Before & After: A Renovated Iowan Midcentury House Impresses With an Affordable $330K Price Point

Before & After: A Renovated Iowan Midcentury House Impresses With an Affordable $330K Price Point

By Kathryn M.
A stripped-down interior and closed-off floor plan becomes a modern and airy home that comes complete with a custom rear deck for watching movies outdoors.

Now up for sale in Des Moines, Iowa, this midcentury dwelling is fresh off a dramatic, whole-house renovation. Originally built in 1955, the home was updated in 2019 to replace a gutted interior with all-new finishes and create a large, open living area along the front of the home.

The home's biggest changes were in the living area and kitchen, which is now a single open space after removing several walls and relocating the basement stairwell. Other changes to the existing 1,000-square-foot floor plan included transforming a hall closet into an en suite bathroom.

A large kitchen island now opens to the living area where a stairwell once divided the two spaces. In other parts of the home, chic new finishes give the interior a decidedly modern look, while beamed ceilings and exposed brick walls retain elements of the home's midcentury past. All-new windows and doors also match the original midcentury aesthetic.

Before: Exterior

While much of the renovation took place inside, the original redwood-clad facade—once hidden behind an overgrown landscape—was treated to an update as well.

After: Exterior

The structure's midcentury style now looks handsome in Regent Green by Benjamin Moore, which contrasts with an original brick wall that extends from the front facade. 

Nearly early every inch of the home was updated during the renovation—which received a "Most Dramatic Change" and "People’s Choice Award" from the Home Builders Association's annual Tour of Remodeled Homes.

Just over a year later, the home's owner, local builder Nicholas Donlin, is ready to part ways. Offering three bedrooms and two full bathrooms, the home also comes with a partially finished basement and a new rear deck outfitted with an outdoor movie projector. Keep scrolling to see more of the finished property, currently listed for $330,000.

Before: Entry Area

A small closet was once located near the front entry, while the kitchen and basement staircase were positioned to the left.

After: Entry Area

With the closet removed, the exposed brick wall now visually connects the interior and exterior. A new glass front door illuminates the entryway with natural light.

Before: Living Room

Previously, the living room was largely closed off from the kitchen and entryway.

An opposite view of the living area before the renovation. 

After: Living Room

A view from the entryway shows the relocated stairwell along one side, with the remaining space filled by an open kitchen and living area. The backyard and deck are now accessible via a new sliding glass door from Marvin Windows and Doors.

Other windows throughout the home were replaced with designs that replicate the original slanted clerestory windows.

The renovation also retained the  home's original wood-clad and beamed ceilings, which run throughout the interior.

Before: Kitchen

The former galley-style kitchen was cut off from the rest of the home.

After: Kitchen

The updated kitchen features all-new cabinetry and appliances from GE's Cafe line.

A new central island grounds the kitchen and provides seating on the opposite side.

The relocated stairwell leads down to a partially finished basement, which is currently used as a home gym.

Before: Principal Bedroom

At the end of the hallway, the principal bedroom was in a similar condition as the rest of the home.

After: Principal Bedroom and Bathroom

A fresh wall of cabinetry replaces the previous built-in closets, while a new en suite bathroom takes the place of a hall closet.

Before: Secondary Bathroom

The original hallway bathroom was also overhauled from its original condition.

After: Secondary Bathroom

Now basking in natural light, the renovated bathroom offers all-new finishes, including brightly colored tiles that contrast with the exposed brick wall.


Another view of the facade shows the new front porch along the front, created by extending the roofline during the renovation.

Perfect for a cozy outdoor movie night, the pergola-topped rear deck comes with a built-in projector and screen that can be lowered over the steps.

3135 SW 23rd Street in Des Moines, Iowa, is currently for sale by owner with an asking price of $330,000. See the Zillow listing for more information.


Project Credits:

Contractor & Builder: Zenith Design + Build / @zenithdesignbuild

Interior Design: Jessica Rae Interiors / @jessicaraeinteriors

Additional Design Work: Aurora Design Group / @aurorabywraye

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