Midwest Nest Magazine

Midwest Nest Magazine

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

Vintage + Velvet

Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Glasser Images Setting the stage at The White House Co.’s warehouse near Downtown Fargo, the perfect collaboration was born. This stylized shoot was dreamed…

Story by Tracy Nicholson

Photography by Glasser Images

Setting the stage at The White House Co.’s warehouse near Downtown Fargo, the perfect collaboration was born. This stylized shoot was dreamed up by three groups of creatives, with their hearts set on pushing the boundaries of beautiful. Together, Megan Lewis of Milk Made and Amanda Rydell, Samantha Klinkhammer and Katie Schiltz of The White House Co., worked closely with Glasser Images to document and create vintage inspiration, with an edge.

Creative Collaboration

The White House Co. and Milk Made were already in the midst of planning their stylized shoot when Glasser Images contacted them about staging and styling their own photography project. Since the two were planned for the same day, they decided to combine their creativity and collaborate. Inside The White House Co. warehouse, they had their pick of hundreds of vintage furniture pieces, arches, table settings and everything in between.

With The White House Co.’s setting, two gorgeous couples to model, and Glasser Images to document – Megan Lewis of Milk Made had the perfect opportunity to showcase her passion for high-design charcuterie and cheese creations. Lewis started Milk Made Catering in May of 2017 and works out of Square One Kitchens in Downtown Fargo. Utilizing her extensive education in cheese, she has become well-known for her artfully catered designs; combining exotic fruits, nuts, vegetables, meats and cheeses in an eye-catching and edible display.

“The idea behind this shoot was to take the inspirations behind what we view as a typical ‘North Dakota Wedding’ and put a fresh, modern twist on the rustic feel so many couples in our area look for. We really wanted to use the opportunity to team up with some of our favorite local vendors in the Fargo area to create something wonderful.”

Liz Tomek, Glasser Images

Sitting Pretty   

Using the warehouse’s brick walls as the backdrop, The White House Co. set the tone with rich velvet textures, a tablescape mixing modern and minimal, a pampas grass-adorned arch and rustic fireplace setting. Rather than designing a more traditional head table, Rydell, Klinkhammer and Schiltz created a vintage bar setup with a stylized sweetheart table.

“We knew we wanted the shoot to be fall-inspired, so we took a play on those colors and added some unexpected brighter tones; playing with them in a unique way,” said Schiltz. “We can work with brides to bring in furniture and help stage the venue; we deliver, setup and tear down. We don’t do full-on wedding planning, but we can help collaborate their decor with ours and provide things like soft seating, cake plates, vintage dishware, tables and arches. We collaborate a lot with Love Always Floral and have people we can contact for custom things like signage and calligraphy.”

Aside from their retail store at 14 Roberts Street in Downtown Fargo, their Main Avenue warehouse holds the inventory that The White House Co. rents out for staging weddings and events. They have recently added on more storage space, allowing them to extend their offerings and create their own vintage venue to host more intimate events or classes.

Real-Life Love 

To document their stylized shoot, Glasser Images brought in two real-life couples to model attire, jewelry, hair and makeup. “Our models, Steff and Travis, and Beth and Noah could not have been more perfect for the vibe and aesthetic,” said Liz Tomek of Glasser Images. “While I coordinated the team, our creative team, Jenna, Connor and Nick, each brought their personalities and energy to the shoot. Their talent and creativity are what made the imagery unique and spectacular.”

Collaborating with local talent, the team relied on Love Always Floral for the couples’ bridal bouquets, cake topper, pampas grasses for the ceremony arch and custom dog collars. A modern menu card and invite were designed by Kailey Louise Designs, while Lettering by Samantha created the custom calligraphy detailing. Serenading the models was a local musician, Wyatt Dronan.

Cheese[wheel] Cake

At the center of their scene, a three-tiered cheese wheel cake nearly stole the show. This rustic, fall-inspired masterpiece was created by Milk Made. For an unlikely, but perfect pairing for the (cheese) cake, Lewis incorporated a mushroom cake topper she handpicked at Prairie Roots Co-op, hailing from Doubting Thomas Farms. Combined with stunning flowers from Love Always Floral, this was a centerpiece worth savoring.

Lewis special orders her cheese wheels primarily from local and American-made cheese and charcuterie makers, allowing roughly 30% to be imported. She uses the cheese wheel’s wooden box lids as a sustainable base for her designs. Clients can choose from a menu of savory or sweet options including antipasto, fruit and crudites or cheese and charcuterie. In her cheese creations, Lewis often includes Fargo-made finds like honey butter from Butter Creations by Ann and Three Bears Honey.

Lewis’ cake is designed with three tiers of cheese wheels; the top tier is a French Regal de Bourgogne Moutarde or soft cow’s milk cheese, wrapped in whole-grain mustard seeds. The middle tier is Coppinger, a washed rind cheese, and the bottom is an aged Vella Dry Jack with a cocoa rub.

“When I’m doing a cheese wheel cake or platter, I really love the process. I have a storyboard of the colors that the client wants, so I’ll spend well over an hour in the store, just thinking about what types of unique cheeses and vegetables I want to use,” said Lewis. “I usually have around 20 different fruits and vegetables and I consider the surroundings and colors before I piece it together. Everything that I do is ‘cheesemongers choice’, and I do that purposefully, so it really allows me to pair and curate things. It helps to broaden people’s horizons.”


“With every image, you can feel the dedication and the energy each person put into their creations. You can tell that every aspect of this shoot was done with a great amount of passion,” said Tomek. “The end result truly was an incredibly beautiful, collaborative experience.”


Seasonal Serving & Staging Tips

[with The White House Co. & Milk Made]

1. Embrace seasonal produce and offerings. When building your own cheese tray, Lewis suggests choosing one or two more approachable cheese options, then keep your eye out for the seasonal cheeses that come out right before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

2. Get creative with your tablescape. As Schiltz noted, swapping out your glassware, flatware and dishes is as simple as a trip to the thrift store. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns, textures and metals for a fun, vintage appeal.

3. Don’t forget to focus on floral. According to Klinkhammer, a floral centerpiece can allow you to play with the color palette and give your tablescape a simple pop of color or instant elegance.

4. If floral is your foe…Lewis suggests trying an edible design by laying down a clear saran wrap or butcher paper runner and creating a grazing centerpiece of cheeses, nuts, fruits or meats. If you use butcher paper, grab a permanent marker and draw arrows labeling each cheese. If it seems like more than you can tackle, let Milk Made create a curated, edible centerpiece for your holiday gathering. If you love to create your own cheese boards, check out Luna in Fargo for their cut-to-order cheese counter where you can try before you buy. You can also check out the selection at Pinch & Pour and Prairie Food Co-op in Downtown Fargo.

5. Go green. Try foraging for seasonal greenery, wheat or grasses in your own backyard. If you’re interested in boxwood or spreading out seeded eucalyptus or ruscus, contact your florist about two to three days in advance, just in case it needs to be ordered in. Don’t be afraid to get creative with what you have; smaller houseplants, moss and succulents can also do the trick.

6. Get the glow. Once you’ve created your tablescape with dishware and floral or greens, give it a glow with dramatic candelabras or simplistic tea candles.

7. Layer it on. Make sure your tablescape has dimension by layering floral, wood, vintage books or tiered candles in the center. Also, try using more than one layer of placemats in contrasting sizes underneath your dishware or layer your napkin atop your place setting with a mini pop of greenery.

8. When in doubt, add pink. According to Rydell, a pop of pink with unexpected hues like oranges and yellows can make for a striking combo that suits any occasion. If you don’t like the idea of pastels, Klinkhammer suggests opting for richer, jewel-toned palettes.


Style Library

Setting & styling – The White House Co. Warehouse

Staged vintage decor – The White House Co.

Cheese wheel cake – Megan Lewis, Milk Made

Mushroom cake topper – Doubting Thomas Farms/Prairie Roots Co-op, styled by Milk Made

Floral – Love Always Floral

Calligraphy – Lettering by Samantha

Hair – ADAE Salon

Makeup – Chloe Danielle

Jewelry – Schumacher Diamond

Attire – a&bé Bridal

Custom menu card & invite design – Kailey Louise Designs


Photography – Glasser Images

Musician – Wyatt Dronan

Videographer – Nick Biewer


Couple #1: Beth Vetter, Noah Kilsdonk

Couple #2: Steff Johnston, Travis Mack

Meet Glasser Images

Founded in Bismarck N.D., their business follows creatives and clients all around the country. They currently have a team of photographers and videographers in Bismarck, Fargo, Minot, Rapid City, S.D., Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., as well as Colorado Springs and Fort Collins, Colo.


For more information, contact: 

The White House Co. & Vintage Rentals

14 Roberts Street North, Fargo



Instagram: @whitehouse.co

Glasser Images




Instagram: @glasserimages

Milk Made Catering

Megan Lewis



Instagram: @milkmadecatering

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Mudroom Makeover

Words by Kelly Schulz Photography by M. Schleif Photography   When my husband and I moved into our North Fargo home five years ago, the mudroom had more than enough…

Words by Kelly Schulz
Photography by M. Schleif Photography

When my husband and I moved into our North Fargo home five years ago, the mudroom had more than enough space for us. A countertop with cabinet space below and closet proved to be adequate storage for our every day in-and-out needs. Fast forward five years and two children later, and the room grew small in a hurry. We knew that increasing the square footage of the space, which doubles as our laundry room, wasn’t an option for us or our budget. That meant we had to get creative to maximize the current space. To do this, we consulted with Rebecca Knutson of Floor to Ceiling Carpet One to lend her expertise in cabinet design; and she did not disappoint.

The Coat Closet

When we started the project, I wanted the room to be practical and functional. To me, that meant a lot of coat hooks instead of coat hangers. I’ll be the first to admit that hanging coats on hangers is a huge pain to me. That’s why our coat closet was eliminated from the room – it was never used for our day-to-day items, but instead, for storage of things that rarely got used. The closet was transformed into an open space with hooks and bench seating. Preston Flaten from Floor-to-Ceiling, designed a piano-hinge opening in the bench seat, allowing us to utilize the space below for storage.

The Lockers 

Opposite the closet was a narrow countertop that, especially in the winter, became a chaotic mess of jackets, hats, gloves, kids daycare artwork, coffee tumblers, purses, keys, wallets – you name it, and it was on that countertop. A lack of hooks, organization and designated space for each family member created the perfect storm of a mudroom catastrophe. I was certain a locker system would solve all my mudroom problems. That was until we received the estimate and my financially prudent husband put the kibosh to all my locker hopes and dreams. That’s when thankfully, Rebecca came to the rescue.Since the first estimate was more than we (ahem, my husband) wanted to spend, Rebecca suggested that we go with a mock-locker system instead. This would eliminate the physical dividers between each section and instead, we would place trim board to create a visual divider, providing significant savings.A 4.5-inch shelf above, lends storage for small items and each section has two rows of hooks; the lower row is the perfect height for our kids to reach. Beneath the locker bench are two rows of shoe storage. I wanted the bottom row slightly taller so that larger items, like winter boots, could easily fit beneath.

Feedback from the Designer: Rebecca Knutson, Floor to Ceiling Carpet One

“When Kelly and I first met, we discussed everything their family needed to function, then we dreamed up a mudroom chock full of organizers and locker dividers. We threw the book at it, knowing this was our ‘go big or go home design.’ Once the visual met the budget, it was time to scale it down. We discussed with Kelly their true needs and budget max and we chipped away until their budget was comfortable and the space was perfect.””Even though lockers were out of the budget, Kelly still wanted to keep a visual divider between each family member’s wall hooks. To do this, we created a wainscoting look by applying trim pieces to the flat wall paneling. The paneling is extremely durable and dresses up the look of the wall. Sometimes I feel the locker dividers can be stuffy in a tight space so I was happy to suggest cutting them out and saving money.”

The Laundry

The laundry area of the room included a sink that was never used as a sink; it amounted to more of a laundry basket. We removed the sink, and installed a large countertop area that now has…take a guess…a real laundry basket! I also use the space, which includes a pull-out garbage cabinet, to stage items that need to go to daycare the next day and to fold clothes.

The previous wall cabinets, above the washer and dryer, were tall and placed too high on the wall so I couldn’t reach the top shelf without using my handy-dandy little step stool. The new cabinets were installed at a lower level so my five-foot, four-inch self can reach everything in the cabinet and even baskets above, should the need for more storage arise.

Saying goodbye to mudroom madness has been a lifesaver. These rooms are often the entrance and exit points for families, meaning functionality is crucial for saving time in our busy lives. Now, if I could just figure out how to get the laundry to fold itself.

FUN FACT: I have a love for junking – most of the décor in the room has been thrifted.

Find the Finishes at Floor to Ceiling Carpet One:
Cabinetry Design – Rebecca Knutson, CID / Interior Designer & Cabinet Dept. Manager
Cabinetry Install – Preston Flaten

Countertop: Black Forrest Cake finish by Pionite

Cabinetry: Diva finish by Decor Cabinetry


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Minimalist Makeover

Story by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography Deciding to make a lifestyle change, minimalist and local photographer, Miranda Roen, did what so many homeowners dream of, but so…

Story by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

Deciding to make a lifestyle change, minimalist and local photographer, Miranda Roen, did what so many homeowners dream of, but so few have conquered. She swapped her big mortgage for a smaller space with even bigger potential. Two years ago, Roen and her son Eli made the move from a 2,500-square-foot, four-bedroom home in Moorhead, to a cozy, 520-square-foot home in South Fargo. Built in the 1940’s, the small home lacked the character Roen was looking for, but with its functional floor plan and large detached garage, she knew she had found a fixer-upper that would be worth the work. Once considered a tiny home in shambles, Roen’s minimalist redesign is now the picture of perfection.

A Radical Remodel
One of the deciding factors to make the move was the realization that in their large home they only used the upstairs; the downstairs was completely untouched. “The mortgage and utility expenses were insane, so I decided to make a radical change; sell the big house, and move into our current home,” said Roen. “This was the best financial decision I have ever made. Now the mortgage is next to nothing. I’m really passionate about minimalism and living within your means, even if it means going small.”

At the time, Roen was married and the two bought this house for $125,000 with a down payment of $60,000. With the remodel beginning two years ago, there’s been about $10,000 worth of equity put into the home with additional remodel projects still in the works.”I’m really passionate about minimalism and living within your means, even if it means going small.”
Miranda Roen, Homeowner

To figure out a feasible game plan before moving in, Roen researched minimalist design ideas and new concepts geared toward living efficiently in small spaces. Online, she found a wealth of knowledge that helped her transform their two-bedroom home with a bonus loft space, into a minimalist’s dream home. With a $15,000 budget in mind, Roen has perfected every inch to suit the needs of her photography business, her six-year-old son Eli and their wiener dog, Lincoln.

Throughout the home, the worn-out carpet was replaced with bamboo veneer flooring that would be durable enough for kids and pets. Since the original layout didn’t provide the space she needed, a side entrance door near the kitchen was removed and the kitchen itself was completely reconfigured to add more cupboards and counter space. Since each room was minimal in square footage, Roen needed to her design to be aesthetically pleasing and functional.

“When you have a house this small, it can be tough in the winter to be inside all day, so I wanted something that I would feel was beautiful right when I walked in the door and would love being here. So, the overall look was really important to me,” said Roen.

Minimalistic Modern
In the main living space, Roen kept her style simplistic and meaningful. Her personal style blends modern design elements with vintage character and a touch of archeological influence. A serious car accident had derailed her archeology career but eventually led her to her current passion for photography. In her home, hammerstone, fossils, skulls and other artifacts reside alongside local art and photography.

Roen finished her remodel just over a year ago, with four months of that time spent solely on the kitchen redesign. Before the remodel, the kitchen was comprised of three cupboards and Roen could hardly find the space to prepare a meal. One money-saving tactic she used to free up cupboard space was replacing the huge water heater tank in the cupboard with a much smaller tankless version. “I actually researched minimalists who live in buses and smaller spaces to see what they had done to make it more livable for them,” said Roen.

Since she didn’t have a designated laundry room or basement, the kitchen had to play double duty. As a clever solution, Roen found a Haier washer/dryer combo that took three months to ship from China. “Trying to maximize the space and fit in four appliances was a big challenge,” said Roen. “This is the only washer/dryer combo in the world that would fit into this space, otherwise, we would have had to eliminate some of the cupboards.”

Extending her artistic eye beyond the lens, Roen had custom-built, curved-edge shelving made by Dakota Timber Company. She also took on the project of installing new tile with a raw-edge stone backsplash, laminate countertops and new cabinetry. In line with the kitchen counter, Roen had a dining table custom built to make the most of the space.

Designing for Dogs
Since they had removed the side door near the kitchen, it created one major problem; there was no longer a doggie door. As a hidden solution, Roen designed a lower cupboard to tunnel her dog through to the doghouse and backyard space.

Mastering Small Spaces
In the master bedroom, Roen kept her style simple and functional. A sliding door to her closet gave her an aesthetically pleasing wall feature and preserved space for proper flow.

Roen’s office is an ode to her travels, local art and photography. She found her desk at an online garage sale and tested her DIY skills by refinishing the piece, painting it a more modern grey and updating the hardware. Near the desk, she displays work from her travels in Jerusalem and art by local talent, Karen Bakke.

Lofty Goals
With the bonus loft space on the top level, Roen’s home equates to roughly 720 square feet. This smaller space made the perfect bedroom for her six-year-old son Eli. The steps leading to the loft also got a makeover, and since there was no closet, Roen created an organized storage space for his clothing and toys.

A Dog’s Life
Outside, this fun space-saving solution allows their dog to enter a hidden doggy door from a kitchen cupboard that leads to the exterior’s attached dog house and fenced-in backyard. Last summer, the yard was given a new look by adding an array of new plants, the custom doghouse, cedar fence, and now this summer, a chicken coop. Roen loved the idea of fresh eggs but she also wanted to teach her young son to learn how to take care of animals.

Find the Finishes

Kitchen floating shelves – Dakota Timber Company
Custom dining table – F-M Pallet Furniture & Decor
Bamboo laminate veneer flooring – Home Depot
Kitchen cabinetry – Lowe’s
Porcelain tile – Lowe’s
Art – Deborah Mae Broad, Karen Bakke
Chandelier – Lowe’s
Sectional & TV stand – Hom Furniture
Feather art – Hobby Lobby
Master dresser – Furniture Mart
Master barn door – Lowe’s
Master bedroom paint – Morning Fog
Main area paint – Filtered Shade
Office desk stain – Leathered Grey


For more information about Roen’s remodel or photography business, contact:
Roen Photography

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Take a Tour! [Dietrich Homes]

Photography courtesy of Tara Swanson, Hatch Realty If you missed out on our One-Year Anniversary Party and Design Challenge at this West Fargo dream home, here’s your chance to tour…

Photography courtesy of Tara Swanson, Hatch Realty

If you missed out on our One-Year Anniversary Party and Design Challenge at this West Fargo dream home, here’s your chance to tour the beautiful Inspired model home by Dietrich Homes. With a floor plan providing party perfection, vaulted ceilings, and a 180-degree scenic view of the pond, this model had guests feeling right at home. Since it’s difficult to see the finer details through the crowd, we decided to share a peek inside…but this time, without the guests.

Dietrich Homes – Inspired Model Stats:
6 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
3 fireplaces
5,951 square feet

Main Floor Masterpiece

This family home is currently on the market and features over 5,951 square feet including quarter-sawn white oak hardwood floors, a main floor master suite with vaulted ceiling, office, four-season sunroom with fireplace, vaulted two-story great room, and a gourmet kitchen. Just off of the family foyer with built-in benches and command center, you’ll find a large laundry with built-in craft storage cabinetry and pull-out drying racks. Head upstairs to find the loft and three spacious bedrooms with a split bath.

Inside this stunning kitchen with custom walnut island and Silestone countertops, you’ll find a professional-grade 48” Wolf range top, drawer microwave, steam and convection wall ovens, and 60” Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer.

The master suite’s spa-inspired bath features a custom tile shower, freestanding soaking tub, makeup table, and his and hers vanities.

Lower Level Lovely
The lower walkout level is specifically designed for entertaining with ease. The space features a theater room with 110″ screen and full audio/media package, pool table, custom bar, family room, lounge and covered patio with stamped concrete and full landscape design. The custom pub-style bar features Silestone countertops, stone accent wall, sink, drawer microwave and an under-counter wine and beverage refrigerator with ice maker. Just beyond the entertainment mecca, the lower level features two spacious bedrooms with walk-in closets, a split bath and convenient garage access. As if you could possibly want for more, the house is equipped with a 7-Zone whole-home Sonos Audio system, four Sonos Playbars and one Sonos Sub.

Special thanks to Clay and Suzy Dietrich and the team at Dietrich Homes for allowing us to celebrate in his beautiful model home.
Find the Finishes
Builder – Dietrich Homes
Floorplan design – Dietrich Homes – Inspired, with Melissa Meyer, CAD Designer
Interior Design – Heather Sagvold, Dietrich Homes Inspired Design Consultant
Cabinets – Ira’s Custom Cabinets
Granite – Spaulding Stone
Appliances – Rigels
Audio – Media Master
Wood flooring – Kensok’s Hardwood FloorsFloorcoverings – Carpet World
Fireplace – Hebron Brick
Light fixtures – Valley Lights
Closets – JL Shelving
Siding – Lemke Home Improvements
Masonry – Brick Stone Masonry
Windows & materials – Crane Johnson
Garage door – EZ Open Garage Door
Mirrors & shower doors – Frontier Glass
Landscaping – A&L Landscaping


To take a tour, contact:
The Erik Hatch Team, Hatch Realty
Erik Hatch, REALTOR®
4215 31st Ave. South, Fargo

For more information, contact:
Dietrich Homes
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Midwest Nest is One! [Inside our Anniversary Celebration + Design Challenge]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography   For our first birthday, we had to go big; nearly 6,000 square-feet big, to be exact. Partnering up with Dietrich…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography


For our first birthday, we had to go big; nearly 6,000 square-feet big, to be exact. Partnering up with Dietrich Homes as our gracious party host, we invited our readers, family, friends, team and contributors to celebrate the first 365 days of pure adventure. If you didn’t make it out to the party at this beautiful model home in West Fargo, you also missed out on the debut and room reveal of our first annual Design Challenge, featuring nine local designers. Not to worry, we’ve got it covered. Read on and we’ll give you a glimpse inside the party, room reveals and winner announcement, then finish with a tour through the spectacular host home.

Special thanks to our wonderful, party partners:
Host: Inspired by Dietrich Homes
Luna Fargo
Shotwell Floral & Greenhouse
Chef’s Table Catering
The Spirit Shop
Tru Blu Social Club
Design Challenge bedroom furnishings – Furniture for Less
Down Home

[2018 Design Challenge]

As part of our one-year anniversary celebration, we wanted to do something that would unite the talented people whom we get the joy of working with every day. Our publisher, Susan Hozak-Cardinal, came up with a brilliant idea; since we were having our party in a Dietrich Homes model home, why not make the most of the space? We decided to invite nine local designers to meet with us, get randomly thrown into teams of three, then give them 24 hours to complete an entire room makeover.

We gave them all a bare room with the same furniture and a strict budget of $450. Since we always encourage shopping small, we made sure the bulk of it got spent at local boutiques and thrift stores around the Fargo-Moorhead area. To top it off, we decided to donate all of the decor and bedding to an organization called Down Home – their team takes on design challenges and room makeovers all year long, helping the homeless make a more beautiful transition into permanent housing. Meet the extraordinary designers and see inside the three rooms that were revealed to the public at our one-year anniversary celebration!

But First…the Design Challenge Guidelines
All three teams were given one bedroom to decorate and a timeframe of just over 24 hours. Each bedroom started with the same bed frame, mattress and bedside tables which had been provided by Furniture for Less. As far as creative boundaries, the sky was the limit -they just couldn’t damage the walls or repaint the room. Rooms would be revealed at the Midwest Nest party and guests would be allowed to cast their vote.

All teams received $450* in funds to decorate the bedroom with the following breakdown:

● $100 Local Thrift Store

● $100 Chain or Big Box Store

● $250 Locally-Owned Boutique

*Each designer was allowed to donate up to two items to their room

And the Winner is…

Room #1: Team “Dream Weavers”
Linda Birmingham of Designingwomen2
Trever Hill of Trever Hill Design
Melanie Iverson of Mosaic Design + Build

To get started, the winning team first chose their name, Dream Weavers. This would represent both their room theme and Down Home, the non-profit that would benefit from the challenge. It would come to stand for the three of them uniting from different design/decorating firms and weaving their talents, in an effort to help others work towards their dreams.

Their team wanted to stay on-trend, but do something unexpected. Inspired by a vintage rug Iverson almost gave away, their theme became Romantic Boho. To achieve this, they relied on a mix of old and new, with a splash of floral. Hill donated the removable peony wall decals from his own home, while the sconces, lamps and chairs were thrift store finds. The coverlet and carved wall piece were donated by Birmingham’s store, Designingwomen2.

“Hanging the chandelier over the bed, without damaging the sheetrock, was definitely a challenge,” said Birmingham. “But, with a bit of MacGyvering, we made it work.”

“Because we wanted those touring the room to feel like they were entering a honeymoon suite or a B&B, we chose to burn a volcano candle and play my prom theme song, ‘Dream Weaver’. Did I just date myself?” laughed Birmingham. “I think I’m safe to speak for Trever and Melanie when I say, we had a blast and I think we all loved the challenge. I was nervous to team up with peers I had never worked with, but when this was over, I was a bit sad. I felt like had known them forever – working, collaborating and even struggling, was a joy.”

“The biggest challenges to the room were the budget and timeline,” said Iverson. “Our team had a couple other commitments so we only had 12 hours together, from start to finish. We had to think quickly and strategically to be sure the design was cohesive and that the products we chose were intentional because every dollar was extremely important.”

Find the Goods!
Gold lamps, weaved “dream catcher”, mirror, two chairs, two candle sconces – The Arc and Dakota Boys & Girls Ranch
Four pillows and the wool blanket – The White House Co.
Pillows and shams – donated by Trever Hill
Sheets and chandelier – HomeGoods
Coverlet and carved wall piece – donated by Designingwomen2
Vintage rug – donated by Melanie Iverson

Room #2: Team “M²K”
Maria Bosak, Eco Chic Home
Monica Hart, Monica Hart Interior Design
Katie Sullivan, Pretty Domesticated

Team M²K settled into a Feminine Guest Room for their room’s theme. “After a lengthy debate, I think the peel and stick wallpaper is what finally helped us determine a color for an accent and the rest fell into place. It was interesting to hear other ideas and see how other designers work,” said Hart.

“The biggest challenge was pulling a whole look together (down to the little details like books and picture frames), on such a modest budget. It would have been easier to simply furnish the room, but we wanted the room to have personalized details and character,” said Sullivan. “We were able to accomplish this by relying heavily on thrifting and donations for those details. My favorite addition was the fresh cut flowers from our yards.”

“Although the biggest challenge was the budget, my favorite aspect was how it turned out – I thought it was so tranquil, functional and pretty. I would stay in that guest room!” said Hart.

Find the Goods!
Bedding set, curtains, curtain rod & removable wallpaper – Target

Wood candle holders & candles – Eco Chic Home

Side table, rug, books, lamp, various vases & misc. decor – thrift stores including Savers & The Dakota Boys & Girls Ranch

Fabric – Joann Fabric

Flowers – Gathered from their yards

Decorative pillows – Eco Chic Home
Gold Side Table – HomeGoods

Chair – Donated by Maria Bosak of Eco Chic Home

Gray throw – donated by Monica Hart Interior Design

Pink throw – purchased from Pier 1 and donated by Monica Hart Interior Design
Art, Books & Vase – Donated by Katie Sullivan


Room #3: The Dream Team

Lindsey Christie, Lindsey Grace Interiors
Amanda Rydell, The White House Co.
Christy Brawner-Riley, Christy Brawner Interiors

Keeping in mind that all of the items would be going to charity, The Dream Team thought outside the box and decided to create a dream-inspired children’s theme. “With Amanda having access to a lot of vintage items that tend to lean towards a feminine feel, we ended up designing a young girl’s room,” said Christie.

“It was honestly so fun getting to know two other women business owners in the area. We had a crash course in teamwork when it came to the timeline, figuring out the best way (and fastest way) to accomplish our goals while being super creative with our budget,” said Christie. “We all have such different personalities and businesses, I feel like we just somehow fell into our prospective roles that made the most sense for how we work.”

On this team, Brawner used her detail-oriented personality to hammer out the task of hanging the temporary wallpaper in a short time frame. Rydell leaned on her creative eye and was able to see items for more than their shelf value, and Christie took on the role of the big picture thinker, envisioning the overall look and feel of the final design.

Find the Goods!
Wallpaper – Target

End table – HomeGoods

Lamp – HomeGoods

Flowers – Love Always Floral

Bedding (sheets) – HomeGoods

Stuffed unicorn – Target

Throw blanket & white fur – Burlington

Art, Dresser, frames, accent pillows, accessories – White House Co.

Stool (under the fur), basket, duvet and cover, accessories – The Arc, Dakota Boys & Girls Ranch
Bookshelf & headboard – thrift store + a fresh coat of paint

Special thanks to the designers who some wonderfully donated their time and decor to the challenge and ultimately, Down Home:

Monica Hart, Katie Sullivan, Melanie Iverson, Amanda Rydell, Christy Brawner-Riley, Lindsey Christie, Maria Bosak, Linda Birmingham and Trever Hill

What is Down Home?
Down Home is a local non-profit that provides furnishings and décor for families transitioning from homelessness into permanent housing. They are based in North Fargo and serve our community through donations of like-new furniture and accessories, monetary donations and volunteers.

For more information about Down Home, contact:
Down Home
2102 12th Street North, Fargo
Find them on Facebook: downhome.org

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Plains Art Museum: Progressive Architecture Dinner [Pelican Lake, Minnesota]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Dan Francis Photography Imagine touring four spectacular homes on Pelican Lake, visiting with the architects and owners, then being offered an array of drinks…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Dan Francis Photography

Imagine touring four spectacular homes on Pelican Lake, visiting with the architects and owners, then being offered an array of drinks and a spectacular catered course at every stop. This is your look inside Plains Art Museum’s Progressive Architecture Dinner. Join Midwest Nest as we recap their September 8th event which introduced us to an entirely new approach to lake home living, architecture, art and cuisine.

Art + Architecture

A concept dreamed up by Sandy Thompson of Plains Art Museum, this four-home tour is custom designed to introduce the idea of art plus architecture. Along the way, 50 guests were invited to dine on locally prepared fare and admire the space, art and stunning lake views. Although the original plan was to tour via a five-pontoon armada, the day’s wind and whitecaps kept the tour traveling by dry land. Every home’s tour lasted one hour and ended with a conversation between the homeowner and the architect, with an open forum for guests to intervene and inquire. All proceeds from the tour sustain PlainsArt4All, the Museum’s free general admission initiative.


Tour Stop #1: The Dawsons
To kick off the tour, guests arrived at noon to the spectacular home of Georgia and Tom Dawson where the first course of Hors-d’oeuvres and cocktails were served by Chef Jeff Reitz of Urban Foods. Guests were allowed to tour every inch of the home while the architect, Terry Stroh of T.L. Stroh Architects, offered input regarding the home’s timeless and coastal design.

About the Dawson Home:
Tom Dawson’s grandfather purchased the site in 1958, which is where Dawson was raised. For 17 years, Tom and Georgia Dawson spent their summers in a 900 square-foot cottage near the property, before opting to design their year-round lake home. Nine years ago, they reached out to longtime friends, Terry Stroh of T.L. Stroh Architects and contractor John Gunkelman, to make their coastal vision a reality. In their first meeting, Georgia Dawson had the entire first floor drawn out on a yellow legal pad, leaving the remainder of the design to Stroh. Taking into account the early drawings, the design needed to include equally beautiful spaces for their growing family.

When in town, the Dawsons reside in a 90-year-old home with dark wood, historic elements. So, for their lakeside retreat, the Dawsons requested the opposite; bright and airy with spacious windows to capture the view. Between their gorgeous regional art collection, pine ceilings, white-washed elements and metal fabrication by P2 Industries, every angle of the Dawson’s home is perfectly molded to embrace life on the water.

Upstairs, the Dawsons display an oversized photo book by the celebrated photographer, Annie Leibovitz. The book contains a collection of photos once featured in Vanity Fair.

From the Architect, Terry Stroh:
“Working with Tom and Georgia was always fun. Their design was more about capturing the outside than anything; they wanted something that had a little more of a Floridian vibe to it. The floor plan was centered around family and creating the spaces that they wanted, not what I wanted for them – that’s really what it’s all about.””We have two houses on the tour, the Dawsons and Schlossman’s and they happen to be best friends. I think any architect would say this; you don’t come out with a great house unless you have a great client – they’re all people with great taste and also kindness.”


“When we first started talking about doing this Progressive Architecture Dinner, something that I had done in California – I sat down with Chris Hawley and asked him if he thought we could do that here. We’d talked about different venues and places that might be interesting, but it was Chris who said, “We have to do the lake. We could do five years of these events just on Pelican Lake.” This is the second year now, and it’s been a joy to put together.”
Sandy Thompson, Plains Art Museum

“I really love the connection that this event creates with architects. Architecture has
a strong relationship with the arts and this gives the architects a chance to really talk about their work in a fun and comfortable setting while building appreciation for their designs. These homes really push people’s sensibilities when it comes to design and many of them have well-curated art collections that we love featuring.”
Andy Maus, Plains Art Museum

Tour Stop #2: The Hansons

The second stop on the tour led us through a home built on the idea of sparking creativity, expanding the view and redefining traditional lake home standards. Welcome to the year-round lake home of Pam and Dave Hanson with the architect, Craig Helenske of Helenske Design Group. This is a creative and cozy home, almost completely devoid of right angles…read on and we’ll explain. At this location, guests were treated to a fall-inspired salad course presented by VIP Chef, Anthony Bachman.

About the Hanson Home:
The Hansons purchased a small cottage on the property in 1987 for a mere $42,500. Hoping to salvage the existing cabin, they explored expansion and renovation options; eventually deciding it was a better investment to start from the ground up. The couple’s year-round lake home was completed four years ago with architect Craig Helenske of Helenske Design Group and contractor, Jon Anderson of Dreambuilder. There were only two prerequisites given to Helenske by Dave Hanson; it was to have a modern cabin feel with no square corners – he just simply doesn’t like them.

For the exterior, Helenske and Hanson opted for a green-black siding to give the home a robust contrast to the environment. They purposefully drifted away from the stereotypical, white and bright lake home. Their version is a simplified farmhouse style with a unique bow element on the front that expands the view from being a narrow 50-foot, to a panoramic view that’s nearly three times the lot’s width. In creating those angles, it allowed the two to shape several interesting environments within the home, like a quiet space for reflection and a separate space for socializing.

As president and CEO of H2M, an advertising agency in Downtown Fargo, Dave Hanson is a creative guru during the workweek and after hours. Throughout the home, guests enjoyed a collection of his own photographic art displayed on the walls. In the back guest quarters, Hanson, who’s also a musician and past sound technician, has his own recording studio located in the upper loft.

From the Architect, Craig Helenske:
“This was very much a collaborative experience between two stubborn creatives. Dave and I worked pretty closely and he had a vision of wanting to have a slatted acoustic, rosewood-style ceiling in here, so that became kind of the icon for the public space. Rather than a traditional lake or cottage-style ceiling that’s overused, the slatting gave the home a unique twist. When you take all of the furniture and people out of here, the home is just sheetrock and paint. It’s really Dave and Pam that put the character in this home, through their art, photography and music background. I was just given an opportunity to present their character through this design.”

“The lake experience is both inside and out; it’s about the wind, finding spaces to enjoy the morning sun – morning, afternoon and evening. There is a lot of opportunity for inside and outside living spaces, and we let those really shape the home. It was a great experience to exchange ideas back and forth and not just communicate ideas to the client. To have somebody that can respond back to you with just as much creative energy makes for a really positive experience.”


Tour Stop #3: The Schlossmans

At our third stop on the tour, guests arrived at the extraordinary summer home of Mary and Bill Schlossman with the architect, Terry Stroh of T.L. Stroh Architects. For the entree, guests dined on Blackbird Woodfire’s specialty artisan pizzas. Chef Casey Absey and his team brought in their mobile woodfire oven and all were invited to choose one of their tried and true recipes or design their own woodfire masterpiece.

About the Schlossman Home:
Bill Schlossman grew up next door to the existing property, eventually purchasing the adjacent lake lot with small cottage from his brother. When it was time to rebuild, the couple contacted architect Terry Stroh, whom they had previously worked with on the design of their condo, as well as interior designer Lark Lomsdal. To mimic the yesteryear appeal of an authentic cabin or summer home, they opted for a design with more minimally-sized bedrooms and closets, leaving the majority of the square footage for post and beam communal areas.

Working through the details of the design with Stroh, Bill Schlossman had an idea to omit sheetrock in lieu of clear Douglas Fir siding and cedar ceiling beams. This concept would involve a labor-intensive process of perfecting each individual piece of wood, on every wall of the home, with no room for error. Kevin Pagel of Dakota Construction would do the painstaking fabrication with timbers sourced from Pierce Log Homes. Now 12-years old, the home’s extraordinary carpentry has maintained its original beauty and structural quality from day one.

Most of the photos throughout the home were taken by Bill Schlossman himself or influential locals like the late Fred Scheel Senior, a renowned photographer in his day. One treasured photo, framed high into the beams, is a sentimental image which inspired the lake home’s design; a photograph from 1928 with Bill Schlossman’s mother seated at the back of a small row boat, along with his grandfather and uncle.

“We love working with Terry. He originally came up with three different plans, but when we saw this one, it was fabulous,” said Mary Schlossman. “This was a great project for Bill and myself – we found out that we had a lot of similar tastes and it was really fun bringing those ideas to Terry. He found a really interesting book at Walker Art Center that had a lot of this style of house depicted in it and quite a few of our ideas were inspired by what we saw.”

“Working with a great architect like Terry on this project was critical for pulling together our vision,” said Bill Schlossman. “Some people are great designers, but Mary and I, as much as we enjoy looking at different things, can’t put it all together by ourselves. We also worked with an interior designer, Lark Lomsdal – she’s wonderful. She worked with Braaten Cabinets to design all of the cabinetry throughout the home.”

From the Architect, Terry Stroh:
“The whole idea of doing a post and beam structure and the concept of combining that with other conventional construction made this a really fun project. We actually built a model with the contractor, John Gunkelman and he used it during construction because it had every detail within this house. We still have it in our office and we use it to show clients what we can do.”

“As architects, we don’t always get to see the home once it’s lived in, but both the Dawsons and Schlossmans invited us down to see their furnished homes. Seeing what they bring into it and how they use the space, is really what makes it a home.”


Tour Stop #4: The Promersbergers
Our final stop on the Progressive Architecture Dinner did not disappoint. Led down a tree enveloped path, guests were delighted to find brilliance in color and design at the lake home of Jan and Ken Promersberger, with architect Chris Hawley of Chris Hawley Architects. Just when we thought our day could not be any brighter, we were treated to a dessert course, including six different cheesecakes by Pastry Chef Kayla Houchin of Indulgence Baking Co.

About the Promersberger Home:
As owners of The Promersberger Company in Fargo, Ken and Jan have spent the majority of their lives brainstorming creative marketing solutions for clients all across the country. Designing a lake retreat unlike anything else is simply a more personal outlet to foster their creativity. Beyond the barn doors of the agency, they’re known for spearheading a unique farmstead-themed community concept called Rocking Horse Farm; another collaboration with Chris Hawley Architects.

After being on the lake for many years, the couple found this 50-foot lakefront, which they purchased within 15-minutes of walking the lot. They’d always envisioned a white exterior with a high pitch, but once on the lot, Ken Promersberger found a bright Scandinavian design with three offset cubes he needed to explore. Presenting the idea to Hawley, each cube would be in a different primary color and have their own view of the lake. To enhance the concept, Hawley suggested having the roof the same color as the siding, which became a game changer in achieving their Scandinavian exterior. These days, the Promersbergers have heard just about every colorful remark about their home, which is often fondly referred to by neighbor kids and their six grandchildren as the “Lego house” or “Crayola house”.

“The Airstream on the property was part of the site plan from the beginning. It could be used as an extra bedroom, but we just use it as storage. I’ve been in the design business all my life and to me, an Airstream is a piece of art,” said Ken Promersberger.

Surprisingly, the interior of this colorful abode is a stark contrast to what most outsiders would expect. “We knew for sure that we wanted the interior’s style to be minimalistic; we liked the wood and white elements,” said Jan Promersberger. “We’ve always had that style with every house we’ve had. It is kind of a surprise to walk up to the red, yellow and blue, then come inside and see things calm down a bit. Tom Dawson’s son, Mike, is also an architect with Chris and spent quite a bit of time out here – Mike and Chris were both wonderful to work with.”

Within the bright white and pitched ceiling design, the Promersbergers and Hawley incorporated acoustic tiles to absorb and reduce noise in their open-concept floor plan. Their next project is to hang a mobile made entirely of white acoustic tiles.

“We wanted to have a screened-in porch but we didn’t want to lose the depth, so that’s why we have all of these windows that can open. We get quite a breeze through here just by opening the patio doors and a couple of the cubed windows on each side,” explained Ken Promersberger.

Continuing their minimalist lake living, the Promersbergers purposefully left closets out of the design, instead, adopting a more Scandinavian approach of using wardrobes. Interestingly enough, two out of the four featured homes do not have closets; the Hansons also keep their lake life minimalistic.

From the Architect, Chris Hawley:
“Ken sent me a photo of a Scandinavian fishing village that was a group of gables all lined up in different colors; that’s really how this idea got started. The lot is skewed and every cube touches the setback – there’s also a five-foot grade change from front to back. It’s really interesting that every cube has its own zone; one is the public space, one semi-public and one more private. There’s a six-foot offset between the cubes, but we were able to use the same truss all the way through. It was quite the game; anything we did on one side to a cube, we had to do on the other side and stay within the lot line.

“There are a lot of windows, but the way it’s designed, they can see far more outside than other people can see in. The discussion about the window placement and quantity was probably the longest conversation that we had when we were designing the home.”

Naturally, not everyone in the neighborhood fell in love with their creative expression, but one neighbor, who did admire their creative spirits, gifted them with a piece of art that spoke volumes; affirming their decision to keep pushing the boundaries of conventional architecture and design.


Interested in attending the next Progressive Architecture Dinner? 

Sandy Thompson / Director of Development
704 First Avenue North, Fargo

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The Pines by Grain Designs [ Welcome to Wedding #1 ]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M. Schleif Photography Grain Designs cordially invites you to the first wedding at The Pines, the area’s newest wedding and event venue. A lot…

Words by Tracy Nicholson

Photography by M. Schleif Photography

Grain Designs cordially invites you to the first wedding at The Pines, the area’s newest wedding and event venue. A lot has changed since our last issue which outlined the venue’s build and the gorgeous remodel on the property’s poolside home. While last month hammers were swinging, this month, wedding bells are ringing. To celebrate the venue’s opening, the bride and groom, Grain Designs’ own Pat Bresnahan and his wife Nicolette, welcomed our readers to see inside their special day. No need to RSVP, we’ll give you a glimpse of the designer details that made their farmhouse chic wedding day unforgettable.

By nearly all accounts, The Pines first wedding on September 15th was a resounding success. Although the 9,000 square-foot building was not 100 percent complete, the Grain Designs team made sure the bride and groom’s big day was perfection. To get the venue ready, the team worked endless hours with Taylor Belk of Epic Homes, Differding Electric and Zulauf Construction to ensure that the wedding party and 320 guests could celebrate in style.

“It took an army of help and support from friends and family for weeks leading up to the wedding until the ceremony started,” said Blain Mikkonen of Grain Designs. “The entire Grain Designs team and all of our families, including Nicolette’s family, really stepped up and put in extra hours to make the first event at The Pines a great success.” To put the finishing touches on the reception site, Grain Designs handcrafted the new signage, 40 tables, a ceremony pergola and two sliding barn doors suspended between the grain bins. Cafe lights were strung, 600 plus chairs were set in place and the farmyard grounds got a newly landscaped facade.

Field of (their) Dreams

On the property’s 17 acres, there are several designated areas for outdoor wedding ceremonies, but Nicolette and Pat had their hearts set on the field just beyond the grain bins. With a creative twist, the grain bins became the grand entrance and the space between the bins would become both the entrance and a communal space, leading guests to the ceremony site and Grain Designs pergola. For added ambiance, a family friend, Carol Thibeault, used her DIY know-how to suspend a chandelier between the grain bins and custom made Grain Designs barn doors.

“On Friday afternoon, right as we were adding the final décor to the venue, The White House Co. girls showed up in what might as well have been the ‘Magic School Bus’. They quite literally turned our ceremony spot into a magazine-worthy spread by adding a beautiful, vintage seating area, rug and coffee table. Not only was this area functional, but it was so fun seeing guests take pictures in our outdoor living room,” said Nicolette Bresnahan.

Designed to Dine

To complete the venue’s dining decor, Thibeault and a few members of the wedding party came earlier in the week to assist with the final details. “Carol can take anything and either make it useful, pretty or both,” said Nicolette Bresnahan. “She helped me organize the theme and vision for our wedding while keeping our budget in mind. I knew I wanted lots of fresh greenery and she came up with the idea of using Russian Olive Branch—a common tree with full green leaves that are easily found in the area. She hand-picked all of the Russian Olive Branch for centerpieces the day before the wedding, which made the dark stain of the custom Grain Designs’ tables stand out even more.”

“For our floral, Kimberly from Prairie Petals hit the nail on the head. I only explained to her the vision I had for our big day, with no specifics of certain flowers. From the colors to the arrangement, it was perfection. One thing about Kimberly’s work is that it will, without a doubt be completely unique.”


“Although The Pines was not fully complete at the time that we got married, it was still absolutely beautiful,” said Nicolette Bresnahan. “White, board and batten walls and beautifully handcrafted Grain Design tables are just a few things that made it a stand-out space. The tall ceilings and open room are exposed with just the right amount of light.”

Farmhouse Fare

Within the venue, which can accommodate 400 plus for a seated dinner, The Pines offer a prep kitchen for the caterers, provided by Chef’s Table Catering with a full bar set-up. For the venue’s first wedding, the bride and groom chose a more relaxed, buffet-style dinner. “The Swedish meatballs and grilled chicken buffet was fantastic – we got a lot of great feedback from our guests,” said Pat Bresnahan. Those with a sweeter tooth could head to the antique door table for a candy bar of sugary confections.


Bresnahan Wedding Breakdown:

Venue – The Pines

Catering – Chef’s Table Catering

Floral – Prairie Petals, Carol Thibeault

Staged lounges – The White House Co.

Barn door, table and pergola design – Grain Designs
Men’s attire – Halberstadt’s
Dress – Your Day by nicole

Hair and makeup – Anonby Salon

Photographer – M. Schleif Photography


What’s next for The Pines? 

As this issue hits the stands, The Pines will already be back to work, completing the remaining interior finishes, in preparation for wedding number two on October 28. By this date, all of the exterior paneling and concrete slabs will be completed and ready for a whole new guest list. The interior’s finishes will also be completed with classic detailing, as well as exposed beams and white reclaimed wood paneling.

As they head into winter, Grain Designs will be preparing for an upcoming photoshoot, Eco Chic’s Vintage Christmas at The Pines event, and an array of corporate and Christmas parties. Interested in hosting your own event or wedding at The Pines? Make sure to call soon. They are still booking events for this fall, and although there are still a few wedding dates available for 2019, they’re booking up fast. Follow their progress and adventures as they continue to renovate the farmhouse bridal suites and plan for their official, grand opening celebration!

For more information, contact: 

The Pines




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Love It, Not List It [A Modern Farmhouse Remodel by Showplace Cabinetry Design Center]

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by Travis Beauchene, Studio Three Beau After living in their South Fargo home for 12 years, Tanja and Ryan Goellner decided it was time to…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by Travis Beauchene, Studio Three Beau

After living in their South Fargo home for 12 years, Tanja and Ryan Goellner decided it was time to weigh their options; either remodel their outdated floor plan or move on and build new. Eventually, the couple decided to keep their roots planted and let Showplace Cabinetry Design Center in Fargo recreate the heart of their home. Working with cabinetry designers Michaela Fischer and Aubrey Costello, and contractor Chris Denman, the Goellners settled into a modern farmhouse, with functional flow designed for family. Interested in touring the Goellner’s remodel for yourself? Make sure to attend the HBA’s Remodeled Home Tour on October

Investing in Improvement
Built in 1993, the Goellners loved their home within a well-established neighborhood, complete with mature trees and a convenient South Fargo location. What they didn’t love was their golden oak cabinetry and outdated layout, which included too many dark, underutilized and closed-in spaces. At the heart of their home, the family decided on a complete kitchen overhaul, mudroom/laundry room upgrade and remodel to the adjoining formal dining room which rarely got used.

“Instead of throwing money towards specials, we decided to update our home and treat it as an investment,” explained Tanja Goellner. “If we were to buy new, we’d have those specials, along with a lot of other expenses like new window treatments and landscaping; all of those things add up far beyond what the cost of the remodel was.”

Readying for a Remodel
When the Goellner’s started their search for a contractor and designer, they reached out to quite a few different sources, but it wasn’t until they met with South Fargo’s Showplace Cabinetry Design Center that they felt they had a plan they could happily live with.

“Showplace had the best design when I came in and they had a great price point. I had priced out a few different people and the one thing that stood out in my mind the most was that the contractor called me back the next day and showed up at my house. That really kind of sealed the deal for me,” laughed Goellner.

Getting Started
To get the project started, the Goellners had an initial planning meeting to collect each of the room’s measurements with Lead Designer, Michaela Fischer, and Showplace Cabinetry Manager, Aubrey Costello. “We asked for two different designs because my husband really wanted a second option,” said Goellner. “I thought they did a great job of getting us two  floor plans to choose from. This design just seemed to make the most sense, based on the room’s flow, our limited space and door openings.”

At the Heart of the Home
For the kitchen’s overhaul, Tanja Goellner already had a couple of finishes in mind; charcoal grey, glass subway tile and white cabinetry for a more modern farmhouse design. Her golden oak was demoed, walls painted and her existing grey-toned flooring was replaced with a new vinyl plank in warmer tones. To brighten up the space, the ceiling was scraped and recessed can lights were added.

The Goellners kept their existing dishwasher and fridge, only opting to upgrade to a gas stove and drawer microwave in the island. With the help of Fischer, Goellner chose a stunning Carrara Graniti granite for the perimeter and island countertops, along with hidden features like a pull-out knife and utensil organizer, door spice rack, and custom cutlery divider. The original eat-in dining area was then converted to a convenient pantry. To avoid wasted space at the end of the cabinetry, Showplace Cabinetry created a coffee nook and drop zone with a double charging station, using a wrap-around design and decorative doors.

Island Intrigue
Providing the perfect complement to the crisp white and cooler grey tones, Fischer and Goellner chose a cherry wood island in Tawny stain to anchor the space. The island’s layout was specifically designed with an angle to direct the heavy kitchen traffic and create easy flow. With seating for six, the island became even more functional with a lower microwave, positioned in a convenient location so their two teenagers can warm up a snack and not obstruct the everyday flow.

Removing Obstructions
The biggest change came with the removal of a wall that had once been the separation between the kitchen and dining. To make this happen, they included a wider beam at the top of the wall where the HVAC would then be relocated. The new accent wall was given a rustic shiplap finish with reclaimed wood sourced from Dakota Timber Company.

“Taking out that wall gave the space a lot more natural light,” said Costello. “I love how open and bright it is and how you can really see the whole space now. Scraping the ceiling texture and adding in the recessed can lights also made a huge difference.”

Designed to Dine
Removing the wall granted the Goellners newfound access to their once unused, formal dining room. This would be the perfect opportunity to convert the space into a more casual dining area with a closer connection to the kitchen.

In the new dining room, Fischer and Goellner chose Pure White, built-in cabinetry with seeded glass accents, the same charcoal grey subway tile and symmetrical wine storage. “I knew I wanted a buffet in the dining room because you can see how the two walls notch out on each side – so there’s this goofy space there; filling that was one of the goals,” said Goellner. “I was originally thinking just lower cabinets for this space, but I’m glad Michaela and Aubrey had suggested the upper cabinetry and wine storage, tying in the finishes from the kitchen.”

Organizing Chaos
With two teenagers at home, the Goellner’s mudroom and laundry room combo had become a major family problem. Fischer’s challenge would be to create a more functional space with custom cabinetry, coat hooks and a bench in the mudroom area – then multifunctional storage between the entry and laundry. The space came with a linen and coat closet, but with piles of clothes residing near the door, it was not readily used.

“Where you see the laundry baskets now, that was where the closet was, but it didn’t provide the ease of use like the open basket system,” said Goellner. “There was a huge folding table that came out of the closet and took up half of the entry with cupboards above it.” Creating a more appealing space, Fischer tied in the kitchen cabinetry finishes within the new bench and mudroom system, giving the room a seamless flow from either space.

Ahead of Schedule
Based on past construction projects, the Goellners had assumed this project, including all three rooms, would take anywhere from six to eight weeks. To their surprise, the Showplace Cabinetry team and C&N Remodeling were able to complete all three ahead of schedule. “Everything happened pretty quickly, we were only out of our kitchen for about five weeks – that was it,” said Goellner. “Their process was amazing. Michaela and Aubrey were great to work with and the contractor would take extra time to make sure everything was getting done; he’d ask every morning and end of the day if I had any questions or concerns,” said Goellner. “It was really reassuring for us to know his schedule and what was going on throughout the entire process.”

Find the Finishes:
Kitchen Designer – Michaela Fischer, Showplace Cabinetry Design Center
Contractor – Chris Denman, C&N Remodeling
Cabinetry – Showplace Cabinetry
Flooring – Armstrong Rigid Core Farmhouse Plank, Carpet Garage
Lighting, sink & plumbing fixtures – Ferguson’s Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
Reclaimed wood wall – Dakota Timber Company
Wall paint – March Winds, Sherwin Williams

Finishes from Showplace Cabinetry Design Center:
Countertops – Carrara Graniti granite
Island & laundry room wood top – Pendelton, Cherry Tawny
Perimeter bar & laundry – Pendleton Wide, Paint Grade Pure White
Hardware – Hafele in brushed nickel, Cosmopolitan Collection
Backsplash Tile – American Olean Color Appeal in Charcoal Gray 3×6

For more information, contact:
Showplace Cabinetry Design Center
Michaela Fischer, Design & Sales
2553 Kirsten Lane South, Suite 201, Fargo

To tour the Goellner’s Remodel:
HBA Remodeled Home Tour / October 6-7, 2018
Noon – 5:00 p.m. Saturday & Sunday

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Rebuilding Life & Home

Words by Tracy Nicholson Photography by M. Schleif Photography Adjusting to life as a single mom, homeowner Heidi Henegar decided to rebuild her life and home with a builder she…

Words by Tracy Nicholson
Photography by M. Schleif Photography

Adjusting to life as a single mom, homeowner Heidi Henegar decided to rebuild her life and home with a builder she knew she could trust. Working with Katie Kern and Amanda Voss of the Jordahl Custom Homes team, Henegar and her two young sons made a smooth transition into a 1,913 square-foot split-level with a contemporary twist. For Henegar, this would mark her second build with the Jordahl team and a second chance at offering her family a fresh start. To see inside her modern approach to the traditional split-level living, we headed to South Moorhead’s Stonemill Estates.

“I had looked at several different homes, existing and new construction when in the process of deciding what my next move was, but nothing quite felt right or I didn’t find myself being 100 percent confident in my decision,” explained Henegar. On a search for the right fit last fall, Henegar decided to go to a couple of open houses and the minute she stepped into a Jordahl Custom Homes model home, she knew it was perfect floor plan for her new life and two sons.

Embracing the New Normal
At the time Henegar decided to build with Jordahl, she was recently divorced and had been living in her parent’s basement for about six months with her two sons, Ryder 6, and Brody 3 – along with their 50-pound labradoodle named Remy. “My parents are saints,” laughed Henegar. “Within the same year, I left a company I had been with for 10 years and started working for AVEDA. Needless to say, I had a few changes going on in life. My ultimate goal was and will always be to provide my boys with a house they would be proud to call theirs. I wanted them to feel comfortable in a place they loved coming home to. Mainly, I wanted to be able to get things back to our new normal as soon as possible for them and myself.”

“It’s her second build with us, so she’s more of a friend and we had that personal relationship with her. Knowing her story and what she had been going through, we really wanted to make sure the process was smooth,” said Jordahl Custom Homes Director of Design, Katie Kern. “Since she was downsizing, we wanted to maximize closet space so we shifted some things around to give her a larger master closet. She also really wanted a feature wall in the living room, so we customized the plans to give her a beautiful space with floating shelves and a fireplace.”

“Heidi has great style, so our team worked hard to make sure we were able to give her the things that she really wanted,” said Amanda Voss, New Home Sale Consultant at Jordahl Custom Homes. “To stay within budget though, we used an electric fireplace versus gas. We still get the effect, but it’s much more affordable and takes up less space.”

Modernizing the Bi-Level
Henegar chose The Walsh layout which is a modern approach to the traditional split-level. These days, when we hear the word split-level, we often think of tiny, closed-in entries with stairs that are far too abundant. Today, Jordahl Custom Homes has taken huge strides to redefine split-level homes, yet still keep the design cost-efficient and high functioning. Simple modernizations include white trim and doors, vaulted ceilings, spacious entries and a more open-layout stairwell design. Beyond the floorplan, clever design elements fuse fun accent walls, floating shelves, grey-toned alder cabinetry and rustic, wood-look laminate flooring.

“My ultimate goal was and will always be to provide my boys with a house they would be proud to call theirs. I wanted them to feel comfortable in a place they loved coming home to.”
Heidi Henegar, homeowner

Building a New Life
Thrilled to eliminate some of the heftier out-of-pocket expenses, Henegar’s build would include appliances, a deck and a finished lawn. As an added bonus for building with Jordahl Custom Homes a second time, Henegar would receive a repeat builder promotion, which solidified her decision. “I had such a wonderful experience building with them the first time around and all the circumstances aligning made me feel like this was what I had been waiting for,” said Henegar. “I trusted that going through the experience again with Jordahl would be just as good, if not better the second time around.”

At the Heart of the Home
Choosing a handful of upgrades, Henegar’s kitchen design incorporates a five-foot alder island with quartz countertops and a six-foot overhang. Built-in wine storage, oversized subway tile and an adjacent formal dining room overlook the deck and backyard.
Just beyond the kitchen is the laundry room and master suite with a walk-in closet. To find the home’s beautiful mixed-metal accents and whimsical messages, Henegar frequents stores like Target, HomeGoods and TJ Maxx.

Second Time’s the Charm
“I loved building with Jordahl a second time, and I will probably do it a third time, but not for a long time – famous last words,” laughed Henegar. “I went into the process a lot more confident and knew what to expect with the process. I had a good idea of the aesthetic and the feel I wanted for my home. Since I had worked with Amanda and Katie prior, I felt super comfortable asking questions and appreciated greatly their suggestions and opinions. They were also a tremendous help in personalizing the actual floor plan of the house to make it the most functional. They pointed out things I would have never thought of that I am so happy we changed after living here for a few months.”

Downsize to Upgrade
For Henegar and her two sons, this move would mean a major downsize, so her design and layout would have to be high-functioning and efficient to suit her busy lifestyle. She also wanted to add upgrades and customizations that would make her smaller home feel more upscale while adding in plenty of character. “I had my list of wants and tons of Pinterest pins for inspiration. I had those initial must-haves priced out and then decided on what upgrades I really needed,” said Henegar. “My boys and their tendency for being rough and wild also came into play when making selections, along with neighborhood and location of schools.””Budget with this home was more important and top of mind than ever before so, I had to be super conscious of that. I loved that the team knew my situation and my priorities and priced out as many options as possible or suggested different alternatives to what I was looking for,” said Henegar. “They were also super patient and attentive during the whole process which was amazing to have that support.”

Love on the Lower Level
Downstairs, each of Henegar boys has their own room with plenty of square footage to keep their toys at bay. To maintain the tidiness upstairs, the boys have a designated play area centered around the large sofa downstairs; the only piece of furniture that represents their old life. “One of the rules that we made when we moved in here, was that there would be no toys upstairs,” explained Henegar. “I really made a big deal about emphasizing that the lower level was their space.”

Post-Build Perfection
“I have never loved a house I lived in more. This home represents so many things for the boys and myself, a fresh start, new beginnings and ultimately the idea that if you work hard to get to where you want to be, anything is possible,” said Henegar. “This home has solidified to me that the happiest spaces don’t have anything to do with size, it is loving the people that you share it with. For me, seeing the vision and process of this home coming together was amazing, not only for the physical appearance but also knowing that this is where amazing memories would be made with the two boys I love more than anything in the world. I am so thankful I put my trust in Jordahl to help us not only transition into a new home but into a completely new life.”

Find the Finishes:
Interior Designer – Katie Kern, Jordahl Custom Homes
Flooring – Laminate, vinyl and carpet, Carpet World
Tile – 4×12 Glossy White subway tile, Carpet World
Cabinetry – Antique Slate – stained knotty alder, SWI Interiors
Wall Color – Repose Gray, Sherwin Williams
Countertops – Iced White quartz – Granites UnlimitedFor more information, contact:
Jordahl Custom Homes
4802 Amber Valley Parkway, Fargo

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[ Picture Perfect ] Incorporating Family Photos into Design

Words by Audra Mehl – Grace 1972 Photography by M. Schleif Photography   Black and white canvas is always a classic/you can’t go wrong/timeless approach. It doesn’t matter what color…

Words by Audra Mehl – Grace 1972
Photography by M. Schleif Photography

Black and white canvas is always a classic/you can’t go wrong/timeless approach. It doesn’t matter what color shirt anyone was wearing that day, by changing a print to black and white you ensure the image will mesh with your design for decades, making it truly timeless. Canvas prints, which add dimension and texture to your design, are becoming more reasonable all the time and easy to order right from your phone off a variety of websites.

[Tip for Canvas Prints]
Be sure the image has a high enough resolution when ordering a larger print to avoid blurry results. Large canvas prints are a great option for professional digital images, smaller prints do not require high resolution and candid shots from a standard smartphone typically come out very crisp. 

You’ll see a lot of black and white scattered throughout my home to keep things timely from a decor perspective. It’s my go to. My favorite display includes prominent headshots of our daughters in a gallery configuration down our stairwell along with a few favorites from our wedding. (I also confess, black and white is forgiving. My husband and I were in our 40’s when we got married so I’ll just admit now that my name is Audra and filters are my friends.) In fact, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a color image of me on display in my home. My descendants may be confused about what era in which great grandma actually lived but I’m ok with that.

Tip for Hanging Photos

Photos are treated like artwork in home design, and the rule of thumb for hanging artwork in your home is it should always be hung either at eye level or just above it. Avoid hanging your photos too high or too low, eye level should always be your guide.

In addition to displaying black and white favorites on our walls, I have several framed family photos scattered throughout every room in our home. My kids are pretty much grown now, so displaying photos from their childhood is a lot of fun – I love showing off photos from all their different ages and stages. And of course, picture frames are the perfect way to pull a room’s color scheme together. Use them to draw out any accent colors you’re using or simply stick to the color scheme of your space with your frame choices. You’ll note that all my frames are consistent with the colors in the rest of my home: neutrals, whites, and blue or green pastels. By choosing frames that compliment your color scheme, your family’s story is showcased proudly.

Tip for Framed Photos

Over the years, if I have chosen to replace a framed photo with an updated photo I never remove the old photo from the frame. I simply put the new photo over the old. This keeps the old photo safe and creates a fun time capsule to rediscover later. I just recently found some great Easter photos of my daughters I’d forgotten about in a frame I’ve had for years.

If you’re struggling a bit with how to incorporate your favorite photos into your home’s design, these suggestions will have you well on your way. And of course, always remember that there are no hard and fast rules for home decor – just guidelines. Your home is yours and how you decorate, display and live in it is up to no one else but you. So go ahead and cover that fridge with all your favorite faces and pound those nails down the hall where you like them best. Because ultimately if you love it, then it’s perfect.

It’s home.

Happy decorating!

Audra Mehl

Owner/Designer behind Grace 1972 Design

Visit me on Facebook, Instagram or my Design Blog: 

Facebook: Grace 1972 Design

Instagram: @_grace_1972_

Blog: www.audramehl.net

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