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Anna G. Larson, Published March 01 2014

Pretty crafty: North Fargo homeowners personalize their 1940 house

FARGO - Lauren and Robby Trefethren’s home is a Pinterest board realized.

“I incorporate a lot of family traditions and travel. It’s vintage in a modern way,” says 24-year-old Lauren.

“A lot of our furniture and decorations have been repurposed and/or painted,” Robby adds.

The 1,287-square-foot yellow 1940 north Fargo abode is brimming with thrifty, whimsical charm.

Lauren describes the interior color palette as “cheerful.” Cool blues and warm yellows complement the gleaming original hardwood floors, white built-ins and natural sunlight that floods in through the large windows.

“I can’t walk in the door and be too sad. It’s a very happy house,” Lauren says.

The focal point of the chiffon-walled living room is the fireplace, its mantel and a vintage map.

The treasure from Antiques on Broadway is decorated with red dots, indicating cities the Trefethrens have visited together. The remaining dots signify trips they’ve taken separately – the purple dots, 23-year-old Robby’s, and the blue, Lauren’s.

The map rests behind a sizable old window the couple found on a curb – one of many freebies they’ve reworked.

A skinny weathered door, also a curb score, displays strings of vintage postcards that, again, represent the couple’s travels.

“I incorporate a lot of family traditions and travel,” Lauren says.

But not everything in the 74-year-old abode is used or refurbished.

The living room furniture set is new, and the Trefethrens made it their own by decoupaging the coffee table with scrapbook paper and wrapping the wooden legs in twine.

Also new is the white Ikea console that dominates the west wall of the living room. Oodles of books line the shelves, covering everything from politics to fiction. Most are Robby’s.

“He’s definitely a book nerd. That’s inspired a lot of our style, incorporating book pages. He reads more than anyone I’ve ever met,” Lauren says.

Books with ruffled pages dangle above the “coffee corner” in the mostly white kitchen. Stocked with nearly a dozen tins of tea, plus coffee beans, the tiny area is used daily.

The table is another free find from a friend, and the book ornaments festooned the ceiling of the couple’s wedding venue.

The kitchen cabinets are naked, their doors absent to evoke an airy feel in the modestly sized space. Plus, dishes are easier to find, Lauren says.

She spends the most time in the sunny room, usually baking twice a week. Although she enjoys a classic chocolate chip cookie, her current favorite is dark brown sugar cookies made with coconut oil.

In the dining room, a photo-covered globe hints that the Trefethrens will soon be plus one.

Lauren’s due mid-March, and “Baby Girl Tref” already has a presence in the home.

Her nursery is yellow and gray, and mom-to-be Lauren often sits in the rocking chair admiring the soothing space.

On the chalkboard wall, Lauren keeps track of her pregnancy and writes messages like “You make me happy when skies are gray.”

The cloth mobile above the crib was handmade locally by Missy Porter, and a close friend knitted the elephant stuffed animal. The Trefethrens also hung photos of themselves as babies.

“It’s filled with touches of love from friends and family,” Lauren says.

The blue, yellow and white master bedroom is off the nursery, and the bed’s often a nap spot for the Trefethrens’ two dogs, Kennedy (for the late politician) and Mumford (for the folk-rock band Mumford & Sons).

A guest room outfitted with colorful accessories and the small but functional bathroom complete the second floor.

Natural light fills the upper level as much as the main floor, and it’s what charmed Lauren and Robby when they first viewed the abode on a bright, fall day in 2012.

“Sunshine is so therapeutic,” Lauren says.

While they adore the house, there’ve been a few first-time home owner surprises, like the sump pump backing up, but the Trefethrens says it’s worth having a home to call their own.

“The thing I like most about our house is that it is truly unique,” Robby says. “We take great pride in knowing that you can’t go to Gordmans and buy our decorations. Rather, we put the work in, making the reward that much better.”


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