ski chalet. While the family owned the sofa previous to the renovation, Medd worked with the homeowners to find elements like the back table and coffee table from Pottery Barn, and the side table from West Elm. The nesting tables and chair underneath the stairwell are from Ashley Furniture Homestore and the pottery was found at Scheels Home & Hardware, Eco Chic Home and McNeal & Friends.

“Although basements are typically thought of as being cold, I think we’ve done a good job to ensure that’s not the case,” said Medd. “We’ve brightened and refined it with the furnishings and incorporated pieces from their travels. It’s an eclectic mix, but it’s intentional to reflect their personal life, and balance those elements with the natural warmth of what one would think of at a ski chalet.” Although more pieces and artwork will be added, Medd has opted to be patient and wait for the right pieces, rather than rush the remaining details.10
“I’m obsessed with layers, details and multiple levels in houses. I love the textural aspect of space and material, and I enjoy the challenge of creating a balanced space that has a defined textural quality. It’s nice to have nooks and crannies and places where you can escape and yet still be a part of the bigger group,” explained Medd. A perfect example of this concept is the sunken theater and cozy reading nook that she designed under the stairwell.1

Although we don’t show all bedrooms and side rooms, their daughter’s newly expanded room also received a makeover with a few simple requests; soft pinks, ruffles and a chandelier. To carry over the light and bright feeling from the rest of the remodel, Medd made sure to incorporate recessed lighting, instead of just one central light. According to Medd, when designing for the kid’s basement bedrooms, proper lighting was the most important element.

Then & Now

The homeowner’s once dark and segmented space left Medd with a few challenges before she could even begin the remodel. Due to moisture issues, the entire concrete slab had to be removed and repoured, while the first-floor fireplace was also removed. “When we started digging into the project, it was clear that the first-floor brick fireplace was too heavy for the frame of the house, so it had to go,” said Medd. “The house had started sinking and bowing with floor height differences up to three-inches across a room. The contractor, Dan Savageau, worked over the course of a couple weeks to get the structure level again. Dan did such a great job on this project and he was fantastic to work with.”To make the kid’s bathroom more efficient, they opted to move the existing sauna to its own room; a plan which helped open up more space to expand the bedrooms. Tackling the basement first was a strategic move in order to secure the foundation. For her next project, Medd will be working with the homeowners on plans to redesign the home’s first floor and repair the damage that was caused by the original brick fireplace.

About the Architect + Interior Designer
Originally from Arizona, Elizabeth Medd is the lead designer and architect at studioBARRED architecture & interiors. After earning her Undergraduate at Arizona State University and later her Masters at NDSU, Medd worked on world-class commercial, as well as hospitality and luxury residential projects throughout the country. Ten years ago, Medd and her husband, Todd Medd along with their two children, moved from Utah to Fargo in order to be closer to his roots; he’s also an architect, principal at JLG Architects in Downtown Fargo. Upon the return to Fargo, Medd worked as a job captain and commercial interior designer for JLG for six-years before eventually opting to start her own firm.

Central to Medd’s design philosophy is the belief that designers must be able to understand people in order to design for them. “I am fascinated by the human mind and how people think; what drives people and makes them do certain things,” said Medd. “As an architect and interior designer, it’s really important for me to fully understand my client and deliver a design that reflects who that client is and convey what they’re passionate about. After all, the client is the one using the space day in and day out, so I want them to feel connected. My role is to be a creative and technical guiding force that wrangles the aspirations and intentions of the client into a successful, and beautiful architectural work.”


Find the Finishes
Architect & interior designer – Elizabeth Medd, studioBARRED architecture & interiors
General contractor – Dan Savageau Construction
Tile and flooring subcontractor – Floor to Ceiling Carpet One

Lighting – Henricks, Ferguson Bath Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, Pottery Barn

Reclaimed wood – Dakota Timber Company

Stair railing – Fargo Fabricators

Woodwork, cabinetry contractor & custom mirror frames – Dan Savageau Construction
Cabinetry – Fargo Cabinets, Inc.

Backsplash tile – TileXDesign

Movie theater flooring – JJ Flooring

Paint – Benjamin Moore (colors: Deep Space, Ebony King, Glacier White)

Tile – sourced from Syverson Tile

Pool table – Hot Spring Spas & Pool Tables 2
Pool table light – Valley Lights

Interior painting  – The Painting Girls
Concrete – Cash Concrete

For more information, contact:
studio BARRED Architecture & Interiors
Elizabeth Medd – Architect, NCARB, NCIDQ | Design Principal

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32nd Annual Homes for the Holidays [Design by Christy Brawner-Riley]

Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography To kick off the 32nd Annual Homes for the Holidays tour, by NDSU’s Alpha Gamma Delta Alumnae, we visited the 1923…

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

To kick off the 32nd Annual Homes for the Holidays tour, by NDSU’s Alpha Gamma Delta Alumnae, we visited the 1923 character home of Sara Oltvedt and Dan Olson, in Fargo’s Historic Hawthorne neighborhood. Each November, this tour partners area designers with local boutiques and homeowners to create stunning holiday scenes ready to inspire. This year, we followed local designer, Christy Brawner-Riley who showcased her recent refresh with holiday decor from Eco Chic Home.

Oltvedt and Olson moved into their 1923 Fargo home just three years ago and have recently been working with Christy Brawner Interiors to refresh their home’s layout and furnishings. As the fifth family to reside here in 95 years, the home had already gone through a handful of remodels and upgrades, many of them dating back to the 50s and 90s. When they moved in, they brought their own heirloom furnishings and so started the challenge of what to keep and what to respectfully set aside. As beautiful as their furnishings were, many of their existing pieces did not fit the light and bright look they wanted to incorporate. Very carefully, Brawner-Riley worked with the homeowners to update furnishings and room layouts to better suit their family’s needs.

Holiday Design
For the tour, Brawner-Riley worked with decor from Eco Chic Home in Fargo, to complete the homeowner’s nature-inspired holiday design. “Eco Chic has such beautiful greenery and some of the more natural elements that I wanted to bring in here. I didn’t want to go over-the-top Christmas, but I wanted it to have that classic Christmas feeling with warm and cozy elements,” said Brawner-Riley. To complement the Eco Chic Home decor, she also incorporated a few of her own holiday-inspired pieces.

Holiday Entertaining…Redesigned
Previously, this room was underused, but Oltvedt wanted this to be an area where she could have friends and family and entertain. “By changing the entire layout of the room and making the fireplace the focus, they will get a lot more use out of it and be able to sit comfortably and enjoy the space,” said Brawner-Riley.

“The pillows on the sofa were kind of our jumping off point – I found that fabric and loved it; it also had some of the turquoise in the chairs, so we had those pillows custom-made,” she continues. “This pattern was also the inspiration for some of the colors and more natural aspects of the tree in the nearby sunroom. They have a beautiful garden all around the house, so it’s kind of nice to bring that nature in. The house just lends itself because it’s so classic and centered around simplicity. All of the furniture in this room is new, except for the piano. I found the sofa and chairs at McNeal & Friends. Some of the smaller pieces like the side tables and coffee table were found on Wayfair.”

“Since it’s been done, I come out here every morning and I’m amazed that this is our house, it’s not just something from a magazine that I’ve seen and want,” said Oltvedt.

With subtle changes in furnishings and layout continuing in each of the rooms, the homeowners have a running list of areas to update in their historic home; including the fireplace’s stone surround and kitchen. To respect the home’s original charm and high-end finishes, each decision is a balancing act of new and old.

Treasured Tree
After Brawner-Riley had designed a new layout for the adjacent living room, it was decided that the Christmas tree would be better served in the sunroom, near their son’s chess table. “The new layout of the living room was designed as a space for entertaining, so we wanted to keep that as is and not obstruct the flow,” said Brawner-Riley.

“Sara had wanted to replace all of her Christmas decor, so, shortly after I found out that I would be doing the holiday design here, I stumbled upon everything I needed. I was out thrift store shopping (I’m an avid thrift shopper), I found all of the jewel-toned ornaments on this tree,” said Brawner-Riley. “I ordered the pompous grass from Hornbacher’s to bring in that feather element and I also brought in the peacock feathers.”

The Bar Harbor Room
The room where they spend most of their family time was dubbed the Bar Harbor room, long before their day. Recently, the homeowners were told by a local expert that it was likely built in the 50s, judging by the brickwork on the fireplace. The floorboards were predicted to have come from the original carriage house.

For the holiday decor, Brawner-Riley complemented the warmer wood tones and chose classic comfort with plush pillows from Eco Chic Home. “With this room being more of a family room, I wanted to go with a classic red for the tree and decor, and I designed for the little niches and kept it simple,” said Brawner-Riley.

2-2 (optional if needed) If not, pls put this sentence with the paragraph above.
The red bird on the coffee table is a treasured piece the homeowner bought for her very first home, many years ago at the first Junk Market held in Eco Chic’s parking lot.

Elegance at the Table
The dining room’s floral wallcovering and custom built-ins were originally designed by previous owners who lived in the home for 28 years. Working with the home’s historic charm, Brawner-Riley adorned the heirloom dining table with new, more stylized captains chairs and nature-inspired bird prints; tying in the nature print from the formal living room’s pillows. Fur placemats, aspen branches, fresh-cut greens and her own vintage bone china, set the tone for timeless tradition and elegance. Near the built-ins and console, she chose pine tree accents from Eco Chic Home.

Gallery Galleys
The Sara Oltvedt’s father is a well-known artist and former MSUM Art Professor, Carl Oltvedt. Nearly every piece of their collection is local or regional, with a few favorites from Bob Crowe, Kay Ornberg, Charles Beck, Dan Jones and many more.

Brawner-Riley found the console table near the front entry at SCHEELS Home & Hardware. The artwork behind the floral is a piece by local artist, Kay Ornberg. “Kay used to travel with my dad; this is a tree that she painted from a trip that my dad led in Scotland. My husband, Dan had this painting before we met, so when my dad came over for the first time to his house and saw the painting that he had, he said, ‘I know what tree that is!’ So, later he went home and dug through his photos and brought the photo of the actual tree.

Embracing Historic Character
“The bulk of what we’ve done is bring in the artwork and bring a more classic style into the home, just to maintain some of the character and integrity of the original finishes,” said Oltvedt. The entry, hallway, living room and kitchen were all updated by the most recent previous owners, who lived here for around five years. Linen and textured wall coverings were added throughout, and nearly all of the windows have been replaced in the style of the home’s original character. The hardwood floors near the front of the home are original and the window upstairs on the front of the house, French doors and entry all have original glass panes.


Giving Back by Design
“What really brings the designers, volunteers and homeowners together, in one collaborative effort, is knowing that the work we do gives back to the F-M community,” said co-chair Brenna Naseer. “Each year, we choose a different local charity to receive a share of proceeds from Homes for the Holidays. Last year’s event supported the Great Plains Food Bank BackPack Program and this year we chose Churches United for the Homeless. That is one of the biggest reasons why I love being a part of Homes for the Holidays – playing a small role in something that has made an impact for local people over so many years; it’s truly a great feeling.”

For more information, contact:
Christy Brawner Interiors

christy@christybrawnerinteriors .com


Eco Chic Home
3265 45th Street S. Fargo

Homes for the Holidays
Facebook at fmhomesfortheholidays

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Cookies & Cocktails [Chef Judd Eskildsen, Proof Artisan Distillers]

Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman Meet Chef Judd Eskildsen of Downtown Fargo’s Proof Artisan Distillers. Just beyond his kitchen, you’ll find an array of nationally-awarded vodka,…

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Micah J. Zimmerman

Meet Chef Judd Eskildsen of Downtown Fargo’s Proof Artisan Distillers. Just beyond his kitchen, you’ll find an array of nationally-awarded vodka, gin and whiskey; proudly-produced from North Dakota agricultural products, and distilled daily. Those who visit Proof – The Tasting Room, would be remiss to overlook his spirited pairings. With a wide range of seasonal flavors, gracing fresh seafood, beef, pork and chicken, Eskildsen knows how to spin native ingredients with extraordinary flavors. This is a hands-on, foodie experience with spiked seasonings, distilled from scratch – only a few feet from the kitchen.

Pairing Cookies + Cocktails
Asking this master of meat to bake a holiday treat may have seemed like a stretch, but we promise, you’ll love his bacon, chocolate and peanut butter cup cookies. If that’s not enough, he served up one of his specialty entrees and taught us how to concoct a tasty Tipsy Mocha. This is one holiday menu that will bring the Christmas cheer, one perfectly-aged barrel at a time.

From the Chef: Judd Eskildsen
“I absolutely love cookies, but they have to be soft. Since I was asked to share a family cookie recipe or one of my favorites, I mixed it up a bit. I love chocolate chip cookies, but there are a million recipes for them. I also really love my Grandma Arlos’ molasses cookies, but I’m a chef, so I went ahead and created an over the top, one of a kind cookie – because it’s not every day that you get your picture taken for a magazine!”

Chocolate, Bacon & Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
1 – lb. bacon (chopped) – cooked until done, but not extra crispy
2 – c. flour
3⁄4 – c. cocoa powder
1⁄2 – tsp. baking soda
1⁄2 – c. softened butter
1 – c. brown sugar
1⁄4 – c. white sugar
3 – eggs
1 – tsp vanilla
14 oz. package mini peanut butter cups
1⁄2 – c. semisweet chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder and baking soda.
-Add butter, brown sugar and white sugar to a stand mixer, and mix with wire whip.
-Add eggs and vanilla to mixer and mix until smooth.
-Slowly add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, and mix until a dough is formed.
-Switch to the paddle attachment, and slowly add peanut butter cups and bacon.
– Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes -Scoop dough and place on a greased cookie sheet, using a 1.25 oz scoop (#40).
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack immediately.
Note: Cookies will not appear to be fully done, but they will continue cooking during the cool-down.

The Tipsy Mocha1⁄2 oz. 2 Docks Vodka
1⁄2 oz. 2 Docks Cream Liqueur
1 oz. 2 Docks Coffee Liqueur
6 oz. hot Cocoa or Warm Chocolate Milk

Add all ingredients to a coffee mug, top with whipped cream and garnish as needed. I used crushed, chocolate mint-covered pretzels from Costco.


The Tasting Room Menu
Eskildsen’s seasonally-changing menu is an eclectic mix of comfort food, elevated bar food and fine dining. His emphasis features fan favorites; from smoked and braised briskets to Southwest, steaks, sliders, authentic Italian pasta sauces and artisan burgers. Throw in his Chicken Wings Confit from the Shareables menu, ask him to pair it with the perfect cocktail, and you’ll likely knock out every possible craving.Chef Judd Eskildsen creates a bi-weekly Chef’s Feature dish that gives him the opportunity to get creative. A recent Chef’s Feature, the Manhattan Filet with Langostino Lobster, Vermouth Sauce, Aged Gouda Potato Rosti with Sautéed Asparagus, was paired with The Chef’s Shifter.“I like the idea of ‘elevated bar food’ when it comes to appetizers,” said Eskildsen. “We all love a great dish like the Steak with Langostino Lobster and Vermouth Sauce, but who doesn’t like chicken wings? You really can’t beat a damn good sandwich either, and if you don’t like tacos, we probably shouldn’t be friends anymore. I’m usually very humble about my food, but I have a hard time believing that there is a better chicken wing than mine. There may be better sauces out there, but not a better wing. I haven’t found a decent way to dip a wing, so that led to the creation of Buffalo & Bleu…why not mix it in right away, and skip the dipping part?”

Local Favorites in the Tasting Room

BBQ Beef Burnt Ends – Hickory smoked brisket with crispy onion and honey mustard aioli
Chicken Wings Confit – BBQ, Buffalo & Bleu, or Sambal Chili
Tacos – Braised beef, Mojo pork, Salsa verde chicken, BBQ pork

“I’m very confident in my BBQ abilities because of the amount of time I’ve spent working on them. Any time you see my name and BBQ, I highly urge you to be a part of it.”
Chef Judd (Justin) Eskildsen, Proof Artisan Distillers

Chef’s Shifter

1⁄2 oz. Glen Fargo American Malt Whiskey 1⁄2 oz Minions Old Tom Gin
1⁄2 oz. Sweet Vermouth
1⁄4 oz. Grand Marnier
1⁄4 oz. Maraschino Liqueur

Stir over ice for 30 seconds and strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube and an orange peel garnish._______________________________________

Crooked Stocking Stuffers

Gift the host, stuff the stocking or brighten up your holiday party with Proof’s newest spirit, Crooked Furrow Bourbon Whiskey. Swing by their downtown distillery and create your own two or three-pack gift box with their hand-crafted collection including: 2DOCKS Vodka, 2DOCKS FirebyProof Cinnamon Whiskey, 2DOCKS Coffee and 2DOCKS Cream Liqueur, MINIONS Gin, MINIONS BARRELED RESERVE Gin, MINIONS OLD TOM Gin, MINIONS Vän Skap Aquavit, Glen Fargo – American Malt Whiskey or CROOKED FURROW Bourbon, and Harvest Blend-Blended Bourbon. You can also find their products at nearly 600 liquor stores, bars and restaurants throughout North Dakota and Minnesota.

Proof’s new Crooked Furrow Bourbon Whiskey was distilled and barreled three years ago. It has finally reached the age they’d been patiently waiting for. “The one thing about whiskey is, whiskey is not good until it is good, and there’s really no in between,” said Joel Kath, Proof’s founder and distiller. “Our initial limited release will expand to bar and liquor store shelves by January. However, we are not releasing all of the barrels at three-years; otherwise, we would never get any six, 10 or 15-year-old whiskey.”

One Batch at a Time

Kath takes pride in using locally sourced ingredients; North Dakota-grown corn and barley as well as oak barrels from Minnesota. “Our whiskey production is “one batch, one barrel” – and we patiently monitor it until it’s ready,” said Kath. “We’ve won over 20 national awards across our entire line of spirits and just made the cover of the premier trade journal for North America Distillers. One of four selected this year, out of 1,800 craft distilleries – right here in Fargo. We are all about the passion of the spirit; crafting quality spirits from local products. You can find our products at your favorite bar, restaurant and liquor store.”

Interested in a tour of the distillery? Kath suggests stopping in during happy hour on Wednesdays and Thursdays or calling ahead to schedule a group tour. If you’re interested in attending a seminar or special pairing dinner, follow them on social media for upcoming dates.


Meet the Chef: Judd (Justin) Eskildsen
Eskildsen was born and raised in Moorhead, Minn., and has been the Executive Chef at Proof Artisan Distillers since 2015. Although he has no formal training, he started young in his mom’s kitchen and has worked in restaurants since he was 15-years-old. Once having plans to go to culinary school, he instead took on an eight-year career as a welder. With nights and weekend off, Eskildsen used his spare time to pursue his long-time passion, eventually purchasing a smoker which dove him deeper into the art of BBQ.Realizing he needed to pursue his true passion further, Eskildsen headed back to the kitchen, working in some of the best restaurants in Fargo-Moorhead. In the summer of 2015, he was asked to create a cocktail party-style dinner featuring Proof’s products. His debut, as a chef who could master pairings, would become the catalyst for a new career in the kitchen of Proof’s Fargo distillery. Many would agree that Eskildsen’s culinary career has been aged to perfection.

For more information, contact:
Proof Artisan Distillers, LLC
Judd Eskildsen, Executive Chef

315 North 5th Street #100, Fargo


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The More the Merrier

Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M. Schleif Photography Famous for their holiday soirees, we consider Monte Jones and Jerry Erbstoesser, entertaining elites. After moving from their Downtown Moorhead condo…

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M. Schleif Photography

Famous for their holiday soirees, we consider Monte Jones and Jerry Erbstoesser, entertaining elites. After moving from their Downtown Moorhead condo last year, the two happily settled into the suburbs of West Fargo. While this summer we took you inside their first garden party fundraiser – nearly one year ago, we crashed their Christmas. See inside the couple’s festive, annual gathering, uniting their beloved, old and new neighborhoods with holiday cheer.

“Everybody, don’t be shy; if there’s a flat surface, park it,” laughed host, Monte Jones. A bit of advice when attending one of Jones and Erbstoesser’s gatherings – leave your formality at the door and get ready to mingle with the friendliest folks around. Don’t let the elaborate decor and Jone’s glittery attire confuse you; what appears to most as an exclusive soiree of who’s who in Fargo-Moorhead, is actually an inclusive celebration of neighbors and friends, old and new. Jones and Erbstoesser are born entertainers with a contagious enthusiasm for gathering in the name of friendship. If we had to guess their party-planning motto, we can only assume it would be, “The more, the merrier.”

Jones and Erbstoesser set the bar high when it comes to cuisine and cocktails. Both work in fine dining and catering with Delta Hotels by Marriot and Urban 42, so naturally, they recruited James Labonte, the hotel’s banquet chef to create an exquisite mix of cold and hot appetizers with an array of delectable desserts.

Guests happily grazed on antipasto platters, shrimp ceviche, crackers with brie, spiced walnuts and balsamic reduction, along with Southwest skewers and avocado cream, flank steak sliders and spinach and artichoke paninis.

“Our friends make us happy and that’s what makes this party – it’s all of our friends. It’s simple; we like all of our friends, so we assume that all of our friends will like each other. That’s what brings us joy,” said Jones.

For more information on Jones and Erbstoesser’s catering, contact:
Delta Hotel | Marriot
1635 42nd Street South, Fargo

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#RedBallProject [ Debut of Fargo-Moorhead’s Largest Public Art Display ]

Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography, Dennis Krull – 5foot20 In case you didn’t notice the massive red ball around Fargo-Moorhead this past month, let us show…

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography, Dennis Krull – 5foot20

In case you didn’t notice the massive red ball around Fargo-Moorhead this past month, let us show you its remarkable journey. The RedBall Project, created by artist Kurt Perschke, has traveled around the world and recently became a community phenomenon at seven must-see locations. To date, RedBall has made its debut in over 30 international cities, and is currently considered “the world’s longest-running street artwork”. To get the 250-pound ball to bounce our way, clay artist and MSUM Professor, Brad Bachmeier spearheaded the campaign, working closely with Andy Maus of Plains Art Museum and a long list of local supporters and sponsors. Follow along as we take to the streets for a recap of Fargo-Moorhead’s most impactful public art display, the RedBall Project.

Paving the Way for Public Art
Arriving in a crate carrying 250-pounds of inflatable canvas, the RedBall Project made its debut at Plains Art Museum on October 4. The artist, Kurt Perschke, had already visited in July and worked with the city to scout out seven different locations. Roughly the height of a semi truck, the RedBall Project traveled to a new location each day, disrupting the daily routine and encouraging the community to interact and take a second glance at beautiful locations we often overlook.

[Bringing the Ball to Fargo]
Location #1:
Plains Art Museum, Downtown Fargo

Location #2:
Minnesota State University Moorhead, Moorhead

“I don’t think we had initially realized how selective Kurt is about choosing communities for this project. He actually turns down roughly nine out of 10 inquiries, so we were extremely lucky to have been able to play host to RedBall.”
Brad Bachmeier, MFA, Professor – School of Art, MSUM

Location #3: Great Northern Bicycle Company, Downtown Fargo

Location #4: Lindenwood-Gooseberry Park Pedestrian Bridge, Fargo

“I think the RedBall Project was fabulously received in Fargo. It was wonderful to see the size of the crowds at each site and how great the attendance was. The best part was seeing the joy it brought to people of all ages, from toddlers to seniors. I think the project produced some really great conversations and awareness around public art that will be really productive for our metro moving forward.”
Brad Bachmeier, MFA, Professor – School of Art, MSUM

Location #5: Fargo Park District offices at the Depot

Location #6: Rourke Art Gallery + Museum, Moorhead

“The out of character snow event we had on the last day of the RedBall Project, in early October, turned out to be the perfect ending to the project; resulting in some fabulous photos in front of our iconic Fargo Theatre.”
Brad Bachmeier, MFA, Professor – School of Art, MSUM

Location #7: Fargo Theater, Downtown Fargo


“To me, the best artworks are those that appear simple but are actually complex. I feel that these works are a metaphor for people; you see someone or hear about someone – but, until you interact with a person, you don’t know them. I have never been a part of a project that was so incredibly simple, yet so impactful. Of the thousands of people that came out to see RedBall, several of them have thanked me for being a part of the team that brought it to Fargo-Moorhead. I think people loved it because it made them feel connected to the world, to each other, and to our built environment in a way that I think only it could do. Seeing it here reaffirmed to me that RedBall is indeed really about people – just as the artist (Kurt Perschke) intended.”

Andrew J. Maus, Director and CEO, Plains Art Museum


The RedBall Project is brought to Fargo and Moorhead thanks to support from the Fargo Arts & Culture Commission, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Plains Art Museum, Fargo Park District, Insight to Action/Carol Schlossman Consulting, Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau, and other supportive partners.

For more information, contact:
Plains Art Museum
Andrew J. Maus, Director and CEO

Bradley Bachmeier

Program Coordinator and Professor of Art Education, MSUM
Art Therapy Program Co-Coordinator & N.D. Council on the Arts Board of Directors, Vice Chair


Or visit:

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Giving & Gathering

Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography Recently, Midwest Nest donated an educational evening in the kitchen to the Pray for Gray benefit which took place this fall….

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

Recently, Midwest Nest donated an educational evening in the kitchen to the Pray for Gray benefit which took place this fall. Four guests were promised a behind-the-scenes seat at the table and auctioned off to the highest bidder – board member, Tom Shirek. Shirek had placed a handsome bid with the intent to send his wife, Sally Shirek, a Pray for Gray committee member, on a fabulous girl’s night out. To give the group an unforgettable experience, we called on four of the most talented at-home chefs we knew and two of the most giving hosts, Jim and Vonda Leiner. All graciously gathered and donated their time to display their skills in the Leiner’s beautiful kitchen. You’re invited to see inside their autumn-inspired evening, with four delectable courses – served up in style.

Be our Guest:
Thrilled with her husband’s gift, Sally Shirek wasted no time gathering her three friends,
Shannon Aannerud, Janessa Morrow and Allison Faller, to join in the food shoot fun. This VIP gathering began their foodie adventure in Leiner’s picturesque backyard, then headed inside for a behind-the-scenes tasting of four fall-inspired courses.

The Chefs
You might recognize our featured chefs, they grace our pages many times a year. Each at-home chef offers our readers an in-depth, but down-to-earth education in family favorites, comfort food, cocktails, desserts and specialty dishes they’ve recreated from their worldly travels. Our sincere thanks to hosts and chefs, Jim and Vonda Leiner, food blogger and at-home chef, Shayla Knutson of Sweetly Simple Life, our resident cheesemonger/”Culinary Masterson” (Jesse Masterson), and last but never least, our favorite family of world travelers and cuisine contributors, Laneil Skaff, along with her daughter Julie Stoe and daughter-in-law Christine Skaff.

Savoring the Season
This is the third time we’ve shot at the Leiner home and there’s no question we’d beg them to host again. In fact, the Leiners have become known for their gracious hosting, regularly entertaining on behalf of many different fundraising dinners. This is one couple who we consider experts in creating and capturing the perfect seasonal ambiance. Guests at each dinner enjoy a backyard riverside oasis, inviting ambiance and impressive tablescapes.21
One of the coziest features in the home is their authentic woodfire pizza oven from Italy. Jim Leiner is a long-time cabinet builder for Wood Specialists in Fargo. He installed the woodfire oven, crafted their beautiful cabinetry and created the stone surround. With the oven’s interior temps reaching around 800 degrees, fall is the perfect time to fire it up.

“It is all of the wonderful people we know and have gotten to know, gathering for causes and celebrations that are filled with so many stories and wonderful memories; that is what makes our house a home,” said Vonda Leiner. “Of course, it’s always fun to design and come up with new ideas to create an environment that makes people feel special, warm and cozy.”

Course #1: Jim & Vonda Leiner

Woodfire-Roasted Fennel with Prosciutto Pizza
Brush pizza dough with olive oil.
Top with fontina cheese, roasted fennel slices, prosciutto and red pepper flakes.
After baking, sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds, sea salt and balsamic vinegar glaze.

Woodfire-Roasted Harvest Butternut Squash Pizza
Spread chipotle oil on pizza dough.
Top with caramelized onion, butternut squash, mozzarella cheese, thin apple slices, chopped bacon and a sprinkle of blue cheese.
Garnish with sage and walnuts.

Tips: The Leiners use a basic dough recipe, but you can purchase dough or make your own. If you don’t have access to a woodfire pizza oven, you can also use a pizza stone in the oven at 450-500 degrees.“Jim and I have been blessed by the support of our community, as well as family and friends when dealing with our own health challenges. We love having the opportunity to help and give back when we can, by opening our home for others to enjoy.”
Vonda Leiner, Homeowner & Midwest Nest Cuisine Contributor

Course #2: Jesse Masterson
Kale & Brussel Sprout Salad + Fig Balsamic DressingIngredients:2 – Tbs. of olive oil

1 – Bundle of Kale, chopped

2 – C. of Brussel Sprouts, shredded

1 – Apple (sliced or balled – using a melon baller)

1 – Carrot, shredded

2 – Slices of bread

1 – C. walnuts



White cheddar cheese, sliced or shredded

Brie cheese, sliced

Fig Balsamic Dressing:

1/3 – C. of olive oil

1/4 – C. balsamic vinegar

3 – Tbs. of fig preserves

Preheat oven to 425°

1. In a large salad bowl massage kale with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. This helps make the kale not so bitter. Toss Brussel sprouts in with kale.

2. Toss walnuts in one tablespoon of olive oil and add a dash of paprika, cinnamon and cumin. Using a cookie sheet, bake the walnuts in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

3. Prepare the fig balsamic dressing. Whisk ingredients together.

4. Prepare the Brie and white cheddar grilled cheese. Once done, cut the grilled cheese into small cubes. Don’t cut them too small or they’ll fall apart.

5. Top the kale and sprouts with carrots, apple, walnuts, grilled cheese croutons and salad dressing.25, 26, 19
“I was able to find most of the ingredients at the Red River Market in Downtown Fargo. On the weekends from July through October, this is a great place to find fresh and local produce, floral, handmade goods and dishes from locally-owned restaurants. Make sure to check out their upcoming schedule of events at www.redriver.market.com.”
Jesse Masterson, Midwest Nest Cuisine Contributor

Course #3: Laneil Skaff, Julie Stoe, Christine Skaff
Pepita Chicken + Oven-Roasted Fall Squash with Brown Sugar Glaze
Chicken in Pumpkin Seed Tomatillo Sauce


Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
½ – Pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved (Cashwise, 4907 Timber Pkwy S, Fargo)

½ – Medium white onion, roughly chopped

3 – Tablespoons avocado or vegetable oil, divided

1 ½ – Pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and halved

2 – tsp. ground cumin, divided

2 – tsp. Mexican oregano, divided

1/3 – C. green pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1 – Large garlic clove, peeled and chopped

2 – C. Low sodium chicken broth

1/3 – C. Crema Mexicana or sour cream w/a splash of milk or cream

1 – C. Loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish lime wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

1. Roast tomatillos and onions: In a medium bowl, combine tomatillos and onion and toss with oil to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet and lightly season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes or until tomatillos and onions are dark and crispy on the edges.

2. Season chicken generously with salt, pepper, and one teaspoon each of cumin and oregano; set aside.

3. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add one Tablespoon of oil. Toast the pumpkin seeds in the hot oil, stirring continuously, until they have expanded and begin to pop; 1-2 minutes. Carefully remove one Tablespoon of the toasted pumpkin seeds, lightly season with salt and set aside for garnish.

4. Add garlic and jalapeno to the pan and sauté until aromatic, about one minute. Add remaining teaspoons of cumin and oregano, roasted tomatillos, onion, ½ teaspoon of salt, and chicken broth; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.
5. Remove saucepan from heat, add cilantro, then pour into a blender and puree until smooth. Tip: Take the center knob out of the blender and place a paper towel over the hole – otherwise, you will have a hot explosion on your hands!
6. Once pureed smooth, pour back in pan, add cream (or sour cream) and reheat over medium-low heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

To pan roast the chicken: With a large heavy skillet, over medium-high heat – add remaining oil. When oil is simmering, place thighs (or your preference) presentation side down in the pan. DO NOT move them around. Cook until evenly browned, about five minutes. Carefully turn thighs over and finish cooking; by either placing cover on and turning heat down to medium-low or finish in oven. Roast until the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees, or about eight minutes.

To serve:  Spoon ¼-inch of sauce into warmed shallow serving dish. Arrange pieces of roasted chicken on top of the sauce. Drizzle sauce over chicken until well coated and garnish with pumpkin seeds and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and extra sauce on the side.

I learned how to make this at a cooking school; it’s easy to make, but it has really interesting, warm flavors that mix a bit of Mexican with a bit of fall. The tomatillos grow in a husk and have a denser texture with a little bite to it. The pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) give the dish a hint of fall without screaming pumpkin. It’s great served with plain rice, jasmine rice or a simple risotto. I prefer to use chicken thighs because they’re so moist and flavorful. You can even double the chicken and still only make one recipe of sauce. The sauce can be made up to two days ahead of time. If you have leftover sauce, try it on cheese quesadillas, steak, fajitas or fish tacos.”  Laneil Skaff, Midwest Nest Cuisine Contributor


Brown Sugar Glazed Fall Squash


Variety of fall squash – Laneil used acorn and buttercup


Salt and pepper

2- Tbs. Honey

1 – Tbs. Butter

2 – Tbs. Brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees


1. Wash squash and slice in half – top to bottom. Dig out middle seeds, then slice  ¼ to ½-inch slices. Place on foil-covered sheet pan.

2. Melt butter, using a pastry brush, brush each piece generously with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Place in oven and bake for five minutes.
4. While squash is baking, make glaze. In a saucepan over medium heat, place honey, butter and brown sugar in pan and cook until brown sugar is melted.

5. Take squash out of oven and brush with glaze. Return to oven and bake for five to seven more minutes or until tender and glaze has caramelized.
(Time will vary depending on thickness of squash.)

Dessert Course: Shayla Knutson of Sweetly Simple Life
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
4 – C. Heavy cream
8 – Egg yolks
1 – C. Sugar
1 – C. Pumpkin
1 – tsp. Vanilla
1 – tsp. Cinnamon
½ – tsp. Ginger
¼ – tsp. Cloves
¼ – tsp. Nutmeg (freshly ground)
6 – Mini pumpkins or six, 4-ounce ramekins

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
1. In a small saucepan, heat whipping cream and spices over medium heat, just until bubbly. Remove from heat; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, sugar, pumpkin and salt. Beat with a whisk or mixer just until combined. Slowly whisk the hot whipping cream into the egg mixture.
3. Use a small serrated knife to cut off the top half-inch of the baby pumpkins. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkins in a roasting pan.
4. Divide custard mixture evenly among the pumpkins or ramekins. Place roasting pan on oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the pumpkins or ramekins. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until center appears nearly set when gently shaken.
5. Carefully remove pan from oven. Remove pumpkins or ramekins from water; cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill for at least two hours or up to 24 hours. Before serving, let custards stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
6. Pour a thin, even layer of sugar over the refrigerated custards, ignite the torch, and use slow, sweeping motions. The sugar will melt slowly at first and then caramelize.

“This is a normal creme brulee, but I added pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices for a seasonal touch. Expect your creme brulee to be less firm than usual. You can use regular ramekins, but I thought the presentation would be more festive to serve it in carved-out, mini pumpkins. I would suggest preparing this recipe a day ahead of time. Also, cook time will vary with pumpkins versus ramekins; due to the moisture, plan for a longer bake time with pumpkins.”
Shayla Knutson, Sweetly Simple Life & Midwest Nest Cuisine Contributor
Follow on Facebook or Instagram @sweetlysimplelife

“Thank you to all the local chef’s involved for the wonderful meal, and especially Jim and Vonda for hosting the beautiful evening and delicious food. Thank you to Midwest Nest for the donation of the food shoot package for the Pray for Gray Gala and all of the generosities in this community. My friends and I had a great time and will forever cherish the memories together!” Sally Shirek


About Pray for Gray
Pray for Gray was founded by Julie Fletcher and is currently the only North Dakota 501(c)3 nonprofit brain tumor organization. The organization’s goal is to educate and raise awareness of brain tumors, to help meet the needs of other brain tumor patients and their families. Through their annual events, they strive to raise funds for new research and patient survival. Pray for Gray proceeds go to help area brain tumor survivors and their families, as well as brain tumor research programs.For more information regarding Pray for Gray, contact:
Pray for Gray Foundation
PO Box 446
Fargo, ND 58107



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That’s a Wrap! [ Behind the Scenes Remodel & Journey to HGTV ]

Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography For designer Trever Hill and contractor Ben Anderson of Benjamin Custom Homes, this was a remodel project they would never forget….

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

For designer Trever Hill and contractor Ben Anderson of Benjamin Custom Homes, this was a remodel project they would never forget. Earlier this year, the two had spent months being interviewed by a production company that worked with HGTV. Finally, they were given the green light to take on a local remodel in the Horace home of Autumn and Steve Hareland. For 14 days this spring, a crew of cameramen followed their every move, documenting the remodel progress to create a sizzle reel and pilot episode that would be presented to HGTV executives. Although the pilot episode, which was given the name, Fargo Fabulous, would unfortunately not see its day on TV, the end result of the remodel was nothing short of fabulous.The Hareland’s home was built in 1999, and naturally, golden oak was a dominant feature throughout. The outdated floor plan left them longing for a more open and cohesive living space. The couple had initially recruited Trever Hill Design to redesign their main floor and kitchen; then as the major construction began, Ben Anderson of Benjamin Custom Homes entered, to help them overhaul the space.

“We did the entire main level, aside from the laundry room and the pantry,” said Anderson. “If you walk through the door you can see the stark difference between what it originally looked like.” Since the home had golden oak trim and doors from top to bottom, Anderson and Hill opted to install new painted oak trim in the remodel; this way the wood grain would still show through and tie in the new oak to the old oak. “It can be difficult because so much graining shows through, but Shawn Weyer of Weyer-for-Hire did a great job,” said Anderson. Inside the remodel, all of the floorings were replaced and the lighting was updated with new fixtures including pendants, sconces, chandeliers and square LED ceiling lights.

TV Timeframe
Typically, a project of this magnitude would take six weeks or more, but with a TV timeframe to work around, Hill, Anderson and a team of local talent completed the entire main floor remodel in 14 working days. This meant a lot of late nights and early mornings for every subcontractor involved. The house was constantly bustling with many of the subs and fabricators making it their top priority. Even city inspectors and engineers worked around their fast-paced schedule to keep the process running smoothly.

Suspended Style
One of the biggest challenges of their remodel was redesigning the staircase. It’s a major focal point that’s front and center at the entrance and within the living room area. Removing walls to create an open floating staircase meant dealing with a few structural issues that required new engineering and a fabricated H beam.

Before the team could install the new staircase, they had to tear down the ceiling downstairs and create structural support that ran all the way down to the concrete flooring. “We wanted to make the beam tie into the design, so we had it powder coated by Powdercoat Specialists, then Grain Designs cut the post’s wood inlay. Hill and Anderson then worked with Bob’s Custom Hot Rods to fabricate the metal staircase which weighed in around 850 pounds and took a team of ten guys to install.

Gorgeous Gathering
Beyond the showstopper staircase, Hill designed the gathering space so the eye would be drawn to the fireplace and custom floating shelves built by Grain Designs. This feature was designed with extra long, dry stack bricks from Hebron Brick to create a more contemporary finish. “The Harlands wanted ample seating in the living room, but because of the short time frame, we were not able to special order anything,” said Hill. “Despite the extra challenge, we managed to find this beautiful sectional at Gabbert’s.”

Kitchen Overhaul
With a total overhaul in the kitchen, golden oak cabinetry was donated to Habitat ReStore and replaced with an Arbor glaze cherry cabinetry designed by Hill and Rebecca Knutson of Floor to Ceiling Carpet One. The perimeter received a new quartz countertop, while the island now displays the biggest slab of Glacier quartzite available. Hill and Anderson worked closely with Robby Wysuph of Northern Stone to install and illuminate the natural stone with backlighting, while Grain Designs created the stunning butcher block feature.

“This island is a natural stone; it came out of a quarry looking like this and it was just polished,” said Hill. “In order to backlight it, Robby at Northern Stone had to miter and drop down the edges; so if you feel underneath, there’s a big piece of steel metal where the LEDs are. This is there to provide a gap so the stone wouldn’t crush the LEDs.”

The custom features don’t stop at the island – Hill fused an oversized raw-edge subway tile seamlessly with handmade ceramic tiles by local artist, Tara Fermoyle of Fermie Studios. Hill visited her studio to personally handpick and lay out the pattern for these beautiful tiles.

Inspired Dining
“This is the art that I had envisioned for the dining space from the very beginning,” said Hill. “Color-wise, this piece by local artist, Jessica Wachter, was really the inspiration for the entire space, which trickled into the kitchen and living room.”

As a central location between the kitchen and living room, Hill wanted to do something extraordinary for the dining table chandelier. He came up with an idea that would require brainstorming with Anderson and a little extra help to fabricate. The room’s birch-log chandelier was sourced from Anderson’s father-in-law’s property in the lakes area and hand-picked for color and width; all while TV cameras trudged through the snow behind them. Red River Electric was on site late into the night helping the two assemble it and get the LED strips trimmed and routered into the logs.

Anchoring the space, a 600-pound custom concrete table, created by landscaper Mike Nicholson, took six men to haul into the dining room. The custom steel base added another 120 pounds, making it roughly the weight of a pool table. “The table itself is art, it’s another one-of-a-kind piece that makes the room special,” said Hill. “There are so many stories behind every custom piece in this home; the Harelands know all of these stories and I think that creates great conversations for family and friends that visit. ”

Quiet Getaway
When the kitchen wall got bumped back into the den, Hill and Anderson reconfigured the den space to provide an intentional design and quiet space for guests. Calming elements like the wood bead chandelier and raffia wall covering, installed by Weyer-for-Hire, set the tone for the perfect transitional space that can easily double as an office.

Find the Finishes:
Design – Trever Hill Design
Contractor – Ben Anderson, Benjamin Custom Homes
Staircase wood fabrication – Grain Designs
Staircase metal fabrication – Bob’s Custom Hot Rods
Staircase powder coating – Powdercoat Specialists
Staircase engineering – Adam Adams, Liberty Structural Engineering
Interior wall & trim paint – Weyer-for-Hire
Fireplace – Cozy Heat, Hebron Brick
Kitchen butcher block – Grain Designs
Kitchen countertop install and lighting – Glacier Quartzite, Northern Stone
Quartzite supplier – Level 9 Quartzite, Stone Holdings
Kitchen cabinetry, flooring & tile – Rebecca Knutson, CID, Floor to Ceiling Carpet One
Handmade, ceramic tiles – Artist, Tara Fermoyle – Fermie Studios
Kitchen pendants & main floor sconces – Wayfair
Custom concrete dining table – Mike Nicholson, Custom Landscaping
Dining & living room art – Artist, Jessica Wachter
Dining room rug – Hom Furniture
Dining room captains chairs – recycled rag design, Hom Furniture
Living room sofa – Gabbert’s Design Studio & Fine Furniture
Den furnishings – Hom Furniture
Den wood bead chandelier – HomeGoods
Blinds – Budget Blinds

PART 2  OF 2

Trever Hill and Ben Anderson

[Behind-the-Scenes of their Journey to HGTV ]

When designer, Trever Hill of Trever Hill Design and Ben Anderson of Benjamin Custom Homes were confronted to create a pilot and sizzle reel for a potential HGTV show, Fargo Fabulous, these two could not have imagined the adventure they were in for. We sat down with them both to get the behind-the-scenes outtakes on their nearly one-year journey to TV and the excitement and challenges that followed.

Q: How did this project with the Harelands get started?
Autumn Hareland reached out regarding a bathroom remodel before the production company and I had even met. She didn’t feel like her space was functioning very well and after we talked, it made sense to invest in the main living area that’s primarily used by her family. Meanwhile, the producers were talking to me about doing a show; they had seen my work online, in magazines and the newspaper. I thought it was potentially a scam at first, but eventually, I could see they were serious about moving forward.

Q: What was the beginning process like and how did they choose a contractor?
They interviewed many people via Skype to potentially be part of the show, including my business partner in The Private Collection, Susan Hozak-Cardinal, and various contractors. Eventually, they decided on partnering me with Ben as the contractor; he’s amazing. After our Skype session, they decided to pitch us to HGTV to get the paid sizzle. We started at the end of June 2017, and then Ben started work with us in September.Anderson: We were contracted on October 5, 2017. They did a sizzle reel in December, right around Christmas. That was pitched on February 16th, and they filmed in April 2018.Q: Have you always had ambitions to be on TV?
Hill: I remember telling my friend, Jessica Wachter, that I wanted to design at a national level and she asked if I disliked living in Fargo. My response was, “No, I love Fargo; I want to stay here.” She said, “Then just stay in Fargo. It will come to you.” A couple months later, boom, they came to us.

Q: What was your favorite part of filming a TV pilot?
Filming with a great crew felt very natural and fun! Also, what made this project exciting and unique, was the time frame it was completed in. The entire project was done in two weeks with one day of pre-filming, 12 days of construction and part of a day for staging. It was fun to see things happen so quickly; there were usually two or three subs around all the time.

Q: What was it like completing a six-week remodel in only two weeks?
Ben had it all laid out, hour-by-hour, of what was going to happen on a 24-hour schedule. There were many people who made it their top priority and worked around the clock to complete their part of the project. Some donated or discounted their product and many of them donated extra time to help us stay on schedule. Toward the end, Ben even pulled off a 37-hour shift to make sure the project got done.

Q: Did the homeowner or production company front the remodel costs?
The Harelands had a significant investment in this remodel, but it definitely helped us to do more and stay within budget when the subcontractors donated material, volunteered extra time or offered additional discounts, with the idea that it was being taped for a potential show.

Q: Were there any unique challenges to filming while working?
Definitely. We would have all these people working, and then the camera crew would need to start shooting, so everyone would have to leave. For two to three hours of a workday, you might have 15 people just standing outside waiting to go back to work.
A city building official came on a Saturday at 6:30 am to do an inspection and a structural engineer had to wait for over an hour during filming; that is not typically how construction goes. We had some structural things we had to overcome during construction, but Shawn Weyer came in with his crew and cut a day out of the schedule to get us back on track. I think that was one of the coolest things, to see how our community comes together when you need them.

Q: What was life like after shooting the pilot?
It was weird when they left. It was like making the best friends in the world; you get to know these people really well, and then they vanish.

Hill: It’s almost like we went to camp, but professionally. For 14 days, you eat, practically sleep, work really long hours with them…and then poof, they’re gone. I think Ben said it best, “Did we just dream that?” It’s so strange and there’s so much energy. I went right back to meeting with my clients again, but couldn’t tell them what we had just been through. The network and production company asked that we not speak of the project, so we had to pretend like nothing happened.

Q: What did you think when you finally saw the pilot episode?
They did a fantastic job on the sizzle reel which was about three-and-a-half minutes; it took them three days to film. When we finally got to see the sizzle reel, we were wowed – they did a great job and it had such a fun tone. Many of these elements were carried through to the pilot, but it was certainly disappointing to know that the cut we saw would not be aired.

Q: What was it like spending months preparing for a TV series, then finding out that it would not be aired?
I think the whole experience was amazing and surreal, it didn’t feel like it was really happening. There was a period afterward where Trever and I were pretty bummed about the outcome. But then again, at the same time, we’re super grateful we had the opportunity.

Hill: There was never a 100% guarantee that the show would get picked up by HGTV, but the conversation around the project, from day one, was pretty much, “There’s no way they wouldn’t air this.” To hear the news that it wasn’t going to air was really disappointing to us, but the worst part was knowing how much everyone else had put into this project, then having to tell them that it wasn’t going to air.Cozy Heat, a division of Hebron Brick donated the fireplace, Grain Designs discounted the wood products and volunteered countless hours, especially with the staircase install. Robby Wysuph of Northern Stone donated money, product and time to the kitchen countertops, while Mike Nicholson of Custom Landscaping donated his time to create the concrete dining table. It was sad to see it not air, but it was still an amazing experience that we were so excited to be part of.Q: What was it like the day of the final reveal?
We were four or five hours behind on the last day. While they were setting up cameras to do the final filming and reveal, we were vacuuming the steps and still in a scramble to make things look great. I would say we had it television worthy, but there were still a few things that needed to be done.

Hill: It was an intense experience. I don’t think people realize how much work goes into one episode. That night, after two weeks of shooting and three hours of sleep, you’d think I’d never want to do something like this again, but when I was driving away, I really loved the idea of this potentially being my new life. I loved all of the people, the process and the idea of working hard towards a goal.

Q: If you were approached to shoot for a network again, what would you do differently?
Hill: Ask a lot of questions. We’re hoping moving forward that we’re going to find a company that wants to show Fargo for what it really is. And I think it’s a special place with people who care about one another and that’s what we would want to portray.

Anderson: The process would change; from us being interviewed, to us doing the interviewing. Now that we’ve experienced the process, we know what to expect from the production company. In the end, I believe everything happens for a reason and I’m super grateful for the experience and relationships that came out of it.

Q: Is there a chance a TV series could still happen?
There are some 80 hours of footage that were filmed. There’s always a possibility that the footage could be purchased and a new show could be completely remade. Our contract with the production company was up last month, so anything could happen.

Hill: When we flipped over the Jessica Wachter painting in the Hareland’s dining room and the title was, ‘You Can Always Come Back To This’, it definitely resonated with us. Maybe our journey in entertainment has just begun.

For more information, contact:
Trever Hill Design

Benjamin Custom Homes
4025 4th Avenue South Suite 1, Fargo

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Restoring Rural [Casselton, N.D.]

Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M. Schleif Photography Arriving at a home in rural Casselton, N.D, the home’s exterior was unassuming; like most 1950s ramblers, that at one point,…

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M. Schleif Photography

Arriving at a home in rural Casselton, N.D, the home’s exterior was unassuming; like most 1950s ramblers, that at one point, had received a few subtle upgrades. It didn’t take more than one step inside the door before we realized that our unassuming rambler, had a stylish story to tell. This was a Mid-Century Modern gem, which had recently been updated and preserved to perfection. Giving us a tour of their extensive remodel project, was design consultant Cassandra Grenz of Casselton, N.D., and contractor Brock Dickson of Harwood, N.D.

Preservation on the Prairie
A preservation and remodel unlike any other, this rural rambler was once the home of the owner’s grandparents. Built in 1951, the home had good bones with a layout that’s unusually spacious. Inside, it held a treasure trove of Mid-Century Modern appeal that simply needed a little T.L.C. To recreate and update the homeowner’s childhood retreat, they requested that the original 50s details be preserved, restored and fused with modern amenities.

Getting Started
Back in 2011, Dickson had been hired to do improvements on the exterior, updating the windows, siding and roofing. So, when the homeowners decided to remodel the interior, nearly two years ago, they once again reached out to Dickson. Realizing the extent of the design and preservation, he decided to collaborate with his high school friend and design consultant, Cassandra Grenz. While Dickson took on the work of moving walls, reframing and updating the electrical, furnace, trim, flooring and doors – Grenz managed the entire main floor’s design and finish. After the main living space had set the tone, Dickson would go on to overhaul the basement on his own. Together, the two would successfully fuse the home’s 1950s elements with modern amenities and high-design.

Preserving the Kitchen
At the heart of the home, Dickson and Grenz were tasked with preserving her grandparent’s 1950s metal cabinets. These retro cabinets would become the inspiration for the entire remodel. Before they could get started, Dickson gutted the area, reframed the space, added central air and updated the flooring, plumbing, electrical and trim. The original floorplan stayed the same, but the overall finishes were a major upgrade.Keeping the metal cabinetry intact, Brock and Grenz did their research, going online to find new hardware that would mimic the 1950s style they needed. They also recruited Grenz’s dad, Harold Lemar, to wet sand and refinish the original metal in a more modern tone. Silestone quartz countertops from Northern Stone were added, along with a textured, Walker Zanger mod-inspired backsplash. Since the tile had a heavy texture, their installer, Tile Tec, opted to mount and hide the electrical outlets underneath the cabinetry.Embracing the curved counter and sharp corners near the dining room, Grenz and Dickson had IMS Decorative Ironworks fabricate floating stainless steel shelving for a 50s diner feel. Near the dining room, small details received extra attention; after updating the furnace and adding central air, they no longer needed the radiators, but instead, opted to keep them and have Lemar repaint and preserve them in place.Continuing their retro vibe with the appliances and fixtures, the homeowners chose industrial faucets from Ferguson, a La CornuFe range from Williams and Sonoma and Sub-Zero refrigerator.

“The homeowner’s favorite part of this project was definitely the kitchen. It was really the inspiration for the entire remodel. She has so many childhood memories with these metal cabinets; being able to restore them for her own family, is a great feeling.”
Cassandra Grenz, Design Consultant, Sassi Cassi Designs

Powder Room Pretty
Directly off the kitchen, Grenz redesigned the small powder room in an exquisite, Birds & Butterflies wallcovering from Schumacher. Adding to the retro look, Grenz chose clear globe lighting, a pedestal sink and Julia Mosaic Field tile from Walker Zanger.Another treasure worth preserving in the foyer, was the 1954 Rittenhouse Sheffield, Westminster doorbell chime in brass. “I had reached out to Lamps & Repair in Fargo – Dale had done lamp repair work for me in the past and I had proposed the restoration to him. He was open to the challenge, and took the old oil and cylinder construction and completely rebuilt a computer board for it to function; it turned out awesome,” said Dickson.

Art Deco Inspiration
Taking on the living and dining room remodel, Grenz looked no further than the family heirlooms and art deco collector’s pieces that remained. After moving a wall and updating the electrical, new COREtec flooring and carpet were installed, along with placement of a custom rug. Grenz found new furnishings from West Elm, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware to complement the home’s original 1950s vibe. Grenz also had the original, curved velvet sofa fixed and re-upholstered to suit the refreshed space. The original wood-burning fireplace got a more convenient insert and the home’s lighting was replaced with timeless globes, pendants and mod chandeliers, similar to the original fixtures of the era.A fun find, that is now a treasured keepsake, is the home’s original cork and mahogany coffee table by designer, Paul Frankl. Using art deco pieces like these as her inspiration, Grenz chose walnut side tables from Rejuvenation, and a matching, walnut shelf from West Elm. Custom linen drapery, made of exquisite Schumacher fabric, finishes the living room and displays a traditional, Japanese dye technique referred to as Shibori.

Monochromatic Master
Typical of the home’s era, the original master bath was cramped and closed off. Dickson opened up the small space by eliminating excess walls, while Grenz gave the room a crisp, monochromatic tone. Lighter and brighter, the new bath features custom glass and subway tile, walk-in shower, and a unique herringbone tile accent in marble. Since they had removed much of the original character to manage the remodel, Grenz made intentional design choices like the Schoolhouse globe lighting and Restoration Hardware vanity with a similar look as the 1950s kitchen cabinetry.

The homeowners nearly disposed of their old bedroom furniture, but Dickson and Grenz quickly intervened; recruiting Paul’s Furniture Restoration out of Buffalo, N.D., to refinish the solid wood pieces with modern appeal. Five-panel sliding doors lead the way to redesigned walk-in closets by Lampert’s Lumber._____________
Lower-Level Love
After the main floor was completed, Dickson took over the remodel of the lower level, gutting the space and removing an entire floor’s worth of white tile. New COREtec flooring extends down the stairs, while new carpet was installed in the communal area. The original fireplace was also updated with a more modern and convenient insert. Beyond the communal space, two bedrooms were reconfigured for more space, with a back hallway hiding the new mechanical, electrical and water softener system. This hallway gave the owner’s sons easy access from their bedrooms to the newly renovated bathroom.At one point, the home’s lower level featured a kitchenette with 1950s elements. Having access to these original pieces gave Dickson an opportunity to refurbish the original cast-iron and porcelain sink for use in the new bathroom. He also added in decorative, stainless steel shelving behind a sliding barn door, cleverly hiding the linen closet. To utilize more of the space, Dickson added a side quartz countertop with a small vanity and shower area.This was the original wash sink and washing machine dating back to the early 50s.
Dickson had the washing machine repainted by a local body shop. Above the wash sink, he opted to keep the water lines exposed for added character.

Find the Finishes:
Contractor – Dickson Design & Construction, LLC
Designer – Sassi Cassi Designs
Countertops – Silestone Quartz – Niebla, Northern Stone
Shower door- Frontier Glass & Mirror
Sinks, bathtubs & plumbing fixtures – Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
Custom stainless work – IMS Decorative Ironworks
Tile installer – Tile Tech
Flooring & tile supply – Tollefson Contract Flooring
Carpet – Tuftex: True Inspiration, Misty Taupe
Sofa reupholstery – Rocky Performance, Velvet Asphalt by Schumacher
Dining table & chairs – Restoration Hardware
Side upholstered armchairs – West Elm
Custom drapery – Andromeda, linen by Schumacher
Closet systems – Lampert’s Lumber
Hard flooring – COREtec Plus HD, Klondike Contempo Oak planks

Painting – Harold Lemar, H&S painting – Casselton, N.D.
Stove – La CornuFe, Williams and Sonoma, France
Fridge – Sub-Zero, Wolf
Drop glass pendants – Room & Board
Dining chandelier – Restoration Hardware
Powder room wallcovering – Birds & Butterflies by Schumacher
Powder room tile – Julia Mosaic Field, 6th Ave, Walker Zanger
Globe lighting – Schoolhouse, Shades of Light
Doorbell chime restoration – Lamps & Repair, Fargo
Furniture restoration – Paul’s Furniture Restoration, Buffalo N.D.

For more information, contact:
Sassi Cassi Designs

Cassandra Grenz / Design Consultant
Casselton, N.D.
Facebook: Sassi Cassi Designs

Dickson Design & Construction, LLC
Brock Dickson
Harwood, N.D


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