Home & Garden

A sense of space: Iowa City home features backyard oasis

Prairie-style details and a wealth of woodwork define interior

An open-concept living and kitchen area features Prairie-style details in the Iowa City home of Ben and Lynn. (Photos: Gary Frakes Construction)
An open-concept living and kitchen area features Prairie-style details in the Iowa City home of Ben and Lynn. (Photos: Gary Frakes Construction)
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Sometimes homeowners have a specific idea of what they want in a new home. Other times, it’s more of a feeling.

Iowa City homeowners Ben and Lynn knew they wanted a comfortable, open space.

“We wanted a space where, if it was the two of us, we could be comfortable. But then we could accommodate a big group if we needed to,” Ben said.

Their new home gives them just that sense of space. Plenty of room when the kids are over or when their large extended family comes to visit. But not too much space day to day for them and their two dogs.

They worked with Gary Frakes Construction of Iowa City to build a single level home with prominent Prairie style features: lots of horizontal lines, a wealth of woodwork and an abundance of natural light.

For example, high horizontal rows of windows line several rooms including the dining area and the home office. That same horizontal motif is repeated in the floating soffit above the kitchen island that works to anchor the space.

The home offers great views of the private backyard, visible as soon as you walk through the front door.

“We wanted to be able to see all the way through the house, to all the windows,” Lynn said.

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The house backs up to a small ravine, which is often full of songbirds and other wildlife. A screened-in porch and deck on the first floor offers a great place to sit and relax. The lower level features a walkout patio with a sizable seating area and firepit.

 

“We’re outside all the time,” Ben said.

That love of the outdoors shows up inside with a warm array of woodwork throughout the home. Much of the wood trim is oak. The kitchen cabinets are maple. The floors on the main level are a more exotic wood — cumaru.

“It’s really hard so the dogs can’t hurt it,” said Ben. “It’s like the second hardest wood you can get. And it doesn’t have any stain on it. This is the wood color.”

You’ll find darker wood cabinets in the home’s bathrooms that, combined with in-floor heating, create a luxurious spa feeling in each bathroom.

The home’s lower level has sealed concrete floors that also include in-floor heat. In addition to providing a warm, inviting space, the concrete floors are easy to keep clean, even with pets.

The expansive lower level features tall 10-foot and 11-foot ceilings. The lower-level family room and wet bar area are perfect for watching the big game or playing shuffleboard.

Lynn and Ben are both University of Iowa graduates who now work in medicine — “We’re big Hawkeye fans, in case you can’t gather that,” Ben joked. “This is the hangout spot when people are over.”

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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.