The Abrams: The handwriting is on the wall11/30/2016
Aaron and Jackie Abram have the kind of home that your kids — after visiting for a play date — won’t shut up about.
During the summer of 2013, the couple was moving from Kansas — Aaron is originally from West Des Moines — and wanted to live on a quiet cul-de-sac in the western suburbs. So when a realtor called to tell them a two-story Urbandale home in the Waukee School District would soon be available, they decided to give it a look.
“The house was built in 2003 by Tom Stevens,” Aaron explains. “It was a show house.”
The home had some unique attributes, including the spacious and inviting great room with 18-foot ceilings, expansive windows overlooking the backyard and nearby park, and seven bathrooms, including a men’s bathroom across the hall from a women’s bathroom in the furnished basement.
When Aaron saw the urinal in the men’s room, that’s all he needed to see. He was sold.
Jackie, on the other hand, needed a little more convincing.
During the economic and housing downturn, the previous owners had rented the house out, and it wasn’t in mint condition.
“When we bought this house, I’m not kidding, it was a disaster,” Aaron says.
But it was the one they wanted.
The couple has undertaken some serious construction on it, even moving into a hotel for a month as drywall patching, sanding and painting were done. All the hard work has paid off.
“My kitchen in Wichita was pretty small,” she said. “This is about three times the size.”
The kitchen opens into the living room, which features the best view in the house, one that no other resident in the city can say they have.
“We have one of the Mobergs,” Aaron says, referring to the giant tree that has been crafted out of plaster by a local artist onto the wall above the great room.
Aaron transformed the first-floor study with French doors into his office. He sells medical implants during his nine-to-five hours, and he maintains a small cement business called Nice Curbs and Concrete in his spare time.
The Abram kids have the second floor to themselves. It contains three bedrooms, two full bathrooms and a laundry room.
“My goal is to have them do their own laundry,” Jackie laughs.
The Urbandale home has about 3,200 square feet of above ground space, and more than 2,800 in the finished basement, totaling more than 5,000 square feet of living space.
The recreation room in the basement is where the handwriting is on the walls. Writing is not only allowed by the Abrams, but it is encouraged. Each houseguest is asked to sign the wall of the children’s playroom.
“The idea is that in 20 years the walls will be full of everyone who has come to the house,” he explains. “Everybody who walks through that door, we get their autograph, and it’s been really cool to see people grow.”
The basement also features a theater room, an exercise room, a game area, a second family room, a wet bar and a fifth bedroom. The bathrooms, however, were the deciding factor.
“The one thing that sold me on this house,” Aaron laughs. “They put the girls’ bathroom in, and then they put the guys’ across from it.”
The basement has three bathrooms: one is fully equipped, and the other two are gender-specific half baths. The male version is equipped with a urinal.
The basement walks out to the backyard, the home’s true crown jewel.
“We live back here,” Aaron motions to the patio. “It’s our mecca.”
He’s speaking of the newly-constructed fire pit. The Abrams enjoy inviting friends over for cocktails and fun times around the flames.
“This is where we sit around and solve all of the world’s problems,” he says. ♦