Make Yourself At Home: How To Create A Dwelling Space You Love

Inspired By My Conversation With Murphy Anderson of the Downtown Fargo Neighborhood Association.

Piet & Kayla van Rensburg

Photo by M.Schleif Photography 

The best feeling in the world is the feeling you have after coming home from a long day and taking a deep breath and feeling completely relaxed and comfortable in your dwelling space. However, if your home is disconnected with your personal style and who you are, you may not have that feeling of contentment when walking through the doors. Something may feel off, disjointed or even slightly chaotic if you're not jiving with your space.

The good news is there are ways to help inspire you to rethink your space, and make it feel more like you! Much like in your wardrobe, your home decor style has the potential to change, adapt and grow. Whether you want to add subtle changes in your space, or you're at a point where you're looking for a completely new space (even if it means packing up and moving,) you are capable of making it happen. 

Contemporary Kitchen

First Hand Experience 

Piet and I have had our fair share of moves in the past couple of years. Through those years we've honed in on what we truly want in our home. I have to laugh every time I tell this story, but the truth is we are very blessed to have such similar tastes in decor aesthetics, which helps make the decision making process pretty smooth. We both like clean, contemporary design with a hint of elegance. We bring in pieces that tell a story. When we can't find a piece we like, we collaborate with each other to design and build one for our space. Piet's carpentry skills along with my design skills have helped us create both our kitchen table and our media console table. (read about the story behind our pieces here!) We also rely on gut feelings and when we find a piece that we both are instantly attracted to, it usually comes home with us - even if it's a large piece like our ocean blue sofa we found on a whim. 

We've lived in everything from a fully-carpeted place, to an industrial place with exposed beams, and have finally settled in on our current place, a charming loft with exposed brick and tons of natural light located just off of the main part of Downtown Fargo. 

Piet van rensburg Kayla Cote van rensburg

Photo by J. Alan Paul

My Go-to Tips and Tricks to Finding The Right Space

After experiencing the variety of places I did, I clued in on what I liked about each space and what I didn't. I had to get decisive about it, otherwise I'd end up creating a space that didn't fit my personality. I also had to think about where I wanted to live. I knew I wanted to live in downtown, but I didn't realize how much things changed depending on what part of downtown I was in. 

Tip 1: Know Yourself 

If you're in the market for a new space, it's important to know yourself, what you like and what you can compromise on. Each place comes with it's quirks as well as logistics to consider. In Piet and my second apartment, we realized we weren't as fond of the dark, industrial feel of the place as we thought we'd be. I learned very quickly how important it was for me to have lots of natural light to feel comfortable. When we were in search of a new place the following year, we put natural light at the top of our list, which helped us narrow down and find a place we truly felt comfortable in. 

Tip 2: Know The Area 

Parking can be a factor, especially if you're looking at moving into a downtown location without nearby parking or a parking garage on site. Parking tickets do add up and can affect how you feel about where you're living.

What's around you is also important to consider. I've found Downtown Fargo to be a great place to live because you can find a local grocery store, a variety of gyms and parks nearby. Churches, places to eat and entertainment are also things to consider. 

The amount of noise around you can also affect how you feel. For me, living in a quieter area just off downtown, with easy access to the main part of downtown is ideal, as is being close to nature - like a park or near the river. 

Tip 3: Check Out Different Home Styles

Take in opportunities to see different places. Take advantage of opportunities to take in home tours or other opportunities to see spaces in person. Doing so gives you new perspectives on an area, especially if it's a type of area you want to move to for the first time. 

The Downtown Fargo Neighborhood Association has organized a Downtown Fargo Home Tour to let people see diverse types of living options in the area. Tickets are $20 and allow you to visit a selection of homes in the downtown area. The tour runs Saturday, September 15th from noon - 5pm. You can see everything from a single family home, to newly-built contemporary buildings, to renovated boutique lofts, like our place!

Tip 4: Make It Yours

Once you've settled on a place, make it your own, but also know that you can take your time and that the right pieces will come along if you let them. Piet and I have made a few mutual rules we follow when picking out pieces for our space. Our first rule is that we don't bring it home if we don't absolutely love it. Honestly, he's better at this than I am. Sometimes I want to buy something because it's a bargain, or because it's something I may use in the future. Sadly, those things usually end up cluttering our home more than adding to our home. We keep it simple and bring in only the pieces we are needing at the time and that we both can say yes to. 

Places in Fargo to Find Inspiration 

design and decor

Fargo has great places that are definitely on my go-to list for inspiration. The newly opened Eco Chic Home is a great place to go, especially if you don't have a specific style.

Where I visit: Eco Chic Home

The staff at Eco Chic Home can help you create a look and style you love by mixing and matching a variety of neutrals, fun accents and pieces with lots of texture and charm. 

What I read: Local Publications 

Design & Living and Midwest Nest are both great design magazine options to pull ideas from. Check out my monthly article in Design & Living called Locally Trending, which focuses where to find locally sourced decor items. I also include inspiration pieces, such as local artwork, along with tips and tricks to using decor to create a space that is unique to you. 

Want More?

Check out the story of how Piet & I found and styled our Downtown Fargo Loft in our feature in Design & Living Magazine. You can also see us this Saturday as part of the Downtown Fargo Home Tour! Don't forget to Grab Your Tickets here!

Also check out my conversation with Murphy Anderson of the Fargo Downtown Neighborhood Association, as she sheds light on downtown living and what to expect to see on the Downtown Fargo Home Tour this Saturday! 




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