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"We loved the idea of relaxing and opening the doors as though we were on a vacation on a fresh, breezy day. It’s a contemporary retreat with a bit of traditional romanticism–sort of an idealistic home.”
After working 80-hour weeks between two jobs, Amy Pretorius was excited to focus on just one career, contracting. Her recent hire as Project Manager for the Peninsula Development Company comes from years of professional accomplishment in general contracting including the construction of her prior home from a salvaged farmhouse moved 15 miles to its new foundation on the east side of Iowa City. She continued to general contract older homes in need of repairs for resale with her husband, real estate agent Adam Pretorius. Her biggest challenge, however, was designing her dream home. A real-estate romantic, she loves the traditional detail and craftsmanship of older homes but the clean-lines and glamour of a modern home. The exterior is inspired by beach homes built in Nantucket and an interior that integrated tradition with modernism. Entering the foyer, one experiences an open staircase with Colonial spindles, and a two-story space dramatized by thick crown-molding. Dark, high-gloss American Oak hardwood flooring reflects light pouring from windows high above. The foyer acts as the home’s heart, or central axis, connecting the main level floor plan elements by halls and doorways and the upper level by a grand stairs. Crystal chandeliers are scattered throughout the home. “It’s all or nothing,” Amy explains, referring to the lights either being formal fixtures such as chandeliers or simply informal recessed lighting. “Don’t underestimate lighting--it's the jewelry of the home,” Amy says. “Not enough light makes a space feel cramped and uncomfortable but just the right amount of light can set the mood.” To complement the light reflecting from chandelier crystals, a cool palette of grays against high-gloss alabaster trim and crown molding with white kitchen cabinets add disciplined form. Archways enter the long living space with formal living on one end and the kitchen on the other. Centered on the 40-foot living space is a built-in wine display with glass doors. But it’s the tall, glass French doors with their magnificent views that are the real draw. The three sets of French doors are dressed with white draperies giving a focal point to the center of the room and creating a sense of drama and place. Through the French doors are far views of the wooded ravine and Iowa River. “In a sense, it’s a way of bringing the outdoors in,” explains Amy. “We loved the idea of relaxing and opening the doors as though we were on a vacation on a fresh, breezy day. It’s a contemporary retreat with a bit of traditional romanticism–sort of an idealistic home.”
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