Exterior Design

New Old-World Craftsmanship

The Arvig home

While touring this home, you may feel as if you’ve been transported to Italy. Completed in 2006 by Tomlinson Schultz, this Little Pine Lake estate is located not too far from Fargo.

PHOTOS by Hillary Ehlen and Craig Caulfield of Caulfield Studios

While touring this home, you may feel as if you’ve been transported to Italy. Completed in 2006 by Tomlinson Schultz, this Little Pine Lake estate is located not too far from Fargo. We met the homeowners, Carmen and Allen Arvig, who were eager to honor the skilled local and regional artisans who were responsible for bringing their vision to life. Because this home has never been featured in a publication, we have the pleasure of sharing it with you for the very first time.

Homeowners Allen Arvig and Carmen Arvig stand with Dana Tomlinson and Rita Tomlinson of Tomlinson Schultz in front of the Arvig’s home.


No detail was too small in the interior of this home designed by architects David Heide and Dan Teske of David Heide Design Studio. Dana Tomlinson of Tomlinson Schultz was general contractor, while Scott Johnson was job superintendent on this project. Their two-year build started in the fall of 2004 and was completed in the fall of 2006.

This home features two stories, a lower level and plenty of outdoor living space. With five bedrooms and five-and-a-half baths, this home is ideal for hosting Carmen and Allen Arvig’s large family. The Arvigs love to entertain their five grown children and their spouses, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild, which they took into consideration when planning the layout of their home with David Heide Design Studio.

Living Room

Our tour begins in an informal living room on the main floor of the home. One of Carmen Arvig’s favorite parts of the room is the custom bookcase, which AUM Wood Products, formerly Schiller Custom Cabinetry, built to look like a stage for her puppets.

Tomlinson Schultz Home Tour
Woodwork – Tomlinson Schultz and Paul Muckenhirn, Creative Wood Designs


The kitchen is the heart of the Arvig’s home. It shares a hearth with the living room and is just steps away from a breakfast room and enclosed porch.

Tomlinson Schultz Home Tour
Cabinet finishes – Margaret Aho

Tomlinson Schultz Home Tour

This tile backsplash was inspired by the tapestry above the fireplace.

Tomlinson Schultz Home Tour

Carmen Arvig asked to incorporate iconic household brands into a second tile backsplash.

“After the Arvigs settled into their home, they graciously hosted a party and invited absolutely everyone who was involved with the project. The guests enjoyed a delicious buffet personally prepared by Allen and Carmen along with a tour of the home.”

Carmen Arvig acquired this tapestry while on a trip to the Aix-en Provence of France. It served as the inspiration for the extraordinary custom tiles that can be seen above the range.

Breakfast Room

The Arvigs wanted their home to be child-proof, so they had a pocket door installed in the breakfast room, which allows Carmen Arvig to close off the formal dining and living rooms from the rest of the house.

Butler’s Pantry

This charming window flanked by wooden shutters allows natural light to pass from the breakfast room to the butler’s pantry.

Cabinets – Paul Muckenhirn, Creative Wood Designs

Dining Room

Tomlinson Schultz Home Tour
Wall treatment – Damian Garner; Tile installation – Baker Tile; Ceiling – Paul Muckenhirn, Creative Wood Designs

The Arvig’s dining room is absolutely stunning. The true scale of the artistry in this space is impossible to capture in a single photograph. Starting from the floor up, the heated terracotta tiles were installed by Lowell and Troy Baker of Baker Tile, the Venetian plaster treatment on the walls was applied by Damian Garner, and the wood ceiling was crafted by master carpenter, Paul Muckenhirn of Creative Wood Designs.

Stained glass – Gary and Mary Schultz, Genesis Stained Glass

This work of art is a reproduction of a famous religious painting, which was brought to life on stained glass. They were responsible for the stained glass installed throughout the house.

The Venetian plaster treatment features a stipple glaze finish, which involves using a light hand to apply metallic glazes to paint.

Formal Living Room

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, the formal living room will leave you in awe. The gas fireplace was crafted from cast limestone and features an onyx hearth. Carmen Arvig envisioned pendant lights hung from the intricate ceiling at different heights to create the illusion of stars in the night sky.

Tomlinson Schultz Home Tour
Ceiling – Paul Muckenhirn, Creative Wood Designs

Tomlinson Schultz Home Tour


Tomlinson Schultz Home Tour

The main entrance features a hand-cut tile mosaic, which was also inspired by the homeowners’ experiences in Italy.

Tomlinson Schultz Home Tour

Grand Staircase – Gregory Johnson Woodworking and James Virnala

Powder Room

The powder room features an onyx countertop, leather paneled walls with a hidden linen closet and a metallic wall covering on the ceiling.

Master Bath

Upstairs, the Arvigs opted for a softer color pallet. Their master bath houses windows that Carmen Arvig received from her local church. These windows are over 100 years old. On the walls, the master bath features a Venetian plaster similar to the treatment that was used in the dining room.

Guest Bath

The guest bath features a raised soaking tub. “Raising the tub was a last-minute decision,” Carmen Arvig said. “You didn’t want to sit in the tub and not be able to look out the windows,” Allen Arvig explained.

Tile – Baker Tile


Woodwork – Paul Muckenhirn, Creative Wood Designs; Cabinetry and casework – AUM Wood Products, formerly Schiller Custom Cabinetry

Wine Cellar

The Arvig’s love of travel is nearly matched by their love of wine. Carmen Arvig said, “This room is one of the most spectacular rooms in the house, really.” Dana Tomlinson explained how it took several artists to construct the curved walls and ceilings. “The architect drew it, and our carpenters built it,” he said. Dana Tomlinson also revealed that it required intricate framework and maybe even a miracle, he joked.

Tomlinson Schultz Home Tour
Spiral staircase – Oland Stair Systems and Gregory Johnson; Sandstone finish – Damian Garner

The spiral staircase was crafted out of cast concrete with iron supports and the steps consist of reclaimed wood from an old warehouse in the Twin Cities. The wine cellar’s cobblestone floor contains stone sourced from the old streets of St. Paul.

Craft Room

While Allen Arvig likes to spend his time in the library, the craft room is Carmen Arvig’s space. It has everything that she needs to experiment with her creative side, which comes out when she prepares her home for each season.

Play House

Carmen Arvig came up with the idea to include a playhouse in the lower level of their home.

Woodwork – Scott Johnson, Tomlinson Schultz; Stone work – Green Masonry and Huesman Schreiber Masonry; Landscaping – Chris Mensing, Lakes Country Landscaping


Both the interior and exterior of this home were inspired by the Arvig’s travels.

Tomlinson Schultz Home Tour

Once again, the Arvigs would like to express their appreciation for everyone who helped make this home possible. Whether at home or abroad, the Arvigs will always be reminded of their travels, thanks to the talents of our local and regional craftsmen.

For more information, contact:

Tomlinson Schultz

[email protected]


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