Warm Welcome

Although it exudes the comfortable charm of an old house, custom builder Jim Sattler considers this 6,000-square-foot, cottage-style charmer to be a vanguard for his residential construction firm, highlighting trends in luxury housing for upscale buyer...

December 01, 2002


A wood-burning fireplace with a river-rock surround and custom mantel provides an inviting focal point for the conversation area in the living room, where abundant windows seem to invite the outdoors inside.


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Although it exudes the comfortable charm of an old house, custom builder Jim Sattler considers this 6,000-square-foot, cottage-style charmer to be a vanguard for his residential construction firm, highlighting trends in luxury housing for upscale buyers in his Cedar Rapids, Iowa, market.

In addition to 10 to 12 high-end custom residential projects, Sattler builds one or two spec houses such as this one every year so that he always has a model available for potential clients to tour. More than 10,000 people toured this home when it was showcased in the local parade of homes last fall.

"I work hard to incorporate new ideas into my homes, and when I saw what Jon Monson of Landschute was doing in Minnesota, I knew I wanted to get him involved in the design of this home," Sattler says. "As a custom builder, I believe that we constantly set the pace for the area. If we donÆt show the latest trends and details, then it seems they just don't get brought forward."

Sattlers selection of the laid-back cottage style that characterizes this home was in response to what he calls the "resurgence of casual living spaces" in much of the new construction throughout the country. "People want their living spaces to be warm and friendly," says Sattler. "They still want the open interiors that weve seen become so popular in recent years, but they want them cozied up a bit."


The exterior features a combination of horizontal and vertical plank siding and stone. The drive has exposed aggregate detailing.
Double doors in the master suite provide access to the spacious deck that extends across the back of the home. The same ceiling volumes that characterize the rest of the house add drama to this retreat.

While the home's exterior elevation is deliberately downplayed, the interior features a dynamic floor plan anchored by an open, central great room that shares visual space with the kitchen. Various dormers add interest to the volume ceilings, while abundant windows offer views of the wooded surroundings.

"While the open interior and high ceilings definitely result in a bright and exciting space, they can also make the room feel so large that it's unsettling to the homeowner," says Sattler. "We used beams and a paneled ceiling to bring down the scale of the room to a more comfortable level" The adjoining dining room, even though it is visually connected to the main living space, has a conventional ceiling height that helps create a more intimate atmosphere when the homeowners share meals with family and friends.

Computer space is another important element to incorporate into every floor plan today, Sattler says. This home has computer space in the second-floor loft that connects two children's suites upstairs and in a computer niche directly adjacent to the kitchen. "It's almost like having an office cubicle at home," says Sattler. "It keeps the computer very accessible for everyday use yet out of sight at the same time."

The main floor also includes a study. "The number of people who work out of the office, at least part time, is on the rise," says Sattler. "Providing some type of private space in the home that can be used for this purpose is very important."

Finished bonus space above the three-car garage proved to be a real attention getter for those who toured the home during the parade, demonstrating the importance of flexibility in living spaces, Sattler says. "This was one of the most remarked-upon rooms in the whole house," he says. "And everyone had their own idea of how to use it - from a home office to a children's apartment to guest quarters."

The 1 1/2-acre lot's natural slope allowed Sattler to include a finished walk-out basement with a spacious recreation room, a wet bar, an exercise room and two additional guest rooms.

The home was sold in June 2002.

Home Cottage transitional

Location Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Total Square Footage 6,000

Hard Costs $140 per square foot excluding land

Market Value $900,000

Builder/Interior Designer Jim Sattler Custom Homes, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Architect Landschute, Excelsior, Minn.

Spec Home Cedar Rapids 2001 Parade of Homes

Major Products Used Appliances: Viking (cooktop, refrigerator, dishwasher, ovens), Amana (microwave) | Cabinetry: custom maple | Countertops: granite | Doors: Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork | Door Hardware: Emtek |Home Controls/Automation: Lutron | HVAC: Trane | Lighting: Framburg, Huberton Forge, Corbett & Forecast | Plumbing Fixtures: Kohler | Windows: Pella | Exterior: James Hardie Building Products | Roofing: CertainTeed

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