Home & Garden

Working it out

Cherry cabinets, quartz countertops, a stone backsplash, a hidden pantry and a custom-built range hood complete the mode
Cherry cabinets, quartz countertops, a stone backsplash, a hidden pantry and a custom-built range hood complete the modern, industrial-style kitchen. Photos by Mike Fager, fisheye photography

In a perfect world, our home reflects every aspect of our personalities — truly representing who we are and what we do.

Travis and Lindsay Lange seem to have found that perfect balance in their new Marion home.

It all started with Lindsay’s side hustle. She works full time at the Department of Human Services and is a Scentsy distributor in her spare time, selling home fragrance items.

“The whole reason we decided to build is because I needed a home office by the front door,” she said.

Lindsay now has just that, a home office with lots of storage space right by the front door. Now, clients can stop by without having to walk through the whole house, keeping disruptions to their home life — with their two tween daughters and their two bulldogs — to a minimum.

The home also reflects Travis’ love for home brewing. The Langes’ new home includes an enviable brewery space, built as a separate room behind their third garage stall.

“For the last six or seven years, I’ve had a big interest in craft beer,” Travis said. “My brother and I are pretty in to it.”

In fact, he admits, “I’ve wanted to get into the industry for a while. About a year ago, I started ‘beertending’ at Lion Bridge as a side thing.” The Czech Village brewery/restaurant felt like the perfect fit.


“I really like that it’s not a sports bar or a late night bar. It’s more of a community, with people meeting and people talking.”

In January, Travis took an even bigger leap and left his job in advertising at Mediacom to become the brand ambassador at Lion Bridge Brewing. “I’ve been in sales and marketing for over 20 years,” he said. So he now uses those skills “talking beer with people.” As part of his job, he helps with promotions, marketing and working at events. “I’m still learning the ropes,” he says, and loving every minute of it.

“Nobody loves their job as much as Travis does,” Lindsay said.


Lindsay had dreamed of building their own home for years.

“I have been thinking about this house probably since I was in high school,” she joked. “I had been pinning floor plans (in Pinterest) for probably five years.”

The Langes, both from Cedar Rapids, wanted to stay in the Linn-Mar school district, so they bought a lot and worked with Winkel Design to draw up a personalized floor plan. They chose Brian and Heidi Hancock of B. Hancock Construction as their builder.

“I’ve known Heidi for years,” Lindsay said, “and I’ve always loved their houses. It was a no-brainer to use them. They’re great builders, and they’re great people.”

Design-wise, “we had been leaning toward a ranch,” Travis said. “But,” Lindsay said, “it made more sense to build up than out so we could have the girls’ bedrooms upstairs in a loft instead of downstairs.” The loft design includes a sizable landing outside the two bedrooms with a seating area and study

space that looks out over the two-story family room and covered deck.

“Our two bulldogs like to sit here so they can see what everyone is doing,” Lindsay said.


The master bedroom is on the first floor, with a walk-through master closet and sizable master bath. The shower features a large rain showerhead and glass tile in shades of blue, gray and tan with a detail strip that resembles geodes. “It feels like you’re at the beach,” Lindsay said.

Everywhere you look, the 4,160-square foot home includes thoughtful and functional features that just make sense. For example, the shower includes a small footrest, to make shaving one’s legs easier.

“We put central vac kickplates in the bathrooms and places we knew there would be a lot of hair,” Travis said. “That’s been a blessing. You don’t have to haul the vacuum in there. Just sweep it over, open the kickplate and away it goes.”


In the same way that the couple wanted a customized floor plan, they also chose more unusual, darker colors for their home, both inside and out.

As you drive up, the home’s exterior is a pleasing mix of several colors of dark siding, brown and almost black, and stone accents.

Inside, the couple chose darker grays and neutral tones.

“I’m not afraid of dark colors,” Lindsay said. The painter actually wanted to double-check and triple-check that he had the right paint color for the living room because it was deeper and darker than he expected.

Lindsay loves the final result. “It gives it more a pop. It’s different.”


The living room fireplace front features a metallic tile, dark gray shiplap and a barn beam mantel.

“Brian (Hancock) got it from a barn in the area,” Travis said. “He didn’t stain them or anything, just sealed them.” The same wood was used in the stairway newel posts. “It all came from the same barn.”

The mantel also has a metal bull ring hanging from its center.

“Brian asked us if we wanted them to pull that out,” Travis said. The Langes’ answer? An emphatic no. The barn beam newel posts in the stairway to the lower level have notches where they had dovetailed into another beam. Again, when Brian Hancock asked if the Langes wanted the notches filled in, the answer was, of course, no. They wanted to showcase the history of the wood.

Perhaps that best describes the couple’s taste ... they wanted their home to have some organic, rustic, almost industrial touches, without being too trendy.


“We wanted to go with something more timeless, that’s trendy now, but also classic,” Travis said.

The kitchen has this same sort of feel, with cherry cabinets and a custom-built range hood. The low-profile brick backsplash is striking yet will be easy to clean. A hidden pantry provides loads of storage.

The kitchen, located next to the two-story great room, is just under the bedroom loft area, so the kitchen and the sizable island feel more grounded.

“I like how it all came together,” Lindsay said.

The kitchen and living room look out on the two-story covered deck. A fire pit is located straight out from the covered deck and the living room’s wall of windows, creating a great line of sight, both inside and out.

At first, the couple had thought about putting the fire pit seating area in the corner of the yard but ultimately decided to “line up the fire pit with the wall of windows in the living room so that it’s like an extension of the indoor/outdoor space,” Lindsay said. The deck steps down to two lower levels, offering plenty of seating and room to grill and entertain.


The lower deck leads to the dedicated brewery space behind the third stall of the garage.

Built as a separate, all-weather room, the brewery space is outfitted with a sink, a refrigerator, an electric heat source, ventilation and plenty of counter space for Travis and his brother’s craft brewing equipment. A pass-through window with a granite countertop can accommodate barstools, both inside and out.

In their last home, the couple had home brew equipment set up in their garage. In the new space, Lindsay says they really appreciate the built-in floor drain, having worried in their previous home what would happen if there was a big spill.

The triple-burner home brew set-up can make up to 15 gallons of beer, although Travis and his brother usually only make five gallons at a time.


“But if we get a recipe we really like, we can scale it up,” he said. The home brewery space also includes bottling equipment and a capper. “We usually save the last bottle to drink when we do the next batch.”

“I love the science of it, the alchemy,” Travis added. Asked about his favorite beers, he points to darker porters and stouts. “They’re so much more complex,” he said.


Back inside, the couple also enjoys entertaining in their home’s lower level. They customized the wet bar area with a split-bar design with a center opening, so the bar has two separate sides, with seating both in front and behind both sides.

“At our old house, we had a long bar, but you’d have to lean back to talk to people,” Travis said. “This way, you can sit on both sides. It works so much better than a long bar.”

Above the bar hang Lion Bridge Brewing growlers specially cut to create pendant lights. The lights were made by the owners of Need Pizza. “I know Bob and Dave pretty well, and I asked who did theirs,” Travis said. When he found out they’d done the lighting themselves, he asked them to create the Langes’


“It gives it a more local flavor,” Lindsay said.

Another unusual feature in the wet bar is a glass rinser, like you would see at a bar or restaurant. “After I started working at Lion Bridge, I realized the importance of a glass rinser, and that it was something I wanted,” Travis said. “All bars and breweries have one. It gives it a smoother surface so the beer pours better because too much foam is a waste of beer.”

And no one, least of all the Langes, wants to waste beer, or old bull rings or newel posts.

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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.