Michelle Farnsworth

Usually a husband and wife don't always blend well, mixing business and home life. But that's the opposite with Sarah and B.J. Cripe, owners of Blend Home Design in Bismarck. Along with their production manager, Brandon Fraser, these "three amigos," as they affectionately refer to each other, make Blend Home Design a rising star in the Bismarck home building arena.

The Cripes started Blend in spring 2010, taking their professional backgrounds in custom home design and sales to the next level. Creating urban, West Coast design is their aesthetic.

"We want to be different, but not ridiculous, out-of-place different," said Sarah Cripe. Walking that fine line between over-the-top and just-right is something this trio thrives on and it's obvious they love what they do, creating homes in this unique caliber.

"Once they see it, see how it works together, then they are willing to do those things," said B.J. Cripe, referring to their design and a new client's reaction.

An influx of new found wealth and new arrivals to the community is what the Blend team have been witnessing. A younger generation in their mid 20s and 30s are building bigger homes.

"Even if the oil goes away, I think people are going to continue to move here. Because they know it's a good place to be," said Fraser.

Besides focusing on new and innovated design elements for their homes, the number one priority for the Blend team is customer service. They will continue to build larger homes, but only 8 to 10 homes each year.

"We don't want to get so big that we don't have that one-one-one with all of our clients," said B.J. Cripe.

Fraser prides himself on the fact they draw the homes, estimate the homes and build the homes. From top to bottom, they are hand-in-hand with their client.

"You're not a number. You have a last name and a place. You're not #36 for the year," Fraser said.

Sarah Cripe gets a light in her eye as she describes their way of doing business, "That's how we like it, because we can put all our thought into it. We work really well together and have unique and fun ideas."

Coming up with new ideas that haven't been seen before is always a challenge, but the Blend team find innovation in the little things. For instance, they saw ceiling-to-counter windows in an old, 60s rambler years ago. From that spark of an idea came their backsplash windows under kitchen countertops.

"Everything has been done before. You find ideas and have to learn how to make them your own," said B.J. Cripe.

Fraser's background in commercial art gives the team added creativity.

"Not only can I make it look sweet, I can make it work," Fraser said, "We're just awesome."

Michelle Farnsworth loves travel, writing, photography, daily devotions, gardening, making jewelry and finding old treasures. Her greatest accomplishment is her two sons, who bring life, love and laughter to her each day.