Friday, September 21, 2007

My Other Homes

Besides the house you're already acquainted with, I spend most of my hours in two amazing downtown buildings I feel compelled to share with you.

The first one is the NDSU Downtown building where my Architecture studio is.

The building was constructed in 1903 as a warehouse for the Robb-Lawerence company. Sometime in it's history it became the Northern School Supply which it was until the late 1990's when somehow the business closed and the building was condemned. It was purchased by local entrepeneur Doug Burgum who started Great Plains Software (now bought out by Microsoft) and donated to NDSU for $1. He actually purchased the building days before it was to be demolished! The focus of the renovation was to make efficient studio space for Art, Architecture, and Landscape Architecture students as well as offices and a few lecture rooms. The architect left the beams and original brickwork exposed throughout most of the building and the whole building is open and full of light. The ideal studio! The building is also LEED certified for it's environmental friendliness. I love this building.

Here's the exterior

The lobby
Just a cool hallway on the 4th floor where my studio is
Third year studio! My desk is the messy one out front. If you didn't know that I'm messy when I work, you need to check in on the blog more!
My other 'home' is the Hotel Donaldson, just 2 blocks from the NDSU downtown building.

The building was built in 1894 after most of the downtown burned in 1893. The building was originally the meeting place of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization. In the 1920's it was purchased and renovated into the Donaldson Hotel. It fell into disrepair in a big way, and became an 'extended residency hotel' as they like me to phrase it at work. It was a disgusting slum full of unsavory peoples. This building was also viewing a wrecking ball in it's not so distant future. Our owner, Karen Burgum was in on Great Plains Software the whole way, and wanted to give back to the community that had made her a success, so she decided to create a place that would celebrate our community's visual, performing, culinary and literary arts. Thus, the Hotel Donaldson was born!

The hotel has 17 guest suites, each one featuring a different local artist's work. Frette linens, down bedding, Bose radio, robes & slippers, heated tile floors, rainfall showers, aveda bath products, turndown service, etc. etc. These rooms are amazing and I dare you to find better anywhere!

The lounge has an extensive martini list, which is kind of what we're known for, but we also have at least 175 wines on our wine list at any point. Take note of the curvature of the bar, that's the shape of the Red River as it goes through downtown!
The HoDo Restaraunt, where I host on weekdays (I'm at the desk in the hotel on weekends) features locally grown and organically grown foods whenever possible. The food is some of the best I've ever had, and I wish I was more of a foodie so I could rave about how amazing it is. We feature live music quite frequently in the lounge and restaurant with jazz nights every Friday.

I couldn't find a picture anywhere online, but the rooftop features a garden lanscaped with plants indiginous to our part of the state. There is a bar there with tables and umbrellas for evening drinks on the rooftop, and even a stainless steel hot tub sunk into the patio. I've been in the tub on a chilly December evening. Believe me, sitting in a hot tub on the roof of a 3 storey building looking out onto downtown Fargo all lit up while little snowflakes fly around is the coolest thing ever.

The best part about this place though is the amazing staff/friends I get to work with. It's by far the best job I've ever had... probably why I've been there for 3 years and am still having fun. Where else do you get that? If you'd like to learn more, check out for more info. You can stay there when you come to Fargo and help me with my house! Good plan?


Josh @ Bungalow '23 said...

Those are some great looking buildings, Nate. I particularly like the loft-like feel of the hotel room. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

What a traesure to stumble upon Karen and Doug Burgum's treasures at the most unexpected places online. I've always felt that the buildings reflect the very best part of my friends. If you step foot in the NDSU downtown building, or the Hotel Donaldson, then you can say with some authority, you know exactly what the homes of these two special people are like, for the buildings are wonderful reflections of the souls who purchased them.

kelli.griffis said...

Wow! Love those wood floors in the studio building. The Hotel Donaldson looks like a great success! I could dig a hot tub on the roof in the snow. Roadtrip!

Jim said...

Man, those are both pretty sweet looking, especially the studio building.