David and Marymar Butruille knew they wanted a house on the west side of Des Moines and one that was large enough to accommodate visiting family when they started their house hunt more than six years ago.
The house they found at 714 51st St. fit many of the things they wanted. It was within the boundaries for Hubbell Elementary School, where they wanted their three sons to attend and close enough to downtown Central Academy, was located south of Interstate Highway 235, had been well maintained through the years, had separate rooms rather than an open floor plan, which appealed to Marymar, and was an older house, which was important to David. He grew up in a 300-year-old house in France.
With both of them being from other countries — Marymar is originally from Brazil — the house also had to be large enough for entertaining and overnighting visiting family. The couple first moved to Des Moines in 2003 and moved into their current house in 2007.
But there were a few things the house, built in 1930 needed, including some necessary maintenance work, as well as elective renovations to make it the home the Butruilles wanted. David’s thought was to do the work immediately, so they could enjoy it for years to come rather than wait.
First up was repair of a basement foundation wall that was crumbling. While that work was being done, they decided to waterproof and refinish the basement and add a small kitchen in it.
The electrical and plumbing were upgraded throughout the house. A new driveway was poured, and the back patio was redone. The heating and cooling systems were replaced with geothermal, as David is very energy conscious. He says the system will have paid for itself within the next couple of years.
“We wanted to be energy efficient and save the environment and not waste energy and be economical,” Marymar says.
She says the upgrades that have been made to the house have prepared it for the next 80 years of its existence.
Other than painting rooms and adding ceiling lights, the Butruilles have kept the 1930s house the same because they like the character of older homes.
Marymar says she enjoys the yard and watching the couple’s active sons play in it. She likes to garden and has added roses and other flower gardens around the house and along the driveway that leads up to the house.