In 1923, Robert and Edith Butler completed building their 6,500 s.f. English Tudor home on Grand Avenue, in Des Moines. The house was designed by the talented architect, Norman T. Vorse. Initially, the Butlers lived in the home with their parents, their cook, Mary, and their three children- Robert, Margaret, and John.
Edith Butler sold the home in 1963 to an individual who wanted to convert The Butler House on Grand to condominiums. Fortunately, the home was constructed too well, and those plans were changed. Instead, the new owners decided to build a five-story condominium building on the site of the home’s beautiful gardens. Thereafter, the new owner converted The Butler House on Grand into an eight-unit apartment building, while taking careful effort to keep much of what was unique about the home. During the next thirty years, the home was to have ten owners.
Clark and Lauren Smith purchased The Butler House on Grand in 1996, with the intent of converting the home back into a single dwelling with seven bedrooms, where they would host guests in their bed & breakfast. Under their care, The Butler House was the ‘Des Moines Symphony Alliance Designer Show House’ in the fall of 1999; showcasing the work of local designers and artists including:
- Better Homes and Gardens Paint Décor Magazine;
- Holub Key, Ltd.;
- The Kenilworth House;
- A. Kenny Interiors;
- Sticks, Inc.; and
- Wicker and the Works.
The Smith’s stewardship of the home resulted in numerous photo shoots for various Meredith Corporation Publications, including Better Homes & Gardens, Midwest Living and Paint Décor magazines. The property has also been featured in 50 Plus, Cityview, The Des Moines Register, The Des Moines Business Record, Home Style, The New York Sun, and The New York Times.
For eighteen years, the Smiths greeted guests and made breakfast each morning. Lauren passed away in 2016 and Clark tried to operate the bed & breakfast as before. Shortly thereafter, the property was used as a steppingstone for travelers, a getaway for lovers, and a grand destination for vacationers via AirBnB.
Jeremiah and Sheryl Moore purchased the property in 2020. Jeremiah is a general contractor and Sheryl is the nation’s top expert on life insurance and annuity products, running her practice less than a mile from the Butler property. The Moores have purchased distressed homes, rehabilitated them, and rented them out for over a decade. However, they were motivated by an idea of one of Sheryl’s remote employees, who suggested that she buy a property to use as an AirBnB, rather than continue to pay for hotel accommodations when her remote colleagues came into town. It made perfect sense for the Moores to use their contracting expertise, their rental experience, and the insurance connection to provide a one-of-a-kind property to host weary, traveling insurance professionals. And Jeremiah suggested that those not obsessed with annuities and life insurance (i.e. Sheryl) may be interested in receiving the same world-class luxury experience. So, the Moores rehabilitated The Butler House on Grand, along with the grounds, with the intention of restoring the B&B to its former glory.
Now, we welcome you to the oldest B&B in Des Moines. Please relax in our grand living room with ornate, stamped concrete ceilings. Whether you choose to listen to music, peruse the paper, play one of our many parlor games, read one of several hundred books, or simply sit by the hand-carved Gothic-style limestone fireplace, you will be enveloped in serenity. Prepare meals in our gourmet kitchen, and enjoy them on our magnificent dining table that seats eight. Afterward, retire to the basement game room for some friendly competition via air hockey table, arcade games, cards, ping pong table, and more.
Whatever you do, enjoy your stay. We stand ready to assist, and look forward to your shadow gracing our doorstep!