York Taenzer Renovates Sherman Hill House With Home Comfort in Mind

Published by Parisa Ostovari

Sherman Hill is Des Moines’ oldest neighborhood, dating back to the 1870s. It has seen countless residents move in and out, has lived through the Great Depression and World War II and was targeted for revitalization in the 1970s by a dedicated group of residents.

Needless to say, the neighborhood is the perfect place for someone like York Taenzer, who is a history buff with a knack for home renovation.

Taenzer has lived in Sherman Hill for more than 30 years and, in that time, has resided in seven different houses that he renovated himself. His latest project, a three-story house with eight apartments, will be renovated into a single-family home to become his eighth Sherman Hill residence.

Taenzer has worked to make the home a place where he and his parents can live together and be comfortable for years to come.

Keeping the History Alive

The house was built in 1887 and the original owners lived there for 42 years. During the Great Depression it was converted into five apartments. Around the time of World War II, the demand for rental housing was continuing to rise, and the house was converted into an eight-plex.

Today, Taenzer is restoring it to its former glory as a single-family home which he plans to share with his parents when they move to Des Moines from Minnesota.

“We had looked at a few houses for them, ” Taenzer said. “But I didn’t want to have to maintain a second house so I said ‘I enjoy spending time with you. Let’s find a house where we can all be together.’”

Taenzer’s vision for the inside of the home includes an industrial feel with exposed plumbing and mechanical equipment for the third level where his master suite will be. The exterior will be restored in compliance with the State Historical Preservation Commission’s requirements and will stay true to the history of the neighborhood.

Home Comfort Is Key

With his parents planning to share the house with him, home comfort and a flexible HVAC system were priorities for Taenzer.


“I wanted a system that was going to accommodate all three floors and make everyone comfortable in their own spaces,” Taenzer said.

He spoke with several HVAC contractors and eventually decided to work with the home comfort experts at Bell Brothers. Jason Gassmann, president of Bell Brothers Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., said that this is an ideal type of project for his team.

“We have very creative people on our team,” Gassmann said. “This was the perfect project for us because it allowed us to get our creative juices flowing and really provide a vision for York’s ideas.”

Taenzer was impressed with Bell Brothers from the very beginning.

“They were the ones that were able to understand my vision and everything I wanted,” he said. “And they were always honest and upfront with me. They were willing to tell me if something I wanted wasn’t going to work logistically.”

The team at Bell Brothers installed new duct work throughout the home and removed the old system: hot water boiler with eight radiators, one in each apartment. Some of the radiators even partially or completely blocked doors from opening all the way.

Then they installed a Carrier Infinity® zone HVAC system on the second and third floors. It is a single system with separate thermostats to control the temperature on the second and third floors to maximize the comfort level of whoever is on each of those floors.

In the end, Taenzer wanted a system that would not only provide home comfort to him and his family, but also to whoever moves in after he decides to move on. Gassmann says that the Carrier Infinity zone system fits the bill.

“I think we’ve put in a good mechanical system that’s going to last for decades,” Gassmann said.

Work With the Experts

Whether you’re putting a new system into a modern home or renovating and restoring a historic home, Bell Brothers has an HVAC system to fit your needs. We have a creative team that can make sure everyone in your home is comfortable on every floor and in every room.