Farmstead Reimagined


The Adams’ family house is situated on a fourth-generation farmstead just south of Grand Forks, North Dakota. The place possesses a mystique that few dwellings in the GRAND region can match. Years ago, the place was lined by ag fields as far as the eye could see and it was a country property. The home of Steven and Darla Adams now exists as a beautifully and thoughtfully reimagined property once considered rural but now is today in the middle of city additions and developments. The charm of the country and the pride that grows from the roots of any farmstead have survived in the home, while modern features in line with luxury and high style have been infused throughout what appears to be a modest home from the outside. A sign in front of the house signals that the family’s multi-thousand-acre operation’s headquarters resides on the property. But the house doesn’t exist anymore on a farmstead out in the country. The landscape around it has changed. The home is now more country-esque and less outside of town than ever before, even if many of the views still provide nothing but sprawling uninterrupted nature. From the outside, ranch with a two-story ceiling outcropping the appears as you might expect from a generationally successful farming family, effective for the space, without over-indulgence of architectural features that don’t serve a direct purpose for its location in the world, and, all with a style aesthetically leaning to quality, chic design and a layout created with lifestyle comforts in mind.

The Adams’ home is a celebration of living in a place because of its place—in both location today and its presence in the family’s history. Its updates reflect the owners’ willingness to adapt to harsh homeowner realities (flood conditions) and an ability to revamp several thousand square feet into a space worthy of a holiday home tour and magazine photo shoot. Like all great homes, the Adams’ family home isn’t great because of its sheer size, materials used or specific locale. The Adams’ family home is memorable and great because of a combination of factors, including its history, the people who lived there before or today, and the massive amount of ideas, solutions and small decisions or changes that they (family members, designers, friends, architects or contractors) all came up with for the house along the way. In the end, it has all added up to create a house with a big presence and great story.


Generational Style

Originally built in 60s, the main home on the property is one of three. Steve grew up in a smaller ranch style home next to the new home. Another house was added to the site for his Grandpa and as a farming operation headquarters. Darla and Steve moved into their current spot in 1990. Daryl Adams, Steve’s father, owned a wide swath of land near and around the property. At different times, a member of the Adams’ family has occupied one or all of the three houses that exist on the property today. There are still large ag buildings and storage sheds that remain as well. Gravel is still the driveway material along certain sections of ground, while heated concrete has its place in other areas.


According to Darla, the original design was a simple ranch outfitted with modern amenities of the day. Georgia marble covered the lower front of the house and was used as a fireplace surround inside. Steve says his dad shipped in the marble on a train car and he still remembers unloading and handling that tile as a young man. The old version of the house also included color-themed bathrooms (red, green and blue) and Bell telephones wired into the bathrooms and throughout the house. After raising their kids on a separate farmstead across the river on a different swath of Adams’ land for a time, Steve and Darla took the opportunity to continue the tradition of the generations before them when they had the choice to relocate to the farmstead. Today, the Adams have renovated portions of the largest home on the property for guest stays and most importantly, grandchildren to play and be kids.

“It is a big home for two people,” she says. “We really contemplated building something different for ourselves.”

Since moving in, Darla and Steve have worked together to reimagine the home. Working with an architect and a handful of designers, they have drastically changed the once simple ranch layout. A raised two-story entryway was added to bring in overhead light and create a noticeable entrance feature. Most of the first floor was gutted and laid out with an open concept in mind. Because of the high volume of windows added, Darla says one friend tells her the house is “aquarium like.” A deck area was transformed into a four-season porch that Darla uses nearly every morning to watch the wildlife stroll by.

Prepping For The Holiday Home Tour For the 2019 Grand Forks Holiday Home Tour, Robb Cook and his team of designers at i4Design spent multiple days sprucing up and creating a festive home. (Along with several others for the annual tour). Cook and his team decorated several rooms with unique-to-the-world tree and holiday décor. Cook and Darla have worked together in the past on other design projects in the home. The design team was able to incorporate several meaningful pieces into the decor including family quilts, cherished coffee mugs, Darla's childhood attire and more.

The Adams’ family house is situated on a fourth-generation farmstead just south of Grand Forks, North Dakota. The place possesses a mystique that few dwellings in the GRAND region can match. Years ago, the place was lined by ag fields as far as the eye could see and it was a country property. The home of Steven and Darla Adams now exists as a beautifully and thoughtfully reimagined property once considered rural but now is today in the middle of city additions and developments. The charm of the country and the pride that grows from the roots of any farmstead have survived in the home, while modern features in line with luxury and high style have been infused throughout what appears to be a modest home from the outside. A sign in front of the house signals that the family’s multi-thousand-acre operation’s headquarters resides on the property. But the house doesn’t exist anymore on a farmstead out in the country. The landscape around it has changed. The home is now more country-esque and less outside of town than ever before, even if many of the views still provide nothing but sprawling uninterrupted nature. From the outside, ranch with a two-story ceiling outcropping the appears as you might expect from a generationaly successful farming family, effective for the space, without over-indulgence of architectural features that don’t serve a direct purpose for its location in the world, and, all with a style aesthetically leaning to quality, chic design and a layout created with lifestyle comforts in mind.


Darla’s vision for design and interior aesthetics combined with Steve’s ability to find solutions for unique issues (don’t forget he has been running the Adams’ farming operations since he was 30 and in addition to the current home, Steve has overseen the remodel of other properties) have made the Adams’ last home hurrah a success that both Steve and Darla believe will continue the tradition of generational living. City sprawl will continue, but the Adams’ farm place has everything it needs to remain true to its roots as a base for a family linked to the region. As for the next generation of Adams, Steve feels his business partner/son could take the opportunity to live in the home one day. As for Steve and Darla, their hard work over the years has given them ample opportunities to pursue different living locales or options. They’ve certainly thought about other options, but the talks always end the same way. They know where they need to be, and they know where they want to be. As for the generations before them and what they might think of the property today or the state of the Adam's family in general, Steve doesn’t say much, offering only a short statement that seems to indicate he hopes the previous Adams would agree with his decisions about the house and everything that the house represents. Both he and Darla are proud of their work and the changes they've made. Every decision seemed to have meaning and purpose, as if the home was more than just a physcial dwelling. On the question of previous generations, Darla is quick to talk about the past on Steve’s behalf. Steve’s father, Daryl, she says, "would be immensely proud of his son and the home and life we have created." G

// To view the full story, check out the digital issue here

PHOTOS BY: MANSTROM PHOTOGRAPHY

From Issue 6, 2019


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