The Butler House on Grand is no small time bed and breakfast; in fact, it’s been honored in multiple magazines, including Better Homes and Gardens and Midwest Living. The 7 bedroom mansion takes on the tagline “Midwestern hospitality in an elegant setting,” which is perfect for its Des Moines, IA location. Although it was built in 1923, The Butler House on Grand is run in a completely modernized way by innkeepers Clark and Lauren Smith.
Inside the house, work of local designers and artists are featured to keep the house looking modern. The Butler House on Grand partnered with the Symphony Academy to raise money for elementary and middle school instrument rentals, which brought together artists that the Smith’s wouldn’t have otherwise been aware of into the house.
“At the time that we restored the house, our house had been apartments for college grad students for 40 years. We bought it and took it back to single family. We actually did a physical lease of the house to the fundraising arm of the symphony and they chose what designers did what rooms and they raised nearly $100,000 dollars for the symphony to fund elementary school and middle school instrument rentals for a few years,” Lauren said.
Greenwood Park and the Des Moines Art Center are located across the street, making The Butler House a convenient place to stay during weddings, family reunions and other large events. In fact, because of the large parties of guests staying at the Butler House, Lauren says her favorite aspect of running the bed and breakfast for the last 15 years is meeting so many people.
“I have met people from all 7 continents, including Antarctica. Two naval officers stationed in Antarctica decided to come up for the winter instead of staying in Antarctica. It was during state fair, so they were here for the state fair and they were doing some other Iowa things,” Lauren said.
Some “other Iowa things” include great dining, museums, indoor and outdoor art galleries, parks, and other high quality activities offered at a low price.
All 7 guest rooms in the Butler House on Grand are spanned over the second and third floors of the mansion and each includes a private bath. Each room has a different “spirit”, as innkeeper Lauren describes, however the entire first floor is kept in traditional 1923 decoration, adding a historical aspect to this already impressive house. A full breakfast is served every morning at Lauren’s grandmother’s table, and guests can enjoy parlor games throughout the day. The Butler House also includes a library filled with books and movies for guests to choose from during their stay.