Owner/Interior Designer, Studio Rogue Interior Design
Photo by: Josiah Kopp
Meet 32-year-old Kristen Carlson, Fargo-Moorhead’s newest business owner in the interior design world— yet no rookie to the game. Carlson has nearly a decade of interior design experience, graduated from NDSU’s accredited Interior Design program in 2014, and has worked alongside Building Concepts for several years before recently making the call to become a business owner at the turn of 2023.
Now, as the Principal Designer & Owner of Studio Rogue Interior Design, she is making projects come to life—including the beautiful a-frame masterpiece you’re about to see. She’s been a proud member of the Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead for the last eight years and enjoys connecting with other local professionals.
Outside work, Carlson loves camping with her husband Spencer and son Kade in their renovated vintage camper. She also loves volunteering in the community and has been a member of the FM Curling Club for the last nine years.
Resume at a Glance
- Nearly a decade of interior design experience.
- Owner of Studio Rogue Interior Designs
- Involved in the Community
Enchanting A-Frame Haven
This modern A-frame house, designed by Kristen Carlson of Studio Rogue Interior Design, can be described as a perfect blend of contemporary and rustic design elements. The sloping roofs of the A-frame structure allow for high ceilings, which creates an open and airy feeling. The clean lines and minimalist finishes offer a more modern aesthetic that contrasts beautifully with the organic elements of the wooden walls and exposed beams. The large windows bring in an abundance of light, highlighting the beauty of the natural surroundings. “Everything has been carefully curated to maintain the simplicity of the space,” Carlson said. This design perfectly complements the relaxed, cozy atmosphere typically associated with A-frame homes.
When Robby and Kalee Wysuph approached Kristen with their home inspiration ideas, she thought it would be a simple task to bring the creative concept they envisioned into reality. Little did she know that an A-frame presented more design intricacies than originally anticipated!
As you enter the family room, your attention is caught by the large cedar ceiling beams where a two-tiered, five-foot-wide chandelier hangs. The warm hickory floor carries you into the dining room and kitchen next. Designing the dining space and kitchen of this A-frame home presented a unique challenge— minimal headroom. Careful planning allowed for a bump-out, giving an eight-foot ceiling for the kitchen cabinets surrounding perimeter walls, but extra attention had to be given when positioning the central island and dining table. “Every corner was approached with care so that those sitting at their table or walking around the island wouldn’t have any unwelcome bumps!” Carlson said.
Step into a world where rustic charm meets modern elegance, as stained white oak kitchen cabinets gracefully reveal their stunning wood grains. Marvel at the seamless harmony between the shaker panel cabinetry style and the contemporary lines of the home. At the heart of it all, a majestic island stands tall with its three-inch-thick countertop and captivating blue accent base—a hue that breathes life into every corner of the house. Robby and Kalee, driven by their taste for the unique, envisioned a home that ditched the bland white palette in favor of a vibrant, popping color. Their choice: a lively blue, splashed across doors, cabinetry, and a custom-designed staircase railing.
You won’t believe the chic floating vanity in the powder room at the back of the house! As you continue, cedar-lined walls invite you into a cozy laundry room and bedroom. Oh, and the storage room? It’s got its own double-door exterior entrance and is crazy spacious!
Traveling upstairs as you hang onto the custom-designed railing, you’ll find a loft perched above the main living areas below. The loft sits just outside the primary suite and offers more stunning views of the lakeside. Robby and Kalee wanted an ideal place to wake up, enjoy some coffee, and take in all this beauty. The loft provides just that, featuring two club chairs and its own coffee bar.
The high peak of the A-frame ceiling continues into the master bedroom. Extra care had to be taken with the placement of the furniture in this room to avoid any of the dreaded headroom drama. Due to the angles and height of the ceiling and walls, wall sconces were strategically placed on either side of the bed to cast lighting into the room. This cozy room is complete with its own fireplace to enjoy on crisp fall and winter nights.
Step into the primary bathroom through a barn door and be welcomed by those captivating cedar walls once more. “This snug, quirky space was perhaps the toughest design puzzle, with its odd angles and tight quarters making the headroom battle extra tricky!” Carlson noted.
“The shower had to be placed in just the right way in coordination with the toilet and vanity so that a person can enter and exit the shower without contortionist moves.”
Built by Building Concepts in Fargo, the Lake Maud dwelling was completed at the turn of 2021, and the finished project is truly a unique work of art, perfectly reflecting the outdoors that surrounds it, with its rich woods and bold blues.
5 Hacks for Interior Design
1. Focal Fireplace
“When it comes to family rooms, the fireplace should always be at center stage—not the TV! Don’t get any crazy ideas about putting the television on top of the fire mantel— those viewing angles just really don’t make any sense. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it takes away from the beloved focal piece: the fireplace! Maybe give its rightful place some respect and instead put that TV aside on an adjacent wall.”
2. Full Slab Backsplash
“Looking to make your kitchen a star? Think outside the tile: instead of running a backsplash with grout lines, opt for a full slab of the same hard surface that adorns your countertops. Whether it’s quartz, granite… or likely something even more unique, this gives loads of WOW so that you can take ‘kitchen envy’ to the next level. And not only is it gorgeous to look at—not dealing with messy, moldy grout lines makes for worry-free cleaning and long-haul enjoyment!”
3. Layered Lighting
“Time to lighten up your kitchen! Adding layered lighting will make tasks easier and can give you the glow you need. Start by incorporating recessed lights—invisibly hidden, these serve as your trusty general lighting. Who doesn’t love a good island? Add pendants to make sure it’s properly illuminated while being used for choppin’ and slicin’. Last but not least, toss in some under-cabinet lighting to really make your kitchen projects shine. With a flattering flicker from multiple sources, you’ll never have shoddy meal prepping ever again.”
4. Embrace Different Textures
“Spice up your living space with a variety of textures! From feathered fabrics to coarse grains, there is a multitude of options that give dimension and interest. Mixing and matching textures can add interesting layers and make your house come alive with playful, whimsical vibrance. Daring patterns take center stage and help show off what makes your home unique and wonderfully you! Dive in and explore different fabrics, styles, and materials to create the perfect oasis for yourself.”
5. Natural Elements
“Are you feeling a bit blah from all the current trends of gray and white homes? Incorporating simple, natural elements into your home is a sure way of making it homier, more inviting, and grounded. Get inspired with wooden pieces such as a statement console table in your entry or an eye-catching driftwood art installation. Or why not bring in some lush greenery with some house plants arranged in different artful ways? Either way will certainly add warmth—that unique something extra that can really give off positive vibes.”
Kristen’s Trends & Colors for 2023
“Don’t be so quick to jump on the open-concept floor plan bandwagon. Sure, it may seem like the ultimate way to create a spacious and flexible living area, but there are some serious drawbacks to consider [no privacy, acoustical issues, and temperature control issues]. Eating, working, lounging, and studying [in one room] can make things tricky, right? So let’s get creative with our space and find ways to make it work for everyone!”
7 Must-Haves for the Home That Changed 7 My Life
Deep Basin Farm Sink
“Talk about an improvement! Having a deep, single-basin sink totally elevated my kitchen game. Cleaning extremely large pots and pans is not only manageable now, but downright easy. It’s like there’s room for everything—even a baby bath seat! I don’t know what else can fit in this pool of awesomeness!”
“My smart fridge not only rocks in style, but it’s making my life first-class! One of my favorite things about it is that I can virtually count all the food items tucked away safely and still see what they are. Plus, it sees when something needs replacing: sudden flaggers like when food items are getting low, or expiration alerts like when something is going out of date— this simply blows me away! Best of all, when I’ve got no desire to brainstorm dinner plans, my refrigerator knows how to throw some inventive ideas into the mix using the goods that I’ve already got. Automatic dinner services in your home? Sign me up!”
Rev-a-Shelf Kitchen Inserts/Accessories
“This is a must for anyone who loves/needs kitchen organization. These inserts and accessories always keep all your favorite items accessible without them getting buried, forgotten, or stuck behind a shelf (I’m looking at you, standard Lazy Susans).”
“For our very dry winter seasons that have harsh effects, cue the dry cracked skin and sore throats, this humidifier will keep your house exactly as it should be— comfortable and cozy.”
LED Light-Up Closet Rods
“No more eye strain trying to figure out the difference between navy and black! Closets backed with only a single overhead light may not always provide enough illumination. With lighted closet rods, that problem instantly dissipates. These glow brightly, indicating each individual hanging piece of clothing with precision and clarity, so you can effortlessly color coordinate and select whatever apparel resides inside your closet.”
Voice-Controlled Lights, Music, and Blinds by Amazon Alexa
“This is just modern-day convenience. Instead of fumbling around for remotes, or having too many different systems for music, blinds, lighting (i.e., lamps, mood lighting, etc.), Alexa allows you to just simply ask for a task to be done, and she does it. You come home in the dark and your hands are full, just ask Alexa to turn the lights on.”
“LED mirrors are a definite must-have! Not only can they provide you with the perfect makeup lighting, but they’ll also illuminate you while you’re taking care of your morning routine. Whether you’re prepping your hair and face or just trying to rid yourself of unsightly bristles, with an LED mirror, there’ll be no more unexpected shadows showing up at the wrong time.
Kristen’s Local Recommendations
“They are so great to work with. There is a variety of product options in various price ranges to fit any project’s needs and budget.”
Clearwater Custom Cabinets
“The best part of working with them is how they approach every project, big or small, with the utmost respect and quality, and they pay very close attention to all the details. They are willing to find a solution that works for any unique project.”
“They provide top-notch quality work. They always offer their professional suggestions, are willing to answer any questions, and do their best to achieve the design goal set forth.”
“They have the most current trends in their products and are always very cognizant of the details needed for any design challenge.”
“They are timely and very professional. They make sure no detail is missed and they strive to provide the best service.”
What is being an interior designer all about to you?
As an interior designer, I’m curious about how people live and the things that make them happy. It’s my mission to bring out their unique identities in everything I design—I strive to transform everyday spaces into functional masterpieces of beauty that elevate and enrich lives. With this focus on personalization comes plenty of creative thinking; it takes a special kind of perspective to truly unlock opportunities within any given environment!
Tell me about your name “Studio Rogue” —what’s the inspiration behind the name?
When you hear the word “rogue,” images of adventure and daring come to mind. That’s exactly the kind of excitement we want to bring to every project we take on. We’re not content with sticking to the same old routine—we want to blaze new trails and explore uncharted territory. We seek out challenges that make us flex our creative muscles, push past our limits, and deliver something truly unique.
I feel like that blue was a pretty bold color for an A-frame cabin—but damn it’s beautiful. Too often I think people “play it safe” and go with neutral colors. Why is bold the right move in design today, and will we see more of that as the year progresses?
Dare to be bold and let your personality shine! In a world filled with neutrals, it’s time to embrace the extraordinary and show off what makes you unique. Watch out as the year unfolds, with maximalism making a comeback in a whirlwind of vivid colors, mesmerizing wallpapers, and one-of-a-kind furniture pieces. No more playing it safe with whites and grays; life’s too short to blend in with the crowd! Let’s celebrate our individuality and color outside the lines!
What other new styles and techniques have you been trying to incorporate into your work?
I’m a firm believer in blending natural elements into my designs. Keeping things earthy and making sure we feel connected to our environment. Using woods, lush greens, stones, and organic textures. Otherwise, it starts to feel a bit too sterile.
Outside the professional world, what do you devote yourself to? I hear you enjoy softball and curling—did you play sports in college?
In my free time, I’m all about spicing things up and exploring different hobbies. It’s all about family time with my hubby Spencer and our adorable 14-month-old son Kade, as well as throwing fun get-togethers with our close friends. Some of my wilder adventures have included joining a curling team (influenced by the Olympics, of course), and my better half jumped on the bandwagon, too. But it didn’t stop there—I dove headfirst into a summer softball league, even though I’d never played on a softball team before. For me, it was all about making new connections and stepping out of my comfort zone. Why not, right? And when the weather’s on our side, I’m all about soaking up the great outdoors with my family. We’re all about those camping trips, so I jazzed up a vintage camper to make it our cozy home away from home. Oh, and since being a designer doesn’t have an off switch, my hubby and I always have some cool project in the works—like breathing new life into our charming 1940s house!
You love camping in your renovated camper. What have been some of your recent favorite destinations?
Exploring Minnesota’s state parks and national forests are our favorite destinations. They offer hiking trails, scenic bike routes, and peaceful lakes, and also offer cool activities like geocaching. And when it’s time to set up camp, some spots offer a perfect private setting. We’ve crossed paths with some truly gorgeous parks like Itasca State Park and Lake Carlos State Park, but nothing compares to the magnificent Chippewa National Forest. The area is simply breathtaking.
How would you describe your special flavor as a designer? Why is Fargo the perfect place to play into that style?
As a designer, my flavor is undoubtedly eclectic. I thrive on mixing and matching various styles to create a unique and daring statement that can withstand the test of time. My love for the unexpected combination of elements and styles is what makes me stand out from the other designers, and that’s why I’m confident that I can deliver designs that are not only beautiful.