Des Moines Duplex: Before and After

Tearing it Down to Build it Up

This dilapidated two story duplex was not in great shape aesthetically, but the bones were there so Bob Coluzzi, our director of construction, began to work his magic of adding bathrooms, moving walls, clearing debris, cleaning up the lot.

This duplex has one unit on the ground floor and one unit upstairs which was previously accessible by a rickety staircase. During renovations, the layout of both units was substantially changed.¬†Keep scrolling for photos, but don’t miss the virtual tours: See the “before” of unit 1 and unit 2 as well as “after” of unit 1 and unit 2.

dilapidated two story house occluded by hanging tree in front yard

Two story house with fresh blue and grey siding and custom porch.

No Where to Go but Up

The rooms were huge, but awkward. The bathroom was tiny, not to mention it was missing a wall. Every where you turned there was something peeling, cracked, or completely broken.

Unit 1 Layout: Before and After

top view of Euclid unit 1 showing huge rooms and an open walled bathroom

Walk through “Unit 1 Before”


After the renovation, the bathroom was moved from the rear of the house to the front. A third bedroom was created by moving a few walls. We even added a laundry room and storage closet in the hall between the kitchen and living room. The square room just off the living room is the front entryway. Did we even mention the huge bedroom closets?

Remodeled Euclid unit 1 layout showing another bedroom and bathroom along with fancy ceiling fans.

Walk through Unit 1″After”

Comparing Before and After

The improved layout lended itself well to the fresh and clean style. Walking through the home is now comfortable. Take a look…

The Living Room

Euclid unit 1 living room before renovations.

Euclid unit 1 living room after being remodeled.

The Kitchen

Grungy photo of the kitchen prior to renovations

Kitchen cleaned up and freshly remodeled.

The Bathroom

Did we mention it was missing a wall? The bathroom ended up being reconfigured and moved across the house!

Nasty torn up bathroom before renovations.

Updated bathroom in unit 1

Completely Reconfiguring Unit 2

A similar sight was found in the upstairs unit (unit 2) before renovations. Yuckiness was all around. There was a long, skinny hallway in the center of the unit acting as some sort of tunnel between the kitchen and bedrooms.

Top down view of Euclid unit 2 floor plan showing boxy rooms

Walk through Unit 2 “Before”


After working his magic, Bob made room for a luxuriously large laundry room right off the kitchen. The long hallway disappeared and made way for a much more comfortable layout.

Top down view of Euclid unit 2 floor plan showing large laundry room and more comfortable layout.

Walk through Unit 2″After”

Comparing Before and After

The improved layout lended itself well to the fresh and clean style. Walking through the home is now comfortable. Take a look…

The Living Room

Really broken and busted out wall of the living room before renovations.

The Kitchen

It’s hard to get a handle of things with windows of such varying sizes. Walking through felt like wading through a melting room.

Euclid unit 2 kitchen before with a funny little window

Bob added more cabinets and counter space for a comfortable working space. Through the door on the left is the mechanical and laundry room. It’s huge! Plenty of room for storage room too!

Newly renovated kitchen in unit 2.

The Bathroom

The only thing we were sorry to see go from this bathroom was the fun bubblegum pink palette complete with hot pink trim.

The bathroom in unit 2 turned out very similar to that in unit 1. This was intentional. Designing with property management in mind means organization and standardization.

Retro pink bathroom in dire need of renovation

The Exterior

Nothing on the exterior was safe from Bob’s eye for improvement. The new blue siding with grey gables really pops now that the the debris has been swept up and the driveway has a fresh layer of gravel. And say good bye to any water leaks with the brand new roof!

Euclid exterior from the alley

New blue siding and fresh gravel for the driveway.

Want to Learn More?

If you are interested in learning more about real estate investing or flipping, check out the DSM Real Estate Investing Meetup sponsored by Coluzzi Real Estate where we meet every month on the third Thursday starting at 5pm. Join our Facebook group to be part of the everyday discussions and recieve up-to-date information for events such as Keepin’ it R.E.I.L (Real Estate Investing Luncheons) and the book club!

Image and virtual tour credit: Coluzzi Virtual Tours, Jessie Echterling, Cat Reeves


About the Author:

Jessica moved to Des Moines in 2014 and absolutely positively loves the city for its big-little style and its vibrant real estate market in which she currently invests. She is also a frequent attendee of the DSM Real Estate Investing and FIRE Meetups. Jessica enjoys home projects of all scales from full on remodels to small paint jobs. She loves sharing odd facts and puns, learning about economics and biology, and exercising outside though she is no marathon runner or RAGBRAI champ.