On a brick street one block west of the Governor’s residence at Terrace Hill is a beautiful 125-year-old Victorian home that must love its homeowners. To fulfill their goal of properly renovating their historic house, this marvelous couple called on the historic preservation experts at Silent Rivers. Phase by phase, with extreme attention to detail, this Victorian home renovation has resulted in intelligent solutions that add modern functionality while preserving period-appropriate architecture in the kitchen, bathrooms, attic and gables.
See this project on the 2018 Tour of Remodeled Homes!
Sept 22 & 23 :: 10am-6pm :: Tickets & info »
A collaborative approach in each phase of the renovation
Collaborating with these homeowners is an absolute joy! Combining their knowledge of Victorian design and our expertise in historical preservation has created a very rewarding experience with beautiful outcomes.
Renovations began with the gables on top of the home’s roof. When the homeowners first contacted us, the existing gables were rotting. When we rebuilt them, we also took the opportunity to redesign them with a more decorative Victorian presence in the gable rake trim to boost the home’s exterior ornamentation. The outcome was excellent. Just as important, a wonderful ongoing relationship developed between the homeowners and Silent Rivers, which we absolutely cherish.
The following phases involved finishing the interior of the attic, remodeling two bathrooms and the laundry room, and — the most recent phase — a complete renovation of the kitchen. Historical integrity, lasting durability and modern functionality now exist seamlessly within the Victorian style of this amazing home. Being in the presence of this home parallels the delight of being in the presence of its homeowners!
An attic with some fun surprises
Slide open the large oak barn door in the upstairs hallway, and an intriguing staircase beckons you to explore the attic. Exposed lathe walls in strategically chosen areas help you to appreciate construction methods from 125 years ago.
Redesigned gables help fill the attic with light. The new configuration of the attic creates usable space that can house extra guests, including a beloved playroom for the youngest guests. Built-in cabinets flanking one of the gables add additional closet storage to the home.
Enhancing the magical feel of the attic space is a small section of lathe wall that leads to the playroom frequented by young guests. The difference in materials elicits a feeling of stepping through a Narnia wardrobe. Just inside these walls is a collection of books celebrating the homeowners’ travels from around the world.
Perhaps the most surprising element in the attic is the shape of the chimney. Its slight curves and lean reflect the determination of the original homebuilders to make the design work. In celebration of world cultures, the homeowners have added several intriguing touches from around the globe, including artwork on the chimney itself.
Bathrooms that showcase period-appropriate tile, cabinets and fixtures
Both the master bathroom and the hall bathroom had been previously stripped of their original character. The only charm that remained of their original aesthetic was the black floor grate. It served as inspiration for the layout and design of both bathrooms.
Hexagon tile on the floor and in the showers of both bathrooms features a black border and linear strips to define the space. Notice how perfectly each transition tile is cut to maintain the pattern.
Glass shower doors with zero entry help enlarge and brighten the space. The transom window above the hall bathroom shower is a beautiful touch and helps with air circulation, just as other transoms do in the home.
Custom cabinetry is carefully designed to match the rest of the home. Our woodshop thoroughly studied the intricacies of the home’s existing corner blocks, corbels, joinery, profiles, wood species and stain colors — as well how they’ve aged — to create beautiful millwork. The new custom cabinetry feels very much at home with its 125-year-old neighboring elements.
Fixtures and hardware boast a period-appropriate style, right down to the tank style toilet in the master bathroom. Notice the push button switches, crystal door knobs and porcelain drawer pulls.
The countertops and benches are made of marble. Lighting, faucets and towel rings reflect designs that complement the Victorian style.
A historic kitchen that meets today’s needs
Previously, the kitchen lacked any essence of Victorian style. Now it is a showcase of a modern kitchen designed to celebrate the original era of the home. For the custom cabinets, we sourced Yellow Southern Pine to match existing built-in hutches, then diligently recreated their style and lines to perfectly coordinate new and old elements. The refrigerator and dishwasher — appliances that were not around 125 years ago — are disguised with custom panels for a look that integrates them right into the flow of the cabinetry.
The style of the six-burner gas stove with double ovens offers modern cooking functionality while fitting with the home’s aesthetic. Even the belt-driven ceiling fan is period-appropriate.
Door latches, knobs, drawer pulls and hinges were searched out that complement the original ornate hardware. The sink was relocated to a better position beneath a new double window that lets more light flow into the space. The bold tile floor takes its inspiration from the original tile hearth as well as the stained glass windows.
The 2018 Tour of Remodeled Homes is featuring this project!
This is one of two Silent Rivers projects you can tour this year. Come see us at this beautiful historic home along with 16 other projects by members of the Home Builders Association of Des Moines.
Sept 22 & 23 :: 10am-6pm :: Tickets & info »