Photos by Hillary Ehlen
James and Melanie Iverson, Founders of Mosaic Design + Build
mosaicfargo.com | facebook.com/mosaicfargo
Melanie and James Iverson’s north Fargo home is much more than just a redesign, it’s a new start.
Melanie and James Iverson run Mosaic Design + Build, a design and general contracting firm that is passionate about creating spaces and places with excellence and integrity. Melanie serves as the lead designer while James is the lead of construction. Together, they live in North Fargo with their two tweens, Carter and Gracie, and a loyal yellow lab, Samuel Kingston Lover Jackson Keisha Ojuri Iverson, also known as “Sam.”
About Melanie and James Iverson and Mosaic Design + Build
Mosaic Design + Build has paved a way for itself as a business that does it all. Melanie said, “I think something that sets us apart is that the design comes with the package. It’s part of what we offer.” The duo added that they often work to design the client’s vision within their specific budget. From initial vision to execution to decorating, the Iversons work with clients throughout their whole redesign process.
As Melanie put into words her approach to design and her personal tastes, James interjected, “That’s one thing I love about you. Whatever is trending now, you’re always going where the puck is going to be, as opposed to where the puck is.” In conversation with the couple, James many times injected words of praise like this about his wife, showing their admiration for each other, as partners in both business and life.
This husband and wife duo create some of the warmest and most inviting spaces in town, but their outstanding teamwork has been a journey in itself.
James and Melanie were married for seven years when they went through a rough patch that resulted in them divorcing. After almost four years, they found their way back to each other and now are coming into their second year of being remarried.
Standing in their open-concept kitchen and living area, Melanie shared, “This is our first home since we’ve been remarried. We both moved into apartments when we were separated and divorced, and so for us, this is our restoring home. This means so much more than just redecorating. We have our family back again.”
From their rebirth, they created Mosaic. A friend of theirs had heard their story of separation and reconnecting and perfectly described their situation as a mosaic. As mosaics are made from individual pieces of tile and formed into one beautiful piece of art, as was the Iversons’ lives. Melanie shared her friend’s words, “‘Wow, it sounds like your lives were shattered. Then God kept all the good pieces and put them back together.'”
A Perfect Partnership
Once they were remarried, they began dreaming big for their second chance together. With Melanie being an interior designer and James being a general contractor, they saw an opportunity for a professional partnership. Within their first year of remarriage, they started Mosaic and began renovations on their new home, which Melanie laughingly described as, “We are either really ambitious or really stupid.”
In the house they were living in at the time of their divorce, they were in the midst of some projects. In order to sell the house, James went ahead and executed all the visions Melanie had vocalized. “We sold that house and I saw how awesome it turned out. That came to be the foundation of why we decided to start this business together. We knew we were a good team. We knew we were a good fit, with her vision and my ability to figure out how to execute it,” said James.
Storytelling Through Decor
“I like to mix the old and the new a lot,” Melanie noted. “I love the vintage finds. It sounds funny, but I want every single thing that I decorate with to have a meaning or a story. That—to me— is really important.”
Sure enough, Melanie had stories to go with every corner of the home. She danced through the spaces, pointing our placemats from James’s mother’s trip to Fiji, gold wall mirrors from her great aunt, an acoustic guitar on the wall that was a birthday gift to Melanie from James
during their first year of dating, a ratan light fixture that reminds her of chicken baskets she saw in a Qatar market while traveling. Virtually everything had a story.
As Melanie shared stories from various pieces, James chimed in, “The way that she decorates is ever changing. But there are a lot of staples that I’ve seen over and over again, but reused in so many different ways, which I think is really fascinating,” said James, then turning to Melanie to add, “It’s really cool the way you do that.”
Among these memories are two matching ottomans and an entryway bench. “Right when we were starting our business, I found this Kilim vintage rug dealer who was selling off his stuff. I found this rug that was $100. This was right at the time we were starting and I didn’t know if I could justify spending 100 whole dollars on a rug!” shared Melanie. Despite her financial doubts, her design eye took over and she purchased the rug. Shortly after, their business—unsurprisingly—took off. “The rug was damaged, which I was really disappointed about. But I kept it and I recovered these two ottomans and bench with it. It reminds me of when we got started,” said Melanie.
“We are surrounded by snow for seven months of the year, so I want my home to have that warmth as if I am living in a warmer climate.”
In an ever-changing design world, Melanie subscribes to the belief that more is more. As Fargo’s heritage is heavily Scandinavian, many interior styles lend themselves to minimalism. However, Melanie coins her style as “Global Maximalism,” citing inspiration from Justina Blakeney’s Jungalow designs and from her own global travels.
“In college, I spent six months abroad. I had some really cool opportunities where I got to see places that look different than what I was used to. One of my favorite places was Barcelona, and then recently I was able to go to Madrid and Thailand. I just love how vibrant they feel,” said Melanie.
A Home for Family
As this remodel marks the beginning of their rebuilt family, having this home designed for entertaining was the goal. When touring homes on the market and trying to decide which space they would picture their family in, this north Fargo home checked all the boxes. “I wanted a place where our kids would want to hang out and bring their friends over,” said Melanie. “Family is important to me. When I walked into this house, I was just imagining what Christmas would be like and what it would be like to host the Fourth of July. So for me, this was it.” This is the home they could envision their children graduating from and the place they could see themselves hosting family events. The quiet north Fargo neighborhood was the cherry on top of this family home.
Even though there are still projects to be completed in their home, they are enjoying the process of being together as a family once again. Each project is an opportunity for teamwork and each successful execution serves as a reminder as to just how good of a team this duo is.
Cabinets – American Woodmark
Cabinet Hardware- Build.com
Countertops – White Quartz from Stone Countertop Outlet, Black Walnut Plank from Craft Art Company and finished by Mosaic Design + Build.
Flooring- The Carpet Garage