By Tracy Nicholson & Trever Hill
Photos by Paul Flessland
Diane and Gary Johnson purchased their home in 2005 in the Charleswood neighborhood of West Fargo. Twelve years later, they found themselves at a crossroads, wondering if they should continue to love their home or possibly list it. Their home with “good bones” was in need of a style update and they weren’t sure they could tackle changes on their own. After making the decision to love their home, Diane Johnson contacted Trever Hill Design to infuse their home with new life.
The Johnsons previously lived in the Bluemont Lakes neighborhood in South Fargo until their move in 2005 to Charleswood. The home was originally built in 2000 by Rick Samson Construction. Diane Johnson had followed Hill’s work in Design & Living magazine and then decided to contact him after he was hired by her daughter to help design their lower level.
Beauty in the Details
For this remodel, Diane Johnson worked closely with Trever Hill to revamp the main living area, kitchen and master suite. Knowing that style is in the details, Hill started with the largest details, managing the remodel and choosing the large-scale furniture, then moved on to the smallest details by replacing the original brass knobs, hardware and faucets throughout the home.
A few years back, Johnson had the original carpeting replaced with a wood laminate in the main living area and family room. “If you look at the flooring closely, you can see traces of grey, so that was somewhat of the inspiration for the rest of the greys,” said Hill.
The original faux Tuscan wall finish was removed and updated with a grey-toned beige paint, now commonly referred to as greige. “The use of beige and grey tones combined is a trick that gives the grey a warmer tone and allows for the use of both beige and grey accents to exist in the same room,” said Hill. He also had the columns surrounding the formal dining room painted in a darker shade than the family room to help give the space interest. Along with updating paint and hardware, Hill worked with Johnson to choose new art pieces, accents, furniture, lighting, tile and fans.
For the family room redesign, Hill and Johnson chose a tufted and overstuffed tweed-textured sofa and chair with miniature nail-head trim. Hill also opted for a new side chair with a special feature for the space near the window.
Sofa and overstuffed chair – Bernhardt, Gabbert’s Design Studio & Fine Furniture
Dog bed – Costco
Side chair – Custom Sunbrella fabric, The Furniture Mart
Laminate flooring – Carpet World
Family room paint – Balanced Beige by Sherwin Williams
Dining room column paint – Warm Stone by Sherwin Williams
Sidetable and coffee table – Furniture Mart
Howard Miller standing clock – Hom Furniture
Lamps – HomeGoods
Accent pillows – HomeGoods
“Because it’s so close to the window, I chose a custom Sunbrella fabric that’s actually an exterior furniture fabric,” said Hill. “It’s super durable, waterproof and fade resistant, which helps maintain it’s color in its sun-drenched location. The company originally developed this fabric for use on yachts.”
Finding Balance with Scale and Flow
To improve the flow of the family room, Hill changed the positioning of the furniture, leaving an unobstructed space to walk from the kitchen to the family room. “I felt from the front door walking in, this layout had such a nice flow and allowed for a view straight through to the backyard pool,” said Hill. “Frank Lloyd Wright loved to be able to see right through the house from the front door, so I didn’t want to obstruct that view with a sofa.”
Pampered Pups: Johnson questioned whether she should move the dog bed out of the main living area, but later opted to leave it after finding a beautiful bed for her Chihuahua and Chi-Pom, that complimented the room’s other furnishings.
Flanking the sofa, mercury glass lamps create a glamorous yet vintage feel for the family room. “Lamps are huge,” said Hill. “I notice a lot of people in their bedrooms and living rooms use smaller lamps than they should. Getting the proper scale prevents it from looking too dwarfed or too large. I think many people fall in love with the lamp itself and don’t think of how it’s going to look in proportion to all the other pieces in their home. I also notice people will put really skinny lamps on huge side tables. Skinny lamps are really more suitable to smaller furniture pieces like buffets, where you need it to take up less space.”
“With Trever’s little touches everywhere, it isn’t so overstated and it just looks so clean—I love it,” said Johnson. “He was so much fun to meet and work with. He just gets you so excited about the project.”
To keep the look fresh, Hill used various textures in each of the wall’s artwork. One is a glass-enclosed wire piece, one is a painting with metallic elements and another a textured piece of art in a floating frame.
In the kitchen, Johnson and Hill decided to keep the current maple cabinets and update the design. To start this project, the two changed out the full stove and overhead microwave with a more contemporary range and hood. To make the cabinetry changes, they worked with Lynn Kjelshus of Wood & Stone Accents. Kjelshus was able to expertly match the existing cabinetry with a custom design, using some of the old cabinetry to build cabinets below the new range top.
Cabinetry additions – Lynn Kjelshus, Wood & Stone Accents
Tile backsplash – Floor to Ceiling Carpet One
Countertop – Northern Stone
Original cabinetry – Braaten Cabinets
Recycled leather island chairs – McNeal & Friends
Captain’s chairs – McNeal & Friends
Table and chairs – Hom Furniture
“It was amazing how Lynn came in and put in the new cabinets and matched it to the old ones,” said Johnson. “When people come here, they say they can’t even tell where the new cabinets come in. He built the entire end piece and matched the arches and panel detailing perfectly.”
Hill and Johnson chose new countertops in a marble-like Quartz and replaced the old ceramic tile backsplash with a more contemporary, herringbone design of stone, glass and marble. Johnson reupholstered the breakfast nook chairs in stain-resistant Sunbrella fabric and Hill found clean-lined, recycled leather chairs in a grey tone for the island.
Proving that cabinetry with good bones is worth keeping, Hill explained, “A lot of people think that if they want to do a big change like replacing a full stove with a range top, they’ll have to paint their cabinetry or get all new. With just a few layout changes in this kitchen, we were able to completely change the look.”
In the formal dining room, Hill made the stunning, chain link-draped chrome chandelier the main focal point. “Diane really has a transitional style, so she loves a fresh, contemporary look, but she truly does, at the heart of it, like traditional as well,” said Hill. “All of the lighting and chandeliers from the entry to the kitchen and bath are able to be in a contemporary home or a traditional home.”
For this more formal space, Johnson and Hill found a new table and used stain-resistant Sunbrella fabric for the captain’s chairs at the ends of the table. To finish the look, Hill set a beautiful scene with rustic candle holders, glass hurricanes, new wall art and organic elements such as florals and branches.
Chandelier – Wayfair
Captain’s chairs – Sunbrella fabric, Furniture Mart
Side chairs and table – Gabbert’s Design Studio & Fine Furniture
Artwork, table runner, candle holders, accent branches – Scheels Home & Hardware
Floral – Pier One Imports
“What I always say it to start big and go small,” said Hill. “You need to know what you are changing with the actual home. If you were moving out, what’s staying in there? Then move into the next biggest item such as furnishings. Let’s get some custom-ordered furniture, find the tables, and at the tail-end, that’s when we bring in the artwork, lamps, pillows and accessories. I wanted them to feel, after the remodel, that the home was just built.”
The last thing Johnson saw when she left town was her new finishes and bare space with new furniture. “I was gone when he did the final accessories,” said Johnson. “It was only about a day-anda-half and I came home and got to walk into it completely finished. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted know how he came up with the idea and where this all came from. It was wonderful.”
For the master bath remodel, Hill and Johnson removed the original molded shower enclosure and updated the space with stunning tilework. Johnson chose new tile from Showcase Flooring and worked with Hill to design an intricate river-rock pattern.
Cabinetry – Braaten Cabinets
Countertops – Northern Stone
Floor, shower tile, glass shower door – Showcase Flooring
Free-standing tub and tub faucet – Delta, Ferguson Bath Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
Lighting and mirrors – Wayfair
Sink faucets – Lowe’s
Paint – Tony Taupe by Sherwin Williams
Shower tower water system – Golden Vantage
Johnson originally had a built-in Jacuzzi tub in the corner, but with the new design, the two decided to replace it with a more contemporary free-standing tub. The shower was also updated with new glass doors and a multi-function, wall-mounted shower panel tower with a rainfall water system. This is a feature that easily attached to the existing shower head and plumbing.
“I had this idea to have both of the water components connected with a river, so having the river rock come through from the shower wall leading to the tub,” said Hill. “The owner of Showcase Flooring actually cut it and did it himself. Then I decided we needed more interest, so I brought in this grey, glass tile and shot it behind so it gives the appearance that it’s behind the river of stone.” Taking it one step further, Hill then complimented the overall look by having the same glass tile installed on the ceiling of the shower.
Since the original under-lit cabinetry was still in good condition, the two opted to keep the cabinets as-is and instead chose to update the countertop with a Calacatta, marble-like Quartz design. Clean lines were created with new chrome handles, sinks, faucets, vintage style pivot mirrors and lighting.