Montana family moves back to central Iowa.
Story by Carol McGarvey
Photography by tim Abramowitz
Featured in July/August 2021
When Iowa natives Debbie and David Charles moved back to the plains after 20 years in Montana, they brought a bit of the look of the Big Sky with them in the home they built in the Acadia development of far-western Urbandale.
This is the couple’s third home to build, so they knew what they were doing, says Kevin Johnson, head of Accurate Development, the home’s builder. “One of their homes was a log cabin, so this home has some of those elements—board-and-batten exterior trimmed with natural stone and a beam in the living room’s part of the great-room with its raised ceiling.”
But there the comparison tapers off a bit. “The overall look is more traditional, but we have furnished and decorated it with a very minimalist approach,” Debbie says. “We pared down a whole lot, being mindful of the work we had to do on my parents’ home when they passed away.”
The back of the property is solid trees. “While the homes are relatively close, we don’t feel closed in at all,” Debbie says.
“We make sure of that,” Johnson points out. “We design the homes to fit the lots with forethought of planning. Since we are the only builder in this development, we can control that.”
The great-room has a cozy conversation area anchored by a floor-to-ceiling natural stone fireplace. Furniture includes a black sofa, two club chairs, and two leather occasional chairs. A wall of windows soaks in the light from the outdoors. The entire home has a gray, white, and black vibe. All window treatments have pull-down blinds.
The dining area, set in the open space, offers a rustic Parsons table, dressed up with six upholstered side chairs and two modified wing chairs. Overhead are two black chandeliers, a two-level one over the living room area’s seating space and a single-level one over the dining table.
The shiny kitchen has white cabinetry with white porcelain with a subtle gray swirl through it. Four upholstered chairs stand at the back side of the kitchen island. The six-burner gas range and the double-door refrigerator are both commercial. Nearby is a long and narrow butler’s pantry with lots and lots of drawers and cabinetry for small appliances and dishes and serving pieces not used regularly, and for seasonal pieces.
Out the kitchen area through the sliders is a covered deck, along with a seating area and a table for outdoor dining. It’s handy to the kitchen and a lovely spot for entertaining.
There is an exercise room, a full bath, and a laundry room with a sink at this end of the home. A back-entry mudroom leads from the side-load garage.
Favorite room: the den
Back at the front entry is Debbie’s favorite room, the den. With its whole wall of built-in open shelving, “We got rid of about 2,000 books,” Debbie explains. The other whole side of the room is a built-in desktop with cabinetry above.
The large master bedroom, rich with its Stickley bed and side tables, leads to a stellar master bath. The bath features a walk-in shower with extra-large rectangular tiles in grays and white, a long vanity with two extra-big mirrors with cherry frames, and a soaking tub. A large master closet holds a chest that matches the bedroom set.
On the lower walk-out level is a family room, where the family enjoys watching movies and playing pool. A kitchenette space for snacks and drinks duplicates the crisp-white kitchen style of the upstairs kitchen.
At either end of the room are bedrooms for the children, Matthew, who will be a sophomore at the University of Iowa, and for Rachael, a senior at Dowling Catholic High School.
Matthew is studying political science, economics, and philosophy with the hope of becoming an attorney, like his father, who rejoined the Belin McCormick law firm when the family moved back to Des Moines.
Rachael, a competitive shooter, works with an interesting detail in a storage and mechanical room, a shooting range. A computerized shooting range allows her to practice in her own home. She is starting to look at colleges with a precision shooting team and a pre-med program.
The athletic family, who enjoyed skiing, hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing in Montana, has been happy to see how much the trail system has expanded. “Montana doesn’t have those, so it has been a lovely surprise,” David says. “The whole Des Moines area has changed so much for the better. There has been a real change from when we met and rode the trails, which existed at the time, before we moved to Montana in 2000.” •
- Homebuilder Accurate Development