There’s a set of parameters that everyone creates when looking for a home. The location, price, size, yard, cost, number of bathrooms, finish, etc. all play a role in whether a house can work for each buyer. And when moving to a new city, what those parameters should be can be harder to know. When Adam White was asked to lead the music and creative arts at a new church in Des Moines, IA, he and his wife Allie started looking for homes near the church building while still commuting from their previous town. Their list of ideals was less about the number of bedrooms and more about accessibility to the community.
The home they were leaving was a 1970s ranch with lots of period charm intact. After putting in unaccepted offers on homes that might work, Allie and Adam were becoming disheartened. A 1908 Mission Style Craftsman home with plenty space finally appeared on the market. “We were thrilled, after months of looking, to find an even older house with even more craft and detail just blocks from our new church. Our home wish list was: plenty of space for hosting, room to grow our family, and rooms that were flexible to evolve as our family and needs changed,” Allie says. “This home fit the bill entirely and exceeded what we were hoping for. Honestly, I think we knew this one was the one when [we] opened up the original door from the front porch and stepped into the grand entryway. That view is still one of my favorite parts of our home. Upon our first walk-through of our home, we learned that it was once a bookstore! I absolutely love this charming part of its history.”
Allie is a freelance graphic designer, photographer and stay-at-home mom and Adam is a musician, photographer and the Worship and Arts Director for Cottage Grove Church. They also own a photography business together, Key of A Studios. Their home is minutes away from the church and has all the space they need for two in-home businesses and their busy 18-month-old son, Zion. They’ve made some spacial layout changes to the home, but have completely kept the original charm intact. “We started with the main floor, and got the spaces where we entertain and host to a place we liked first before moving on to the second priority rooms, like the bedrooms and bathroom upstairs. One of the biggest decisions we made for the flow of the rooms on the main floor, was swapping the dining room and living room,” Allie says. “It works better with our furniture and from a usability standpoint, conversation can take place between the living room and kitchen, instead of being separated by an additional room.”
The 2,000+ square foot home has only been theirs for four months, but Adam and Allie have created an inviting space without trying to fill it up. “We’ve scaled back on a lot of our possessions since moving and identified what we love and need to make this possible,” Allie shares. “Our home is a place of peace for our little family that feels warm and cozy. We love that there’s plenty of space, and that we can welcome people in — especially the kind of random drop-in visits that aren’t nearly as common in our modern-day culture. We hope to cultivate this vibe with our friends, family and neighbors in this 100+ year-old, beautiful home.” Their spacious, charming home is full of people several nights a week. It has lived up to the potential they were hoping for when they saw it for the first time. –Lauren
Photography by Austin Day
Image above: The entryway of Adam and Allie’s home already was infused with character but the addition of the Whites’ upright piano makes the space even more charming.