It takes a village to build a home.
Story by Carol McGarvey
Photography by LAUREN KONRAD, COURTESY OF MORRIS LARE INTERIOR DESIGN
Featured in March/April 2022
There’s no doubt that it takes a group effort to build a house and turn it into a home. From purchasing the land to conceiving a plan to picking all the finishes and furnishings, it requires a team.
That certainly was the case with the new home of Kelsey and Andrew Zellmer in West Des Moines. Kalen Ludwig, an agent with Peoples Company, sold the lot to the Zellmers in the Diligent Grand Avenue Development. Ground Breaker Homes, with whom Ludwig is also affiliated, was the builder. Andrew is an ag realtor for Peoples and has worked alongside Ludwig since 2012.
“In my job, I work with the homeowners from the beginning. We have added 30 to 40 homes per year in this development, and it’s nearly full now,” Ludwig says.
The finished plan resulted in 4,300 square feet of finished space in a two-story home with a walk-out lower level. “The style,” says Kelsey, “is a bit traditional with a European flair. It’s practical but beautiful.”
Jillian Lare, co-owner with Morris Lare Interior Design, refers to it as new traditional, which covers the spectrum of traditional to modern. The Zellmers liked the style of a house Lare designed at a home show in 2018. Using a designer helps cut to the chase on furnishings and details. “I just wanted our home to be done,” Andrew explains with a chuckle. “Using designers was great for decisions to be completed.”
Alicia Held-Morris and Lare joined forces in 2021. “I like to mix styles to give a home a collected look that has taken time to develop. Our work is very collaborative,” she says.
Lare and Held-Morris combined their efforts to pick finishes and furniture pieces by sourcing a variety of local and national companies. They helped tweak the floor plan by adding a back hallway on the main floor to get a wider laundry room and to add a powder room.
A definite southern exposure in the open-concept great-room creates a light and bright feeling in the home. A huge bank of windows allows light in the living area. A whole wall of sliding doors offers illumination throughout the day in the dining and kitchen areas.
“With this pie-shape lot on our cul-de-sac, it was hard to fit the large design on this space,” Andrew explains.
To the left at the front door is an office painted in black. Shelves and a work space create a getaway spot for working at home. A barn door closes it off. One side of the barn door is painted black. The wood detail matches the paneling inside the room. The outside is painted white and agrees with the doorways in the entry hallway.
The great-room is a vision in white and a variety of textures. The tray ceiling, all in white, adds texture and detail without commanding visual space. White and subtle wood tones create a restful, open scene with white- and wheat-color sofas in the living area. In the center of the room is a rectangular dining table with four standard chairs and two upholstered head chairs.
Underfoot is engineered hardwood flooring in a pleasing barley color. It’s perfect for kids and for pets, as is performance upholstery on light-color seating pieces. The homeowners say stains can be spot-cleaned and slipcovers can be removed and washed.
The open kitchen features an island with a sink in the middle and four chairs or stools with textured backs for interest. They’re actually outdoor chairs. High-end appliances, subway tile backsplash, and a pantry define the space. Beautiful chandeliers edged in gold create a rich-looking work space. On one wall is a birch buffet in a soft brown.
A back hallway offers a drop area for jackets and bags and a most efficient laundry room, complete with a dog wash area perfect for Nike, their dog. A circular window adds a conversation piece.
There’s also a powder room wallpapered in a lovely subtle bird print. Adding to the spacious feeling are 9-foot ceilings in the hallway and 10-foot or above ceilings in the living area.
Also on the main floor is the primary suite, again with a massive window on the south sunny side, complete with a window seat. Motorized Roman shades control the amount of sun. There’s also a two-way fireplace; the other side is in the living room. Subtle coloring in the room adds to the spa feeling.
A separate but equal primary bath has an interesting twist. Each side has a vanity and toilet. At the far end is a walk-in shower with doors on two sides that open next to the vanities. “That way, we can both get ready at the same time,” Kelsey explains. Ludwig says she saw this style at a home show, incorporated a smaller version in her own home, and encouraged the Zellmers to add a larger version. “It’s a plan that keeps a marriage intact,” she says.
On the second floor is the nursery of their baby son, Cash, which features a sophisticated wallpaper on one wall with a rustic tree line. It reflects the view of trees across Grand Avenue. Kelsey had the closet fitted with shelving for toys and hanging spots for clothes.
The second floor has two other bedrooms and an open loft-style play area. There Alex Schoeppner of Oak Avenue Woodworking created a storage piece for toys and books. He also acted as the trim carpenter and created the barn door in the office, a storage piece on the lower level, as well as gates on the stairways to the upstairs and the lower area.
The lower level of the home, a walkout, is for family time and entertaining. A full kitchen, living area with an 84-inch television mounted on the wall, a toy area, and a beverage refrigerator make it a fine place to invite guests. There’s even an understairs walk-in alcohol storage area. The space has a guest bedroom, bathroom, and exercise room as well.
And will this be the family’s forever home? There’s already discussion about that. Andrew says yes, and Kelsey is ready to build again. “I just love the whole building process,” she says. •
- Builder Ground Breaker Homes
- Materials Beisser Lumber
- Foundation Monarch
- Interior design Morris Lare Interior Design
- Cabinetry Sarah Wolfgang Atelier
- Countertops Kitchen & Bath Company
- Flooring, appliances Royal Flooring
- Windows Pella and Andersen Windows
- Stone P & P Stone, Centurion Stone
- Electrical Kline Electric
- Trim carpenter, some furnishings Alex Schoeppner
- Roofing, siding Brad Van Weelden