One-of-a-kind house becomes home for Fargo couple

FARGO - The minute Arika Elliott walked into the sweet little A-frame house on 10th Street near downtown Fargo, she knew she wanted to live there.She and her husband, Jim, were looking for a house in Fargo after deciding to sell their home on a 3...
Jim and Arika Elliott bought their home at 515 10th St. S. in Fargo last fall. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO - The minute Arika Elliott walked into the sweet little A-frame house on 10th Street near downtown Fargo, she knew she wanted to live there.

She and her husband, Jim, were looking for a house in Fargo after deciding to sell their home on a 30-acre property in south Moorhead. Jim, 60, found the maintenance of the sprawling property and large home was becoming a burden. Plus, the couple owns two other homes - one in Florida and another on Pelican Lake in Minnesota.

"I saw the fireplace and said, 'I want this house,' " she says. "I told him, 'I found our home ... I'm not going to look at any more houses. You can if you want to.' "

He didn't.

They closed on the home in September and moved in within the next couple weeks. While Arika, 37, says she loves the quirkiness of the home, one feature was just a little too strange: a large, zen garden sandbox prominently located in the kitchen. They had it removed but saved some of the wood from it to use as a shelf in the living room.

A garage was added - "because husbands need a garage," Arika jokes - and concrete was poured behind the home. Other than those features, the house was ready for them to settle into.

Downsizing from a large home several miles out of town to a smaller home in town has not been without its challenges. They left a lot of furniture in the old house because it didn't quite fit the industrial style of their new abode.

Plus, for a couple who enjoyed entertaining groups as large as 50 to 60 people, future gatherings will have to be adjusted slightly.

"It's about a third of the size of our other home, which means we have people over in smaller groups now," she says.

With four bedrooms, plus a new trundle bed in the loft, the home has enough space for three children and their families - which includes six grandchildren ages 6 to 23 - to stay when they visit. They'll just be a little cozier, she says with a laugh.

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Arika loves being in a historic neighborhood close to all the downtown amenities, although her two Golden Doodles named Stewart and Karl have had a rough time adjusting to no longer having the space to roam.

"They've been picked up by the pound and brought home by the police," she says.

Arika notes that while she misses the country and the privacy of her former home - "I'm a farm girl," she explains - she's enjoyed meeting her neighbors and getting to know them over the last several months. She's also excited to explore the neighborhood and downtown by walking once the weather permits.

Right now, though, the winter months have offered ample opportunity to put to use one of her favorite features of the home: the large, two-story wood-burning fireplace with a wraparound metal staircase. Arika says she has a fire roaring most nights of the week.

To make the house even cozier, Arika enlisted the help of design consultants Julie Alin and Steve Johnson from Altering Spaces out of Scheels Home and Hardware.

"I can't decorate," Arika admits bluntly. "They did a great job."

Alin says the style of the Elliotts' new home is more rustic industrial, which is a popular trend right now. They are a casual couple, she says, so everything had to be comfortable and functional. Working around the couple's existing furniture, Alin and Johnson added personal items whenever possible - like the reclaimed shelf, family cattle brand and other collected treasures like a galvanized clock and a vintage record player.

In the loft, Alin says she went for a more rustic chic style to create a more feminine, yet vintage feel.

"It can be her escape room or a little romantic getaway for the two of them," she says. "Like a sanctuary space."

Alin notes that the rustic industrial trend worked seamlessly in the Elliotts' home thanks to the prominent stone fireplace that dominates the main living space as well as the pipe lighting and distressed vinyl plank flooring. It all combines to create one unique home.

"No one is going to have a house like this," Arika says.

While she loves their new home, Arika says her former home will always have a special place in her heart. She and Jim married there in October 2012.

"I don't think I'll ever get over that house," she says. "It was one of the hardest sales I've ever made ... but we'll make memories here."