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Building Neighbors
By Tracy Dickinson | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
home :: home & garden :: featured remodels

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Successful remodeling projects result from successful partnerships. Denny and Jane Olson say their experience with Community Builders of Iowa is living proof of that.

Since purchasing their home in the Hickory Hills neighborhood outside Ames six years ago, the couple has completed several remodeling projects, from countertop replacements to complete room remodels. And they partnered with the same builder on every job.

“We already knew Charlotte,” says Jane, “so when we decided to replace the kitchen counters, we asked her for help.”

One of the things the couple appreciated about Charlotte Dougherty and Community Builders of Iowa LLC was Dougherty’s conscientious approach to both budget and design.

“I firmly believe that one of my responsibilities is good stewardship,” Dougherty explains. “So I start by really listening to the client and their needs and goals for the project. Once I understand that, I get inspired to create a plan that makes all those goals a reality within the budget provided.”
For the Olsons, renovating the master bath and former bedroom had long been on their wish list. After working with Dougherty on some smaller updates, they knew she was the perfect partner for this project.

The previous owners had already added a room off the master bedroom for an office space, which the Olsons converted to their bedroom.

“With the skylights and the privacy, it’s like sleeping under the stars,” Jane says. “We just love it.”
But that left the original master bedroom as no more than “a big, underutilized space you passed through to get to the bedroom or bathroom,” she says.

According to Dougherty, “The existing bath was long, narrow, and dark and needed a lighter, brighter color. The Olsons wanted more space but didn’t want to do major plumbing and structural work. And they wanted to use the former bedroom more efficiently.”

Dougherty’s solution was a spa-like space for the bath, incorporating square footage from the previous master closet. And she called on George Karwoski of Swan Creek Cabinetry to transform the empty bedroom into a spacious dressing area with stunning built-in cabinetry.

The wood finish in the dressing area reflects the look of the home’s original trim but uses brushed-pewter hardware for a more modern touch. The two elements were also used in the bath, complementing the travertine-style tile and the Indonesian pebble floor in the shower.

New lighting, full-height mirrors, and matching tile throughout make the room feel like it’s gained even more than the actual six or eight square feet added in the remodel.

Karwoski, who has worked with Community Builders on other projects throughout central Iowa, several within the Hickory Hills neighborhood, says, “Charlotte brings something very different to the table. I’ve been around a long time, and I’ve never had a builder take a client under their wing and lead them through the process like she does.”

The Olsons had already seen that commitment at work, and they couldn’t be happier with the results. “Charlotte is just awesome to work with. She comes up with a plan that suits us, but she treats the budget like it’s her own money. She makes every penny count.”

In fact, Community Builders makes budgeting a priority with every client, whether the project is a countertop replacement or a million-dollar new home. As the company’s mission states, “We don’t just build homes, we build community.”

And that’s exactly what Community Builders is doing, one client at a time.


Community Builders of Iowa
Swan Creek Cabinetry


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