Steve and Barb Cappaert lived in an old house in an old neighborhood in Chicago, so it only made sense that when they moved to Des Moines, they were drawn to the same.
The Cappaerts and their two young children settled into their large brick house at 4406 Greenwood Drive in 2003. Claire is now 13, and Peter is 12.
“We really like old houses with old character,” says Steve Cappaert.
The house, built in 1933, was in good structural condition and only required a few cosmetic updates when the family moved in.
“Once we saw this place, (we thought) it was fabulous,” says Barb Cappaert, who wanted enough space in the house to have a separate office for her home-based job.
She says the couple loved all of the original woodwork in the house and the fact that it hadn’t been painted over. The home also has four wood-burning fireplaces, which the family enjoys using. And they fell for the uniqueness of the house.
“The house doesn’t look like any other house on the street,” Barb says.
The Cappaerts say one of the things they had to get used to about their house was the amount of land that came with it. The house sits on almost 2.5 acres, while their house in Chicago was on a postage-stamp size lot.
As a result, Barb says they’ve learned to do a lot more gardening and have reclaimed several of the garden beds that had been overtaken by weeds or brush, one of which had two rose bushes.
The Cappaerts have spent a lot of time making improvements to the outdoors of their property. They removed the original brick courtyard in the front of the house and replaced it with stamped concrete that still maintains the brick look but is heated and has drainage to prevent small freezing ponds from forming in the winter.
Barb Cappaert says the couple used the original bricks to create sidewalks from the front of the house to the back and to add onto the back patio. The couple now does a lot of outdoor entertaining.
The Cappaerts’ house was built by architect John Normile who designed it for the David Kruidenier Sr. and his wife, Florence Cowles Kruidenier. Their son, David Jr., was a publisher of The Des Moines Register and a philanthropist who contributed to many causes in the Des Moines area.
One interesting tidbit about the family’s house is that then-U.S. Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush stayed at the house during the 1988 Iowa Caucuses.