Recycled renovation: Fargo homeowner stays true to original aesthetic by mixing modern with vintage
FARGO - Meg Spielman Peldo's home is lookin' pretty good for 100.
Instead of giving it a complete facelift, the Fargo-based photographer has used her creative mind to find new uses for the old, artfully blending modern with vintage.
"We wanted to be true to the era of the house but still have a little bit of an industrial, eclectic feel, so our challenge was to try to tie the vintage and new together in a way that would work and that would showcase artwork," she says.
Many of the 2,310-square-foot home's interesting elements - exposed wooden beams, light fixtures, hidden shelving, cupboards and countertops - have been salvaged or repurposed from other areas.
The kitchen is clearly the star of the Peldo home, which stands two stories high on the corner of Fifth Street South and Eighth Avenue South in Fargo's historic Hawthorne neighborhood.
"Everybody always ends up in the kitchen," she says.
The addition in the southwest corner, which first served as the artist's studio before she moved it downtown, has 10-plus-foot vaulted ceilings, with lots of natural light beaming through the windows.
"It was the nicest room in the house, and it wasn't being utilized," she says.
The idea came from Peldo's artist friend Mary Jordheim.
"I have a tendency to go too far outside the box sometimes, and Mary was great about pulling me back in and reminding me about things like function and focus," Peldo says.
Everywhere you look, there's something to catch your eye, and each of those somethings has a story behind it.
"I've always incorporated 'found' things," says Peldo, who has a natural eye for what's worth salvaging.
The big white cupboard came from a house on Eighth Street (peeling off the red linoleum revealed a "hidden treasure" - a wooden counter). She found the delicate curtains over the window seat in her mother's things. The range hood is made from recycled tin. The art and décor came from family, friends and travel.
The wheeled island has served a few purposes: as a retail table at a downtown boutique, then as a work table in Peldo's studio.
The light fixture hanging over it was a pot rack in her old kitchen. She took the pots and shades off, added shorter candles and antlers, and rewired it.
"I looked and looked at light fixtures, and they're like $500 to $1,000, and none of them were any nicer than my 20-year-old light," she says.
A lot of the woodwork was recycled from walls the family removed. Some came from Seth Carlson of ICSS Design & Supply, North Dakota's top reclaimed wood supplier.
The light neutrals with pops of bright colors she chose offset the darker wood.
"She did a nice job balancing it," he says.
But don't you dare fill, sand or buff out any imperfections.
"We love the warmth and character that vintage pieces bring and don't want to hide that by trying to make them look new," Peldo says.
When she bought the four-bedroom, two-bath home in 1989, the kitchen was located in the south-facing room, now a den. The move to the addition is the second for the kitchen.
"It's a huge transformation," she says.
The first was from that room to the space marked by a new sectional and a gas fireplace. Her work, done about a year after moving in, won an award in a House Beautiful magazine kitchen contest.
The house, which Peldo believes was a Sears ready-to-assemble kit home, has changed in other ways to adapt to the needs of her family and business as they've grown.
After she and husband Greg married in 1994 and had a daughter in '97, they built a master bedroom suite over the kitchen.
Now she's hoping her grown sons' children will enjoy the updated main-floor spaces.
"Part of the motivation in this (renovation) was having a place for the grandchildren to play, too," she says. "I have three and one on the way!"
Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590