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Wishes Do Come True
By Carol McGarvey | Photography by Tim Abramowitz
FEATURED REMODEL October/November 2018
home :: home & garden :: featured remodels

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A dream house happened just down the street.

Tiffany Deal of Clive wanted a bigger kitchen for her love of baking, as many bookshelves as she could muster for the family’s growing library, and more usable space for her husband, Morgan, and their sons, Max and George.

Oh, and the new space had to be in their current neighborhood. She wasn’t willing to give up neighbors she loved and built-in friends for her boys. She got her wish.

“There was a home a few doors down from us that had been abandoned for three or four years,” she explains. “We knew people who had been inside it, so we had an idea of what was there.” Long story short, the Deals bought the home at a sheriff’s sale at the Polk County Courthouse, and their remodeling adventure began.

In good hands

They didn’t exactly know what would happen, but they were in good hands. Neighbors and friends, Jocelyn LippoldFink and her husband, AJ Fink, own Keystone Homes and had remodeled their own home. They mostly build new homes, but they took on this project. “Morgan and Jocelyn have known each other since high school, and Jocelyn and I have been friends since our days at the University of Iowa, so it was a natural,” Tiffany says. LippoldFink also is an Iowa Realty agent.

The project, which took 14 months to complete, basically involved a total gutting of the home. For the kitchen and bath remodels, LippoldFink brought in Doris Flexsenhar, a designer for Moehl Millwork. “She and I have probably worked on 100-plus kitchen remodels. I knew she would be perfect for this project,” LippoldFink says.

“I knew this kitchen could be a challenge. Tiffany wanted a huge island, a walk-in pantry, and oversize appliances, such as a six-burner gas stove and a commercial-size refrigerator,” Flexsenhar says. “We probably did a dozen drafts on the computer to make it all work by removing walls and making space for the pantry. But what basically is a huge galley kitchen turned into a lovely open space.”

Fresh, timeless look

Timeless Shaker-style white cabinetry sets a fresh look, along with quartz with a subtle gray swirl that gives a marble effect. A huge island measures 10 by 4 feet and has a gray base. The island features a deep white sink, a low microwave oven, and a dishwasher. Counter seating lines one side of the island. Nearby, a large walk-in pantry with sliding barn doors offers lots of storage. The other end of the kitchen has room for a table and a beverage center for coffee, wine, and other drinks, perfect for entertaining family and friends.

Glass white subway tiles form the backsplash, and three glass chandeliers add a little bling as pendant lighting over the island. They were ordered online and complement the stainless steel of the appliances.

An open family room with a sectional sofa and plantation shutters add to the clean-cut vibe. Large windows across one end and three high square windows offer natural light. MacKenzie-Childs accessories in the company’s signature houndstooth check add a pop of black and white in bowls, chargers, platters, cookie jar, and cake plate. A large window and a sliding door to the backyard bathe the other end of the kitchen in light.

More bookshelves

The nearby family room continues the dark hardwood flooring from the kitchen. The focal point is the cozy room’s bookshelf-flanked fireplace. On the opposite walls are more floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, per Tiffany’s wishes.

Tiffany says it wasn’t too hard to convince Morgan to agree to the big project for their new home, built in 1992. “He knew he could trust AJ and Jocelyn. AJ can figure out anything when it comes to building.”

And, after all, on the home’s lower level, Morgan got what he wanted—a pub-style bar with a wooden counter. The downstairs also features a new full bath (formerly a storage area), weights, an air hockey table, and room for a big TV and sectional for game watching.

On the home’s second floor, Flexsenhar helped plan the renovation of the master bath and also the bath for the boys to share. The master features a soaking tub, a walk-in shower with glass door, and a white double vanity. For interest and light, shaded sconces flank either end of the vanity area, plus one in the center of the mirror. A laundry on the second floor has stackable washer and dryer.

  • New kitchen. Check.
  • Professional appliances. Check.
  • Walk-in pantry. Check.
  • Huge island. Check.
  • Lots of bookshelves. Check.

“And the great thing,” Tiffany points out, “is that after this big project, we’re all still friends.”


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