A Sense of Place
An Iowa couple sticks close to home when building their timber dream house.
There’s no place like home — just ask Terry Dammann who, for the first 54 years of his life, lived in the same quaint farmhouse in southwest Iowa. After his parents moved out, Terry stayed on with his wife Debbie. That is, until something just a little bit better came along.
“Our new home was the house that got him to move out,” says Debbie with a laugh.
That new home sits on six acres of lakefront property, just seven miles down the road from their first home. “We had originally bought the land to run cattle on,” explains Debbie. “We built a little cabin on the property and people used it as a campsite for many years. After a while, we got tired of trying to keep up two places, so we decided to build a home and keep up one place instead of two.”
The Dammanns worked with the team at Riverbend Timber Framing to design a house that would complement the unique, one-with-nature location. “They liked the idea of using a timber frame because it had that natural, rustic feel that matched their property,” explains Stephanie Johnson, marketing manager at Riverbend.
In addition to maximizing the views of the stunning property, the
Dammanns and their design team set out to create a low-maintenance home that focused on long-term accessibility and functionality for the couple and their frequent guests. “The design of our Bridgewater floor plan concept was a really good fit for the size of house they were looking for, and the style matched the character of their land,” says Johnson. “They also liked how the back side elevation had so much glass to let in natural light and views of the lake.”
While the Dammanns did use a standard Riverbend plan, they wound up making a few modifications, including the addition of a two-car garage and a walk-out basement that fit perfectly with the slope of their lot. The master suite also was adjusted so that it was more accessible for the future. “This will be our retirement house, so everything we need is on the main level and somewhat close to the garage,” explains Terry. “We never have to go upstairs or downstairs if we don’t want to.”
The home features a structural oak timber frame that encompasses the living room, dining and kitchen areas, as well as the first-floor master bedroom. Upstairs, two bedrooms and a loft/ office area top off the design, while the
unfinished basement space is set up for a future kitchenette and bathroom to accommodate guests. “We love this house because it’s a place where family can gather together for visits and reunions, and really be away from it all,” says Terry. “We have a campground here, but we’re separated from them.” It’s that location that Terry says is the best part about the home, while Debbie takes pride in the fact that it was such a labor of love. “We built this house and we really chose everything ourselves,” she says. “We didn’t have a designer and that’s something I feel very proud of. It made the project more affordable — and more personal. We love everything about this home.”
The siding on the home was chosen by the owners. “I wanted a red house and these options went really well with the other materials on the outside of the home,” says Debbie. Riverbend’s Stephanie Johnson adds: “The colors are very much in line with the Craftsman theme of the original floor plan.”
LEFT: The Dammanns bought the chandelier that hangs in the living room long before they moved in. “It’s from an old hotel,” says Debbie.
RIGHT: The placement of the timbers and the low ceiling effectively sections off the kitchen area from the rest of the main living spaces.
FAR RIGHT: Upstairs, two bedrooms and a loft/office area top off the design. As the Dammanns age, they’ll be able to stop using the upstairs spaces and only live on the home’s main level.
BOTTOM: The main-level master bedroom opens up to the outdoor deck that overlooks the lake on the property.