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100 years and counting

Posted September 10, 2014 in Community Featured, Des Moines West
The Oredson family: Lars, Jennifer holding Elias, Dana and Elsa. Photo courtesy of Blind Photography.

The Oredson family: Lars, Jennifer holding Elias, Dana and Elsa. Photo courtesy of Blind Photography.

Dana and Jennifer Oredson were immediately sold on their 1915 house from the moment they first looked at it in 2005.

The couple was moving back to Jennifer’s native Des Moines from Minnesota and wanted to live in a neighborhood with older houses with charm and character. The brick home had a tile roof, six bedrooms — plenty of room for a future family — and was set up in a slightly puzzle-piece pattern with stairs leading to various roofs and little nooks and crannies, one of which they refer to as their “hobbit door” that leads to the attic.

“So much of the original fixtures and woodwork were still there, and it was in great condition,” Jennifer says. “Nothing had to be done other than aesthetic things we chose. That was one of our favorite things about it: an almost 100-year-old house, and it didn’t need fixing up.”

Jennifer says the family loves the “arrow-slit” windows in the upstairs bedrooms.

“They look like they are there for our archers to defend the castle from attackers,” she says.

The Oredsons removed carpet and linoleum from the hardwood floors. They painted almost every room. They updated the kitchen with ceramic tile floors, countertops and backsplash and custom cabinets, but left a built-in spice cupboard that Jennifer loves to utilize for cooking.

The couple had to completely redo their basement in 2008, after it was destroyed from flooding.

“We had standing water, only probably ankle-high, but it was for so many days that it ruined everything,” Jennifer says.

oredson houseThe couple overhauled the entire basement and waterproofed it. Jennifer says her favorite part of the remodel was turning a small bathroom into a large bathroom/laundry room.

Sooner than later, the couple plans to use about one-fourth of their master bedroom space to create a large walk-in closet. Currently, Dana’s clothes are in the small bedroom closet, and Jennifer’s have been stored in their children’s closets.

“I’ve been waiting to rectify that ever since we moved in,” she says. “One of the biggest detractions of old houses is how tiny the closets are.”

Would you like your home featured in this column in an upcoming issue of Des Moines West Living? If so, email Darren Tromblay at

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