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Old yet new

Posted October 09, 2013 in Community Featured, Des Moines West
Leisha and Gregg Barcus with their daughters, Anna, left, and Clare.

Leisha and Gregg Barcus with their daughters, Anna, left, and Clare.

Gregg and Leisha Barcus knew they had found the perfect home for their growing family when they discovered an historic house on the city’s west side that had not previously been remodeled.

The house at 4930 Country Club Blvd. needed a lot of work, but it was well built, had great historic character and a walk-out basement, which was another attraction. The previous owner had deferred much of the maintenance, so the Barcuses decided the best strategy was to gut the house.

“We wanted to refresh and improve it,” Gregg says.

The renovations were done in three phases. First was a year-long project that included repairing plaster, stripping woodwork, removing area rugs and carpets, updating the plumbing, electrical and heating systems and adding air conditioning.

The Barcuses moved into the apartment above the carriage house in 1999 for a year while the renovations were being completed. It was tight — just 644 square feet of living space for the family of four — but Leisha says she loved the simplicity of the living conditions.

The previous owner had the house for 60 years, which Gregg believes saved it from various remodels. The Barcuses are only the third family to own the house, built in 1916. The family is planning a 100-year birthday party for the house in 2016.

The Barcus family home at 4930 Country Club Blvd.

The Barcus family home at 4930 Country Club Blvd.

The Barcuses also made the house more conducive to modern-family life. A second-floor maid’s room was remodeled into a laundry room. The back staircase that led from the kitchen to the maid’s room was removed, and the space was used to help enlarge the kitchen. The kitchen was bumped out to make it bigger and allow space for an eat-in area. The original dining room was made into a family room, and a back parlor became the new dining room.

Later, the couple remodeled the master bedroom and bathroom, and about three years ago, they remodeled their basement into a family room and entertainment area, where both grownups and teenagers like to entertain.

One of the features the family likes best about the house is the open front porch. The family eats about 80 percent of its meals outside when weather allows and enjoys visiting with neighbors and hosting parties on the porch.

“It’s really an extension of the house,” Gregg says.

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