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Adding Character to a New Build

A few weeks ago I chatted with Becca Opp, editor at Design & Living about decor style and life in a new build after living in a 100 year old house. I’ll share Becca’s words here along with some photos I took for the magazine. You can also find the article here. Thanks for the fun feature, Design & Living!


“Some of us love our old houses and would have trouble imagining what it would be like to live in anything built after 1960. This was true for Elisabeth Iepson, who grew up in a 1912 farmhouse in South Moorhead. Until about a year-and-a-half ago, Iepson and her family lived in a character home near Downtown Fargo that coincidentally, was also built in 1912. However, a recent move to a new home in South Fargo has given her a new perspective on what makes a house a ‘character’ home.

How to add character to a new home


How to add character to a new home

How to add character to a new home

Iepson is a lifestyle photographer-slash-blogger at Elisabeth Eden. She was raised on a hobby farm along the Red River and currently lives in South Fargo with her loving husband, Brett, and their two little boys, Clark “who talks a lot” (4) and Miles “who runs a lot” (2). They enjoy traveling together, but some of their favorite nights are spent at home.


The Iepsons found their current home built by Jordahl Custom Homes while on the HBA of F-M‘s 2017 Spring Parade of Homes. The house was already completed at the time, so there weren’t very many decisions left to be made regarding the design. “I switched out a couple of light fixtures and that was it,” Iepson said.


Although going from a 1912 home to a 2017 home was a little bit of a leap for Iepson, she is glad that they made the jump. “I wasn’t sure what I would think moving into a brand new house, but it’s way more convenient for raising kids,” Iepson shared.

Needless to say, the utilities are more efficient in their new home. Now, she can see Clark and Miles playing in the living room even when she is in the kitchen. Having a laundry room on the second floor is also a big plus.


Iepson has always had a love of vintage, and in her current home, she went for a more midcentury-bohemian vibe. With her love of travel, it’s no surprise that she gets much of her home decor inspiration from their other locales. Most recently, the Iepsons just got back from a trip to Palm Springs, CA, which is famous for its midcentury modern architecture.

However, a lot of their furniture they originally purchased for or discovered in their 1912 house. “A lot of the same pieces filtered into this house,” Iepson explained. For example, the chest of drawers was a craigslist vintage find and the antique television was left behind in their old house by its previous owners.


How to add character to a new home

How to add character to a new home

How to add character to a new home
Blanket Ladder – World Market
Wooden Accents – Kittsona
Leather Recliner – HomeGoods
Chairs – Amazon

Iepson’s husband built this table after finding a tutorial on Pinterest. Then, they came up with their own stain color to add even more personality.

Iepson loves bringing greens into her home. “I love my plants—I work hard to keep them alive,” she laughed. Some of her favorites are snake plants, which are extremely low-maintenance, and a fiddle leaf fig, which she has managed to keep healthy for over a year.

Iepson added midcentury legs from IKEA to her modern sofa, which instantly made it fit in with the rest of her decor.


How to add character to a new home

Rather than using the flex space as a home office, Iepson has transformed it into a music room. The piano actually came from her grandmother. “I really lucked out that it was still in the family,” she said.


How to add character to a new home

Iepson is proof that it doesn’t matter when your house was built—it is what you bring into the home that truly adds character. “There are ways to add that character back in,” she said. You can use the following tips to add personality to any home:

1. Build your own furniture
2. Buy vintage when you can
3. Mix in local finds here and there
4. Add midcentury legs to modern furniture
5. Bring in some greens

How to add character to a new home

How to add character to a new home

How to add character to a new home

How to add character to a new home


To keep up with Bethy’s adventures at home and on the road, you can follow her on Instagram @elisabeth.eden or visit elisabetheden.com.”



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