The historic preservation and gradual makeover of a Victorian gem

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 »


kitchen remodel in Des Moines Victorian home renovation by Silent Rivers includes commercial ovens, farmhouse sink, custom cabinets, floor tile and hardware that matches historic period

The kitchen remodel includes beautiful custom cabinetry, ornate hardware and period-appropriate tile — all inspired by original architectural details throughout the home.

 

built in hutch in dining room of historic Des Moines Victorian home and adjacent kitchen remodeled by Silent Rivers

The original built-in corner hutch in the dining room was refinished with proper antique glass. Latches, like the one on this hutch, were sourced for cabinet doors in the adjacent remodeled kitchen.

 

bathroom remodel in historical Des Moines Victorian home renovation by Silent Rivers

The remodeled master bathroom and hall bathroom both feature exquisite black and white hexagon tile, white marble and custom cabinetry that coordinates with the home’s stunning original woodwork.

 

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.

Victorian home renovation in Des Moines by Silent Rivers, new gable

Redesigned gables on the home’s roof improve the balance of its Victorian architecture while providing additional light and more functional space in the attic.

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.

Victorian home renovation in Des Moines by Silent Rivers, attic stairs Victorian home renovation in Des Moines by Silent Rivers, attic stairs

 

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.

Victorian home renovation in Des Moines by Silent Rivers, attic with new gable and built-in storage Victorian home renovation in Des Moines by Silent Rivers, attic gable bedroom

 

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.

Victorian home renovation in Des Moines by Silent Rivers, attic with exposed lathe wall

 

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.

Victorian home renovation in Des Moines by Silent Rivers, new gable and built ins, chimney

 

bathroom remodel in a Des Moines Victorian home renovation by Silent Rivers features original floor grate and hexagon tile

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.

 

bathroom remodel in a Des Moines Victorian home renovation by Silent Rivers features hexagon tile

 

bathroom remodel in a Des Moines Victorian home renovation by Silent Rivers features hexagon tile shower bathroom remodel in a Des Moines Victorian home renovation by Silent Rivers features hexagon tile bathroom remodel in a Des Moines Victorian home renovation by Silent Rivers features hexagon tile

 

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.

bathroom remodel in a Des Moines Victorian home renovation by Silent Rivers bathroom remodel in a Des Moines Victorian home renovation by Silent Rivers features stained glass window

 

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.

 

bathroom remodel in a Des Moines Victorian home renovation by Silent Rivers features tank style toilet

 

The countertops and benches are made of marble. Lighting, faucets and towel rings reflect designs that complement the Victorian style.

bathroom remodel in a Des Moines Victorian home renovation by Silent Rivers

 

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.

historical kitchen remodel by Silent Rivers in Des Moines Victorian home features custom cabinets concealing refrigerator and dishwasher and belt-driven fan

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.

kitchen remodel in historic Des Moines Victorian home by Silent Rivers victorian cabinets and built in hutches in Des Moines Victorian kitchen remodel by Silent Rivers

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.

antique looking drawer pulls, soapstone counters, custom Southern Yellow Pine cabinets in historic kitchen remodel by Silent Rivers in Des Moines Victorian home

 


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 »

View photos of the other Silent Rivers project on the 2018 Tour of Remodeled Homes »


 

Historic preservation is an area of expertise for Silent Rivers. We would love to talk to you about your upcoming historic preservation project! Contact us to schedule a consultation »

Tour of Remodeled Homes 2018: See two Silent Rivers projects Sept 22 & 23!

Tour of Remodeled Homes 2018: See two Silent Rivers projects Sept 22 & 23!

 

Final reveal: Historic Victorian Kitchen Remodel in Des Moines

Final reveal: Historic Victorian Kitchen Remodel in Des Moines

 

Kitchen in Progress: Blending Victorian Style with Modern-Day Function

Kitchen in Progress: Blending Victorian Style with Modern-Day Function

 

Project in Progress: Historic Victorian Kitchen Remodel in Des Moines

Project in Progress: Historic Victorian Kitchen Remodel in Des Moines

 

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