Photos by Paul Flessland
Bustling with construction, automotive businesses and the sounds of machinery, most people wouldn’t think of Fargo’s industrial park as your typical neighborhood. However, Mike and Valerie Casavant have decided to make it their home. On the outside, their industrial loft fits right in with all of the other warehouses in the park, but you won’t believe your eyes when you look inside.
Originally from Canada, Mike Casavant and his wife have been living in the U.S. since 1997. However, they have only been living in their industrial park loft for eight months. Because the property was zoned as industrial, the City of Fargo actually had to write new regulations as the Casavants were renovating the building.
“The only way that we could actually get it done was through an accessory clause, which was if you are the owner of the property, you can live here because you’re taking care of the property 24 hours a day. As we were building the place, the city was making new rules because it was the first,” Mike Casavant explained.
The Casavant’s loft was the first building in Fargo to be zoned as both industrial and residential. Due to zoning regulations, the Casavants had to calculate some unusual expenses into their budget which also set their completioxn date back. Mike Casavant elaborated, “We had to put sprinkler systems in. That was one of the main requirements. We had to have firewalls and everything had to be really sealed up tight.”
When you first walk into the space, you see the main living area that opens up into the kitchen. Industrial accents add character from the ground up-literally. The heated concrete floors have been ground down, polished and sealed courtesy of Dakota Grinding. Meanwhile, the ceiling is made of steel and features exposed ductwork.
The kitchen cabinets are avocado green from Klein’s Carpentry, and they are complemented by quartz countertops. Other beautiful features include an under-mount, stainless steel sink and a glass tile backsplash.
One thing the Casavants really wanted was storage. “We’ve always lacked storage in every home we had,” Mike said. To solve this problem, the Casavants added an extra row of cabinets above their cupboards.
The Casavants use a lightweight ladder to access what would normally be out of reach. The ladder latches onto pipes, which are attached to the cabinets and can be slid from left to right. When not in use, the ladder hangs neatly from another pipe off to the side of the kitchen. Because systems like this one can be expensive, Mike found all of the materials and installed them himself to cut costs.
Off of the kitchen is a spacious laundry room with cool grey cabinets and countertops in a bright orange hue. These laminate cabinets are also courtesy of Klein’s Carpentry. The laundry room is connected to a half bath with a sliding barn door and leads into a large garage.
This garage has room for three vehicles and much more, thanks to a storage loft. Throughout their home, the Casavants have paid attention to detail- even in the garage. It is clear that a lot of thought went into using reclaimed wood on the edge of the loft.
The master bedroom is also right off of the kitchen, hidden behind distressed barn doors from Dakota Timber Company. All of the walnut furniture in the room was built by Klein’s Carpentry. Edison bulbs hang from a reclaimed wood ceiling, which fill the room with a soft glow.
All of the cabinets in the Casavants’ home, including this closet by Klein’s Cabinetry, are floating to allow their robotic vacuum to get into those hard- to-reach spots.
The master bathroom features inset medicine cabinets and an enclosed glass shower from Red River Glazing. Meanwhile, the tile work is from Showcase Flooring.
In the main living area, the Casavants have chosen comfortable furniture. Behind the sofa, reclaimed lamps from Dakota Timber Company give off extra light. Meanwhile, a modern fireplace warms the room, framed by aluminum cabinets.
Above the entertainment center is a large clock. Mike Casavant laughed about the way he came to own it, “I wanted that clock and the lady that was at Scan Design said, ‘Well, if you want it, you’re going to have to pull it o the wall,’ and I did.” After making the purchase, Mike Casavant actually rolled the 5-foot metal clock through Downtown Fargo.
Behind the main living area is a reclaimed wood staircase, also from Dakota Timber Company. “The railing we did in our shop. One of my employees, he’s a good welder. I designed the whole inside,” Mike Casavant said.
The loft has more lounge furniture, but it can also serve as an exercise room or guest bedroom. Also upstairs is a walk in closet for Valerie Casavant. Other unique features include floorboards made of old wooden bleachers from the school in Napoleon, North Dakota sourced by Dakota Timber Company.
When asked what it was like to work with the Casavants, Seth Carlson of Dakota Timber Company said:
“I knew the concept of what they were going for. Everyone else in the building process thought they were nuts for trying to do what they did, but I am a big fan of the modern-industrial design concept. So I was all for it. He and Valerie never cease to amaze me in terms of the design choices that they tend to lean toward.”
Although it was difficult to get people on board with the idea, Mike and Valerie Casavant’s industrial park loft has gotten positive feedback from everyone involved with the renovation. Because it was the first of its kind in Fargo, Casavant’s loft has set the precedent for other innovators to convert industrial properties into residential homes.