Building a Home for a Couple that Love the Sunshine


Fagen Construction Creates a Beautiful Home for Currell’s

Natural light pours into the bright sunroom on the south side of Jim and Phyllis Currell’s new home. Over the years, the couple has had a passion for sunshine, whether it was basking in the Florida sun by the pool or out on their deck gazing at the beautiful sunsets filtering over Big Spirit Lake.

“I would call us sun-worshipers! Whether it was our Florida home or at our lake house on Big Spirit Lake, sunshine has been important to us,” Jim said. “We have always enjoyed being in the sun or having rooms full of light.”

After retirement, Jim and Phyllis would spend six months in Florida and the other half of the year at their lake home on Big Spirit Lake, until 2024.

They sold their Florida home of 21 years, and their son now lives in the lake house, allowing the couple to move into a new home built by Fagen Construction this past October.

“Florida was getting too hard for us. We weren’t fond of the airports, traffic was difficult, and Florida was getting too crowded,” Phyllis shared. “We decided we needed to stay in Spirit Lake.”

Phyllis said if it would’ve been her choice, she would’ve moved their Florida home to Spirit Lake, as she loved every aspect. Instead, they picked out their favorite pieces from Florida and the lake house and combined the artistic mementos throughout the 2,800 square foot space.

“A lot of inspiration for the house evolved from their Florida and lake home,” contractor Jay Fagen said. “We really enjoyed working with Phyllis and Jim and the enthusiasm they brought to the project. We were introduced by Ken Ferguson, as the plans were originally his. We just changed the plans to what they wanted. We call it their Florida home in Iowa, since they aren’t traveling there anymore.”

Jim and Phyllis both said the sunroom was the most important room in the house plans.

“I actually like this house better than our others,” Jim commented with a smile. “We love the lightness and how Fagen Construction made a beautiful home all on one level comfortable for the two of us.”

The light wooden walls in the sunroom are made from raw pine wood that Laura Fagen designed to fit together just perfectly. She used a Zar product in color beach house on the wood before placing a clear varnish coat over the stain, which together showcases the unique wood notches against the light beige color.

“The sunroom is beautiful and my favorite place in the house,” Jay said. “Laura custom designed the ceiling and walls with different types of pine, similar to Currell’s former lake house. We used white trim throughout the room and put in floor to ceiling windows, so they could enjoy the view of the nearby pond.”

White tile was placed throughout most of the house and a tan carpet was laid in the den and the two bedrooms. There is in-floor heating under the floor in the sunroom.

“We wanted a home all on one level,” Phyllis said. “The lake house had a lot of stairs and was harder to get around. We really love how this home turned out and it has become a beautiful haven for the two of us.”

The sunroom looks out at a nearby pond and field. There is a path that sits nearby, allowing the couple to often spot local wildlife. The brightest colors are in this room and many of their favorite lake pieces are arranged in the space. Cathy Burrell of Posh Designs helped them arrange the shells, corals and coral lamps. Special colorful alligators line several walls.

Lisa Parks from Interior Sewing by Lisa played a crucial role in assisting the couple with choosing Hunter Douglas designer roller shades for their sunroom. The shades come with PowerView motorization, seamlessly aligning with the sunroom windows. The Urban Loft – French Vanilla color of the shades effortlessly complements the lively accessories present in the room. Phyllis praised the functionality of the shades, emphasizing their user-friendly nature.

While a few furniture pieces came from their previous homes, they did get a new couch for their living room from Steffens Furniture.

In one corner of the sunroom, a small table showcasing a puzzle provides easy access for the couple’s enjoyment. Phyllis said they also enjoy their morning coffee in the space. This spring, the sliding patio doors will open out to patio furniture and gliding chairs.

“I look forward to stepping out and grilling in the sunshine,” Jim said.

Crafting the wooden cabinet in their entryway and designing the white countertops for the kitchen, Great Lakes Countertops and Kitchens demonstrated their expertise. The cabinet proudly showcases Phyllis' cherished Waterford Crystal collection. Jim expressed his satisfaction, noting that the collaboration was pleasant and the craftsmanship was beautiful.

Jay added that Great Lakes Countertops and Kitchens did an excellent job designing the cabinetry on the fly. “There were some late tweaks and they made extra effort late in the design to make changes,” he said. “They were more than accommodating.”

The powder room has beautiful wallpaper installed by Laura and Jay installed all the unique lighting pieces Phyllis picked out. Many of the couple’s unique treasures found over past travels are showcased throughout the home.

“Their home is a happy, sunny and cheery place! It makes you smile,” Laura Fagen said. “Phyllis is very stylish, and her house resembles this.”

Jay and Laura put special effort into the three-car garage for the Currells. Laura painted the walls, while the couple painted the floor together.

“We really enjoyed working with Jim and Phyllis. They wanted the home done correctly the first time, allowing us extra attention to detail,” Jay said. “We would go through specifics every three days which allowed us to make sure everything was to their liking.”

Ferguson’s Landscaping did the landscaping surrounding the home.

“Ken and Ryan did a wonderful job with all the landscaping and putting in sod,” Jim said.

Most of all, the Currell’s enjoy their new home showcasing the unique and beautiful talents of so many local entrepreneurs, under the direction of Fagen Construction.

“We love that we can use local and really appreciate everything Jay and Laura did for us, who we feel like Jay went over the top for us,” Jim and Phyllis both said. “They were so easy to work with and if we changed our mind on something, he made it work for us. We have a beautiful home!”

For more information on Fagen Construction, contact Jay at 712-320-1355.