A modern masterpiece from the 1920s – Design and Living Magazine


This nostalgic four square pastel yellow house * nestled on S 9th Street in Fargo was first built in 1924. It originally offered 2,722 square feet, which has been modified and added to the Jim Osowski renovation when he moved into Residence 1315 in August 2017. I walked through the 72-year-old DIYer’s beautiful three-year renovation project, capturing some of my favorite spaces and nooks and crannies and asking a few questions along the way.

Q&A with Owner Jim Osowski

Why did you choose this house to renovate?

When I choose a house to renovate, I like to browse through it and see if it “speaks” to me. I need to get a feel for the house before deciding if it’s worth it. What I check first if it has a good basement and a good structure; he must have good bones. This one does.

Explain to me the process of renovating your home?

If you are going to do a major renovation, completely tear off the plaster and batten; get it up to two by fours. It’s much more complicated, but then you start with a clean slate

How did you first get interested in DIY projects?

I came from a large family of makers; a lot of people in my family were carpenters. I grew up on a family farm and farmed it myself until 1983 when I attended Moorhead State College. College wasn’t for me so I became an independent contractor and started renovating / reversing houses.

Where did the renovation process for this house start?

I knew I was going to redo the kitchen, as well as the back part of the house (including the garage). I also decided to add a family room next to the kitchen as everyone wants to sit in the kitchen.

What original features and characteristics did you want to keep?

Three main elements of the house have been preserved: the wooden floor on the ground floor is original, exposed bricks from the 1920s upstairs and lots of natural light.

What legacy do you want to leave to the next owners?

It would be nice to sell to a family. With all the blood, sweat and tears, it’s a big investment. I just want to see him show a good life. This place would be great for kids, and good homes reflect the good life.


The house now has a comfortable porch, complemented by various flower and plant landscaping that nestles all around the back patio.

The kitchen and the dining room

Cabinets feature elegant rain glass, supplied by now retired stained glass artist Paul Anderson. The beautifully patterned tile work came from Cole Flooring in Fargo. Ducts were also installed to provide energy efficient central air conditioning to the home. The lights were sourced from Sam’s Club, which was a perfect balance between cost efficiency and design. The sleek quartz countertops are sourced from Spaulding Stone in Moorhead.

The golden oak stained table has been a part of almost every Osowski remodel and has fitted in perfectly every time. The warm tones of the contemporary chandelier and Edison bulbs come from Menards. The porcelain hutch stained glass was provided by Michael Orchard Studio.

The foyer and the family room

Not all of Osowski’s design planning takes place during working hours: “Sometimes I’ll be lying in bed at night and an idea will come to me,” Osowski said with a laugh. “So I jump out of bed and grab my tape measure.” Other elements, however, do not need an updated design. The fireplace, for example, has retained the original details from the 1920s when the house was built.


Both bathrooms feature Carpet World heated floors, made from heat resistant vinyl to prevent curling. Opaque glass provides privacy without the need for a curtain. The washer and dryer, sourced from Lowe’s, are placed in the bathroom for easy access to the laundry room. Since the back is wider than the front, the tub has been placed at an angle for a more balanced look.

* This house is currently listed on the market. For more information, call Deb Clark at 701-238-5468 or Berkshire Hathaway Premier Properties at 701-365-3600.


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