Art Deco Remodel Transforms a Downtown Des Moines Loft


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When you remodel a Des Moines loft, timeless design is an excellent investment. In one of the first condos purchased in Brown Camp Lofts, a twist of Art Deco has glamourized the original brick, beams, and heavy timber posts of this iconic downtown building.

A bit of history on this loft

The Brown Camp Hardware Company warehouse used to be full of door and window hardware before becoming the old Younkers warehouse. In 1993, Younkers sold the building which was soon converted to residential space, helping spur a resurgence in downtown living. An excellent investment! Now more than two decades later, these stylish homeowners were ready to update their 1990s kitchen and bathroom with a condo remodel that beautifully unites more than one era. Enter the design prowess of Catherine Renae Thomas Design Co. and the fine craftsmanship of Silent Rivers Design+Build.

Art Deco with a twist

Rather than ignoring the maple doors and trim added in the ’90s, the kitchen remodel blends some of the existing maple cabinets with new custom cabinets. To amplify the style, the new cabinets are in a cool gray hue with stunning Art Deco silhouettes. The mix of elements is a striking complement to the warm brick walls, exposed ductwork, and wooden beams and ceiling, as well as the beautifully refinished wood floors.

The new layout of the kitchen offers these homeowners, who really know how to entertain, a large island and a long bank of cabinets wrapped around the space for an efficient layout. The island has an ample overhang supported by a matched steel underplate and custom Art Deco legs. A false wall creates the angle that gracefully moves the cabinets across the space while maintaining maximum storage space under the sink.

To open up the main work area, shorter cabinets above the sink and stove open horizontally. Flanking the cabinets is a pantry on one end, while the other end features a half-hutch with built-in beverage fridge completely concealed with custom panel and vent openings.

Both the cabinets and the island are topped off with a special quartz counter featuring a translucency similar to marble. This luxurious counter extends upward as the backsplash, and also as an accent above the shorter cabinets. Checkpoint textured glass door inserts add further dimension to the work area and beverage station.

Art Deco trim details by the Silent Rivers Woodshop add glamour and polish to the overall look. To ensure the loft’s exsiting architectural styles blend cohesively, a post-modern Empire style is used on the island support legs. Stacked squares form a stunning diamond shape. Empire trim on the island base, a triple-tiered swoop on the hutch and unique columns composed of a layered set of curves flanking the stove are amongst the exquisite details.

Additional details on this remodeled Des Moines loft

Set off with lighting, recessed LED lights with soft lenses are built into the underside of the cabinets, as well as the top of the cabinets. Rather than placing outlets in the backsplash, they are hidden in a special balance built into the underside of the cabinets behind the lighting channel.

All new hardware was added to the inside of the cabinet boxes, and all maple doors are framed in gray. The gray is not a paint. For maximum durability, pigment was added to the stain for a lasting finish. To increase the depth of color, the clear top coat was tinted a shade darker. This creates a subtle glow amongst the Art Deco lines.

And wait till you see the Art Deco bathroom!

The kitchen was not the only part of this remodel of a Des Moines loft. The bathroom features delightful brass accents with an Art Deco theme in black, white and gold tones. A brass frame on the vanity mirror, brass wall sconces and even brass veneer on the custom wall shelves celebrate the brass inlay in the black marble tile. The custom millwork achieves the perfect matte black sheen the homeowners desired on their wainscot, trim and pocket door.

See full details on the bathroom »

Photos: Paul Gates Photography

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