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Putting down roots

Posted June 04, 2014 in Adel, Community Featured
Michelle and Kyle Bissell and their two dogs, Princess and Linden. Photo by Dawn van Buren.

Michelle and Kyle Bissell and their two dogs, Princess and Linden. Photo by Dawn van Buren.

Many home styles evolved during the first half of the 20th century.  In 1900 American homes on average were about 1,000 square feet of living space. This foursquare home at 1220 Greene St. is larger than 1,000 square feet and was built in 1920. Kyle and Michelle Bissell are now the proud owners.

The weather resistant stucco exterior is bordered with brick from the Adel Brick Plant (now United Brick & Tile Co.) and has interior walls of solid brick finished with lath and plaster.

“You can’t hang anything on the walls because you can’t drive a nail into the hard surface” says Kyle. “We use invisible hanging wire and attach it to the walnut ceiling molding.”

When Kyle and Michelle bought the house in 2004, backdoor neighbor Chick Schwarzkopf welcomed them and said, “Now don’t gut this house and turn it into something it isn’t.”

Photo by Dawn van Buren.

Photo by Dawn van Buren.

“That stuck with us,” says Kyle. The dings and scratches remain in order to maintain the character of the home. The walnut molding, staircase, decorative railing and post are original to the house. The windows use a weight and pulley system to move up and down and are also original. New Frieze carpet upstairs and downstairs and central air have been added, but the original wood floors remain in the bedrooms. The two-story floor plan includes 7-inch walnut baseboards throughout, a formal entry with stairs to the second floor, living room, dining room with a built-in walnut hutch and window seat with storage, three bedrooms,  bath with a clawfoot tub, a full width front sun porch, kitchen with a classic Youngstown Kitchen by Mullins and a full basement.

The Bissells lived in Adel for from 1993 until 2001 when they moved to West Des Moines.  They missed the community and neighborhood feel of Adel so much that they moved back in 2004 and are glad they did.  Kyle works for the Urbandale Fire Department, and Michelle works for Hubbell Construction in West Des Moines. Michelle has made and donated over 1,000 blankets for the VA Hospitals in Des Moines and Marshalltown, and she has made over 6,000 “critter” blankets that she has donated to Animal Rescue. She also writes notes and signs cards for troops each Christmas.

The Bissells have two grown children and one granddaughter.

To be featured in an upcoming “Where We Live” column, contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or

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