Spec House
surface area
Iowa City
project Type
New Construction
Jul 21, 2020

Just as in urban settings, narrow lots offer design opportunities. Special attention, careful planning and perfectly executed plans create an unique house packed with functionality and details to adore. This new two-and-the-hal flevel house, designed by Elevation Home Builders, provides a modern take on a traditional Craftsman aesthetic. The sophisticated and formal architecture of this home is balanced with an interior that is defined by whimsical elements and modern detailing throughout the interior. Varying siding details spanning the length and vertical sides of the house are bold architectural choices enhanced with black windows and wood accents that help warm the craftsman appeal of this home. The result reflects the sophisticated traditional style while drawing attention to the lateral character of the home.


There are several functional advantages to the height of the home. The benefit is seen best on the upper levels where open-plan living separates functionality of spaces. The main level living areas are wide-open spaces to provide a large, flowing living area and kitchen. The higher you go, the more personal the spaces become. On the upper level, a loft and lounge area with a rooftop terrace are intimate spaces for relaxing. Staged as a game room, the loft is a versatile space depending on the needs of the homeowner and features a wet bar and guest suite. From the main level, an open staircase wraps around a small opening leading up from the entry through thetwo stories to the loft. The stairwell distributes light right through the home including the entry. From the main floor, wainscoting detailing spans the staircase wall. The vertical stair elements are visually stunning that helps separate living areas while creating circulation routes.


As well as accommodating the entry, the first floor features a family room-office with built-in desk and bookshelves. The 10-foot ceilings on the main level reinforce its formal living area. Also drawing to the height, a 9-foot salvaged 2-inch thick oak pocket door from a 102-year old home in Minneapolis reflects the craftsman style. In contrast to the traditional style, the kitchen is highly contemporary. Walnut lower cabinets are teamed with white quartz counters and upper white-painted cabinets that create a bold contrast to the kitchen’s elevation. The living area features symmetrical windows including a range and vent hood in front of the kitchen window functional perfect for opening the window during artisanal cooking.Modern, stainless appliances including a smart refrigerator with a touch-panel for scheduling grocery deliveries, labeling food, and storing recipes. The adjacent cabinet incorporates a walk-in pantry.


The living area centers on a coloured concrete wall featuring a modern fireplace, built-in seating area and internal wall space for displaying artworks or timber accents. The main level creates a direct sightline to the backyard with its large sliding glass door.There are several outdoor living areas designed to tie together with the home’s design with concrete garden paths, a large cedar deck and unique cedar fence design.



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