A Grove of Century-Old Trees Lend an Ethereal Backdrop to a Modern Rambler in North Dakota

Designed by Minneapolis-based PK Architecture, the home pairs native scenery with a minimal palette of steel, walnut, and stone.
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A recently completed home in Fargo, North Dakota, offers a convincing take on organic modern design. Captivated by the site’s native oak, elm, and boxelder trees, Peterssen/Keller Architecture designed the residence to draw the eye outward with broad interior spaces and a generous display of windows and doors along the rear facade. 

A natural backdrop provides the focal point for a newly built residence in Fargo, North Dakota. Designed by PK Architecture, with interior design by Martha Dayton Design, the multi-gabled structure features a facade of white stucco and stone, along with contrasting dark stained tongue-and-groove cedar cladding and standing-seam metal roofs.

Inside, walls of floor-to-ceiling windows and doors from Marvin’s® Signature® Ultimate product line punctuate the rear facade, illuminating the interior with natural light. The U-shaped home, which consists of four gabled sections, features an expansive living area at its core—complete with a central stone fireplace and a steel room divider.

"The site was a blank slate, save for a row of magnificent trees along the back of the lot, so we used the tree line both as a focus and a natural wind-break," says architect Bob Le Moine, AIA, NCARB, a senior associate at PK Architecture. The homeowners, whom Le Moine and his team had previously worked with on the design of a lake house, desired a new family residence with a strong indoor-outdoor connection, as well as a balance between public and private spaces.

"The wife had fond memories of growing up in a spacious rambler-style home, so she and her husband wanted to raise their young children in a single-level environment," Le Moine explains. "Blending modern and rural vernacular forms, the home opens onto the backyard for breathtaking views of the trees during each of North Dakota’s dramatic seasons."   

The kitchen and breakfast area are located at one end of the living space. A room divider—which is made of steel slats that intersect with a floating cabinet—lends definition to the formal dining area while allowing sunlight to pass through.

Interior features such as gabled ceilings and a brushed steel fireplace surround contribute elegant details to an otherwise minimal palette of wood, stone, and other natural materials. 

"We used organic elements to bring warmth to the home while echoing the colors and textures of the exterior landscape," comments designer Kristine Anderson, Assoc. AIA, managing principal of PK Architecture. "Our philosophy of organic modern design is based on a respect for the environment and an understanding of how a home should relate to its surroundings." 

The kitchen features a large central island, custom walnut cabinetry, and quartzite countertops. Floor-to-ceiling windows wrap around the breakfast area and complement Ultimate Casement windows with divided lites above the sink.

As with the couple’s previous project, an integral part of the new home’s design relied on Marvin windows and doors

"We used Marvin for the clients’ modern lake cabin project and they loved the design, functionality, and performance," says Anderson. For the new residence, Anderson and her team selected an array of Awning, Casement, and Picture windows with divided lites, as well as Inswing French doors, from the Signature Ultimate product line. 

Captivating views from a corner seating area are framed by Ultimate Awning and Picture windows. Adding to the interior’s warm aesthetic, all windows throughout the home are finished in oil rubbed bronze hardware and stained to match the walnut cabinetry.

"The thin profile of the Ultimate floor-to-ceiling windows make the house live big while blurring the lines between indoors and out," comments Le Moine. The homeowners echo the sentiment, adding: "The windows that make up the back facade allow us to feel like we’re part of the woods. We can watch wildlife running around and see the seasons changing before our very eyes." 

Floor-to-ceiling Ultimate Awning and Picture windows flank the home’s only staircase, which leads down to a recreation area in the basement. "We’d always dreamed of a ranch house and while [the design] isn’t exactly a traditional version, it contains many of the features—namely, open entertaining spaces, as well as all the bedrooms on the same floor," say the homeowners.

A look at one of the home’s bedrooms. Here, a trio of Ultimate Casement windows, both operable and stationary, provide an abundance of natural light.

The diversity of weather in North Dakota—which can experience harsh winters—also required careful consideration, especially given the extensive amount of glass throughout the home. "We often say that expansive windows and doors allow us to fulfill the promise of modern design, since we can design walls of glass that fill a home with natural light while creating warmth and comfort in challenging climates," says Anderson. 

The rear of the home unfolds around a central patio and lawn. All of the windows and doors are stained in an ebony color to match the dark cedar cladding and black metal roof.

"Whether the temperature outside is negative 20 or 98 degrees, our house is quiet and comfortable," the homeowners add. "During the day, the sunlight is fantastic, and when the interior is illuminated at night, it feels like a piece of art."

Experience windows and doors differently at marvin.com.

Project Credits: 

Architecture: Peterssen/Keller Architecture

Interior Design: Martha Dayton Design / @marthadaytondesign 

Structural Engineering: A.M. Structural Engineering 

Construction: Tomlinson Schultz 

Landscape Design: Land Elements Landscape Architects 

Photography: Spacecrafting 


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