Revitalize Home: Redefining Renovations

Sometimes the journey of life provides unexpected rewards; it reveals unintended lessons that empower and support our individual purpose.

So often, the same could be said in business when bringing new ideas to market…


As an urban-dwelling development company, Indigo Dawn provides green rehabilitation solutions for existing homes. By creating signature projects that demonstrate the integrated use of sustainable best-practices, Indigo Dawn is ‘developing a new way‘ through education and awareness, and thus encourage market transformation. One of their initiatives, The Revitalize Home, redefines how to upgrade existing homes in a replicable way, providing alternatives for neighborhood and community resiliency.  Few examples of whole-house retrofits exist, and there are fewer yet for homes of modest size, less than 1500 square feet. Demonstration projects intended to highlight the optimization of older homes for enduring performance reminds us that aesthetics and durability must also consider the science of home performance to be successful.


Silent Rivers recently partnered with The Dow Chemical Company, The Greater Des Moines Habitat Restore, Reynolds Energy Solutions, Allendan Seed, and Indigo Dawn to launch The Revitalize Home: Des Moines with the completion of its first model rehabilitation, which was featured on both the citywide Tour of Remodeled Homes and the Historic Sherman Hill Walking Tour.

A brief overview of this pilot project –

This Victorian bungalow, originally built one block north on Crocker Street circa 1880, was slated for demolition in order to make way for additional parking. Together with it’s ‘twin’, the Sherman Hall Neighborhood Association relocated both houses to empty lots on Leyner Street, an distinct quadrant of the urban neighborhood. Unlike the larger Victorian Homes in Sherman Hill, this area is known for smaller working class quarters, so adding these run-down rentals helped reestablish the quaint charm traditionally characteristic of modest houses.

Reestablishing the historical context of this street accentuates an important part of this home’s revitalization, and helps unify the visual fabric of the area. Similarly, strategic design decisions within the home’s rehabilitation help reinforce a holistic, systemic approach ensuring a high-performing house while provide a strong aesthetic and historical appeal.

So here’s a roster of higher-performance design solutions used to enhance the home:

Conservation Decisions


– Insulate wood-framed walls and roof
– Insulate basement walls
– Insulate basement floor
– Blower door testing
– Air-sealing
– Furnace effectiveness and sizing
– Insulate hot water plumbing
– Highly insulated h2o heater
– Photo-voltaic ready
– LED cans and lamps
– All-electric appliances and equipment

– Structured plumbing design
– Rain-harvesting for house and garage

Material Alternatives


Reclaimed solutions
– Bricks (patio and retaining wall)
– Local natural stone
– Framing lumber
– Maple wood flooring

Re-purposed options
– Tiles
– Millwork
– Cabinet plywood
– Plumbing fixtures and fittings
– Lighting fixtures
– Cedar Decking
– Galvanized Gutters

Recycled products
– Poly-ethylene sheeting (Rewall)
– Paper composite counter-tops (Richlite)
– Carpet tiles (FLOR)
– Interior paint

Land Stewardship

– Use native plants and grasses
– Soil amendment and reclamation
– Rain gardens and bio-swales
– Storm water retention and infiltration

Let us know if you are interested in knowing more about these decisions, specifics about each item, and what worked well or not. We anticipate sharing more details about our local journey on Facebook. Therefore, please visit our local page: or

Of course, for an in depth look another retrofit solution go to the Dow website:

bath wall


Share this Page: