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Interiorssneak peeks

An Eclectic Meets Minimal Craftsman Centered Around Community in the Midwest

by Lauren Chorpening

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There’s a set of parameters that everyone creates when looking for a home. The location, price, size, yard, cost, number of bathrooms, finish, etc. all play a role in whether a house can work for each buyer. And when moving to a new city, what those parameters should be can be harder to know. When Adam White was asked to lead the music and creative arts at a new church in Des Moines, IA, he and his wife Allie started looking for homes near the church building while still commuting from their previous town. Their list of ideals was less about the number of bedrooms and more about accessibility to the community.

The home they were leaving was a 1970s ranch with lots of period charm intact. After putting in unaccepted offers on homes that might work, Allie and Adam were becoming disheartened. A 1908 Mission Style Craftsman home with plenty space finally appeared on the market. “We were thrilled, after months of looking, to find an even older house with even more craft and detail just blocks from our new church. Our home wish list was: plenty of space for hosting, room to grow our family, and rooms that were flexible to evolve as our family and needs changed,” Allie says. “This home fit the bill entirely and exceeded what we were hoping for. Honestly, I think we knew this one was the one when [we] opened up the original door from the front porch and stepped into the grand entryway. That view is still one of my favorite parts of our home. Upon our first walk-through of our home, we learned that it was once a bookstore! I absolutely love this charming part of its history.”

Allie is a freelance graphic designer, photographer and stay-at-home mom and Adam is a musician, photographer and the Worship and Arts Director for Cottage Grove Church. They also own a photography business together, Key of A Studios. Their home is minutes away from the church and has all the space they need for two in-home businesses and their busy 18-month-old son, Zion. They’ve made some spacial layout changes to the home, but have completely kept the original charm intact. “We started with the main floor, and got the spaces where we entertain and host to a place we liked first before moving on to the second priority rooms, like the bedrooms and bathroom upstairs. One of the biggest decisions we made for the flow of the rooms on the main floor, was swapping the dining room and living room,” Allie says. “It works better with our furniture and from a usability standpoint, conversation can take place between the living room and kitchen, instead of being separated by an additional room.”

The 2,000+ square foot home has only been theirs for four months, but Adam and Allie have created an inviting space without trying to fill it up. “We’ve scaled back on a lot of our possessions since moving and identified what we love and need to make this possible,” Allie shares. “Our home is a place of peace for our little family that feels warm and cozy. We love that there’s plenty of space, and that we can welcome people in — especially the kind of random drop-in visits that aren’t nearly as common in our modern-day culture. We hope to cultivate this vibe with our friends, family and neighbors in this 100+ year-old, beautiful home.” Their spacious, charming home is full of people several nights a week. It has lived up to the potential they were hoping for when they saw it for the first time. –Lauren

Photography by Austin Day

Image above: The entryway of Adam and Allie’s home already was infused with character but the addition of the Whites’ upright piano makes the space even more charming.

Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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"I think we knew this one was the one when opened up the original door from the front porch and stepped into the grand entryway. That view is still one of my favorite parts of our home," Allie shares.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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From the entryway, a reading lounge is to the right, the living room is straight back and the dining room sits to the right of the living room. The original wood trim and carpentry has been preserved throughout the home, which is an impressive feat for a home over 100 years old.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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"We wanted our space to be simple and minimal, yet cozy and relaxed. With an 18-month-old and hopes for a big family, we want our home to be designed with littles in mind but not taken over by toys or things," Allie says.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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The living room was originally meant to be the dining room, but the space worked better for hosting neighbors so they made the decision to switch the main living areas around.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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Allie, Zion (18 months), Adam and Charles the pup in their living room.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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Mixed styles, subtle patterns and a soothing palette work beautifully with the warm wood tones.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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"A typical weekend for us includes good eats, walks around the neighborhood, sitting on our porch when the weather allows, and Sunday mornings spent at Cottage Grove with our church family," Allie says.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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The mix of chairs in the dining room has a relaxed feel in such a grand room.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
9/18
"The fireplace does not function anymore, it was likely closed off years ago for safety reasons - but the fireplace mantel still stands and is a beautiful focal point of our dining room. Our house has so much of the original details and pieces, from the clawfoot tub and marble vanity in the master bath to all of the woodworking, doors, [...] ornate light fixtures and windows," Allie shares.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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Mid-century furniture mixes with modern and traditional pieces throughout the Whites' home for an eclectic look.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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The guest room is light and airy with wall-to-wall windows and floral bedding.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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Zion's room is a place for fun. Allie and Zion spend a lot of time being imaginative and playful in his room.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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"We joined the ranks of parenthood in the fall of 2015, and our 18-month-old son, Zion, is a ball of energy with countless amounts of personality and spunk," Allie says. His room reflects his energy.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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All of the bedrooms are on the second floor of the house.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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Allie and Adam have kept things simple and serene in their bedroom. They wanted their room to be relaxing, but also wanted to focus their time on the main living areas where guests will be.
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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"Adam and I actually went to the same church as kids, though we didn’t get around to a friendship until we were both out of high school. We began dating and got married right before I graduated from college," Allie says. "We’ve been married for over five years now, and have both been able to work in church ministry at different points and run our photography business, Key of A Studios, together."
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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"What I love most about our home is..."
Eclectic Meets Minimal in a Craftsman Charmer in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
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The White Family's floor plan.

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Comments

  • what a sweet home you have … and even better is your beautiful – literally inviting – attitude to host gatherings several nights a week (the introvert in me cannot relate to that at all), especially given how busy you must be with your son, pup and jobs! thanks for sharing your home through this tour, too. nice to see des moines represented on a great blog!

    i live maybe a dozen blocks from your church. might check one of your services sometime (thanks for the link).

    best wishes.
    kathy

    • Thanks for the kind words, Kathy! We definitely get our “introverting” in, too :)

      Sounds like we are neighbors — we are loving this area! That’d be great if you stopped by a service at Cottage Grove!

      Hope to see you around the neighborhood!
      Allie

  • Such a charming home with beautiful woodwork. I like the piece used as a coffee table, very interesting texture and also the framed shelf that holds jewellery and small items in the bedroom. Lovely.

    • Thank you Margot! I believe our coffee table was the first piece of furniture my husband and I purchased new (and remains one of the few pieces bought new)! The jewelry shelf was a thrifted piece — I’m not even sure what it is technically made for — but it is the perfect size for holding my Essential Oil bottles! :)

  • Beautiful home and so glad you didn’t paint the woodwork. Instead of making your home look like every other house, you’ve infused it with your personality. Love it!

  • The house is great but I haven’t experienced such a religious “sell” on DS like this before. I respect other’s beliefs but I don’t feel the need to express my religious disbelief at any opportunity. A little more editing on this one !

    • Louise

      Can I ask why or what parts felt like a “sell” of religion? I re-read this twice and to me, since this couple works in the church, mentions of the church and their proximity to it make sense and wouldn’t feel odd if we were mentioning their proximity to say, a work or retail space.

      As someone who doesn’t follow a formal religion or attend services, I can be particularly sensitive to religious mentions and I pay close attention to them to make sure that there’s a balance between someone expressing their love of their faith and not making anyone else feel preached at. And for me, with that post, that meter just didn’t go off for me.

      So if you could share some more details of what lines made it feel that way, we can check it out through that lens. Also, what “disbelief” are you referencing? To me, this is the story of a family who have made their beliefs a central part of their live, which is a beautiful thing we’re happy to support.

      Grace

      • Thank you for your thoughts Grace
        As an older woman, I am perhaps a little more secular in my approach and perhaps I am noticing these posts seem to be more about the people now than the houses. I am obviously not as interested in the people as I am in the homes. They are young and enthusiastic about their work in the church, who am I to squash it.? It’s great house and I appreciate their love for it.

    • I’m confused. I’m not religious at all but had no issues with this piece. It simply states what their jobs are and why they are glad to live near their workplace, where they happen to cultivate meaningful relationships.

  • I’m swooning over the wood trim in this house. It’s beautiful, and I love how much the family feels connected to their home and the story it had before them.

  • Love seeing a home with such gorgeous woodwork and respect to the original character. And I have a feeling this house isn’t far from where mine is. Des Moines, represent!

  • This is a gorgeous home with tons of character and I SO appreciate the Midwest representation! Also, I’m in love with the couch. Can you tell me where its from?

    • Thanks Emily!

      Yay for the Midwest :) We think Des Moines is so great.

      The couch was a wonderful craigslist find! I believe the individual we purchased it from said he originally got it at Nebraska Furniture!

  • A beautiful home and a beautiful post! Grace, I hadn’t noticed (as Louise writes above) that these posts had become more people-focused. But if that is the case I love it. What makes a space beautiful is not just the colors and textures, but how it fits into the lives of the people who call it home (or work, in the case of studios). One of the many things that brings me back to DS again and again is exactly the fact that you do not show anonymous, cookie cutter, pretty design. Thank you for the community that you have built!

  • Amanda,I couldn’t have said it better!Kudos to Design Sponge and all the subscribers who have opened up their homes to us all.

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