It was late March, and she was trying not to get mud on her shoes, Denielle Dingman recalled.
Her boyfriend, David Dingman, wanted to show her the newly poured foundation of the home they were building.
“I told him, ‘I’ll just stay in the car,’ ” she said.
But David persuaded Denielle to step out, and suddenly the Bruno Mars tune “Marry You” was playing, as their friends held up letters spelling “Will you marry me?”
Five months later, the Dingmans are married, and their completed 5,140-square-foot, five-bedroom residence in Plymouth is spotlighted on the Fall Parade of Homes, with room staging by Chazin Interiors.
The couple built the house for their blended family, which includes five boys, ages 6 to 15. The family will move in after the Parade of Homes is over on Oct. 1.
“We’re looking forward to a fresh start,” Denielle said. “And a place everyone can call home.”
David and Denielle had visited previous Parade homes to gather ideas on what type of floor plan would work best for them — and who would build it.
They were impressed with models in Medina and Shorewood by builder Eric Zehnder of Zehnder Homes.
Zehnder found a lot in Plymouth’s Terra Vista development high on a hill with views of woods and wetlands, plus nearby bike trails, a community pool and countless school-age kids. “We took the best features of two plans they liked and blended them together,” Zehnder said.
The Dingmans were attracted to a simple farmhouse style, melding modern and rustic accents. And since David is 6 feet 6 inches tall, they requested that the home have 10-foot-high ceilings. The rest is designed with kids in mind.
On the main floor, the white and blue-gray kitchen is the hub, with an adjacent open dining area and great room allowing the family of seven to spread out.
A spacious mudroom off the garage entry is outfitted with lockers and shoe cubbies to corral sports and school stuff. Plus the couple carved out space for a mudroom bathroom for the boys so the powder room stays clean for guests.
In the lower-level walkout, a bar doubles as a full kitchen, with refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher and plenty of cabinets, so kids aren’t carrying food and drinks up and down stairs.
A built-in cabinet will hold a flat-screen TV for playing Xbox and for movie nights. “When you have kids long enough, you know what’s important,” Denielle said.
But David’s and Denielle’s personal styles also are reflected in some of the design elements they chose — such as Denielle’s curved front door and David’s “Game of Thrones” chandelier over the dining table.
The couple are fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” and the TV couple’s signature painted shiplap paneling covers walls in bathrooms and behind the bar.
“But we made sure everything is kid-friendly — and touchable,” Denielle said.
Other popular features
Here are some other features, materials and finishes you’ll see in the Dingman home, as well as others on the Parade of Homes.
• The kitchen, dining area and great room flow from one space to the other — with no formal dining room.
• Rustic reclaimed barnwood in ceiling beams and in the Dingmans’ great room mantel.
• Patterned tile floors for a vintage vibe in the mud and laundry rooms.
• Butcher-block wood top on a large island that doubles as a kitchen table.
• Deep walk-in kitchen pantry for storing bulk Costco buys.
• Oversized beveled subway tile adds a twist on the classic kitchen backsplash.
• Farmhouse-style wide-plank white oak floors.
• Second-floor laundry room with smart features, such as pullout drying rod drawers. Denielle Dingman infused personality with mint cabinets.
• Wood-look floor tile adds warmth to the owners’ bathroom.
• Indoor sport courts right off the lower-level family room, with a closet for storing sports equipment, “are really popular with big families,” said builder Eric Zehnder.