Mar 8, 2023 - Real Estate

Unique Des Moines homes: Lustron history

Damian Thompson in his Lustron home in the Beaverdale neighborhood. Photos: Courtesy of Thompson

It may be 2023, but Damian Thompson still wakes up in the 1950s every day in his home in Beaverdale.

State of play: Thompson, a lifelong mid-century modern lover, bought a rare 1,000-square-foot Lustron home in May 2019.

  • He's been busy getting it into shape ever since.

Flashback: Lustron homes are entirely steel dwellings developed post-World War II to provide veterans with a cheap, easy-t0-assemble home.

  • They were meant to be homes of the "future" that could withstand weather and time.
  • The company that made them declared bankruptcy in the 1950s.

Details: Thompson has kept everything vintage, all the way down to a 1953 air oven and a Frigidaire from the early '60s.

  • The most difficult restoration was the furnace, Thompson says. Lustron homes have their furnace in the ceiling, allowing heat to radiate from the steel.

The intrigue: To put decorations up on the walls, Thompson uses magnets.

  • "I probably have $500-plus in magnets," Thompson says.

His pro tip for vintage lovers: A midcentury modern piece of furniture here and there blends well with today's current pieces — even if your house isn't made of steel.

Damian Thompson's living room. Photo: Courtesy of Thompson
Damian Thompson's bedroom. Photo: Courtesy of Thompson
The outside of Damian Thompson's home. Photo. Courtesy of Thompson

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