Home & Garden

Adding on: Updating and expanding their West Branch home

The sunroom at the family home of  Joanne and Scott Salemink in West Branch, Iowa, on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
The sunroom at the family home of Joanne and Scott Salemink in West Branch, Iowa, on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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When Scott and Joanne Salemink bought their West Branch house more than 15 years ago, they thought they would make a few changes here and there. But a busy life, with two kids, got in the way and they hadn’t updated much over the years.

Joanne is a writer who is finishing her first novel. Scott runs a sand and gravel dredge company in West Liberty.

In 2016, the family decided it was finally time to update and expand their home. Working with

Olson Remodeling and Construction of Iowa City, they added not one, but two, two-story

additions onto the back of the house.

“We had thought about extending the whole length of the house, but it would have messed with the roof line and everything,” said Joanne Salemink. “Marc Olson suggested the two bump-out additions, which have worked out great.”

The first two-story addition added a light and bright dining room off the kitchen, with a roomy craft room in the lower level. The other two-story addition greatly expanded the master bedroom and bath, and created an oversized bedroom for their teenage son in the lower level. And between the two additions sits a large deck with a walkout patio below. The final result is a much larger, expansive living space.

Joanne Salemink said her favorite room is the updated kitchen.

“I love the space, that it’s open, that’s the best part,” she said. “I feel like I can breathe.”

The center of the new kitchen is a sizable island with a gentle curve across the front.

“I thought I wanted a two-level island, but everybody talked me out of that. People said you misjudge, and things end up falling off or the low side isn’t deep enough to work on,” she said.

The kitchen originally had a double oven, and several people suggested the Saleminks add that feature to their new kitchen. Joanne, though, decided she’d rather have more cabinet space to use every day than a double oven she would use only occasionally.

The kitchen cabinets are cherry. At the far end of the kitchen, an entire wall of cabinets provides a butler’s pantry of sorts with even more storage space. Joanne loves how rich and warm the cabinets look. “The cherry will age and darken,” she said.

Joanne admits the remodeling project grew in size and scope over the course of construction, most notably in the removal of almost the entire wall between the kitchen and living room. The original plan was to leave the wall in place. But when they were selecting paint colors for the kitchen, they realized they wouldn’t need much paint for that wall because of several door openings, which led to talk of removing the wall and then actually removing a 15-foot span. The result is an open-concept, light-filled first floor, with an expansive space from the front door and bay window to the dining room addition.

The kitchen and new dining room offer wide views of a gorgeous backyard and new deck. “We didn’t get to enjoy the old deck as much because it had seen better days,” Joanne said. “Now, we have a nice, solid deck that’s not going anywhere.” An added perk is that the enlarged master bedroom in the second addition opens onto the deck.

The home’s oversized backyard features a variety of mature trees, including pines. “We really like the lot. We joke we’re not on the golf course; we overlook the golf course,” Joanne said. “The deck is very private, and it’s nice and peaceful.” Asked if the family sees much wildlife in their backyard, Joanne jokes, “We do get occasional deer, even an occasional golfer.”

The second two-story addition dramatically enlarged the size of the master bedroom and bathroom. “This bedroom looks huge, but it makes sense for us.” A seating area provides a great place to relax. The family cat, Lenny, enjoys the seating area, too.

The bedroom is painted a pale, blue color. “It’s a very sedate color,” Joanne said. “I had picked out the bedspread first, everything came from that.”

Bright colors have their place, too. Joanne’s home office is painted in a warm peach tone, with fun, flamingo-adorned curtains. Daughter Gabby, who is in her second year of college, comes home to a room painted an amazing purple gradient, going from a dark purple to a bluish green near the ceiling.

The new and enlarged master bathroom also embraces color with a plum paint color and features a large, walk-in shower and two vanities separated by a window to the backyard. “I feel like I have to apologize for having a ginormous shower,” Joanne jokes.

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In the lower level, underneath the new master bedroom, is son Max’s room. Like the master bedroom above, Max’s bedroom is oversized, large enough for a bed, a couch, a full drum set and several guitars. “It’s a teenage boy’s room. Max plays drums and taught himself to play guitar. It makes for a nice space down there.”

Having a son play drums beneath your bedroom is not a problem either, Joanne says, noting the house is well-insulated, keeping noise to a

minimum.

In fact, Olson Remodeling & Construction added more insulation throughout the whole house.

The family also added more lighting and dimmer switches throughout. And they got rid of all of the switched outlets in the house. “No more confusion over whether a lamp is turned on or off or if the bulb is burned out.”

“The kitchen, living room and dining room have all different sets of lights,” Joanne said. “Even my craft room has two rows of lights on different switches, so I can have lights over my sewing machine.”

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.