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At Home With

Home sweet home

6/5/2019

Contributing to the community has made this couple grow to love it even more.

Matt and Alaina Blake met in their home state of South Dakota. Some of the couple’s family members remain to the north, but they have convinced others to move closer to central Iowa, “where there’s a lot more to do!”

In 2013, Matt and Alaina Blake married and began the home-buying process. Top priorities included a safe community with friendly and dependable neighbors and a city offering desirable amenities.

“Both coming from small towns, we wanted to find a suburb that had that small-town feel to it,” says Matt.

The couple’s search led them to purchase a three-bedroom home in Urbandale in August of 2016. Built in the early 2000s, the house was within their price range and had the features they wanted, such as a modern kitchen design and an open floor plan. It also had a large deck for entertaining friends and family.

“We didn’t necessarily want the upkeep of an older home and this was ‘newish’ and would have less issues for us as first-time homeowners,” says Alaina.

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But that hasn’t stopped the Blakes from doing several updates during their time in the house. The couple has added a rustic stone face to the fireplace, painted the home’s moldings and woodwork, and put some shiplap up.

“I’m surprisingly handy,” jokes Matt. “I know most people would not guess that.”
Alaina enjoys do-it-yourself projects. She created a modern farmhouse-inspired design, which is a balance between classic comfort and modern flair. She even added an assortment of dainty vases of dried wildflowers she picked at Howell’s in Cumming.

The Blakes are in the process of renovating the basement. Work is expected to continue through this year and next. The hours they allot to remodeling are limited — both work at careers that consume the bulk of their energy. Alaina is an optometrist at Insight Vision in Waukee. Matt, a graduate of Drake Law School, is an attorney specializing in government relations and healthcare law.
The two have found plenty of activities to get involved with in Urbandale and the Des Moines metro. Matt cycles on the trails around their neighborhood. He is also president of the Urbandale Fourth of July celebration — one of the area’s biggest. And he encourages people in the area to “come to the Fourth of July celebration in Urbandale — it’s the best!”

The couple enjoys eating at the Urban Grill and will take advantage of the Hy-Vee Market Grille half-off sushi and bottle of wine on Wednesdays. They also attend many shows at the Civic Center.

Additionally, Matt serves on a board for Young Variety and on the Urbandale Civil Rights Commission, is a member of Toastmasters and is an officer in the National Guard.

The couple has two dogs, Henry and Gus. Gus was recently certified as a therapy dog, and Alaina takes him around to nursing homes.

The Blakes say they want to stay in the area and start a family because the school district is “remarkable.” Eventually, they’d appreciate more shopping close by, which could be brought about by increased commercial retail development.

“As much as we’ve jumped in and been part of a community, we’ve come to love Urbandale and want to see it grow,” says Matt. ♦

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