Living the dream10/5/2016
Eric and Ashley Juhl needed a nest for their family — one boy, one girl, a boxer named “Charlie” and a fat cat named “Whiskey.”
They were out hunting for a home. It has been a seller’s market, and even though the pair had seen many houses, they weren’t anywhere near a consensus yet.
But the Juhls were undaunted and forged ahead — and they’re glad they did. The couple eventually happened upon a newly-constructed house in Waukee that hadn’t been listed yet.
“Hmm,” they thought.
The two hesitated a little before wandering up the sidewalk and peeking their heads through the front door. It turns out the house wasn’t completely finished yet. Workmen were still working, hurrying every which way while finishing the four-bedroom, four-bathroom home with an open floor plan and vaulted ceilings.
“The rest is history,” says Ashley.
Eric convinced the workmen to allow them to look around a little, and they each went in different directions to investigate.
Eric was the first to find the humongous, full-sized, “spa worthy” steam room in the basement, and that was all he needed to know. He was sold. He went looking to make sure Ashley was “all in,” too. She wasn’t, actually. That is, until she got a glimpse of the master bedroom.
“This is where I live,” she now says while motioning to the sprawling master suite. “This is my domain.”
The couple’s bedroom is large, elegant and quite unique, the ceiling appears to be made of marble, and there is a princess-esque master bath equipped with a modern soaking tub and chandelier above it.
“No one thinks you need a chandelier above the tub until you have one,” Ashley says. “Then you say, ‘Of course I need one.’ ”
The Juhls have a three-car garage and a mudroom for the kids to kick off the dirt before coming in. The entire family enjoys the friends they’ve met in the neighborhood.
“We have one of those blocks,” Ashley says. “We all watch out for each other. The street has get-togethers, with shared meals and big bouncy toys.”
Ashley is an entrepreneur, so she loves her home office, and the Juhls installed a gym in the basement as well, giving her the ability to more easily stay in shape, which is important because she’s launching a company called FitMom. She also competes nationally in National Physique Committee (NPC) bodybuilding competitions.
She says the workout space doesn’t have some of the heavy equipment, but that the family can do pretty much everything they need to.
“It makes it more convenient as a busy mom to have an in-home gym,” she says. “I’m one of maybe five NPC athletes in the Des Moines area that is eligible to compete nationally. I’ll be competing at the Arnolds (a bodybuilding festival named for Arnold Schwarzenegger) in February.”
She says she placed fifth last year and has been invited back to compete again this year.
“Being a professional athlete, I train two to three hours a day when I’m in season,” she says. “And I’m a busy mom, I own my own business, and when my kids are sleeping, I can’t just always go to the gym. Having a gym in my house makes it a lot more convenient for me.”
Ashley has a passion for fitness and for leading a healthy lifestyle. She works to break the stereotypes about mothers and their bodies.
“Just because you are a mom doesn’t mean you have to look like a mom,” she says. “I help moms regain their confidence back through their bodies. I teach them ways to become fit and healthy as a busy mom.”
It’s been a little more than a year now since Eric and Ashley moved in, and things are settling down. They were married this summer, the kids love their school, they’ve found “home sweet home” and neighbors they love. But there still is one thing they’re looking for — their cat named “Whiskey.”
“He’s the fattest cat in town,” says Eric. “But he’s always hiding.”