Building a Home to Make Your Own

Article by Jane Claspy Nesmith
Photography by Justin Fox

For many people today, large new homes on oversized lots at the far edge of town just don’t make sense. They are looking for something smaller, easier to maintain, and less expensive--but they don’t want to give up luxury amenities and excellent quality.

The new duplex-style condos in the Residences at the Park neighborhood of Marion offer comfortable, stylish living for anyone who wants an upscale way to downsize. Sara and Justin Wright of JW Home Builders provide knowledge and expertise to help their clients create a home that’s just the right size and price for empty-nesters, singles, and even families just starting out.

An easy walk from shops and restaurants, yet close to the Cemar Trail that winds through Marion’s Thomas Park, the neighborhood combines the best of urban and rural living. The location, right behind the Armar Plaza, is hidden away, while still close to Seventh Avenue in Marion and Collins Road.

The company’s model home, at 292 Cemar Court, gives a glimpse of what JW Homes has to offer. With 1640 square feet on the main floor, it has plenty of room for comfortable living and entertaining, yet it’s easy to maintain.

It’s hard to tell that the home is a duplex condo when arriving. With a peaked roofline, stacked stone and siding exterior, and tasteful landscaping, this condo looks like a stand-alone home. The porch is welcoming and deep, set back so that there’s privacy from the moment you arrive.

“We focus a lot on privacy,” says Sara Wright, who helps to design all the homes. “We want homeowners to feel like they can be outside without having to be seen by the neighbors.” Besides the deep front porch, the deck of this home is also hidden from view from the neighbors.

Just inside the door is the home’s great room--large windows let in lots of light, and an angled fireplace with a custom mantle anchors the room. All of the condos have custom fireplaces; clients can choose from a number of designs.

Justin and Sara work closely with clients to make sure their needs are met as the plan is put together for the home. “We have four different plans for the condos, and we are always making changes to them,” explains Wright. For example, transoms can be added above windows, rooms can be altered in size or shape, and doors can be added in or left out.

Likewise, the master bathroom can be simple, or luxurious. The model home has a dual vanity and tiled walk-in shower; other models have been built with jetted tubs, all depending on the client’s wishes and budget. Besides the master bedroom and bath, there are also a guest room and full bath on the main floor.

The kitchen in this condo is open and bright with light streaming in from windows and the sliding doors that lead to the patio. This model home has upgraded cabinets with soft close drawers, a glass tile backsplash, and a big kitchen island topped with beautiful granite. Clearly Wright has a great eye for design--and she makes her expertise available to all the clients. “I am available to go with them to all the meetings,” she says. With her expertise, she can help tame the overwhelming number of choices a homeowner must make when building.

Throughout the home, little touches stand out--bits of luxury that aren’t usually seen in condominiums. In the model home, there are a walk-in pantry and a hall linen closet--those aren’t often seen at this price point.

One way to add value to these condos is to finish the large lower level--the model home’s lower level is finished as a large, open living area. Big windows let in light, and there’s plenty of room for different use of the basement space. All of the condos have huge storm shelters (in nice weather, homeowners have found them to be nice places to store wine), and plumbing for a bathroom.

“People have finished the lower levels in different ways,” says Wright. “Some put in extra bedrooms, offices, or a bar.” Others leave the lower level unfinished at first to save money; JW Home Builders or another contractor can finish it later.

Homes that back up to Legion Park have walk-out lower levels; those feature a covered patio--built to ensure privacy, of course--and beautiful views.

For another look at how a condo might be finished, JW Home Builders has a 2014 Parade of Homes entry just across the street. That home, with 1775 square feet of main floor living space, has many luxurious upgrades: thirteen-foot ceilings in the great room, a custom trim package, and a delightful private veranda just off the master bedroom.

Either way, the condos built by JW Home Builders are sure to please anyone looking for a safe and beautiful home.

JW Home Builders
Justin Wright – Builder

Building Team:

A-Tech/Beam Team
Security - Home Theatre
Central Vacuum - Home Organization
5741 C Street SW Suite A, CR - 319.848.7171
Coralville - 319.339.0004

ABC Supply Co Inc
Americas Largest Wholesale Distributor
Of Roofing, Siding, & Windows
325 Waconia Court Southwest, Cedar Rapids
319.364.5037 -

144 32nd St Dr SE, Cedar Rapids
(off 1st Ave behind the Irish Democrat)

House of Carpets
“Flooring Made Simple”
2712 1st Ave NE, CR

Iowa Stone Supply
1530 Stamy Rd, Hiawatha

Koelker Excavating Inc.
“Specializing in Excavating & Grading for all your Housing Needs”
6245 Partners Ave, Marion

Gilcrest Jewett
The Lumber Company
3115 7th Ave, Marion
758 Camp Cardinal Blvd, Coralville

Squaw Creek Millwork, Inc.
Your Supplier for Quality Building Products
Windows, Doors, Cabinets
Mouldings, Stairparts, Locks
1199 44th Street, Marion

Rogers Concrete
“Building a Solid Foundation”
Commercial, Residential, Agriculture
22802 County Rd E 34, Anamosa

Kelly Concrete Co.
Quality Poured Foundations & Flatwork
Residential & Commercial
Free Estimates
4925 8th Ave, Marion

Glass Concepts
Cutting Edge in Glass Interior Design
New Construction, Remodel,
Custom Shower Enclosures, Shower Doors, Decorative Glass,
Mirrors, Shelving
1860 McCloud Pl NE, CR

Cantebury Kitchens
Let us Make your Home Your Castle
240 Classic Car Court SW,
Cedar Rapids


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