Iowa native Neena Hayreh had been living in New York City for a couple of years when she decided she wanted to be closer to her family.
But she didn’t want to move back to her hometown of Mason City. While she considered Minneapolis, in the end she chose downtown Des Moines for its vibrancy and pedestrian-friendly design.
In New York, you walk to restaurants or just go down the street for coffee, she says. Downtown Des Moines offered the same type of easy access to businesses, eateries and entertainment.
“I had visited Des Moines and I was so impressed with how it had changed,” Hayreh says. “That was really the big appeal — being around commerce and around the action.”
With the help of a realtor, she found a home at 111 City Lofts, where she’s been living since August 2007.
The high ceiling, “massive” windows and bamboo floors drew her to the space. Also, she saw the cream and white color scheme as a blank canvas to work with.
She describes her design style as “mid-century modern,” and her home includes wooden furniture, some “edgy” pieces and pops of color in corals, pinks and aquas.
One of Hayreh’s favorite pieces is an Eames chair, which she says is reflective of her style: “It’s simple, but stylish.”
When it comes to displaying artwork, Hayreh admits to being a bit of a perfectionist, wanting to find just the right piece. She recently purchased a print by photographer Tim Barber, which features a girl with pink hair overlooking Central Park.
“It was just such a neat photograph,” says Hayreh, who particularly appreciated its perspective, with the girl in the foreground and the park out of focus. “But I think the pink hair did win me over.”
When Hayreh is not admiring her new artwork, she is fully taking advantage of living downtown, whether it’s catching an Iowa Cubs game, visiting the farmers’ market or dining at some of her favorite restaurants, including Raccoon River Brewing Company, Django, Centro, Akebono and Exile Brewing Company.
“It’s just amazing how Des Moines has grown,” she says. “It’s booming and a great place to be.”