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Perfectly Prairie
By Carol McGarvey | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
HOME FEATURE August/September 2017
home :: home & garden :: featured homes

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For two homeowners, new construction was the best way to get the look they wanted.

With a gentle nod to Frank Lloyd Wright, Chad Kennelly and Mike Mock of West Des Moines put a transitional look to their contemporary home, which they have enjoyed living in for a year. They didn’t want to be totally contemporary; they felt that would date the home. Transitional eased more into the look they wanted—not too modern and with some classic touches.

Not lost on visitors, however, is that a charming part of the whole scene is the commanding view of a gnarly and wonderful 100-year-old oak tree out the huge dining and living area windows.

“While we at first had trouble finding a lot, we fell in love with that tree,” says Mike Mock. “We had to have it.” Wild turkeys and deer that visit helped seal the deal, too.

“One thing I really wanted in this house was big, unique windows,” says Chad Kennelly. “They act as artwork.”

The two formerly lived in a townhome. They worked with a friend, Stephanie Wright, with Iowa Realty to find their dream lot. When they found the lot, she steered them to a custom builder, K&V Homes, that is celebrating its 20th year in business. They spent several months looking and tweaking plans and worked with Plum Design to get just the right feel.

Certain elements

They knew there were certain elements they wanted, including a set foyer with high ceilings to create an entrance, an office, and a barn-style sliding door or two. “Plus, it was important that the great-room have extra-tall ceilings,” Mike explains. “Chad has three tall Christmas trees, including an 11-foot one.” The ceilings in the great-room are 12 feet tall.

Mike is an attorney with Sammons Financial Group. Chad is an instructional technology coach in Johnston elementary schools. The two have been together for 11 years.

Dean Vogel, co-owner with Colin King of K&V Homes, says, “We are seeing an interest in this Prairie style of home. It has clean lines and is minimalistic in style. Bigger windows bring the outside in.” Three similar homes are in this house’s immediate West Des Moines area. The company builds 10 to 15 custom homes each year throughout the Des Moines metro and surrounding area.

Vogel says Chad and Mike were so easy to work with because they had a real understanding of what they wanted. Vogel believes it’s important for the company to take a little longer to make sure all the details are done before turning over the house to homeowners. “We have learned they’ll be happier in the long run if everything is completed and done right.”

Chad and Mike found some of their furnishings in Kansas City and worked with designer Courtney Morris of Accents & Interiors to select accessories and other furniture. “She really helped blend our styles,” Chad points out. They also purchased items locally at K. Renee Interiors and Elements at Prairie Trail.

The home has 2,500 square feet on the main floor and 2,000 more finished on the lower level.

Open space

The main floor features a great-room—living area, dining area, and kitchen—along with an office, master suite, and guest bedroom. Much of the time the “guest” is Berkeley, the couple’s boxer. He loves to catch some rays while sleeping on the bed’s burnt orange quilted spread. Other main-floor areas are a walk-in pantry, a mudroom, laundry room, and bath.

Mike’s sleek office, just off the entry foyer, features stacked windows; sliding French doors, a twist on a sliding barn door; and a sleek industrial-style desk with sawhorse “X” legs. Floating wood shelves and stylized ceiling beams add a hint of formality. For art, architectural drawings of the house add a pleasing graphic look.

The living area, bathed in light from huge plate glass windows, has a stacked-stone floor-to-ceiling fireplace with shelves on either side. Instead of straight shelves, one side features cube dividers, which add texture and help showcase photos and accessories. A large contemporary painting hangs over the fireplace.

Stylish kitchen

The stylish kitchen with a dining area overlooking the backyard has cherry cabinetry by SJM Construction of Grimes and stainless appliances, including the range hood. “White kitchens are so popular right now, and we like them a lot. But we decided this space called for dark ones,” Chad says. Quartz countertops add style and efficiency. The backsplash is made of subtle gray glass subway tiles. A walk-in pantry has a wine refrigerator. Nearby are a mudroom and laundry. A deck stands just off the dining area. Part of it is covered; the rest is open.

A whimsical touch on a kitchen shelf is a statement for the homeowners, who enjoy wine.

I cook with wine.
I even add it
to the food.
—W.C. Fields

They also enjoy entertaining family and friends, especially now that they have more room.

Master suite details

The master suite showcases huge windows, which overlook tall trees to create a tree house effect. Three square windows high over the bed form a virtual headboard. A sliding barn door opens to the master bath, which has a double glass shower, double vanity, and extra-large closet. A fold-out ironing board adds an efficient touch.

A dramatic orb-style chandelier over the stairway leads to the home’s lower level, a welcoming spot with a large family room, a granite bar/kitchenette, a wine cellar for 180 bottles, and a second stone fireplace for a focal point. Artwork made of reclaimed wood tiles in various tones acts as art in the bar area. Two guest bedrooms and a bath come in handy for overnight visitors.

“The building experience was great for us,” Mike says. “When it came time for our one-year check, there were just a few minor changes. That says a lot.”

Would they build again? “While this totally felt like home right away, yes, I’m ready for our next one with K&V Homes,” Chad says.

Dean Vogel likes the sound of that.

Builder K&V Homes
Design Plum Design
Kitchen SJM Construction
Appliances Nebraska Furniture Mart
Floors Barnum Floors
Finish carpentry GLD Woodworking
Lighting Spectrum Lighting
Windows Pella Windows
Tile Sunderland
Fixtures Plumb Supply
Fireplaces Fireplace Stone & Patio
Carpet Royal Flooring
Countertops Renaissance Granite & Quartz
Some cabinetry Consolidated Kitchens and Fireplaces
Building materials Gilcrest-Jewett
Sound, security Technology by Design
Painting Accurate Painting
Interior design Accents & Interiors


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