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A Classy Rendition
By Carol McGarvey | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
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When Troy Weiland and Jeff Niemann started building their new home last year in the Prairie Row section of the planned community called the Village of Ponderosa in West Des Moines, they didn’t start cold. After all, they had built their previous home in Johnston five years earlier. That home was a walkout ranch, and this one is a detached row house, officially called a story-and-a-half, but with the exterior look of a two-story.

The appeal is easy to grasp—small yards, low-maintenance materials, a cool floor plan, and lots of green space for two dogs, Dublin, a yellow Lab, and Keira, a black Lab. Plus, their home is on the end of the row, for an even greater feeling of openness. An alley-loaded garage adds to the row-house feel and takes away the focus on a garage door. 

“There are many types of people who come to build homes,” says Terry Harrington. She and her husband, Ben, form Harrington Homes, the builder in this area of Ponderosa. “Some people have no idea of where they want to build or what type of home they are interested in. Troy and Jeff,
however, knew exactly what they wanted and tweaked the floor plan a bit and planned a fabulous and efficient galley- style kitchen.”

“We like to say that we downsized to the right size in building here,” Troy says. He works for Principal’s National Accounts division located in Clive, and Jeff is at John Deere Credit in Johnston. Troy is the natural when it comes to designing and tweaking, moving a half-wall here and adding storage there. “Storage was a huge consideration in building this house. We tried to incorporate it absolutely everywhere we could.”

Vibrant area
Jeff says the pair enjoys the vibrancy of the Ponderosa area. “It’s fun for us to watch the variety of homes being built and planned as the area develops further. The Gateway Market is great.” Troy notes that various spots offer jazz, and a small farmers’ market began this season. It is very much its own small town, he points out.

Harrington says a draw is the variety of fun shops and a number of restaurants at nearby West Glen. “Small yards and a connecting set of trails make this area very appealing for people at many stages of their lives.”

The row house has about 2,000 square feet on two floors, and it is possible to finish the lower level. Having the master bedroom on the main floor also is pleasing to many potential homeowners.

In designing their room interiors, Troy and Jeff opted for a clean-lined look, one Troy calls “contemporary but not ultramodern.” They have chosen warm, subtle colors—various tones of khaki and smoky gray, with touches of red—and an interesting mix of materials. With an eclectic touch, they combine items purchased locally with hardware and other details ordered from spots such as Restoration Hardware and Room and Board.

The main-floor living area, with its open living and dining areas and kitchen, seems much bigger than it is because of the 20-foot, two-story living room height. Dark and light khaki tones bring down the visual feel of the height. The room is flooded with natural light from five square clerestory windows up high. The focal point is a fireplace wall with storage cabinetry to conceal the TV and electronics. Casual seating comes from a leather couch, an Ultrasuede couch, and a soft peach barrel chair. White woodwork gives a color “pop” and a fresh feel to the darker colors used.

Dark red ceiling
In the dining room a deep, dark red ceiling defines the area and, as Jeff says, gives a cozier feel to the sit-down eating experience. Instead of a storage piece of furniture, such as a hutch, the two had a built-in bar cabinet piece made, which also includes a wine-chiller refrigerator. Warming up the floor underfoot is hand-scraped oak, also in a deep espresso tone. “This works amazingly well with the dogs,” Jeff explains. “Any marks they make just add more character.” Kara Stalzer of Flooring Gallery helped with that floor suggestion, along with other materials selection.

Harrington points out that the homeowners even planned where the dog dishes would go in the laundry area coming in from the garage.

In the expansive kitchen, a dark espresso stain gives a warm feel to oak cabinetry by SJM Construction. Troy runs an efficient kitchen operation. “With good storage as the goal, we have a
hidden TV and sandstone-looking quartz countertop. It goes well with the small Travertine stacked-stone backsplash behind the range for texture,” he says. For continuity, the same look surrounds the fireplace in the living room. Stainless-steel appliances reinforce a sleek look and include double wall ovens, one a combination microwave/convection oven.

There’s a small information center for bill paying and keeping track of cell phone chargers. For storage of staples, there’s a deceivingly large corner walk-in pantry. On either side of the range, thin slide-outs make the most of every inch—a spice rack is on one side and a hanging utensil rack on the other. 

The master bedroom suite features an efficient closet with shelves and drawers and a bath with a double vanity and a repeat of the espresso cabinetry. For an accent, the walk-in shower
features a colorful wall of mini glass tiles. The tonal scheme in the bedroom is smoky gray with purple overtones.

Upstairs are three rooms. Troy and Jeff use one as a comfortable office/sitting room, and the other two are guest rooms. One features a platform bed, a cool hanging box light with five sections, and a color scheme of khaki and red.

Now that they have built two homes, is this it? Troy smiles, and Jeff says with a chuckle, “If he ever gets out the architectural software, we’ll know that another building project could be in
the works.”


BUILDER Harrington Homes
WOOD FLOORS, TILE Flooring Gallery
COUNTERTOPS Iowa Countertops
PLUMBING FIXTURES Ferguson, Restoration Hardware
LIGHTING Restoration Hardware
LANDSCAPING Perennial Gardens
IRRIGATION T&T Sprinkler Services
SECURITY, HOME STEREO A Tech/Easy Living Store



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