$699K home features striking midcentury design, mystery architect

2025 SE Brown’s Woods Ln., West Des Moines

A prime example of mid-century modern architecture is for sale in West Des Moines, built in 1964 for a former director of the Des Moines Art Center

Located across from the 486-acre Brown’s Woods, Iowa’s largest urban forest, the three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 1,939-square-foot ranch home is hidden from view on its own 0.76-acre, tree-filled lot.

Restored over the last two years, former Des Moines Art Center director Thomas Stansbury Tibbs originally laid claim to the striking design. But despite continued efforts searching archives, city records and local architectural records, no paperwork to back up his assertion has yet been found.

“It’s a very unknown mystery,” said Rhiannon Barbour, who is representing the seller.

Home of former Des Moines Art Center director for sale at 2025 SE Brown's Woods Lane.

Admitting the home’s style appeals to an exclusive sector of the market, Barbour is confident the right homebuyer will eventually be found.

“I love the simplicity, how understated it is, but it is beautiful,” she said.

Tibbs was the Art Center’s director from 1960-68 and was instrumental in hiring New York City architect IM Pei to create a $1.6 million addition to the Art Center. Pei’s 18,000-square-foot wing debuted in October 1968, featuring an exposed concrete exterior that provided an immediate contrast to architect Eliel Saarinen’s 20-year old building.

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