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February 2012 November 2010

BRING ON SPRING Wish away the winter doldrums with bright splashes of color

1-on-1 with an

HGTV star page 27

Inside an uber-contemporary South of Grand home February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE



Editor Tim Paluch Staff Writer Jennifer Miller Designer Amanda Holladay Staff Photographer Eric Rowley To place an ad call: Kimm Miller (515) 284-8404 Des Moines Register Magazine Division Vice President, Content Rick Green President and Publisher Laura Hollingsworth Contact us: Des Moines HOMESTYLE P.O. Box 957 Des Moines, Iowa 50306 email: To subscribe to Des Moines HOMESTYLE magazine, call (515) 284-8359.


3 Spring, believe it or not, is around the corner. Start getting in the mood by adding pops of bright color to every room of your house.


7 Randy Kramer’s uber-contemporary abode south of Grand houses a fleet of cars and bikes. 18 Jim Boltz made a dramatic downsize with his new home, but finds peace in his decision.


26 The 34th annual Des Moines Home & Garden Show offers tips and highlights for everyone – as well as an HGTV star. 2

Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012


28 Kabira Cadogan took a long and winding road to become a designer, and draws on her anthropological background to wow her clients.

These materials are the sole and exclusive property of the Des Moines Register & Tribune Co. and are not to be used without its written permission. © 2012 Des Moines Register & Tribune Co.

Above: Inside the modernized kitchen in Randy Kramer’s south of Grand home. Read more about Kramer’s home, a contemporary abode in the traditional neighborhood, on page 7. Left: Items like these butterfly-print pillows (from The Mansion) will brighten up your home and get you thinking about the oncoming spring season. See more on page 3. On the cover: The bright breakfast nook looking out onto a 65-acre lake inside the home of Jim Boltz. See more of his home on page 18.




Spring is just around the corner, so help bypass the end-of-winter doldrums by adding splashes of bright color to every room of your home

by Megan FITZGERALD Thompson • photos by Eric Rowley

Add swirls of color to your dining room table with these sweet-enough-to-eat glass fruit sculptures. $27, The Mansion.

February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE



Gift these whimsical and charming teapots in vibrant tones to your favorite tea fanatic (even if that tea fanatic is you). $13, Treasure House Gifts.

Tiny decoupage magnets are sweet and simple, and add color and functionality to a refrigerator or workstation. $20, Treasure House Gifts.

Sooth your skin with beautifully scented felt soaps, an easy way to bring color to your bathroom sink. $16, eden.


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

Intricate colors of red, green and orange woven together create a bold welcome. Invite the coming colors of spring to an entryway with a bright, warm-toned hide rug. $675, The Mansion.

A spring-inspired candle in a soft hue brings fragrance and bright color together. Choose a delicate glass jar for extra sparkle. $24, eden.

As an easy way to add color and texture to a room, invest in unique frames and fill with cheerful prints or patterned paper. $66, The Mansion.

Dress up a bedside table with an exquisite lamp adorned with bright and beautiful birds, completed with a lovely ombre trim on the pleated lampshade. $1,660, The Mansion.

February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE


shop shop

Enhance a neutral room by using brightly colored indoor/ outdoor fabrics. $75$320, The Mansion.


Eden 418 E. Sixth St. (515) 282-0669; The Mansion 2801 Ingersoll Ave. (515) 280-7161; Treasure House Gifts 721 N. Ankeny Boulevard, Ankeny (515) 964-0600;

Set the mood with an ornate candelabra in a deep, romantic red hue. Go even brighter with complementary tapers. $38, Treasure House Gifts.

A pillow with a colorful, charming pattern can add a splash of spring personality to your neutral pieces. $134, The Mansion.


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

One man and his many wheels

A stylish contemporary in the traditional South of Grand neighborhood houses a veritable fleet – and one plastic trike by Craig Summers Black • photos by Paul Gates

This living-room sectional (above) in Randy Kramer’s renovated contemporary south of Grand home was made to order. Kramer raised ceilings and moved and removed several walls to simplify the lines and open the floor plan. “I redid the whole house,” he says. “Everything in it has been touched and moved around.” The artwork (left) is from Moberg Gallery: “The Craziest of the Crazies” by Iowa painter Chris Vance. Kramer, an avid cyclist, bought the metal sculpture for its biking theme.

February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE



or a guy with a fleet of cars and bicycles, Randy Kramer didn’t buy a house with much of a garage.

See, he has this ’65 Mustang – the car he and his family grew up with – that he’s restoring. (“All of us kids ruined it. It should have been dead.”) And the ’89 Mazda RX7. (Yep, a rotary.) Then there’s the ’05 Porsche Carrera S Cabriolet. (Read: ragtop.) His everyday car, though, is a Honda Ridgeline, a truck with all the panache of sensible shoes. All the same: One man, four motor vehicles. And the four bicycles? “Well, I’ve got a tour bike, a road bike, a mountain bike CONTINUED >>


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

The kitchen’s island counter (above) was a wall with built-ins before Kramer removed it to address the living room. He installed professionalgrade equipment – Dacor oven, Sub-Zero fridge (left) – even though, as he says, he doesn’t really cook. “It is almost like a piece of art,” he says. “The house was kind of screaming for it.” He entertains for his Christmas cookie bake-off, his birthday, Bacon Fest and his annual “game feed.” “It’s a way to get fish and game out of everybody’s freezers.” Flooring is heated tile, countertops are concrete and the backsplash is glass tile.

and a winter bike,” he says. “It’s Iowa. You have to have a bike.” So how big was the garage on his South of Grand contemporary? Answer: Approximately zero square feet. All the home had was a little carport. (Really. A carport in central Iowa. The builder must have been a San Diego transplant.)

The home’s exterior (above) echoes the stripped-down minimalism of the interior, but doesn’t hint at its nearly 3,000 square feet of living space. The dining room (top and right) is anchored by a table from Projects and chairs Kramer had commissioned. The oversized photograph-on-canvas of a Western swing band touring bus was purchased at the Des Moines Arts Festival (top). “I didn’t want anything boring,” Kramer says. “But I don’t expect everyone to like everything.” The modern painting is by Des Moines artist Meredith Tenney.


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

mall and it started to get all built up, I got out. All the stop signs and stoplights. The traffic. It’s more peaceful here: quieter, more serene. The reasons most people go to the suburbs, you find here.” Another reason he likes the location: “Easy access to downtown. I’m three miles from work. My commute? It’s really nothing.”

“The first thing I did was tear that down and move it as far as I could,” Kramer says. “Now it’s a three-plus-car garage. It’s got a lot of room. But not enough.”

And Kramer’s timing couldn’t have been better. Not only did he happen to avoid the market meltdown, but after he moved in, what he calls “the missing link” in the bike trail was completed.

Kramer was living in Quail Park – “Whenever West Des Moines would move out farther, I’d move with it” – before landing here six years ago.

“It’s just two blocks away,” he says. “Now I can go to Jefferson, to Saylorville. If you want you can go to Cumming.”

“My old home was a much larger place with lots of garage space,” he says. “And West Des Moines was the place to be at the time, especially with the low property taxes. “But when they announced the new

Kramer, a 47-year-old attorney for Nationwide Insurance, was looking for a modern, contemporary-style home and drew up a list of 10 houses in the neighborhood to pursue. He wrote letters to the homeowners – cold-calling, actually – to see if they CONTINUED >>

February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE


‘The room would not be as cool if the ceiling wasn’t high.’


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

would be interested in selling. It didn’t happen. But as he got down to No. 7 on the list, this place, it actually popped on the market. And he swooped it up. “I wanted modern,” he says. “This house is stark, but it’s meant to be stark. The view is my artwork. So I don’t have a lot of stuff. I don’t like a lot of stuff.” With clean lines and hard surfaces, his home is easy to clean and practically, well, disaster-proof. “I wanted to make it as maintenancefree as possible,” he says. “The countertops are concrete, the floors are tile. If somebody drops something, no fuss, no worries. It’s indestructible. Even the couch: It’s microfiber. Someone spilled a bottle of wine on it and it came right out. You can’t stain it.” The downstairs walkout area of the house is even more minimally

appointed, and with reason. “This place is huge,” Kramer says. “I never come down here. I just wanted the top floor. As far as I’m concerned, I could get rid of the bottom half. I don’t need it.”

The master bath is no longer separated from the bedroom. With walls removed and ceilings raised, the rooms are now a suite. “We had to jack the ceilings up to give it more space.” The cutaways in the shower allow television watching. The dark cabinetry is an espresso-finished wood. Countertops are Corian.

But it is down there where Kramer keeps his fifth bike. Kramer is on the board of the Children’s Cancer Connection, and as such he organizes and competes in one of the organization’s premier fundraisers, the Big Wheel Rally. So in this basement lair he keeps his little kiddy Big Wheel, one of those cartoonish red, yellow and blue toy bikes. But Kramer’s has been stretched to accommodate his adult frame. This is what he rides with his Mongol horde of like-minded charity road warriors, racing from tavern to tavern down Ingersoll, backing up CONTINUED >>

February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE


The master bedroom has porch access and a view of the seasonal creek and wooded area beyond. Says Kramer, “You could sleep with the doors open, but at 3 or 4 in the morning all the animals start rustling around and it gets louder than heck.” Glass sliders (above) open to reveal a frosted-glass dresser from IKEA. The contractor for Kramer’s daunting renovation was a friend, Mark Hildreth of Hildreth Construction Services.


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

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But if visions of this sound a tad twisted, the reality is actually worse. Many of these big boys on bad trikes wear costumes. Kramer whips out his smartphone to show his ensemble. He has a little trouble, just about poking the phone’s eye out (if it had one) before he can bring up the image.


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FEBRUARY 9-12 | IO Meet John Gidding of HGTV’s Curb Appeal: The Block and Designed to Sell — As owner of his own design firm and a regular face on HGTV, John Gidding will share unique tips and techniques for designing on a budget. Plus, hear stories from his hit shows and his experiences as an architect.

John Gidding

Stroll Through Exquisite Gardens — Be captivated by beautiful gardens with unique botanicals, designed and developed by local landscapers and garden centers.

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elebrity Outdoor Rooms — Your favorite Des oines celebrities and personalities will team p with top landscapers to create elite outdoor oms. This is your opportunity to vote for your vorite room…or your favorite local celebrity!

Visit the Wine Village — Sample Iowa-made wines at the Wine Village, showcasing over a dozen wineries from across Iowa. Shop The All Iowa Store — Back by popular demand, the All Iowa Store is the place to shop for a variety of merchandise made right in Iowa! From food and handcrafts to books and artwork, you will surely find something you have to take home!

mp My Shed – with Hal Davis — This new ature will showcase local interior design firm oom Service Distinctive Interiors. Attendees n walk through multiple sheds sponsored y Van Wyk Wood Builders to discover how make even the smallest spaces fashionable d functional.



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And Much More!

SHOW DATES/TIMES Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

February 9 February 10 February 11 February 12

Noon - 9pm 10am - 9pm 9am - 9pm 10am - 6pm

TICKETS Adults: $11 Children ages 7-12 years: $4 Children 6 and under: FREE

February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE


Making a drastic downsize I

When a man’s home is no longer, literally, a castle


t is not for nothing that Jim Boltz refers to his onetime “dream” home – an 8,500-square-foot French chateau in Johnston – as “the big house.”

“I know,” he says. “It sounds like I’m talking about prison.” But there was that feeling-trapped aspect to it, despite the imposing mansion’s resemblance to a giant wedding cake.

For a lighter touch of Tuscany, Julian Rios and Jim Boltz added faux grapes to the ceramic bust (bottom right) and planted lavender by the sink (right). Boltz moved from a “chateau” with 8,500 square feet to this 3,200-square-foot townhouse (above) in Clive. The kitchen (bottom) features new granite counters and travertine marble flooring with an inlaid rope design. The breakfast nook has furnishings from Projects and a Murano glass chandelier.


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

“It was so full of stuff,” Boltz says, recoiling at the word, “stuff from my travels, that it was almost like a museum. And when people came over you had to give them the tour. It was getting old.” Well, Jim, welcome to Clive. Which is where he bought a townhome last year CONTINUED >>

February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE


less than half the size of his manor house. It took almost four years to sell the million-dollar-plus castle-like edifice. In the process Boltz also sold his lake house in Minnesota. And his motor home. So he had to do some serious downsizing. And get rid of lots of stuff. Boltz, a retired dentist to the stars (Tiny Tim, Tammy Faye Bakker, Andre Crouch), shares his home with dental

assistant and designer/decorator-inthe-making Julian Rios, who helped him with his downsizing move. “Julian’s idea was ‘Don’t do the clutter,’” Boltz says. “Edit,” Rios says. “They were beautiful things, but some people would think there was way too much stuff.” There’s that word again. “So I made a pact with myself not to CONTINUED >>

Boltz bought the oversize Chinese urn (right), still in the crate, from a World War II veteran’s wife for $250, “and I might have gotten her down to $200.” Its value was recently appraised at $3,500. Also in the living room, over the mantel, is a Max Papart painting. Downstairs in the entertainment area (above), a wraparound fireplace is dominated by a sisal lion designed in Las Vegas by Siegfried and Roy’s favorite artist. The built-in shelves showcase Jim’s collection of Hummel figurines.


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

‘Why come through a nasty laundry every day?’ do that here.” “Simplify,” Rios says. “You know how much Howard Hughes left when he died?” Boltz asks. “He left it all. Well, so did I. And I had a little cry. But I left it all and I’m still alive.” Still, Rios has made space for a select few of dear-to-the-heart pieces – the life-size sisal lion’s head, the imposing Asian urn, the carved elephant table – and updated the 1990 lakeside townhouse. “I kind of wanted to go contemporary,” Boltz says, “since the big house was so steeped in antiques.” Rios was able to bring the house up to speed mostly with cosmetic changes, adding trim and changing a few windows to sliders to better view and access the outdoors. But the kitchen required some heavy lifting. “This house had pink walls and babyblue carpet,” Boltz says. “It was dark pink, wasn’t it?” “Rose,” Rios says. And the kitchen was “blue-and-white countrified.” Now the palette is toned down, not only by way of bringing the place up to date, but also to showcase the artwork and collectibles. The kitchen has a vaguely Tuscan look, but a light and airy Tuscan, not earth-toned. And many of the rooms are appointed thematically: The master bedroom is the Tommy Bahama room; Rios’ bedroom is reminiscent of Florence; the guest bedroom has an early 20th CONTINUED >>

The guest bedroom (top) was designed with Florence, Italy, in mind. “It’s my favorite city,” Rios says. The chandelier, a Monte Carlo Airlift from Advanced Lighting, opens like an umbrella when the fan is turned on. The bed is from Ethan Allen. Rios’ bedroom (above) features a granite windowsill. All furnishings are from Restoration Hardware. The laundry/mudroom (right) also serves as the entry from the garage.


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE



Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

century feel. Rios knew the potential of this townhome all along, but Boltz needed a little convincing. “I dragged him in like three times,” Rios says. “But I could see the energy, the way the light came off the lake.” “Julian had the vision,” Boltz says. “He knew.” “I’ve always been interested in design, even as a kid,” Rios says. “When my mom would go shopping, she would come home and find the house rearranged. I thought that was normal. That would be when I was about 9. But my mom says I was into it earlier. She says I used to rearrange my sister’s dollhouse. “My brother would go out and play with the neighbors. But I’d go clean the garage.” Rios designed Boltz’s master suite to be reminiscent of Morocco. The carved elephant table (left) is from Bangkok (by way of Younkers) and is echoed in the wall hanging and the faux tusk. Above, Rose, a golden doodle, relaxes on Boltz’s canopied bed.

And, you expect, get rid of all the stuff.



Ask us about building the showcase pieces in your home.

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Call Dave McGrath for an appointment in your home or in our studio. February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE



Des Moines Home & Garden Show Show hours: Noon-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12 Admission: $11 for adults; $4 for children ages 7-12; children 6 years old and under are free. Discounted advance tickets are available for $9 online at desmoineshomeandgardenshow. com, at Dahl’s stores, or at the Hy-Vee Hall box office. For more info: Go to desmoineshomeandgardenshow. com for a full lineup and more details about the four-day event.


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

Good living at

Register file photos

‘The Big One’ by Kelly Roberson


here’s a lot — more than 400 exhibitors and experts — to take in at the 34th annual Des Moines Home & Garden Show Feb. 9-12 at the Iowa Events Center in downtown Des Moines. Whether you’re diving into a renovation project or simply looking to transform a closet, take inspiration from these nine must-see highlights.

From Turkey to HGTV TV host and DIY star John Giddings spills a few of his secrets There may not be many clues in his background to foretell a rise to stardom, but a star is what John Giddings is nowadays. Raised in Turkey and a graduate of the master’s of architecture program at Yale University, Giddings was working as an architect in New York City when he met an HGTV producer. The rest, as they say, is history — DIY TV history. Today, Giddings hosts “Curb Appeal: The Block” and “Designed to Sell” on the cable channel and runs his own practice, John Giddings Design Inc., in New York City. He’s also one of the experts scheduled to speak at the 2012 Des Moines Home & Garden Show. See him Saturday and Sunday. We caught up with Giddings between TV shoots and meetings to find out how he helps HGTV clients — and how he can help you, too.

1. See what inspires local celebs. Favorite TV and radio personalities are once again paired with top central Iowa landscapers to create “Celebrity Outdoor Rooms.” Will KCCI’s Cynthia Fodor’s escapades beat out Van and Bonnie? The winning celeb gets a check for $500 to donate to his or her favorite charity.

2. Pimp your ride? Nah — try Pimp My Shed instead. Stuck in a rut with your outdoor shed? Local designer Hal Davis shows you the possibilities of outdoor buildings with a transformation of a ho-hum structure.

3. Find out if orchids can walk. The answer is no, but the person dressed as the stunning flower can. Watch for her on Thursday and Friday.

4. Take home a free flower. Garden Store sponsor Loki’s Garden can’t wait for spring, so much so that the business is handing out free coleus flowers to the first 100 visitors each day. Once you have yours, wander to the Feature Gardens for inspiration for your own warmweather projects. If that’s not enough, the annual plant sale Feb. 12 at 5 p.m. will once again offer bargains. Welcome springtime!

5. Pick the brains of experts. From TV superstars like HGTV’s John Giddings to local experts, the Lifestyle Theater is the spot for helpful talks, including unique tips on designing on a budget, paint ideas and home automation (including can’t-miss iPad apps).

6. Score some junk. The good kind, that is. At the Junk Jamboree, local salvage superstore West End Architectural Salvage will sell flea market and vintage finds.

7. Then score some super-cool new stuff, too. A fire pit that converts to a fountain and a table? A cool way to clean your roof? A solar heating system for water? There’s that and much more in the New Product Showcase.

8. Get your green — or your clean — on. Maxed out on storage space or looking to up your green quotient? Presentations during the home show will help you redo a closet and learn more about sustainable living. Or, snag a member of the new Green Team to answer your questions.

9. Win, and win some more. Look for KISS 107.5 QR codes throughout the show, and scan them for a chance to win giveaways. Or bring a photo of your seen-better-days shed for a chance to win items like a lawn mower.

Q: It would seem that your shows are for two different audiences; those looking to stay and those looking to sell. But, in fact, there’s a lot of crossover, isn’t there? My philosophy is that you are adding value to your house whether it’s for sale or whether it’s for yourself. With “Curb Appeal,” I find that I’m really re-educating myself on the styles of architecture I didn’t learn in school and creating this design sensibility that’s based on an appreciation for the architecture. Q: So many people think a curbside renovation has to cost a lot. But there are a lot of quick changes you can make, right? One thing that always surprises me Special to Homestyle is that people don’t appreciate how important house numbers are. They have them in un-seeable locations where they are small or easily overlooked, so that’s one thing I try to change with every house. And a lot of people think it’s OK to have a cluttered front yard. They think it shows life within, but it distracts from curb appeal. Those are two almost no-money tips. Q: Once you’ve found the front door, a lot of houses make it difficult to get there from the street. I always espouse that you should put a dedicated path for pedestrians to the front door, which adds a lot to how welcoming it is. And make sure the door has a nice, bright color and lighting, too. Q: Obviously selling a house is difficult in today’s market. What are top tips people can use to improve their chances of timely resale? It all boils down to kitchens and bathrooms — but those can be very expensive. So start with the budget we work with — $2,000. You can do tile, new countertops, new faucets. If you can spend $2,000 to $4,000 in improving those rooms, it’ll do the most to help homes sell. I also try to maximize storage. If you are trying to sell, get rid of 60 to 70 percent of all your clothing. When these open houses happen, people are walking through closets of a dream lifestyle, so you have to stage every corner, every drawer, every closet — not just the main rooms. That leaves a positive impression in the buyer’s mind.

February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE


distinctive designer

Renaissance soul


Anthropology is the key to a Des Moines designer’s people-centric approach. by Jennifer Miller • photos by Eric Rowley

ust inside Kabira Cadogan’s front door is an eye-catching piece of art that seems to capture some essence of the designer. The farmesque scene, bought locally, has a purposely catawampus mat and some multimedia additions: a tea-stained pencil sketch of her own, an e.e. cummings’ poem. And lying across the whole thing is a

Contact Kabira Cadogan Call (515) 238-5647 or email her at For more info, go to


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

curved wire reminiscent of the image used to represent philosophy’s Golden Mean: the desirable middle spot between extremes. Cadogan says the piece hearkens to the creative process. To a visitor, it seems also to capture her multifaceted life today: crafted from a wide range of materials; containing few nods to the expected; a comfortable fit.

A straight-line diagram of Cadogan’s path to professional designer, well, isn’t actually a straight line. It meanders through various academic degrees, entrepreneurial undertakings and globetrotting adventures, then lands back at the University of Iowa for a Ph.D. (ABD – all but dissertation) in the selfdesigned area of transnational expressive culture, a subsect of cultural anthropology (the

Opposite top: Designer Kabira Cadogan took a purchased piece of art and added her own touches to reflect her creative process. Opposite bottom: Although Cadogan’s style leans toward modernism, she says she loves a challenge and has even helped design a Victorian-style home. Right: The living room light fixture makes a bold black-and-white statement. Below: Cadogan’s living room reflects her modern sensibilities. Warm wall colors and lighting take the chill off stark whites and geometric lines.

focus of her master’s degree). While teaching sociology and anthropology courses at Iowa, Cadogan also dabbled in design, which eventually led in 2009 to the creation of iN/2/iT, “holistically inspired design for sentient surroundings.” “I was doing some design work here and there – I have taken some design classes – and people seemed to like what I did, so I just kept doing it,”

she says. “I love teaching, but am not fond of the politics and I also don’t like to devote everything to just one thing, which working on the tenure track requires. I still do some teaching, and I can go back to it at any time.” One of her first projects was a biggie, Cadogan says. “I managed a large project with a lot of details (at a Brown-Camp loft downtown) and I thought CONTINUED >>

February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE


distinctive designer

Above: Cadogan’s daughter, Gianni Beer lives in this lower-level apartment, which reflects her own tastes. Right: A detail from Cadogan’s bedroom. Below: Cadogan’s bedroom is a sharp departure from the rest of her home, featuring lush window treatments, rich colors and the homey shelves of her beloved books.

it went really well. It made me think ‘I can do this.’” Rachel Sivi, vice president of Real Optics, knows Cadogan can. “I have worked with her completely on the remodel of our flagship (store), Vogue Vision on Ingersoll. She’s very inventive and creative, yet is open to suggestions and direction,” Sivi says. Sivi also tapped Cadogan to help with a remake in her living space. iN/2/iT is in the process of merging with tbb Design & Build, which happens to be Cadogan’s parents’ longtime business. She will be the designer, tweaking everything from architectural drawings to finishes, and will act as the bridge between architects and clients to make sure everyone has a shared vision. But, she says, “the most beautiful thing about it is having office support. I’m an idea person and not very good at the office-y stuff that has to be done.”


Des Moines HOMESTYLE February 2012

It’s not easy to put a label on Cadogan’s design style. “I guess I’m a Renaissance soul. It’s hard to pin me down,” she says. She will admit to being “grounded in modernism., but she says she always wants her work to feel “warm and comfortable.” Her favorite sort of project? “Anything that requires custom everything – designing millwork, tile patterns, finishes. I like to take a space that could be beautiful with standard stuff, but by adding custom detail, it tips it over the edge into something more.” Lest you think this means Cadogan can only be her best with an unlimited budget, consider this: The “cookiecutter” townhome she bought in West Des Moines was purchased not as her dream home, but because she could afford it. And its “de-beige-ing,” as Cadogan calls it, happened on a very strict budget. Only key things were customized.

An unfinished lower level was converted into a sleek apartment for Cadogan’s 21-year-old daughter, Gianni Beer. The price tag to transform the space from cement and studs to bedroom, bathroom, living/dining room and full kitchen, including all the furnishings, was only $15,000. The cool colors and whimsical touches, like a 5-foot metal fork on the dining area wall, are a combination of Beer’s and Cadogan’s sensibilities. While Beer’s apartment leans a tad in the traditional direction, in Cadogan’s own space upstairs, her affection for the modern is evident. White leather Le Corbusier-style couch and chairs are surrounded by red and black accents in streamlined shapes and bold patterns. Bathroom vessel sinks have a modern flair, as do the stained-glass cabinet inserts (that Cadogan designed) in the kitchen. Light fixtures, such as two squatty, spherical floor lamps in the dining area and a colorful, clean-lined glass sconce (from IKEA, Cadogan’s favorite bang-

for-the-buck shopping spot) add texture and a little funk. Walking into Cadogan’s bedroom from the brightness of the public space is almost culture shock. The room is dark, almost womblike, with rich, saturated colors, hundreds of books, dark wood and luxe fabrics. “I wanted my bedroom to feel entirely different. I feel like I’m on a little mini vacation when I go to bed.” Cadogan says clients are often mystified by her seemingly unrelated background in anthropology, but to her, it’s a

natural precursor to working in design. “We are symbolproducing creatures, creating symbols everywhere we go. Studying the symbols people choose and how people put together their object lives” makes the design process easier, she says. “I can walk into someone’s space and within minutes, have a really good idea of who they are and what makes them tick. I can find colors and objects that help them relax or nurture sleep or be productive or feel happy.”

Top left: Cadogan designed this music room for a newly-built Victorian-style home. Top right: Her daughter’s dining room wall sports a giant fork that Cadogan imagined having been hurled from the kitchen in a fit of pique. Above: A wall-mounted, self-contained “fireplace” adds a luxurious touch to Beer’s lower-level apartment. Left: Cadogan’s kitchen features several stained-glass cupboard door inserts she designed herself. Adding the inserts was an inexpensive way to customize some of the stock cabinets.

February 2012 Des Moines HOMESTYLE


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Homestyle | February 2012  

Des Moines Homestyle is an upscale homes magazine that focuses on home improvement, design, décor and home entertainment.

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