Photos by Hillary Ehlen and Melanie Anderson
When new construction pays homage to historic homes, the outcome is timeless. Across the river in Horizon Shores, Ben and Melanie Anderson have used salvaged materials throughout the construction, interior design and décor of their 2016 build by Benjamin Custom Homes, which reflects Melanie’s modish, eclectic style. Join us as we tour their contemporary home with pieces of the past built right into the walls.
Ben and Melanie Anderson are the husband-and-wife team at Benjamin Custom Homes. The couple met while in high school in Frazee, Minnesota, and both went on to attend NDSU. Ben Anderson has had a passion for building ever since he was young and when she isn’t decorating, Melanie Anderson is a nurse at the Sanford Family Birth Center in Fargo. While Ben Anderson designed their home, Melanie Anderson was responsible for the décor. Together, they have three sons: Jakobi (8), Maks (5) and Henrik (3).
Upon entering the Andersons’ home, you are greeted by a white, tongue-in-groove, 24-foot vaulted ceiling. To the right, a floating staircase makes a statement with reclaimed wood from Dakota Timber Company. Meanwhile, a two-tier chandelier featuring vintage-inspired light bulbs stuns from above.
Ben Anderson made this bench when he was 13 years old, which is what taught him to love building. “It’s the bench that built the company,” he laughed.
Ben Anderson noted that he chose not to have steps leading up to their front door, making the first-floor handicap accessible.
To the left of the entrance, a doorway leads to the mudroom, which is adjacent to a powder room and home office. In the future, Ben Anderson will install a sliding barn door to close this area off from the rest of the home. “The idea is that I can have an office here and that I can get in and out without the kids knowing,” he said.
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Cabinetry – Wendt Cabinets
Tile – Carpet World
In the kitchen, dark blue lower cabinets contrast against the bright white, extended upper cabinets. Meanwhile, brass hardware creates a dramatic effect. On the island, the Andersons opted for minuet quartz countertops and a farmhouse sink. Attached to the kitchen is an oversized pantry, which has enough room for a deep freeze as well as plug-ins for all of their small appliances, which prevents their kitchen from becoming cluttered.
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Cabinetry – Wendt Cabinets
Island Countertop – Lg
Tile backsplash – Walker Zanger
Barstools – Restoration Hardware
Wooden Beams – Dakota Timber Company
“I am very eclectic. I take inspiration from old houses as well as Scandinavian, industrial and Mid-Century modern decor, so I really like to mix it up,” Melanie Anderson said. When selecting finishes and fixtures for the interior, she worked with her brother, Adam Laplante, who is also a team member at Benjamin Custom Homes.
The dining room has history built right into the walls. “This is the wall that came from the historic Lewis Home in Fargo,” said Ben Anderson. “We were doing restoration work and these bricks were no longer structurally sound, so we palletized them. Three years later, we ended up cutting them up, so we actually made four pieces out of every brick.” Those bricks can now be seen adding major wow-factor to the Andersons’ dining room.
Pieces of Melanie Anderson’s personal history are also engrained in the space. The white oak structural columns supporting the majority of the home’s weight are from her childhood home in Detroit Lakes. The brick wall also contains a brick that she found on a friend’s family farm, that Ben Anderson sourced all the way back to the Sabinsky Brothers in upstate New York.
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Table – Finnu Designs
Settee – The White House Co.
Greenery – Love Always Floral
One of the most convenient features of the master suite is a stacked washer and dryer hidden away in a closet off the master bath.
Melanie Anderson calls their master bath “The Black and White Room” because of the vintage-inspired concrete tile. In addition to a soaking tub, the Andersons’ master bath has a walk-in, subway-tile shower with a rain shower head.
Because he was concerned that their boys would try to climb up the sides of the catwalk, Ben Anderson made the railing higher than codes required. He also came up with a solution for a different challenge when designing the catwalk. “It was defined as a hallway and needed its own separate lighting source and we didn’t want to hang lights up there, so we lit the handrail instead,” Ben Anderson said.
The Andersons opted for a lower ceiling in the boys’ bathroom to make room for a loft in the guest bedroom. Because the loft has a twin mattress, the space can sleep a small family. To access the loft, the Andersons use a ship ladder.
The windows in the playroom overlook the kitchen so the boys can see Melanie Anderson when she is preparing meals or working at the island.
The boys’ bathroom is a style straight out of the 1920s. When they were first found at a flea market by a friend, Melanie Anderson knew she needed to have these 1926 sinks. The Andersons had the bases refinished and were able to reuse the original handles. Although they did have to install new faucets, there are still two lines: one for hot water and one for cold.
The dresser in the corner of Henrik’s room belonged to Benjamin Anderson when he was a little boy. “His name is carved in the top,” Melanie Anderson pointed out. She also crafted the mobile hanging above the dresser out of branches from her parents’ house in Detroit Lakes and paper decorations from The White House Co.
Jakobi & Mak’s Room
Maks and Jakobi’s nautical-themed room is great for sleep-overs. The double-bunk beds by Pacc Woodworks each have their own electrical outlet and ship-inspired light fixture. The lower bunks also feature built-in shelves made by Ben Anderson’s father, which Melanie decoupaged with paper from Zandbroz. “I wanted to give dimension and character to those spaces, so they weren’t just white,” Melanie Anderson said.
Jakobi’s Hidden Office
Hidden behind a mirror in the closet is a secret room, or “Jakobi’s office.” The decor in this room features a planet mobile, dinosaur models and a microscope because Jakobi is fascinated by science.
“This house was built in a lot of weekends and a lot of nights,” Ben Anderson said. The Anderson’s would like to give special thanks to their crew, vendors, friends and family for all their hard work. In order to celebrate the work that Benjamin Custom Homes as put into the build, the Andersons will be having an open house that will be open to the public on Sept. 16 from noon-5 p.m. Details will be posted on their Facebook page.
Benjamin Custom Homes
4025 4th Ave. S. #1, Fargo
Search “Benjamin Custom Homes, LLC” on Facebook.