The Story of Dunderland | North Dakota Interior Design

The Story of Dunderland


The Story of Dunderland begins 40+ years ago, when Oliver Dunderland had a vision of the perfectly shaped lake home that would integrate with the beautiful Lake Metigoshe lakefront on a quaint point. Prime real estate for sure, but what he built for their site was also visionary.  What Oliver built of his own hands was an octagonal-shaped lake home. This had to have been a challenge, but he pulled it off beautifully.

What was also built within the walls of the lake home was a family which filled the home with love and respect.  A legacy which is carried on to this day.

The chapter where I came in was three years ago.  Dr. Paul (son of Oliver and Estelle) and Kari Ann Dunderland decided to make this their home.  This was a project that I immediately knew would require love, care, and sensitivity to the legacy of Oliver and Estelle.  Decisions were made to keep much of what Oliver had built intact and simply rework it in a more modern way.  Paul and Kari Ann had already started a Master Suite wing to give a bit more room to the cozy footprint. Nothing was changed to the footprint of the existing home to keep the integrity of Oliver’s original vision.

Upon walking into the home, you are brought into the octagonal, open concept living area that includes the kitchen, dining room, living room, and small entry.  There are windows all along the three-sided lakefront to draw your eye out to the beauty of Lake Metigoshe.   


Existing in this area was linoleum and berber carpet from the last update completed in the 1980’s.  Right away I knew I wanted to enhance the octagon shape of the space with a unique design in the flooring.  Out went the old flooring to luxury vinyl tile in the small entry with a wood floor applied in a pinwheel design to make the angles of the home more purposeful in a stunning way.  The low ceilings of the space had dark, rough hewn beams with white popcorn ceilings that made the ceiling loom heavily on you. To alleviate this, the beams were painted the same soft, warmer white as the ceiling with a simple venetian plaster texture.  Also a custom curved sectional was envisioned to tuck perfectly into the setting.  Implementing these small tweaks to Oliver’s original design made the space lighter and appear less cluttered.  Now, your eye is drawn to the other handywork of his like the field stone column next to the circular staircase, fieldstone wood stove area, the unique shape of the home, and the views.  The fieldstone is from the land of the area, which again, makes this house all the more special.

Oliver was a craftsman and built the cabinetry in the home as well.  All that was needed was an upgrade from the old laminate countertop to Cambria Buckingham quartz which complemented the wood grain beautifully.  New cabinet hardware was added to reflect Paul and Kari Ann’s love of nature and modern aesthetic.  A mosaic tile backsplash became the shoestring that tied it all together perfectly.  New tortoise shell glass pendants in various shapes over the island adds practicality and unique beauty to the seating/workspace area.  To help with sunlight glare but keep the view visible, a motorized Hunter Douglas Alustra Screen Shade was used at the kitchen window.


The circular staircase was dear to Paul as he had fond memories of his dad and one of his dad’s friends fabricating it.  Instead of completely remaking a new circular staircase, the existing one was enhanced.  Custom wood stair treads were made and stained to match the wood flooring with the biggest detail being a custom carved railing to look like bark on a tree. “Dunderland” was carved into the handrail which was further enhanced by antiqued copper and bronze leafing.

The circular staircase takes you to a small upper loft area perfect for an office/guest bedroom.  The ceiling was extremely low here so the flat ceiling went away to the rafters, that again played up the octagon shape.  This was copper leafed to add a stunning glow.  The same wood floor in the same pattern as was below was applied.  Custom, soft white cabinetry and shelving were installed  around the perimeter of the space with a custom-made Murphy bed to accommodate guests when needed.  While in the space you feel like a kid again, as it gives you the feeling of occupying a tree house with windows granting you views all around the lake property.


Tucked behind the staircase is a tiny guest bath/powder room.  Because of its size and angles, I decided to give this room a Wow factor with harlequin-shaped travertine noce and chair rail to cap off the design at 5 feet high on the walls.  Bronze leaf finished off the remaining wall height and ceiling.  The effect is dramatic.  Just what the doctor ordered!

Off of the octagon area of the home you are brought to a breazeway that has floor to ceiling pine storage flanking a window with the same pine storage below it.  This gave us an opportunity to bring some life to the space by using the same Cambria Buckingham quartz with the mosaic from the kitchen.  Kari Ann fell in love with a maroon stained window for this area.  A custom Roman shade in an earthy pattern brought all the colors together.  The effect dressed up the pine storage that was built lovingly so many years prior.  Again, new hardware updated the pine storage.  The luxury vinyl tile that looks like stone in warm grays and browns was brought into this area as well, to keep a seamless look from the small entry.


On the opposite side of the pine storage is the entrance to another guest bath which was once the Master Bath.  This bathroom was decorated in the typical 1980’s Victorian with ivy, hunter green, and burgundy.  Again there was pine wainscoting with a custom, Oliver-built, pine vanity.  I really had to think about how to modernize this bath without changing the footprint and utilizing the existing pine, existing claw foot tub, and existing shower. This was a challenge I was up to, as my driving force was to fulfill Paul’s goal of keeping his dad’s work intact.  So I decided to give the bathroom a sauna look (as we live in a Scandinavian area) with some surprises.  In order to do this, the pine was taken from floor to ceiling with the exception of three, 12 inch wide by 8 feet tall panels which were artfully placed by the clawfoot tub area with a slate basketweave mosaic.  This mosaic brought visual interest classically, naturally, and enhanced the pinewood walls. This same slate basketweave mosaic was applied vanity to ceiling to give visual interest, connection, and durability.

A unique nostalgic trio of pendants were hung above the clawfoot tub as the homeowner didn’t want anything flashy but liked the idea of a “chandelier”-type light fixture over the tub.  The same luxury vinyl tile was used here to keep things cohesive.  The same Cambria Buckingham quartz was also used in place of the hunter green laminate countertop.  The final touch is a custom Roman shade in a subtle zebra print that gives the room quiet excitement.


The old Master Bedroom became a sitting area/TV room. As always keeping what is dear to Paul’s heart- his dad’s handywork.  The wainscoting was left, but the Victorian wallpaper was taken down. This wallpaper was replaced with custom stamped walls using Venetian plaster that had leaves from the homeowner’s trees stamped into it.  The berber carpet was ripped out and replaced with a carpet possessing a design reminiscent of tree bark.  This carpet is incorporated in the hallway that leads to the new Master Bedroom.

The lighting was incorporated in the sitting area/TV room and Master Bedroom for its geometry, subtlety of color and texture, and modern appearance.  The lighting is a combination of soft gold and silver with a square, natural linen shade covered by a cage that has a circle motif. The combination of shapes in the lighting served as an ode to the hexagonal shape of the home.

The new Master Bath utilizes luxury vinyl tile that looks like a vein cut travertine.  This was chosen for the durability, warmth (bathroom had no floor heat), and the classic look it offered.  The vanity here is a warm gray with clean lines.  The wow factor is the warm gray stone and metal random mosaic that is applied floor to ceiling.  Again, we did not forget to give a nod to the octagonal shape of the old portion of the home. This was accomplished through the mosaic which is composed of circular tiles applied in a linear pattern.

This was an emotional journey for me, as I’m sure Paul feared an interior designer was going to come in and gut everything of his dad’s instead of enhancing it and keeping it intact. Paul and Kari Ann are family friends that I have the utmost respect for and wanted them to be beyond pleased, comfortable, and thrilled to continue creating Dunderland memories here for years to come.

Here ends the story of Dunderland.             


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