Long-term relationships help gradually transform a West Des Moines home.
Story by Tracy Dickinson
Photography by Mirza Kudic
Featured in Winter 2023
On a tree-lined street in West Des Moines sits a fairly typical executive-style two-story home. The brick exterior accents and curved drive to the side-entry garage give the impression of a well-maintained late ’90s residence.
It’s certainly that.
But step inside the two-story entryway and it becomes clear that this home is much more than just a residence. It’s a reflection of the homeowners’ history—their family heritage, their years of travel, and the ongoing relationship they’ve developed with local designer Kristin Jorgenson and remodelers Crose & Lemke.
“We’re the third owners of the house, which was built in 1995,” the homeowners explain. “Since we purchased it in 2000, we’ve redone nearly every room. The master bath is the last holdout, and it’s on the list.”
The kitchen was remodeled soon after the family moved in, but the homeowners say that’s likely on the to-do list for the future also. “Although the space is lovely, our needs and our wish list for the kitchen have changed,” says the homeowner. “It’s been 20 years, so it could be time for an update.”
Having worked with the same remodeler and designer on multiple projects now, the homeowners trust them implicitly. “The team at Crose & Lemke are so meticulous and professional. We always know the job will be done well and it will be done right,” they say. “And Kristin has never presented an idea we didn’t like. We’ve been working with them for so long, it’s easy to have confidence in them.”
Jorgenson first worked with the homeowners when they decided to redecorate their dining room, transforming a harsh red setting to a soft, classic color scheme. “I would describe their style as timeless,” Jorgenson says. “They’re all class, and they really want their home to reflect the people and places they love.”
Family heirlooms, original artwork, and items collected on their travels are evident in each room. “They travel to London often,” Jorgenson says, “and that Anglophile tendency is reflected in their decorating style. They love William Morris wallpaper and fabrics and the look of historic homes.”
The team’s most recent project—transforming a blank bedroom and outdated bathroom into an elegant study and guest bath—not only echoes the historic design style the homeowners have incorporated throughout the home, but it honors the life they’ve built as well.
“We knew we were going to update the bathroom at some point,” the homeowners say, “but it was in the midst of tax time a couple of years ago. We had papers spread on every surface trying to get organized. We both realized what we need is an office. So we decided to do both at the same time.”
They contacted Crose & Lemke about their goals, which focused on organization for paperwork and office equipment, as well as a place for the homeowner to enjoy his books and an occasional glass of good Scotch. Jorgenson joined the conversation once the design was selected.
“The new plan removed a door between the bathroom and former bedroom,” Jorgenson says, “but the homeowners wanted the two spaces to have similar decor elements. One thing they mentioned specifically was a wallpapered accent wall. Once we had that selection, the rest of the pieces came together—fabrics, furniture, paint color for the built-ins, etc.”
Because the project was started amid the worst of the COVID-related supply chain delays, Jorgenson says the selection process came together over the course of a year. The last pieces finally arrived this past summer.
Rich, creamy white cabinetry in the bathroom and lighted built-ins in the office provide the backdrop for deep blue accents, elegant fabrics, and luxurious surfaces.
“Even though there were some stalls during the project due to COVID and a death in the family, they can enjoy it fully now,” Jorgenson says.
The homeowners add, “It’s everything we asked for. All the paperwork and printers can be tucked away out of sight. We have a place to display the books we’ve collected from family over the years. And it’s the perfect spot for us to relax in the evening.”
Although the remodel is just months old, the classic style of the cabinetry and the decor provide the ideal setting for the homeowners’ family heirlooms and historic pieces.
After 20 years in the home and a design partnership that’s lasted almost that long, the homeowners have created a history of their own. •
- Remodeler Crose & Lemke
- Designer Kristin Jorgenson