New construction celebrates the ‘Less Is More’ theme in its spacious and open design.
Story by Carol McGarvey
Photography by Mirza Kudic
Featured in Winter 2023
A minimal house has a serenity and a feeling of clean-line living. Such is the case of a new home in the new neighborhood developing in north Ankeny. The home was built by Bill Kimberley of Kimberley Development.
The builder, in business for more than four decades, is known for custom designs with liberal use of wood and stone details. In recent years, however, he has expanded to exploring new materials and plans with a modern or contemporary vibe.
That look is what caught the eye of a couple relocating to central Iowa from New York. “We looked at the websites of various builders and were taken with the Kimberley one,” says the husband. “We liked what we saw, and that was modern designs.” He and his wife opted for a beautifully wooded lot in Ankeny; he would be working in downtown Des Moines, his wife in Ames. Ankeny has been the perfect fit for them.
With the help of the wife’s mother, an architect, they tweaked the floor plan to their liking to take full advantage of the scenic wooded lot behind the house. “It’s just beautiful in all seasons,” the wife points out. “We just love the environment it creates. We love seeing deer and wild turkeys.”
In building a Kimberley home, owners get the chance for one-stop shopping at the in-house design center. Plus, they get to work with two professionals: Lisa Cameron, custom design coordinator, and Rylee Knutson, design coordinator.
Cameron works with clients on all details leading up to the contract. “I deal with anything in regards to the floor plan and preliminary build details,” she points out. “Rylee oversees all the selection with clients, helping them to personalize and bring all the details together.”
Is it safe to assume that most clients know what they want in terms of colors and finishes? For sure, say the design pair. The majority knows their style and the direction they are looking to achieve in their homes. As Cameron says, she and Knutson help narrow their options, ensuring the entire home is a cohesive executing of their dream home.
“Having the design center in-house enables us to complete the selection process more efficiently. Seeing everything together at once helps visualize the final product while maintaining the budget,” Cameron says.
Case in point on the design details of this home: The great room/living room is connected to the deck through a massive sliding door that during warmer weather can be fully opened, integrating the two spaces. An identical door on the lower level connects a small lounge area to the patio. Huge windows across the back of the house are floor-to-ceiling. Located in the great room, they take in the kitchen eating area, the living room space, and the primary bedroom. A covered deck beyond the windows provides a perfect view of sunsets through the trees.
The couple knew they wanted a walk-out plan with clean lines. They also wanted a spacious feel, which was achieved by 15-foot ceilings in the living space and 10-foot ones in the rest of the house. Large windows, soaking in natural light, make the whole space work and feel even bigger. They also wanted a feature wall with a contemporary gas fireplace insert. They chose a huge porcelain slab, running to the ceiling, for the subtle statement. It is offset by engineered hardwood flooring in white oak for an airy, light look.
The open kitchen, with a huge island featuring white quartz countertops with a gentle gray swirl, takes center stage. Three teardrop clear glass pendants reflect brass hardware on cabinets. Other features include a walk-in pantry and a wood oven-range hood.
A lovely pastel nursery for the couple’s young daughter is on the main floor. With the switch of some furnishings, it can easily become a home office in the future. The primary bedroom, an oasis for the homeowners, is on the main floor as well. It opens onto the covered deck.
Nearby, the master bath features a deep soaking tub and a two-part extra-large walk-in shower, complete with a small space for drying off after a shower. A double vanity has lighting at the floor level for safety and mood. A walk-in closet with a dresser in the middle of the room keeps everything tidy.
A powder room off the hallway makes a point. “There are such lovely bathrooms in this house,” the wife points out. “We want each one to have its own personality. This one with a rustic thin-stone wall in a rich off-white has a welcoming tone about it.”
At the back of the hallway is the sophisticated drop zone from the garage. It has simple open shelves and clean lines and was designed by the wife’s mother.
The home’s lower level is perfect for entertaining. While the upstairs fireplace is subtle, the one in the lower area is dramatic, with espresso built-in porcelain tile in gray-black tones. The bar area is stocked and ready for guests to arrive. “The sound system is just amazing,” says the husband, “and the lighting from the large windows is spectacular.”
The home has two guest rooms; one is currently a playroom. Between them is a Jack-n-Jill bathroom, all decked out in festive gold and pink, a colorful surprise. Floors on the lower level are heated, a full exercise room is available for working out at home, and a 75-inch wall-mounted television is in the family room. Next year a fire pit will go in outdoors.
The lower level is not carpeted. Large-format tile is used instead. Glass adds a brilliant punch; it is a design feature of the stairs to the lower level as well as on the veranda railings.
On the outside of the home, which contains about 5,500 square feet, the homeowners tweaked the look to reflect a Frank Lloyd Wright Prairie-style home. Cedar soffits add warmth. A flat roof imitates the Wright style.
The whole Kimberley operation brought patience to the process, say the homeowners. They particularly enjoyed working with Knutson and Cameron, who helped them in sorting through and choosing from the labyrinth of styles, colors, and materials. “They work with clients every day, so they make it seem smooth and easy. That is so important to the entire process of building a home,” says the husband. •
- Builder Kimberley Development
- Electrical Kline Electric
- Flooring NFM
- Cabinetry Moehl Millwork
- Countertops Jannings Creative Countertops
- Lighting Echo Lighting
- Main fireplace (porcelain slab) Stonehouse Granite
- Closets Kitchen & Bath Company
- Painting Legendary Painting
- Trim work Morrissey Construction