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Interiorssneak peeks

D*S Team Tours: Lauren’s Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA

by Lauren Chorpening

A little while ago, Grace asked the whole Design*Sponge team if we’d be up for doing home tours of our own places. I was so excited and then immediately was overwhelmed with a list of things I needed to do to get ready. Some of the things on the list were essentials – clean, finish started projects, and figure out what angles to shoot. Some were not essentials, like buying and rewiring a new dining room light fixture and hopefully finding the perfect coffee table that I’ve been in search of for years now. I didn’t finish everything on my list before shooting, but I did get a better understanding of the process that I’m asking of our featured homeowners and why they respond, “I’m so nervous and excited,” right before their home tour goes live. I feel you. Getting to show my home here on D*S is an honor. Even though it’s not ready and I could list a dozen new things I still want to do to it. That’s the great thing about Design*Sponge – we showcase real homes.

I moved into my 1915 brick apartment building two years ago. It’s located in a historic neighborhood in Downtown Des Moines called Sherman Hill and it is a beautiful area. I am so thankful for the thick wood trim and amazing natural light in my home. I’m a furniture and paint junkie, so I got to work right away, trying to make my home feel simple and beautiful while being on a very real budget. I rearrange and restyle more than I really want to say, but it is one of the most calming, endorphin-inducing things to me. I love seeing spaces change and improve and I love that I can make that a reality with my home whenever I need to feel inspired.

My home is filled with Craigslist redesigns, hand-built pieces and a few items I saved up for. I like styled objects but I don’t like clutter and I love an empty wall as much as I love a gallery. It’s not done, but I like that I get to continue to reimagine what my home could be some day. And I’m thankful for the home it is right now. —Lauren

Photography by Austin Day

D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
1/22
My couches came from Craigslist. The arms used to extend down to the floor as the legs. I sawed them down and attached mid-century legs.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
2/22
I work at a magazine publishing company as an editor, stylist and set producer. I made this art with silver sheets for a photo shoot. After the shoot, it was sent home with me. I added gold leaf to make it go with my home a little more.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
3/22
I like having something else to look at from the couch other than the TV, so I put a gallery wall behind it. I like how easy it is to change and recreate, so I change it a lot.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
4/22
My fiddle leaf fig was a gift for my birthday and I am trying so hard not to kill it. It's a lot of work. It lost half of its leaves its first month here and I panicked a little. I think it's doing better now. I'm also in love with my roommate Avery's blanket stand.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
5/22
The afternoon light in my living room is always incredible since it's a west-facing window. I really want a coffee table in here but I just can't commit to one. If it's wood, will there be too much wood in the space? If it's too dark, will it work with this rug? If it's too light will it make the walls and couches seem floaty? These are my thoughts and battles. Help is appreciated!
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
6/22
Stacks of magazines are everywhere in my house. And I think it's fitting, since I love magazines and I love reading them at home.
7/22
My dining room doesn't get used as much as I would like but when friends are over, it's nice to have a space to host them.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
8/22
One day last summer, I had the urge to paint my dining room dark. I got halfway done and decided I didn't like the blue undertone of the dark grey paint I picked, so I started over with different color. I love the way my table looks in the space with all of the dark wood and walls.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
9/22
I built this console with my stepdad before I moved into my first college apartment. It was probably the most bonding time I've ever had with him and I think about it whenever I repaint, move or restyle it. It's been a display unit, media center and dining room buffet.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
10/22
I love this mirror. I think it is one of the more "Lauren" pieces in my home. Before we started dating, my boyfriend brought me these antlers with fur still attached and we did the whole smelly process of cleaning them up together.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
11/22
My kitchen is pretty teeny but it has a dishwasher and a private entrance from the shared backyard, so it's a great kitchen in my book.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
12/22
The entrance into my bedroom off of the dining room.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
13/22
My boyfriend is a professional photographer. Whenever he goes to beautiful places, I usually end up with gorgeous, giant prints of them. Almost all of the photography on my apartment walls was shot by him. I love this little shelf we put up to display his work.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
14/22
My favorite things are white, gray, pink, leather, wood and gold - if you haven't noticed.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
15/22
This is where I am at least four days a week - designing and writing. I want to add shelves over the radiator at some point for files and books.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
16/22
My closet is the tiniest so all of my clothes other than loungewear are here. I make myself only own the amount of clothing that I can fit on 48 hangers. It's a good habit that helps me not buy just because I want new things.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
17/22
I like making practical, everyday things pretty. Also, my D*S At Home book has seen some love and some sun.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
18/22
Avery's desk on the porch is so sweet. She does her makeup out here every day.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
19/22
The light in the sunroom is unreal. It is so peaceful and happy out there.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
20/22
The sunroom couch was reupholstered by me and my mom a few summers ago. It's not the most comfortable, but I am so proud of it, so I'll probably always have it.
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
21/22
Happy 100th birthday building!
D*S Team Tours: Lauren's Prewar Apartment in Des Moines, IA | Design*Sponge
22/22

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Comments

  • Very nice!!! I LOVE the dark paint in the dining room – it must be beautiful at night too. My home is a mish mash of things we’ve collected over the years, it all kinda works but I need to work on being a bit more organized and tidy – I like the way your home reflects this. Thank you for sharing. p.s. – What a great apartment building – I love the old brickl places!

  • For coffee table I’d consider glass and gold metal. thanks for the inspiring photos of your lovely house. Love the couch. Your dining room fantastic.

    • I immediately thought glass and gold (or brass) for the coffee table! A big, round one would be perfect for that space.

  • Great house! I love the trend of storing clothes on a rack in the bedroom. It’s so practical and prevents one from overstuffing a closet. I also like her 48 hanger rule.

  • Can I just say thanks for featuring a modern home with wood trim? It can be hard to find fresh, cozy home decor paired with wood trim I’m in love with the round mirror and the dark dining room walls.

  • Hi Lauren!
    We just bought at house in South Minneapolis that looks very similar to the photos in your piece!
    I’ve spent sleepless nights wondering if I should paint the trim white, going back and forth, back and forth. Just yesterday I saw a neighbor’s house with big, old white trim and was sure that’s the way we were going… The internet is so full of glorious white trim these days, it’s been hard to decide, but your photos sealed the deal for me just now – the trim is so beautiful and bold, we’re going to keep it stained dark (truly the same color, size, proportion as yours!).
    I’ve been imagining the color of our dining room walls ever since we bought the house, have a few samples stuck to the wall, but can’t seem to get the color just right… it’s either too blue or too gray or too green… Then I came across your photos, and BOOM! That’s it! Like, exactly it! SO – what color is it?
    I have had an idea of what we want to do for a long time, but needed something visual to help me know I was on the right track – I’m so happy I came across your photos!
    Thanks for sharing them.
    Anna

    • Hi Anna!

      I’m so glad my post is an encouragement that wood can be just as beautiful as white trim. The color of my dining room is Sherwin Williams Iron Ore. :)

      • You seriously sealed the deal! Thanks a lot – heading out for paint tomorrow! Will share a photo with you somehow if you’d like to see your dining room’s twin someday! :)
        Thanks again.

  • I didn’t know anyone from the D*S team lived in Des Moines, so I was super excited to see this. I think you did a fabulous job with your apartment. I’m jealous of all the architectural character your space has, which is really hard to find in the DM area.

  • My favorite D*S home tour in a long time! Thanks for sharing, Lauren! And I feel you on the search for a coffee table, although I think you could get away with a wood one in that room if it was the right shade!

  • Whoa! I lived in these apartments before I moved to SF eleven years ago. I saw they remodeled them (the “sunroom”/patio was a death trap). Nice to see new life breathed into a beautiful space. I always loved the original cherry wood trim through out the apt.

    • That’s crazy! Sherman Hill is a different place completely the last 5 years or so. What unit were you in?

  • great space! i particularly like the piece of furniture you built with your stepdad.

    i also like to “today.” notepad. where did you find it?

  • Hi – love you place. Just wondered how you created that silver and gold picture – what surface etc. Looks great and would love to create something similar.

  • Lovely home, but what I am most intrigued by is the 48 pieces of clothing! I’ve read my fair share on minimalism, the Konmari method, and capsule wardrobes, but I can’t imagine myself ever getting down to just 48 pieces! Do you have a separate winter wardrobe?

    Sincerely,
    Nosy and Curious ;)

    • Hi Joanna! I have like 4 pull over sweaters, 4 cardigans and then a few button ups. I wear t-shirts year round and just layer with cardigans and scarves. :)

      • You’ve convinced me Lauren! I’m going minimalist on my clothing as well! It’s a hard task for this woman, but I will proceed!!!

        Beautiful home! I’d love to pay you to do my cosy kitchen in Ireland! You’ll just have to come visit. :)

  • Lauren – What a wonderful post! My daughter and I just drove by that apartment building a couple of weeks ago and commented on how lovely it was. Thanks for the sneak peek inside!

  • Lovely. I said Yes! under my breath to that first comment because that was exactly my first thought, a table in glass & brass (or gold). Hope you find something great!

  • Dark wood work? I am so happy to see it! My house is over a 100 years old and I resist the urge to paint it each February in the dull drums of winter. It is refreshing to see it with white walls. What is your wall color? Do tell…

  • gorgeous! I love how the gorgeous bones of this house work with your more modern furniture, and i love, love the strong contrast of your dark dining room walls and your lighter furniture. beautiful!

  • Oh, this is surreal! We moved to DSM a year ago and almost moved into that very building :) Your place is lovely! I love the dark dining room and your kitchen cabinets. We live in Beaverdale and love it, but if we weren’t living here it would definitely be Sherman Hill—I adore all the beautiful old buildings over there. Although if I were any closer to Gateway Market I think I would be in trouble…Gorgeous home, thanks for sharing!

  • Lauren! I’m just getting caught up on all my D*S posts and was so excited to see this one! We live outside DSM on a small hobby farm… I love your apartment and all things design, it’s so fun to see inside your building… What a dream! I’m constantly changing things up in our home too and I am thinking of painting a room dark now… Yikes! Thanks for the inspiration. (My husband’s gonna kill me!) ~Kim

  • I’ll add to the hometown pride, it’s so exciting to see a DSM home on here! Hey from a neighbor over by Roosevelt! Your place is gorgeous and, as someone who watched her dad scrape and restore wood trim in a 1917 DSM craftsman for years, it’s so great to see it’s stayed in its original glory. Your space looks fresh & modern & still fits the history of the building so well. Love that minimal wardrobe, & all that wood & grey. Thank you for sharing!

  • I know this is an older post, but I just discovered it so it’s new to me.

    Here to add to the hometown (and Roosevelt ‘hood!) pride. Sherman Hill is definitely a cool neighborhood and I loved the glimpse inside one of the buildings. Very nicely balanced aesthetic, Lauren, and keep up the good work on spreading the Des Moines love!

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