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Anna G. Larson, Published April 27 2013

Functional ‘forever home’: Fargo couple says third build will be their last

WEST FARGO - The third time’s a charm for Mark and Stephanie Topp.

The couple and their two children will soon move into the 2,600-square-foot rambler at 3719 Hidden Circle that they designed with Stylemark Builders. The $579,000 home is the third the Topps have built, and they say it’s their last.

“This house took us more time to plan because it’s the last one we are going to build. We will retire in it,” Mark says.

The Topps started working on plans for the house in October and broke ground in November. Since they’d previously designed homes, the couple knew what they did and didn’t want in their forever home, which is featured in this week’s Homebuilders Association of Fargo-Moorhead’s Spring Parade of Homes.

Their first home was a two-story, and the second was a rambler. The family of four is now living in a townhome, and they’re anxious to enjoy the airiness of a 2,600-square-foot open floor plan.

The house has a modern feel because of its open floor plan, square columns, stainless steel appliances and mostly gray color scheme, says Dustin Jung of Stylemark Builders.

“A few years ago, modern style wasn’t so common, but now it’s going that way again,” Jung says.

The most significant change in the new home compared to the Topps’ previous homes is the floor plan and large, centralized living and kitchen area. Stephanie says she and Mark wanted the house to be functional for their family.

“The kitchen was important because that’s usually where everybody gathers,” she says.

Jung describes the kitchen as “gourmet” because of its custom cabinets, stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, walk-in pantry and wine fridge.

A sunroom off the kitchen and living area allows additional light to flow into the home. Stephanie says natural light was important when they were designing the home, and they also wanted a semi-secluded area with a television for their kids, 4-year-old Peyton and 16-year-old Keenan.

The master bedroom and Peyton’s bedroom are on the main floor, along with the guest bathroom, a home office, laundry room and mud room. The Topps designed the bedrooms larger than average so a queen-size bed fits comfortably.

Each bedroom also has a walk-in closet. Ample storage was important to Mark and Stephanie since they don’t plan to build or move again.

The spacious main-floor laundry room and mudroom also have plenty of storage. A locker system in the mudroom keeps clutter concealed and has a drop zone for keys and a charging area for cell phones.

Wide planks of dark wood laminate flooring warm up the clean-lined modern space, and a neutral color palette featuring gray is used throughout the house.

Stephanie says choosing paint color is always the most challenging part of building a home because colors look different depending on the lighting. For instance, the basement walls are painted an amber-orange hue, but one wall looks almost red because of lighting.

The basement is an open space with a central bar area. The Topps have bar seating but wanted to include a bar-height table to encourage interaction.

“When you only have a bar, it seems like no one sits at it. This way, we can get together and play cards,” Stephanie says.

The Topps eventually want to incorporate a Harley Davidson theme into the basement since they both ride motorcycles.

“We just wanted it to look like home for us,” Stephanie says.

Double doors off the main area in the basement open to a workout room. Two more bedrooms are downstairs, one of which will be Keenan’s, the Topps’ older son. They also roughed in an area for a second washer and dryer in case they want to install a set in the future.

The exterior of the home has two porches – one in front and back, which faces the river. Mark and Stephanie wanted both because of the changes in daily and seasonal sunlight.

“We were looking for some seclusion,” Mark says. “We like being on the river because we don’t have backyard neighbors.”

While the Topps used their past knowledge of designing homes to shape their newest space, Mark says that the Home Builder’s Association’s Fall Parade of Homes last year inspired some of their design decisions.

“I hope people come in and say, ‘These people used common sense,’ ” he says. “It was built to be functional, not as a showpiece. We’re proud of what we’ve come up with, and at the end of the day, this was meant for us to be comfortable in.”

Bryce Johnson, executive vice president of HBA says that the parade is intended to inspire.

“This event is a chance to go out and dream about a new home, or fixing up the one you’ve got, while picking up design and décor trends,” she says.

Have your home featured

Do you have a unique or stylish home we could feature? Email reporter Anna G. Larson at aglarson@forumcomm.com.

If you go

What: The Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead’s Spring Parade of Homes

When: Noon to 5 p.m. on weekends and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays today through May 5

Where: Fargo-Moorhead

Info: Admission to most homes is free. Admission is $5 to tour the four featured luxury homes, and that cost benefits the Home Builders Care of F-M Foundation.

Parade of Homes magazines are available at all Hornbacher’s stores.

For more information: Call (701) 232-5846 or visit www.hbafm.com.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525