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John Lamb, Published November 02 2013

Lofty ambition: Stephanie Goetz finds home in laid-back downtown Fargo digs

FARGO - When it came time to settle down, Stephanie Goetz knew she wanted to plant her roots in downtown Fargo.

As a college student at the University of Minnesota, she coveted friends’ downtown dwellings, envious of their proximity to the heart of Minneapolis.

So when the KVLY news anchor started looking at condominiums in June, she told her real estate agent she wanted a two-bedroom, two-bath spot in downtown Fargo.

He told Goetz that might be a stretch in her price range, but set up a number of viewings.

It turns out, one was enough. Ten days after seeing her first space, Goetz was signing the dotted line.

With only one bathroom and no actual bedroom, the loft space wasn’t exactly what she was looking for, but it was exactly what she wanted.

“Oh my gosh, this is my dream place,” Goetz recalls thinking after first seeing the 1,250-square-foot space.

Four months after moving in, the 28-year-old says her spot in the heart of Fargo puts her close to the pulse of the city, but also offers her a quiet, peaceful spot to collect her thoughts.

“I want it to be a retreat for me,” she says as she prepared for work earlier this week. “Because of my hectic life, I needed a place for solitude, but also a place that was warm and welcoming for my friends to enjoy.”

The warmth comes out in the character of the hardwood floors, the brick walls and the exposed beam and wood ceiling.

The 1917 building was an automotive warehouse and the marks of that business remain on parts of the floor, with gouges and areas of discolored wood. The building was renovated by architect Terry Stroh in 2004.

“It’s great because I can drag furniture across the floor and not have to worry about it,” Goetz says. “I don’t ever pick up my furniture.”

While the old floors, brick walls, exposed vents, beams and ceiling give the space an industrial feel, the custom maple cabinets in the kitchen and part of the living area add a refined touch.

“The built-ins are the greatest things to ever happen. I love the unique, ornate beauty of it,” she says.

The cabinets allow for storage without cluttering up the open floor plan.

“It’s amazing how cozy this place is with the 15-foot high ceilings,” she says.

A bank of theater lights left over from a previous owner allows Goetz to be flexible with the lighting.

Though the loft has no bedroom, a Murphy bed folds into the maple cabinets.

Even without the bedroom, the space does offer something most women desire in a home; closet space.

One 125-square-foot walk-in is lined with racks, shelves and an array of shoes, but the space doubles as a utility room with the water heater and a ceiling-mounted furnace.

Another closet around the corner holds her jackets and coats. A rolling garment rack in the corner of the living area is packed with more clothes.

“The blessing and the curse of being a news anchor,” Goetz says with a laugh. “It’s sick how many clothes I have.”

Cabinets with doors serve as storage for things like her collection of purses, while the uncovered cubes offer display spaces for family photos and mementos. There’s a tennis ball from the French Open, signed by tennis star Michael Chang, the goggles she wore into the Twins clubhouse as a KSTP reporter when they won the Central Division in 2006 and a picture of herself and her brothers as children with then Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator, Tony Dungy.

Family is a motivation for Goetz. Her brother Brandon was killed in a car crash in 1997 and her other brother Cam died by suicide five years later. Earlier this year she announced she would start the Stephanie Goetz foundation in Cam’s honor to combat depression and mental illness.

The loft doesn’t just serve as a home, it also doubles as a place where she can work for the foundation and hold related events.

But it’s not all work. Goetz likes to entertain, inviting friends over for dinner and wine.

She recently had about 15 people over and said there was, “more than enough space.”

While a glass-topped table seats six, people congregated in the kitchen, particularly around an island. The concrete countertop is perfect for entertaining, easy to clean, hard to mark and suitable for holding hot or cold items.

The island sits on wheels, which allows it to be rolled to other parts of the condo, creating a bar in the living area or just pushed to the side opening more floor space.

Goetz practices yoga, and the open area and natural light from three big east-facing windows allow her to practice her poses.

“There is nothing that epitomizes my style more than this place,” she says, pointing out works from local artists like Mitch Hoffart, Punchgut, Jon Offutt and Rando.

The shelves display touches of her history. A Red Wing crock is a constant reminder of her Minnesota hometown and a pair of horse head bookends reminds her of childhood rides with her family in western North Dakota.

Now Goetz has her own place to call home.

“There’s so much pride in owning your own place,” she says. “There’s such a sense of peace in your own place. It’s so much different than renting. It feels like you’re completing a sense of yourself.

“Every morning I wake up and pinch myself and say, ‘I live here? Seriously?’ I feel so fortunate,” she says. “This is a sanctuary for me.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533