Horace, ND native Chelsey Johnson has been with Prairie Design Studio for 18 years, joining her dad Kim Stokes in the family business in 2004. Five years ago, her sister Leah Peterson also joined the family business. In addition to being the Project Manager at Prairie Design Studio, Chelsey serves on the city council in Horace. “It’s a good time to have a voice in our growing community,” she said.
Chelsey has the privilege of working on all aspects of many types of projects. She has done quite a few apartment complexes, office/retail buildings and residential homes. Prairie Design Studio also has done many nursing homes around the state of Minnesota for St. Francis Health Services. “I think people are very surprised as to the caliber of projects we produce out of our small firm,” said Chelsey. “Our clients come back to us time and again for a few reasons: we get comments on how attentive we are and how we prioritize their needs and wants.”
Having an interior designer on projects definitely produces a higher quality product and Chelsey enjoys that opportunity. Many of her clients will work with her experience to choose finishes that are cohesive to the design they are trying to achieve. Adding more architectural details to the space will give a more interesting finished product as well.
“Creating spaces that are inviting and stand the test of time is always the objective”
Inspiration, Colors & Trends
“Minimalism is a trend that will continue to become more appealing,” said Chelsey. “Having less to worry about, take care of and even look at helps us to feel calmer and more content in a space; clean lines, sunny windows and warm colors with less clutter are more inviting.”
Although she finds inspiration through a variety of sources and architects (like Frank Lloyd Wright), Chelsey’s main inspiration is her dad. “Growing up my father had his architecture firm in our home, and still does today,” said Cheley. “He has always inspired me with his creativity. Learning from him has been a blessing and an opportunity I’m very thankful for.”
For Chelsey, the opportunities for creativity are endless. When she started her career, utilizing the internet wasn’t done often. Now there are so many resources online to boost ideas, materials and creativity.
Recently, Chelsey is most proud of her project management role on recent hazardous and government-funded projects. Both of these have extensive codes and literature to understand and comply with.
As a kid driving around Fargo with her dad, he would point out the buildings he worked on—now Chelsey is able to do that with her kids. “These buildings play an important role in so many people’s everyday life,” she said. “Creating spaces that are inviting and stand the test of time is always the objective.”