Welcome to our New Designer Molly Spain!

We are so pleased to announce a new member of the Silent Rivers team. Des Moines designer and artist Molly Spain has recently joined our ranks. As a company of craftspeople and artisans, we are truly energized by including this multi-talented designer on our team.


Some Things to Know About Molly

Molly Spain, designer at Silent Rivers

Designer and artist Molly Spain

Remarkably creative with a wide-range of knowledge, Molly always extends her design reach into the realm of the artistic, incorporating sustainable solutions and a refined aesthetic. Molly is part engineer, part visual artist, part explorer and part poet. In her background as a design director Molly worked with companies such as Benjamin Moore, Home Depot, Lowe’s and Better Homes & Gardens, giving her extensive practical experience in industrial, architectural and interior design.


Her rare combination of skill sets come from an artist’s perspective, rooted in engineering and architecture, developed through travel and collaboration, and fostered through the lens of an artist.


Working with her, it’s clear that Molly tackles the bridge between design and construction with ease. She possesses a detailed grasp of mechanics and materials needed to collaborate with tradespeople of all types, and she has the sensibility with interior finishes and architectural forms both simple and elegant. It’s no wonder she fits so well with those of us at Silent Rivers.



A Family Project – New Mexico Strawbale House

Strawbale house designed and built by Molly Spain and her family as a sustainable spiritual retreat in New Mexico

Interior and exterior of the strawbale house that the Spain family and friends built, as featured in the book “Strawbale Home Plans” by Wayne Bingham.


Straw bale house exterior showing plaster base and Molly Spain and family moving bales

To build the strawbale walls to which plaster was applied (top). Molly and her family moved many bales!

Molly has engaged in a lifelong pursuit of art and design ventures. It’s a long, accomplished and eclectic list of achievements that she applies to her residential designs.


Her first home project shows her ingenuity and strong draw to sustainable living. Twenty-five years ago, Molly co-designed and co-built a strawbale house in northern New Mexico from the ground up with her mother and six siblings. This home brought to life her mother’s vision of a spiritual southwestern sanctuary. Featured in the book “Strawbale Home Plans” by Wayne Bingham, this off-the-grid house includes a solar energy source, water collection system, passive solar design for heating, and masonry stove for cooking and supplemental warmth. The strawbale walls provide insulation from the southwestern heat as well as from the cool, high-desert winter temps.


We will feature a detailed story about Molly’s incredible journey of designing and building this strawbale home in the future.



Two Home Renovations in Central Iowa

Among other home design projects, in 1999, Molly built her own home and art studio on her family’s organic farm 15 miles south of Des Moines. Incorporating salvaged and recycled materials, people who visited would frequently mistake it for a home that was renovated or an original homestead on the property.


More recently, she saved this 1913 foursquare in the North of Grand neighborhood from being the eyesore of the block, converting it into an inspiration to the community.


Molly was able to see past the many challenges of this house to envision a fresh urban farmhouse with modern conveniences.


In Molly’s Words

I’ve always been profoundly interested in environments, both natural and manmade. Combining this with my love of travel and the experience of designing and building, I take on every project as a labor of love. I’m drawn to creating environments that are respectful of the human experience by providing not only physical comforts, but also by addressing our mental and spiritual needs.

My goal is to create residential environments that have a sense of home and inspiration even before one’s personal possessions adorn the space. Walking into a room – even when empty — should evoke a sense of respect and familiarity. This is accomplished through attention to proportions, scale and an appropriate relationship to the exterior setting. Another essential element is the ‘vibe’ that is embedded throughout the building process. Spaces collect stories, from Day One.

I’ve been talking to Silent Rivers for awhile about how we could partner together. After joining the company, I find I’m in my element working with a group that is wholly focused on artisanship, craftsmanship and sustainability.

Turning ideas into realties while collaborating with clients, fellow designers and craftspeople is why I love to build. I agree with Chaden. It’s no wonder I fit so well with Silent Rivers.


Learn more about Molly and see examples of her artistic ventures on Artfinder.



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