Life

Step inside the calm of this Cedar Rapids bungalow

Candice Luter designed her minimalist dining room table and softened the space with a furry throw on a bench and a textu
Candice Luter designed her minimalist dining room table and softened the space with a furry throw on a bench and a textured, natural rug underneath. Photo by Dorothy de Souza Guedes
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The most comfortable space in Candice Luter’s northeast Cedar Rapids home is a custom-made daybed that tempts visitors to relax on the enclosed front porch. Many of her days begin there, lounging with her rescue dog, Steeler, a goldendoodle.

Luter’s aesthetic is all about texture, light and neutral colors. She blends mid-century modern, art deco and minimalistic styles. Her focus: creating calm.

“That’s something that’s very important to me. I want it to feel very lounge-y — like you could just put your feet up,” said Luter, 36.

She bought the 1924 story-and-a-half bungalow in 2018 and says, after having lived in a condo, the home has reframed the way she thinks about space.

“I saw the potential,” Luter said. “I like that it was small enough for me to downsize, but it was open enough.”

The home’s main level includes the living room, separated from the dining area by an arched opening, a bathroom “that I need to gut,” two bedrooms and a small kitchen. One long room makes up the home’s upper level.

Luter shares the home with daughter, Monet Young.

“I just gave her the loft upstairs — what teenager wouldn’t want that?”

Luter embraces the bungalow’s flaws, such as creaky wood floors and older, multipane windows. The windows let in a lot of natural light. The home’s fireplace doesn’t work, but she loves the brick, painted white, and a quirky detail: embedded along the mantel is a light that shines a warm pink glow.

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But she hasn’t left everything in the home as it was. To make over a large mirror that hung over the fireplace — a housewarming gift to the previous owner — she cut it into smaller, half-moon mirrors.

“I am that person who fixes everything, salvages everything,” she said.

If she can repurpose something, Luter does. She believes in using what you have and making it work.

Pointing to a small, round table in the living room, she said, “That was my first attempt at doing resin pours.” She had the legs “laying around” and found the top piece for $5.

When Luter can’t find what she wants for her home at a favorite store — “I’m a Target girl” — she sketches a plan, then asks local craftspeople to help.

When she imagined an open shelving unit with wood doors, she designed a geometric pattern, then asked a friend to build the doors. A minimalist wood chair with built-in shelving is also her design.

Her dining table is another of her minimalist designs. A furry throw on a bench adds texture, as does a natural fiber rug underneath.

“I couldn’t find a rug that worked (in the dining room). I found two similar rugs at Home Goods and sewed them together,” she said.

Texture, she said, gives character to a room.

“I feel like texture has a way of drawing you in to touch it,” she said. “You don’t need to overdo it.”

A native of Cedar Rapids, Luter often traveled to Europe with a previous job and credits that with giving her a different perspective on design. She particularly enjoyed Hamburg, Germany, where many homes and businesses have a more minimalist style than she was used to.

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“I loved to walk around and talk to shop owners. Seeing things, like how people use space, was a huge influencer on me,” she said.

Today, there isn’t much time in her day to enjoy the comfy, calming spaces she created in her home.

Luter works full-time at Storey Kenworthy, an office supply and furnishings company. In addition, she runs a home décor business, Candice Luter Designs.

With more than a dozen part-time employees, Luter designs and makes boho-chic macramé and natural home décor and art pieces that are sold on Etsy (etsy.com/shop/shopcandiceluter) and through retailers.

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