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Planning Ahead
By Tracy Dickinson | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
FEATURED REMODEL August/September 2018
home :: home & garden :: featured remodels

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An Urbandale home gets the perfect makeover.

Before they even closed on their home purchase, Steve Moore and Emily Eckman knew a remodel was in the immediate future for them.

“We’d lived in Adel for a long time, and we wanted to find a place that still felt a little like we were out in the country. With this house, my husband got his shop, we got a little acreage, but the house needed some help,” Eckman admits.

An odd main-level layout and inefficient kitchen design chopped the entire first floor into awkward spaces.

“We have a good friend in the construction industry,” Eckman says. “So I asked for remodeler recommendations and found Kaufman Construction.”

Devan Kaufman was the first remodeler the couple called, she says. “That was it. I knew this was the right fit.”

“Stylewise, Emily had a pretty good idea what she wanted, but there weren’t a lot of specific directions,” Kaufman says. “I think it was the first meeting, when they started talking about the kinds of storage they wanted. We hadn’t even talked budget or design yet.”

Eckman says, “He had to rein us in and point us in the right direction more than once.”

“The project was something of an evolution,” Kaufman explains. “But we take a lot of pride in figuring all that out up front and not being surprised or making a lot of changes as we are actually building the project.”

Although the homeowners knew they wanted to change the kitchen layout and possibly “do something” about the oversize powder room, they weren’t really sure how to go about that. The couple had hoped to complete the remodel before they moved in, but their financial sense told them otherwise.

“We realized the costs of two mortgages, plus remodeling all at the same time, were just not realistic,” Eckman says.

In the end, they moved in to the new house, spent some time planning with Kaufman and interior designer Jillian Lare, and scheduled the project for the following spring.

That extra planning time was fortuitous. Not only did it give the homeowners time to live in the space and make more-knowledgeable decisions (including replacing the trim and flooring throughout the main level, reworking some of the wiring, and removing a sliding door), it also meant Kaufman was on hand to deal with that little grill incident. “We’ve always had brick houses,” laughs Eckman. “I was a little surprised to find out a grill could melt vinyl siding.”

“We just added some siding replacement to the schedule while we were at it. It was near the sliding glass door we were replacing anyway,” Kaufman says.

“They started the project March 1st and were done in early May,” Eckman says. “I’ve never done a remodeling or building project before. From what friends have said, I think I was spoiled. Devan gave us a calendar that told us every day what they were going to do, and they stuck to it. And they cleaned.”

The new kitchen space now boasts painted white cabinets, quartz countertops, and a furniture-style island featuring contrasting paint and quartz colors.

Reworking the powder room layout allowed Kaufman to remove an unused linen closet and add a wealth of storage space to the kitchen. What had originally been a dining area now features a built-in china cupboard with even more storage.

Kaufman says, “We really just made basic changes to the layout that opened things up and added a lot of storage and more functional space. The kitchen works so much better now and feels much more open.”

“We didn’t add much square footage to the room, but I have so much more storage. I have cupboards I haven’t even filled yet,” Eckman says. One of her favorites is the cupboard designed specifically for her coffeemaker, which offers plenty of space for brewing and a light for those early mornings.

Kaufman typically does both floor plan and interior design. Due to scheduling conflicts, the couple called on Lare to help with fixtures and finishes for this project. “We don’t always do that,” Kaufman says. “But we have a good relationship with Jillian, and working with her made it easy for everyone.”

“She really brought it all together with her advice on fixtures, colors, everything,” says Eckman.

The new home is nothing like the classic Victorian home they left in Adel, yet Moore and Eckman couldn’t be happier with the way this project turned out. “We kind of went into this just knowing we needed to do something about the kitchen. Then we said, ‘Well, the powder room is kind of awkward. And as long as we’re taking out walls, this fireplace is just wrong. And the living room layout is awkward.’ Before we knew it, we’d done the whole main floor.”

Kaufman got them everything on their wish list, including a pocket door. And the Kaufman Construction team finished right on time and treated the home like it was their own.

“It was worth the wait,” Eckman says with a smile. “I love it all.”


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