A rambler in North Dakota with a facade of white stucco and stone, contrasting dark stained cedar cladding and standing-seam metal roofs with Marvin windows and doors.
18 October 2021

A Grove of Century-Old Trees Lends an Ethereal Backdrop to a Modern Rambler

The home in Fargo, North Dakota pairs native scenery with a minimal palette of steel, walnut, and stone. 
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. 
"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," said 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 said. "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." 
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," said 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." 
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," Anderson said. 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 Marvin Ultimate product line.  
"The thin profile of the Ultimate floor-to-ceiling windows make the house live big while blurring the lines between indoors and out," Le Moine said. The homeowners echoed 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." 
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," Anderson said. 
"Whether the temperature outside is negative 20 or 98 degrees, our house is quiet and comfortable," the homeowners added. "During the day, the sunlight is fantastic, and when the interior is illuminated at night, it feels like a piece of art." 

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 

This article was first published on Dwell.com