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Known for its picturesque, quiet neighborhoods, architecture in Des Moines consists of elegant and stately colonial and Tudor inspired homes built in the early 1900s. Many of these neighborhoods are located only minutes away from downtown, where young professionals and millennials are attracted to the growing city’s upscale lofts and high-rises. Young couples and families, on the other hand, look to the suburbs where new housing developments emerge. From cultural events and unique bars to relaxing parks and bike trails, Des Moines has a lot to offer long-time residents and newcomers alike.
If you’re looking to build a home in this cozy, charming Midwestern city, we’ve compiled 15 of the best custom Des Moines home builders. They were chosen based on levels of expertise and background, and after consideration of several of their previous most notable projects. You’ll find firms that are experts in some of the area’s most popular architectural styles and they all employ the latest building techniques. You might also note, as you read through the list, that several of these firms have developed sustainable building processes.
15) LifeStyle Development, Inc.
601 E Southside Dr., Polk City, IA 50226
LifeStyle Development offers a full range of custom home building services and is known for its excellent ranch, farmhouse, and craftsman themed homes. It is affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and has been providing services throughout the area since 2004. The firm is led by founders Eric and Sara Sanger, both of whom have over three decades of combined design and construction experience. Together, they assist each of the firm’s clients from drafting and site selection to budget planning and construction.
They employ a process which emphasizes the importance of open communication to keep their clients in the loop. They also offer several design consultations and work with guaranteed prices: the firm’s team provides a thorough proposal during the bidding process and ensures that all prices agreed upon are final. The firm also follows a warranty consistent with the regulations of the NAHB, and it is a member of the Home Builder’s Association (HBA) of Greater Des Moines.
14) Berkey Home Builders, Inc.
417 33rd St., SW Altoona, IA 50009
Since 2002, Berkey Home Builders has been providing Central Iowa with a full range of excellent ground-up residential construction services and move-in ready homes. It is manned by a skilled team of both builders and designers and employs only the finest craftsmen in the industry. The firm has strong relationships with some of the area’s most talented artisans and vendors. The firm is led by Eric Berkey, who worked his way up the construction business ladder. His experience encompasses both building and business and he maintains a very hands-on approach on every project. Needless to say, homeowners can be assured that each of the firm’s projects receives his direct supervision from beginning to end.
The firm’s portfolio displays a gallery of classic craftsman and traditionally inspired homes with one of its most interesting sections being its collection of Lake houses. The firm’s signatures include elegant woodwork, stucco exteriors, beam work, and inviting porches.
13) Teal Creek Homes
15920 Hickman Rd. Suite #400, Clive, IA 50325
Extending its services throughout Des Moines, Teal Creek Homes provides an expansive list of custom home building services and guides clients throughout the entire process. From site selection to custom floor plans, its highly-skilled team develops stylish, unique spaces that align with each client’s desires and needs. The firm is led by founder Jim Young, who spent most of his early career working for some of the country’s largest commercial general contractors. He worked on numerous multi-million dollar projects, many of which still dominate the Des Moines skyline, gaining an extensive understanding of structural analysis and mechanical systems as a result. He is a LEED certified home builder and infuses several sustainability practices into the firm’s work.
The firm’s portfolio provides 3D walkthroughs on several of its projects. The firm’s gallery emphasizes American Craftsman-inspired homes, as you can see in the chosen photo. Here the firm opted for a classic blue and white color palette and a shingled roof. It also added a few stucco finishes and used gabled roofs to further emphasize its design.
12) Premier Construction Services
3120 Jordan Grove, West Des Moines, IA 50265
From custom residential buildouts to commercial projects, Premier Construction has been extending its services throughout Central Iowa since 2005. It offers a comprehensive list of general contracting services and is known for its superb craftsmanship. In particular, it specializes in custom home building, home additions, lower level finishes, garages, and several commercial projects. Using a design-build process, the firm handles every facet of construction and offers a wide variety of products such as sidings, windows, and roofing via several partnerships with leading brands in the area. After working with its clients throughout the entire design phase, its skilled team provides a virtual 3D walkthrough of the new home so that clients get an informed preview their new home and to make needed changes before construction starts.
As for its designs, the firm mostly works with traditional and contemporary themes. The following project displays the latter with the firm’s use of a gray, neutral color palette. The home also showcases Premier’s stucco work and infuses several traditional elements, including the doors and the windows.
11) Ironwood Homes
101 Main St., Booneville, IA 50038
Established in 2008, Ironwood Homes specializes in semi-custom and custom home construction and has been a leading figure in the home building and real estate industries. Its full-service approach encompasses both construction and design, making it more streamlined and easier for clients who are hoping to keep the entire process under one roof. It collaborates with the best craftsmen and vendors in the area and displays a knack for a wide range of home styles. The firm is led by founder Jon Sieck, a builder with decades of experience in the development and real estate business. That background gives him a broader understanding of industry trends, enabling him and his team to craft smart, luxurious homes. Affiliated with its local HBA, the firm is an expert when it comes to modern ranch and Craftsman-inspired homes.
Its projects typically range from $300k to $1 million and are often accentuated by the Ironwood team’s excellent cabinetry and custom finishes. You can see all of this in the chosen project. Here Ironwood opted for a classic American Craftsman theme and used a palette of blue and white. Note the gabled roof with a dormer window and the stucco finishes by the driveway exit.
10) Hannah Homes
901 30th St., W Des Moines, IA 50265
Although relatively younger compared to other firms on this list, Hannah Homes has secured a solid reputation for itself as one of Des Moines’s most respected homebuilding firms. It is a family-owned business led by its founder Brenden Hannah, who personally oversees every home the firm builds. He is on-site throughout the entire process and communicates everything to clients until completion. He and his team finish around three to five projects each year. Hannah also serves on the HBA of Greater Des Moines’s Board of Directors. Hannah’s process depends on the individual needs of the client. The firm has worked on several pre-owned lots and it has remodeled existing homes, but the Hannah team also has experience in helping clients who are starting from scratch and are in need of site selection guidance.
The firm’s portfolio displays a number of homes with Craftsman themed exteriors but contemporary interiors. For the following project, the firm made use of paneled walls finished off with sleek wooden beams and stucco sidings. The firm also gave the home a bit of a traditional appeal through its use of French country shutters.
9) Sundance Homes
6000 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312
Sundance Homes serves the entire Greater Des Moines and Ames area and is best known for interiors, outdoor living structures, and custom fixtures. The firm is led by Kevin and Nicole McGlothlin, with Kevin acting as the firm’s lead builder. Both work closely with each client, with Kevin ensuring that each project the firm takes on receives the benefit of his three decades of home building experience. The firm has garnered accolades from the HBA of Greater Des Moines, which recognized the firm’s craftsmanship and master suite work.
The firm often constructs and remodels in contemporary and transitional themes. For this home, Sundance made use of sleek, clean lines and a warm color palette for an inviting appeal. It also infused both wooden and metallic elements and a few stucco finishes to give it a transitional appeal and opted for rectangular windows to keep the home’s design consistent.
8) CCS Homes
| 2635 Berkshire Prkwy. Suite #203, Clive, IA 50325
CCS Homes provides a variety of home building services which include new home construction and move-in ready homes. The firm offers its clients completely customizable floor plans and works closely with them throughout the duration of a build out. The firm has over 13 years of experience and extends its services throughout Ankeny, Grimes, Johnston, Clive, Urbandale, West Des Moines, Waukee, and the communities surrounding Des Moines. With projects ranging from $150k to $750k in value, CCS infuses several sustainability practices in each of the homes it constructs. It is EnergyStar certified, meaning it designs and builds in adherence with the guidelines set out by the US Environmental Protection Agency and uses only highly sustainable products. In line with this, the firm only works with vendors from its curated list of companies.
The firm primarily specializes in four designs: contemporary, transitional, modern farmhouse, and traditional. Like others on this list, the firm has also constructed several Craftsman themed homes. The firm’s projects often come with specially designed rooms, including mudrooms and wet bars. The firm is also noted for its excellent outdoor living spaces and great rooms.
7) J. Thompson Builders
5291 Stoney Creek Court, Johnston, IA 50131
For the past 17 years, J. Thompson Builders has been serving the Greater Des Moines area with expertly crafted homes and functional spaces. The firm incorporates each client’s lifestyle into the homes it creates, and thus no two J. Thompson homes are alike. With a great eye for detail and extensive knowledge in a wide variety of architectural designs, the firm has worked on several interesting and specific design elements for homeowners. These elements include sliding barn doors, elevators for wheelchair accessibility, screened porches, and luxurious rooftop patios. All were crafted in the firm’s very own creative fabrication shop, where clients are invited to make specific and unique design requests from furniture to specialty rooms. The firm is affiliated with its local HBA and NAHB as well as the Remodelers Council of Greater Des Moines, where its principal served as a council member.
The following project is its contemporary take on the classic farmhouse design. Inside, this project features several custom built-in bookshelves, a personalized wine rack, and a fireplace in its master bedroom. Its team made use of paneled walls and several dormer windows as an homage to the design’s classic ranch home antecedents.
6) Ironcrest Homes
8171 NE 50th Ave., Altoona, IA 50009
Ironcrest Homes is an award-winning firm best known for its ranch and Craftsman-inspired designs. The firm specializes in specialty interior work and custom home building and it is an active participant in the annual Iowa Home Show. Through long-term partnerships with some of the area’s best tradesmen and vendors, the firm has established itself as a prominent firm in high-end custom home building. The firm has been recognized several times for its excellent work, most notably for its master suites, its outdoor living spaces, its curb appeal, and its craftsmanship.
Its process emphasizes the importance of constant communication with its clients and keeps every estimate and invoice transparent. The firm has a reputation for consistently finishing projects on time and on budget. The firm is also affiliated with several noteworthy organizations like its local HBA and NAHB. It is also EnergyStar-certified, making it equipped for any specific green building needs a client may request.
5) Accurate Development
9500 University Ave. Suite #2112, W Des Moines, IA 50266
For nearly three decades, Accurate Development has grown into one of Des Moines’s premier custom home building firms. The firm provides high-quality construction services and craftsmanship as well as several turn-key solutions which further streamline the entire process for clients. Some of these include fixed pricing: the firm will make no additional charges for late changes save for the cost associated with the change itself. The firm only works with its select list of skilled subcontractors—many have been partnering with the firm for years— and it also has its own in-house draftsman to ensure that a client’s project is customized from the ground up.
The firm specializes in modern and ranch inspired homes. It has also been distinguished several times both for its excellent work and superb services. Most notably, the firm was lauded as one of the country’s top builders by Builder’s Magazine. It is also a recipient of an Award of Excellence from the Iowa Realty and First Realty/GMAC.
4) Grand Homes and Renovations
2265 Hearthstone Cir. SW, Altoona, IA 50009
Grand Homes specializes in kitchen and bathroom remodeling, basement finishing, and creative home remodeling. The firm is best known for its excellent craftsmanship, exquisite traditional and European designs, and its new home construction. It is led by its principals David Kruse and Carrie Norris; both have extensive experience in construction and design. Prior to the firm, David worked for a local commercial and residential home builder while attending college before going full time as a trim carpenter. Carrie, on the other hand, designed for numerous Des Moines Home Shows and even served as chairperson for the 2006 Tour of Remodeled Homes.
Under their leadership, the firm has had the privilege of being featured in various publications, including Woman’s Day Kitchens & Baths, Renovation Style, Welcome Home, and Home Style. In the featured project, the firm infused several modern elements to this classic farmhouse, as seen through its windows and clean exteriors. Inside it features a mostly open concept floor plan, a master bedroom equipped with its own spa, and a lower level entertainment center.
3) Unique Homes Iowa
4503 NE 50th St #200 Des Moines, IA 50317
Unique Homes is an award-winning, premier builder based in Central Iowa. With a service area extending throughout Des Moines, the firm is a family-owned business known for its grand, luxurious designs. From rich, warm interiors to elegant walls of glass to extravagant staircases, the firm’s style has evolved into transitional contemporary/modern while continuing to specialize in Mediterranean, Tuscan, and French styles. It has worked on large properties, townhouses, and relatively small homes all without compromising the quality of craftsmanship. Its excellent command of European architecture styles has brought them several awards. Most recently, it was awarded the Best in Craftsmanship Award during the HBA’s annual HomeShowExpo and won the Pella People’s Choice Award in the 2018 HomeShow Expo.
Established in 1991, the firm has also built sprawling ranch homes, quaint villas, and laidback shingle-style homes, all with a touch of contemporary style. It has also completed custom spaces such as home theaters, game rooms, and entertainment bars. The following project best embodies the firm’s work. For this home, the firm made use of stucco exteriors and drew inspiration from classic Spanish villas and Craftsman-inspired homes. It also showcased its excellent roofing work as well as its skill for custom finishes and trimmings.
2) Homes by DePhillips
7101 Vista Dr., West Des Moines, IA 50266
With over four decades of experience, Homes by DePhillips interior and exterior remodels and ground-up construction work. Led by its founder, Michael J. DePhillips, the firm has worked on over 500 homes in the Des Moines metropolitan area since its inception in 1973. The firm’s work has been featured on Build Des Moines magazine several times. Furthermore, its portfolio indicates that it constructs in a wide variety of designs, but showcases particular expertise in modern and transitional styles. It has also constructed several ranch and prairie inspired homes. Often-recurring themes include straight lines, open spaces, and neutral palettes with bright, eye-catching colors.
With this featured contemporary home, the team made use of straight and clean lines and incorporated earth tones. It also showcased its skill for stucco exteriors and employed yellow back-lit lighting for emphasis. Additionally, large windows were installed to highlight the home’s modernity and give it an increased sense of space.
1) K and V Homes/ K&V Homes
2105 SE 37th Street, Suite D Grimes, IA 50111
With over 21 years in the industry, K and V Homes was the brainchild of Colin King and Dean Vogel, two high school classmates who first worked as framers. They constructed homes for other firms until they finally decided to set up shop on their own. Together, they have 50 years of experience in residential construction. Now leading an award-winning firm, both are distinguished as Graduate Master Builders. Most recently, they won multiple distinctions at the annual HomeShowExpo where they took home the Best of Show, Best Craftsmanship, Best Kitchen, and Best Master Suite awards for the firm. K and V’s work has also been featured by several publications. The firm was on the cover of Builder/Architect, as well as BUILD Des Moines, Welcome Home Des Moines, and dsm. With an extensive range of services from whole house remodeling and four-season room remodeling, the firm specializes in transitional, Colonial, contemporary, and Lodge styles.
The following project is an example of its modern take on classic farmhouse architecture. This spacious ranch features an open-concept kitchen which connects to a formal dining area, a three-season porch, and an inviting living room. Its most striking features include its luxurious custom woodwork, trimmings, and elegant finishes.
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