A Can-Do Condo

A Des Moines couple right-sizes without sacrificing substance or style.

Above: A live-edge walnut table, which once served as a desk in Patrick Jury’s office, has been transformed into a dining table.

Writer: Laurel Lund
Photographer: Duane Tinkey
Stylist: Wade Scherrer

Cathy, Patrick and Emmy Lou Jury

When semiretired professionals Cathy and Patrick Jury decided to downsize in 2018, their challenge was not if or when, but where. Cathy desired a metropolitan lifestyle in downtown Des Moines while Pat preferred a quieter venue.

Problem solved when the couple found the perfect place for both—a condo at the Barbican, located on the south side of Grand Avenue near 39th Street. The 11-story Barbican places Pat well above any urban commotion. For Cathy, “the view is spectacular,” she says. “It’s like living in a treehouse.” Yet they are just minutes away from all the cultural activities the city has to offer.

The couple’s new home also is conveniently located for their ongoing work. Pat recently retired as CEO of the Iowa Credit Union League but still travels internationally, working with credit union executives. The condo is 10 minutes from the airport. And Cathy, who has had a history in local politics since the age of 17, is about the same distance away from the Capitol, where she continues her legislative work.

In fact, it was politics that brought the couple together 30 years ago. Pat was a lobbyist for the Iowa Association of Realtors while Cathy served as an assistant to Iowa’s speaker of the House. Although the two had never met, they discovered they had lived across the street from each other for several years. While dating, “we did lots of walking back and forth,” Cathy says with a laugh.

They still do lots of walking, taking their beloved French bulldog, Emmy Lou, with them. After a stroll, rather than return to their former five-bedroom ranch in West Des Moines, they now come home to their 1,880-square-foot sanctuary. The condo was designed by Doug Wells, founding principal of the architectural firm Wells+Associates, with creative input from the Jurys. Dan Schaefer, co-owner with Brett Bunkers of Oakwood Builders Group, implemented the design.

The redesign could have been fraught with challenges due to exacting commercial building codes and condo restrictions. However, it was not. “The challenges afforded us the opportunity to arrive at some unique and surprising solutions,” says Wells, such as a revolving wall that helps define the office/guest suite.

To begin the redo, the condo was gutted. The original footprint that defined Pat’s study, adjacent guest bath, laundry room and foyer was given new life when the design and construction teams installed opaque, custom-glide, glass doors that kept the space light and provided design continuity without sacrificing much-needed space.

An eclectic mix of furnishings, juxtaposing metals, woods and textures, energizes the living space of Patrick and Cathy Jury’s condo. Seating surrounds the focal-point fireplace, tucked into a custom, window-height wood storage console.

Finding the perfect fireplace was one of the biggest challenges the Jurys faced as they sought a specific size, type and style. The result, however, adds to the warm and inviting ambiance in which, Cathy says, “we hope guests will want to sit in front of our faux fireplace and enjoy a glass of wine.”

The Jurys had a clear vision of what they wanted in their new condo: clean-lined furnishings with a warm color palette; efficient storage space; and an open floor plan awash in sunlight. In the living area, a neutral-toned Norwalk Furniture sofa is faced by an ottoman from the same company. Opposite are American Leather chairs anchored by a Xander Collection rug. Dining chairs by Calligaris surround the walnut dining table beyond. 

Other than the original load-bearing wall, all others were reconfigured to create the open space the couple wanted—all while packing in cleverly designed, double-duty storage solutions.

And storage solutions abound. The Jurys wanted a home office, an entertainment
area and a guest room, but the lack of space was a problem. Wells, Schaefer and metalworker Jim Russell overcame that obstacle by designing a rotating wall that accommodates all three needs.

On one side of the ash-paneled rotating wall is a Murphy bed whose facade is enhanced by a a work of art. This side of the wall defines Pat’s study. Built into the opposite side is a bookcase with TV, which faces two contemporary chairs where avid reader Cathy can relax in solitude.

However, when the couple’s 27-year-old son, Max, visits, the wall is rotated so that the bookcase/TV wall becomes part of Pat’s study and the opposing Murphy-bed side creates a comfortable guest space.

Another practical but stunning storage solution is the waterfall-style, quartz kitchen island. The drawer fronts were crafted by Adis Halilovic, owner of Rowat Cut Stone and Marble, to appear as if they are one seamless slab of stone.

The opposite side of the island packs more storage and an oven, while the island top serves as the perfect cocktail buffet server for six-plus guests.

A pass-through kitchen-cupboard wall enhances the impression of spaciousness. Viewed from the kitchen, it frames a curvilinear wall that defines a coffee bar and seating area beyond.

That curved wall not only echoes the shape of an adjacent patio but shares its form with the adjacent master bedroom.

Previously, master closet space was at a premium and inconveniently located. Wells and Schaefer reconfigured space so that the former guest bath, whose entrance was in the foyer, became part of the master bath.

SJM Custom Cabinetry built a closet the entire width of the double-vanity space to meet the couple’s storage needs. The countertop and backsplash were crafted of the same Manhattan Calacatta quartz used in the kitchen island.

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