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Classic & Clean
By Carol McGarvey | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
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A young family, with a great building experience in the rear-view mirror, enjoys their new space to spread out and thrive.

There was no question when Jeff and Tiffany decided to build their dream home as to the builder. “We have always loved the look of Kevin Johnson’s Accurate Development homes,” says Jeff.

Tiffany agrees. “They build classic homes that stand the test of time.” Plus, when the couple really got going on the project, they found a lot in northwest Urbandale in an area that Johnson was developing and where he had built his own home.

“There’s a pond on my property, but they actually have a better view of it than I do,” Johnson chuckles. Indeed. The rolling valley with pond in the foreground is picture-perfect out the many southern windows of the new home.

The couple with two young sons, ages 7 and 5, lived in Clive previously and wanted some more growing room. After pondering and research, they came up with their wish list—side-load garages, five bedrooms, office, 1½-story look, guest room, open-concept floor plan, warm feel with stone, and classic and clean lines throughout.

“They had good ideas, and with some tweaking, we made a plan,” Johnson says. “I tell clients that they bring it in on a piece of paper, and we turn it into a semicustom home. We’ve had the same crews for 20 years, and we’re proud of what we do. We try to make the process as simple as we can. With our in-house designer/build setup and our design studio, homeowners can get designer help in one spot.”

Treetop room

The builder was impressed with one particular idea that Jeff and Tiffany had: putting a family room on the top floor, above the bedroom level. The homeowners refer to it as the third floor, but in builder parlance, which includes the lower level/basement, it’s the fourth floor.

“We call it the lookout room,” Jeff says. Johnson just calls it fantastic and unique for the views alone.

The home, located on a cul-de-sac, has 4,400 square feet with another 1,700 on the lower level, which will be finished at a later date. The couple carefully thought out present and future needs as their sons grow.

For example, the master suite on the main floor has the laundry room close to the stairway to the second floor, making it easy to carry clothing and bedding to the boys’ rooms. Plus, in the third bay of the garage, there’s a hoop for shooting baskets and even a ceiling heater for cold winter days.

The front door opens to a hallway, with dining room on the right, an office and master suite on the left, and the great-room with spectacular three-tiered windows straight ahead. With a 22-foot ceiling, the views out enormous windows truly are breathtaking.


The great-room living space, defined by a coffered ceiling with a wood inset for a warm look and a stylized orb-shape chandelier, also has a dramatic floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace warming the tall and open space. Three leather sofas around a tufted ottoman add a comfortable and child-friendly spot for relaxing and visiting.

On open shelving, Tiffany added a special touch with vintage signs, objects, and details, many from spots such as the Vintage and Made Fair and Junk Jubilee, both of which have shows twice a year in the Des Moines area. “By using the open shelves, I can change the look as I wish,” she says.

The couple chose birch cabinetry for its minimal grain look and also has birch floors in the open kitchen. A large harvest table seats a crowd, perfect for gatherings of family and friends. And for ease in serving outdoors on the nearby covered porch, the kitchen and great-room open onto the porch. Heaters take off the chill on colder days.

The formal dining room is classic with tall white wainscoting and dark navy walls. For other classic touches, colonnades visually separate the room from the hallway. The office has a custom double desk and computer spots that work well for at-home projects.

The master bedroom, also with a coffered ceiling with wood accents, soaks up the southern views, too. The bath with a walk-in shower, double vanity, and a deep soaking tub carries out the birch cabinetry.

Second floor

An open stairway leads to the open space, or loft, on the second floor. That’s where the boys can spread out their toys and projects and still be heard from the main level. There’s even a big closet with shelves for storing toys—mainly Legos. The sports-themed boys’ rooms are nearby. Under a stairway, there’s even a hideaway for fun and play.

On this floor also is a welcoming guest room and bath. For a light-filled effect, two long and four shorter windows were put together to form a visual headboard.

Another stairway leads to the treehouse-inspired family room, a great spot for movie watching or reading. Again, leather sofas and a teal ottoman offer a comfortable spot. A dramatic copper curlicue chandelier acts as an artful piece over the stairway.

Jeff and Tiffany say they took their time and have no regrets on anything about their home-building process. Her favorite spot in the home is the upstairs family room. And for Jeff, it’s the great-room and stone fireplace.

“Would we change anything? Absolutely not,” says Jeff.

Builder Accurate Development
Flooring Urban Flooring
Cabinets, closet shelving Consolidated Kitchens and Fireplaces
Light fixtures Electric Wholesale
Interior stone Iowa Stone Supply
Countertops Morgan Construction
Granite Midwest Tile
Plumbing fixtures Plumb Supply
Built-in shelving TM Custom Woodworking
Appliances Nebraska Furniture Mart
Interior glass, mirrors Sassman Glass
Furnishings Nebraska Furniture Mart and Hitching Post Furniture, Davis City, Iowa
Windows Jeldwen


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