Photo By Josiah Kopp
Why did we pick Ryan?
1. Coach, Veteran, Homebuilder.
From coaching sports for 15 years to being a homebuilder to serving in the military for 20 years, Ryan Schulz is an influential member of our community. Ryan’s education includes an MBA from the University of Mary and a Physical Education degree from NDSU (2008). In the military, Ryan was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant from NDSU ROTC (2008). He also underwent training in Military Engineering and Military Intelligence. In the summer of 2022, Ryan retired after serving 20 years in the North Dakota Army National Guard as a Major and as the North Dakota National Guard’s Senior Military Intelligence officer.
2. He is a community servant.
From being involved in the community through his church at Harvest Valley, spending time with his wife Kacie and their two boys, Fletcher and Arlo, to serving as a city Councilman for the town of Oxbow, ND, Ryan is dedicated to serving and loving those around him.
3. He is dedicated to homebuilding.
Today, Ryan puts his dedication and hard work into motion as the Sales and Design Specialist for Spire Custom Homes as well as providing us with expert knowledge, homebuilding hacks and trendsetting things to look forward to in the years to come.
5 Homebuilding & Design Hacks
1. Make practical, innovative
“When building or renovating a home, think about the daily tasks you do and add make them part of your home. Dog washing stations, a light switch by your bed or a Costco Door from the garage to the pantry are easy changes to make your life easier every day.”
The Costo door is a trendsetting feature Schulz has been implementing though the company he works for Spire Custom Homes to allow for more efficient car-to-pantry grocery unloading without leaving doors open or tracking dirt around the house or crowding the entryway with groceries.
2. Exterior upgrades go a long way
“A common mistake when people build a house is they do not put money into the exterior look of the home. Take pride in the inside and outside. The curb appeal will make you feel good while you are living in it but will help when you want to sell.
Adding landscaping and exterior decor and amenities adds not only more value to your home but creates a space you want to spend time with your family and make memories.”
3. ND Weather Fixes
“Being stuck inside during the North Dakota winters isn’t fun for all ages. Create ways in your home to combat the cold. Put a steam shower or a Sauna in your home. Build a climbing wall for kids or Golf Simulator for all ages.
“I’m seeing more and more indoor golf simulators in teh homes I photograph, and I think it’s a great way for families to stay active while also enjoying the comfort of indoors during those – 30° F winter days.”
-Josiah Kopp, Editor
4. Family room distractions
“In today’s world of nonstop activities, work and distractions, why add one more to your family/living room? Take the TV out of it! There are plenty of other spots for a TV. Use your living room to be engaged with the people that are there.
5. Plan for the future
“Electrical is a big one that you can save money on now by adding it in when you are building versus after the home is done. Examples are security cameras, Christmas lights, outlets for bidets, fans in the garage, electric vehicles or generators.”
Yes, everyone should have these in their garages!
Ryan’s Places to Go
1. Valley Lights
Valley Lights in Fargo has provided a wide range of lights fixtures, lamps, mirrors and more for over 25 years and also provides lighting consultants to help customers choose the perfect lights for their space.
“Lighting is one where you want to see all your options in front of you at one time so you can see how they will flow through the home.”
2. Clearwater Custom Cabinets
Clearwater Custom Cabinets is a family-owned full-service cabinet installation business in Fargo, providing 3D renderings so clients can see their dreams come to life.
“The number-one thing you see and use in your home are your cabinets. Clearwater Custom Cabinets are of the easiest and best vendors to work with!”
3. Northern Stone
Northern Stone in Fargo provides customers with a wide variety of quartz and granite ranging in many different colors and finishes.
“The best part about going here is you get to see so many different options of quartz and granite—or if you only need to do one room you have remnants that will save you money on your project.”
4. Dakota Timber Company
Dakota Timber Co. places their emphasis on sustainability and low-impact production while providing quality, American timber.
“Want to add that warm wood feel to your home? Dakota Timber has so many options from shiplap, beams and floating shelves, just to name a few. This is an easy way to accent a room that needs a change!”
5. Grain Designs
Want to add some character to your home? Grain Designs are your guys! From tables, wall art and custom signs to custom towel racks, they can help personalize your living space.
“Put one of their items in your home and you have a talking piece!”
7 Things to Consider When Building a Home
1. Snow VS Sun
“In the Fargo area, it is crucial to think about how your house will sit on the lot. Too many times we see people forgetting to consider these details. Things to think about are natural sunlight and where the snow is going to blow. Will my driveway melt in the wintertime? This is an important question to consider.”
“Start with floorplans that have already been used. There is a reason they are using them. Every corner or extra roof line adds costs to your home. Start with something you like that is smaller and add to it vs taking away while you build. This allows you to have the home you want vs the home you almost have.”
3. Rushing it
“Building or buying a house is such an emotional journey—don’t rush it. Take the time to pick out selections and go back and check them with the other selections you have picked. Talk with the people that are going to be living in the house as well.
4. Trusting everyone
Ask questions before you hire a builder or a real estate agent. Make sure they understand what your vision is and they have the ability to make your vision a reality. Like anything, if they can’t answer the questions or go find an answer they might not be the best for you.
“Good lighting can make such a difference. Expect to add some costs that you won’t regret. Pretend to walk through your home like you were living in it at all times of the day. Add dimmers everywhere you can and put night lights in the bathrooms—especially if you have boys. Motion sensor lights for pantries and mudrooms are a big win as well.”
6. DIY VS a Professional
“Depending on what the job is, ask yourself, ‘do you really have the time and skill to do this or should we leave it to the professionals?’ Cheaper doesn’t mean it will be done right! Remember: time is money.”
“I love Pinterest for ideas but do not trust that what is on there is actually something a builder can do. A common one is a light fixture hanging over a tub. Looks amazing on the internet but no electrician will hang a light fixture over water. Just remember they have a code for a reason.”
Did you know?
The coldest temperature ever recorded in Fargo was -39° F in 1996.
1. Google Nest Cameras
“Google Nest Cameras can give you comfort and safety at your home. The one thing I like about Google is they work, even when it’s -30º F degrees.”
2. Whole House Humidifier From Honeywell
“The whole house humidifier by Honeywell maintains a proper humidity level throughout the home and mounts directly to your furnace. No more shocks or getting sick when the temperature gets cold and dry.”
3. Rachio Sprinkler Systems
“If you have a sprinkler system and don’t have a smart system you are losing money. The Rachio is controlled by your smartphone and personalized schedules that automatically update to your weather. No rain gauge is needed.”
4. A Bidet
“Bidets are starting to become more popular in the US. They are more sanitary than using a traditional toilet and toilet paper and most have seat warmers. Once you use one you will not go back—plus you save money on buying TP!”
Home Builders Association “Following the local Home Builders association allows you to see what is going on in our market.”
“Want to freshen up your home? Shop at Eco Chic and find a piece of furniture or some decor for your wall. By just walking into their store you will come away with ideas for your home.”
Honeywell Water Defense Leak Alarm “Every homeowner should have this in their utility room. This is a very price-efficient alarm to let you know if you have water in your basement and also if the temperature or humidity goes outside of your comfort level.”
Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink “One book that I would recommend for anyone in any aspect of their life is Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. Accountability is something that goes a long way in today’s world.
Dream Big with Bob Goff “Anything Bob Goff, Dream Big Podcast with Bob Goff will make you want to be a better person. Once you listen to him you will get addicted to it.”
Houzz – “A great app that allows you to get ideas on any house project you can think of.”
myQ – “The majority of new homes now have the ability for their garage doors to be run by your phone and to have a safe time when your garage doors should be shut.”
What is homebuilding and home design all about to you?
It is about being able to build a relationship with the client(s) and take their ideas from a piece of paper to a home they love and enjoy.
What are some new trends or designs you have been trying or implementing into your homes?
Starting to make the shower a part of the standing tub room—this allows for a clean look that doesn’t take up a lot of extra space. We will continue to put in the Costco door to the pantry or hidden doors.
See page 102 for more about this!
Why Fargo? You could build homes anywhere, why did you choose this area and why do you love it?
Besides family and friends, the Fargo area has huge growth and the people here are hard-working. One thing I love seeing is people moving here for a job and then they that realize they love it here. It shows how Fargo nice is a real thing.
“Did you know the Fargo Metro recently surpassed a quarter-million people, making it the 192nd largest metro in the United States?”
-Josiah Kopp, Editor
What things mean most to you (family, faith, etc.) and how do they empower and inspire you and your work daily?
For me it is balance; I use my 5 F’s: Faith, Family, Friends, Fitness (Mind & Physical) and Fun. Having a balance for me makes it that much easier to enjoy everything else and be there to help others.
“I live by a similar group of values like Faith and Family, but this year I’d like to add more Fitness to my lifestyle!”
-Josiah Kopp, Editor
What trend(s) of the past should be brought back and why should they have never gone out of style?
Individual rooms, freestanding tubs and wood stoves. Open concept is great for some areas but having separate rooms is something you will see come back. The freestanding tub is a classic look and feel that can add so much to a bathroom. In our weather having a wood stove not only can be a focal point for looks, but can be a cost saving on high heating bills.
“My parents are remodeling their home and are adding a wall to one of the living rooms to create more individual spaces for guests!”
-Josiah Kopp, Editor
What is the most ingenious thing you’ve ever seen incorporated into a home design?
I would have to go with the interior garden or herb idea, followed by heated driveways. Both are definitely more useful here in our weather.
“This sounds like the ultimate hack to never shoveling snow again — and never slipping on ice!”
How to Support Ryan
If you need help buying, selling or building a home, Ryan can help!