THORNTON | Chris Heimbuch has found his sanctuary.
Heimbuch, a Detroit, Michigan, native with familial ties to North Iowa, moved into his modern-style Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired house positioned on 160 acres in rural Thornton this fall.
“It’ll be a rock in my life I can always come back to,” he said.
The 4,000-square-foot house, which was designed by Bergland and Cram of Mason City and constructed by Brcka Construction of Forest City, boasts three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.
Not much for city living, Heimbuch purchased the acreage, which had been in his family for about 30 years, satisfying a desire he had often considered.
“I’ve lived a lot of places all over the U.S. and around the world, and I really like rural-community living,” he said.
Heimbuch remembers spending summers as a child in rural Iowa helping his uncles, and others, farm. For a Detroit boy, that was “pretty cool,” especially since he was able to drive tractors and pickups in the crop fields.
Of the 160 acres he owns, 40 are farmed by a neighbor and the remainder is in the Conservation Reserve Program.
Because the house on the old farmstead had been removed, Heimbuch had no choice but to build.
He said while he was considering the move to North Iowa, one of his colleagues who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, suggested he look into building a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home.
Construction on his house began in May 2016 and was completed in October 2017.
“I’m extremely happy with it,” he said. “To be honest, it turned out much nicer than I expected. It still kind of blows me away.”
Heimbuch gave much of the credit for the house’s design and construction to Joe Anderson with Bergland and Cram and Keith Brcka with Brcka Construction, respectively.
“I had a fantastic team, and they did a wonderful job,” he said.
Heimbuch said he provided Anderson the desired concept and basic features before giving him “free reign to put it together.” The initial design, which leaned “too far to the modern side,” was tweaked to the finished product.
The house is “very open,” which is something he said he really liked in past houses.
Other must-haves for Heimbuch were an island in the kitchen, a wood-burning fireplace, a walk-up basement, a kitchen pantry and an oversized garage as well as radiant heat in the basement and garage.
“Because of the lay of the land, it makes it feel like a regular living space, not like a cold, damp basement,” he said about the walk-up basement. “It’s very light and open.”
One of the unique attributes in the house is the incorporation of the old homestead buildings’ wood on the basement wall. Heimbuch said it pays tribute to the ones who came before him. The wall features an area for photos as well as a sliding door that provides entry into a study.
“The architect, Joe, did a really good job with that,” he said. “I think it turned out really cool.”
Heimbuch said his favorite space in the house is the fireplace room because it has nice views of the setting that warrant relaxation in front of the fire. He also enjoys the serenity the location offers.