LURE of the COUNTRY October 2017

samanthakollasch

LURE

OF

THE

COUNTRY

WHAT’S OLD

IS NEW AGAIN

Fresh ideas for salvaging items

Capture That

Rustic Feel

TAKE A TOUR OF A

MODERN FARMHOUSE


FROM THE EDITOR

Best of Both Worlds

I have always been a small-town girl. From growing up in Williamsburg to raising my own

family in Vinton, I appreciate the closeness and slower pace a rural community provides.

I also appreciate the proximity to larger metros like Cedar Rapids and Iowa City – a

dichotomy that makes living and working in the Corridor ideal.

This issue of the CBJ’s Lure series takes a look at life outside the hustle and bustle of

the city – life with few traffic jams (save the occasional slow-moving tractor) and wideopen

spaces to relax and enjoy Iowa’s natural beauty.

Writer Ruth Paarmann and photographer Brian Draeger, who

offered insights into urban living in the last two Lure of the City

magazines, headed to the country this time around.

They returned with a detailed look at several homes nestled in

the outskirts of the Corridor’s biggest cities, including Matt and

Anne Boileau’s modern farmhouse just northeast of Iowa City

(page 12) and Julie and Len Tow’s dream home on 80 acres in

Linn County (page 18). The duo also takes us inside the growing

‘shome’ trend – short for shed/homes – which have become a

popular option for those looking to live in the country, but not

interested in the maintenance that comes with owning a large

farmhouse. Get a glimpse of these trendy structures suitable for

everything from man caves to family homes on page 30.

Whether a spacious farmhouse or a cozy man cave, these outof-the-way

spaces have a style all their own. Salvaging rustic items (page 24) is a popular way

to decorate country homes. We spoke with several salvaging specialists who offered tips for

finding great pieces for your home. We also checked in with a few of the Corridor’s leading

interior designers to learn about modern design trends suited for a rural escape (page 34).

It should be said that you don’t have to live out in the country to enjoy the benefits of a

rural lifestyle. Solon, which is conveniently located between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City,

has experienced a population boom since 2000 due to its small-town charm, affordable

housing and family-friendly amenities. We take a closer look at this community (page 4)

as well as several other small towns on the rise.

Outdoor spaces have also become a hot spot for special events such as weddings (page

8). In fact, couples looking for a unique rural space for their big day need to act quickly

as many of these venues fill up and have long waiting lists. In this issue, we visit several

venues in Eastern Iowa.

We are changing up the Lure series a bit next year to explore even more reasons why the

Corridor is such a great place to live and work. I’d love to hear what makes the area so special

for you – drop me a line at (319) 665-6397 ext. 309 or angela@corridorbusiness.com.

OCTOBER 2017

Chief Executive Officer

& Publisher

John F. Lohman

Vice President

Aspen N. Lohman

Chief Operating Officer

& Associate Publisher

Andrea Rhoades

Magazine & Special Projects Editor

Angela Holmes

Writers

Angela Holmes

Ruth Paarmann

Emery Styron

Photographer

Brian Draeger

Graphic Design Manager

Becky Lyons

Graphic Designer

Julia Druckmiller

Magazine Media Consultant

Judith Cobb

CBJ Editor

Adam Moore

CBJ Media Consultants

Kris Lacina

Kelly Meyer

Event Marketing Coordinator

Ashley Levitt

Angela Holmes

Editor

Event Media Consultant

Rhonda Roskos

Marketing & Distribution Manager

Jean Suckow

LURE

COUNTRY

TAKE A TOUR OF A

MODERN FARMHOUSE

OF

THE

WHAT’S OLD

IS NEW AGAIN

Fresh ideas for salvaging items

Capture That

Rustic Feel

ON THE COVER

Len and Julie Tow built their dream home

in 2011 on the 80 acres of land they own

in northern Linn County. Read about their

modern farmhouse and how they have

embraced farm life, starting on page 18. Inset:

Take a tour of Matt and Anne Boileau’s country

home in Johnson County, starting on page 12.

Contents are registered to Corridor Media

Group. Reproductions or other use, in whole

or in part, of the contents of the publication

without permission is strictly prohibited.

2345 Landon Road, Ste. 100

North Liberty, IA 52317

319.665.NEWS

www.corridorbusiness.com

2 LUREOF THE COUNTRY


CONTENTS

4

Small Towns, Big Living

Residents enjoy affordable housing

in their communities

8

Events al Fresco

A look at some of the Corridor’s

outdoor wedding venues

12

High Design Spaces

Matt and Anne Boileau

18

High Design Spaces

Julie and Len Tow

24

What’s Old Is New Again

Salvaging items saves the planet

30

Man Caves

Growing trend fuels

post-frame building boom

34

Design Trends

Capture that rustic feel

12

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

3


Small Towns, Big Living

Residents enjoy affordable housing in tight-knit communities

BY RUTH PAARMANN PHOTOS BY BRIAN DRAEGER

Of Iowa’s 956 cities, 500 of them have a

population of 500 or fewer. The majority of the

Corridor’s small towns provide bigger, more

affordable homes and excellent escapes from the

faster pace of life in the city. Here is a sampling of

three thriving small communities in the Corridor.

Solon offers a

thriving main street

with one-of-a-kind

businesses.

4 LUREOF THE COUNTRY


W

hy would a couple from Los Angeles

choose to settle down in Solon, Iowa?

Ask Katie and Chris Patel.

After Chris got a job as a software engineer at

Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids in 2011, the couple

headed to Iowa. While Katie looked for a job, they

rented an apartment in Cedar Rapids but saw the

value in finding a place in the Corridor so they could

enjoy Iowa City, too.

“We didn’t know anything about Solon. We were just

looking for the right house – one where we could look

out the windows and see a wooded yard,” Katie said.

“We liked the setting and were starving for space.”

They were able to find a four-bedroom home on a

cul-de-sac that cost less than Chris’ condo in L.A. Soon,

Katie landed a role as a paralegal for Transamerica in

Cedar Rapids.

“We like being close enough to work in Cedar

Rapids and spend weekends in Iowa City. I was also

impressed that people are very involved in the community,”

Katie noted. “We can easily walk to downtown,

but we have an open backyard with a free view.”

Their property backs up to Solon Prairie, and they

have easy access to trails. Nearby, there is a park with

a playground.

Since arriving in Solon, they have welcomed many

changes. In 2012, the couple held their wedding ceremony

in their backyard, in part because it was convenient

for family to meet here from Oregon and Virginia.

Katie’s work location moved to C Street –much closer

to home. She now works as an attorney specializing in

financial crimes and compliance testing.

“The neighbors are beyond wonderful,” Katie said,

noting that they brought cookies over to say hello. One

neighbor introduced her to the Solon Library Board of

Trustees, and she now serves as vice president.

According to City Administrator Cami Rasmussen,

the town has adapted to a population boom of 73 percent

from 2000 to 2010. Not only have new destination

businesses like Big Grove Brewery come into town,

but the community collaborated and improved to meet

community needs.

Solon completed a Main Street Revitalization Project

in 2012, and the city and Solon Community School

District added the Spartan logo to the water tower last

year. The long-running Solon Beef Days continues to

take place each July on the main drag.

Another major project was the Solon Recreation

and Nature Area, a 57-acre park on the west side. It is

home to high school and youth sports fields, and anyone

can walk on the trail and play disc golf, basketball,

sand volleyball or tennis.

“Generous donations from the community of time

and materials allowed the construction of a picnic

shelter and the unique TIMBERDome Lodge,” Rasmussen

said. >

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

5


Ely

In the past 20 years, Ely has grown from a farming

community to a bustling town of 2,074 with available

housing moving quickly.

Young families have flocked to the town, which is

in the desirable College Community School District.

The average age is 34, making it the youngest town

in Linn County. In contrast, the town features a

number of buildings listed on the National Register

of Historical Places, including the Ely School, which

serves as City Hall.

To keep families active, the town built Ely City

Park Youth where soccer, flag football and baseball

programs are offered. The library offers many

programs, too. Popular stops in Ely include Dan

& Debbie’s Creamery, the Downtown Dachshund

boutique and the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.

“People park their cars in town and hit the trail.

The extra traffic has helped businesses and our

city,” Mayor Eldy Miller said. “As residents become

more involved in our community, the business environment

has changed. As Ely has grown, businesses

are taking notice and moving in to service the

community.”

The main street charm and proximity to Cedar

Rapids and Iowa City helped draw City Administrator

Denise Hoy to move to Ely from Conrad. She

cites Fall Fest, the 4th of July pancake breakfast

and parade, Winter Fest and farmers’ markets as

highlights on the town’s calendar. >

How Small

Towns Get

Bigger

Sandy Steil, a land planning

and development specialist,

observes that the most

successful towns are the ones

that are ready and willing to

provide for the families who

move there.

“Small towns that have the

old buildings downtown and

city councils that are open

to change and ideas – those

are the ones welcoming

economic development in

their areas.”

ABOVE: Solon residents have access to event venues such as the Palmer House

Stable and Timber Dome Lodge, and popular eateries such as Big Grove Brewery.

6 LUREOF THE COUNTRY


Tiffin

Tiffin, which logged 1,947 residents in 2010, now boasts a

population of 3,006 and growing. Its location off Interstate

80 – minutes from employers in Coralville, Iowa City and

North Liberty – makes it a focal point for residential growth.

Three of the six Clear Creek-Amana schools are located in the

town, creating a natural draw for young families.

City Administrator Doug Boldt said there are eight active

subdivisions in town, with hundreds of lots planned.

“We’re in the hub of I-80 and I-380 where people want to

be,” he explained. “Plus, we have this safe and friendly hometown

feel to the community, which I think has been managed

well by the city council as Tiffin grows.”

Tiffin continues to develop and improve its recreational

options. Two new parks have been added to three existing

ones, plus a dog park, ponds, shelters, tennis courts and soccer

fields are available for use. In addition, after a two-year

hiatus, the town’s annual summer festival was rebooted by a

committee of citizens and dubbed TIFFUN Creek Fest.

Economic development is picking up as more homes are

completed. Businesses have located both east and west on

Highway 6, including C-stores, a trio of dining options, an

event venue, auto body/repair shops and more.

“Our industrial park is pretty full, and right off I-80 by

Kum & Go, there are 62 shovel-ready commercial possibilities,”

Boldt said. The city has also earmarked another

commercial area north of town. |

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

7


Events

al Fresco

BY RUTH PAARMANN & ANGELA HOLMES

Across the Corridor, business is booming for outdoor

wedding venues. We discovered that each has its

own personality and amenities. Here is a sampling:

Bloomsbury Farm

3260 69th St., Atkins

www.bloomsburyfarm.com

(319) 446-7667

8 LUREOF THE COUNTRY

n Two large, rustic barns

n Zip line, corn maze and other activities

n Full farm available May-August

Bloomsbury Farm near Atkins is known for

corporate events and family-friendly fall

activities, but they also offer weddings May-

August.

Co-owner Karen Petersen says

ceremonies take place by the old oak tree,

the corn maze or the big arch. The zip line

was even part of one wedding celebration.

Two party barns, houses and a schoolhouse

can be rented.

Located minutes from the Highway 100

extension west of Cedar Rapids, Ms. Petersen

expects nearby hospitality options to help

with growth.


1441 Marak Road, Swisher

www.crwine.com/visit-us/event-space

(319) 857-4300

Cedar Ridge Winery

n View of 10 acres of vineyards

n Exclusive food and wine options

n Open to public for music events

Many people know about Cedar Ridge Winery &

Distillery near Swisher due to its tasting room and

entertainment schedule. Centrally located in the

Corridor, this venue attracts couples as well as

corporate event planners.

According to Chris Miller, event coordinator,

Cedar Ridge hosts 50 weddings per year and up to

seven smaller events each week.

“Some people want a more causal environment

for their wedding. Being in the outdoors allows for

that,” he says.

Couples can choose from two outdoor

ceremony spaces for up to 200 guests. A pergola

and patio each overlook the picturesque hillside

vineyards. Receptions can easily follow in a large

hall, which features a bar area, dance floor and

garage doors if weather allows.

“At a venue like this, let the venue do the

decorating for you,” Miller suggests. “Take

advantage of beautiful outdoor scenery.”

He says that the quality of the in-house buffet

and beverage options is a draw. The popular twoentrée

buffet often features house-made baconwrapped

pork tenderloin and bourbon-glazed

chicken. Couples can also choose wood-fired pizza.

The venue has made upgrades over the years.

Recently, parking options expanded to include a

new lot with more than 80 spots. Corporate clients

appreciate the Vineyard Room, a new space that

seats up to 40 people.

Ashton Hill Farm

803 Vernon Valley Drive, Cedar Rapids

www.ashtonhillfarm.com

(319) 892-0174

n New reception barn

n Capacity of up to 300

n Covered veranda with firepits

Ashton Hill Farm is one of the newest wedding venues in

the Corridor. Just east of Cedar Rapids on Highway 13,

this fresh, modern barn offers outdoor spaces as well as

hangouts designed for the bride, groom and family.

The venue realizes the vision of Megan Knatz, who also

owns Take the Cake Desserts.

“I wanted this to be able to be black tie or very rustic.

You’re not competing with the space and can truly make

the event your own,” she says.

Knatz knew from her clients that people were booking

weddings years in advance. Her dream gradually became

reality, even though builders and investors initially turned

her away. The venue booked 18 weddings before the

building even went up, and completed 32 weddings from

last November through August.

In back of the barn, the outdoor wedding space offers

benches for 300. Alongside the hall, a covered veranda

overlooks several firepits – the perfect spot for cocktails or

a quiet chat.

Knatz – who walks couples through their ceremonies

several times prior to the big day – explains that the venue

is full-service so couples can have the ultimate experience.

Staff performs all setup, teardown and cleaning. They

employ bar staff and provide beverages, but a prep

kitchen is provided so any caterer can bring in food.

“One of the keys to success is that we plan the outdoor

and indoor wedding at the same time. This takes away the

fear of it raining,” she said.


ella sala event center

www.bellasalaevents.com

(319) 545-4255

n Flexible capacity of 50-600

n Outdoor wedding waterfall and two patios

n Full-service décor and linens service

During the prime wedding season of May-

October, bella sala is pretty much booked

solid, even hosting three or four celebrations

in a single weekend, said owner and

manager Melissa Fontanini.

Couples are attracted to the serene

outdoor waterfall terrace which seats up to

400 guests on the lawn and patio. After the

ceremony, everyone can congregate in the

nearby bella sala hall for the reception.

Staff remains onsite during the entire

event, entirely taking care of setup and

takedown of all seating and decorating the

space. Bella sala works with a list of prepared

caterers to provide the best options for food

and beverages.

A boutique, XOXO Bridal, is located

on the west end of bella sala, providing

the wedding party with everything from

invitations and accessories to bridal and

bridesmaids gowns and tuxedo rentals and

purchases.

Outdoor weddings have become a trend

over the years, Ms. Fontanini said.

“It’s a destination area,” she said of

bella sala, which is nestled in 22 acres of

woodlands just a few miles from Highway 6

and the intersection of interstates 380 and

80. “It’s not far from Coral Ridge Mall but it’s

out in the woods.”

10 LUREOF THE COUNTRY


4696 Robin Woods Lane NE, Iowa City

www.thecelebrationfarm.com

(319) 631-8116

The Celebration Farm

n Stone arch amphitheater

n Two cedar-lined barns

n Outdoor space with each barn

Just north of Iowa City, The Celebration Farm offers two

barn options and a stone arch amphitheater. Up to 300

guests can enjoy the double round barn. Each barn

features local cedar wood and Stone City stone.

“The ambiance is the difference here. It’s the only

space with this look, and the cedar smells great,” said

Katie Martin, sales director.

The red timber frame barn suits 150 and features a

stained-glass window. The sound of a pond with a fountain

and woods adds an extra touch to the amphitheater and

the outdoor spaces by each barn. Each features a central

dance floor, bridal room and prep kitchen. In the winter, a

huge stone fireplace in the large barn adds coziness.

In the amphitheater, the staff typically sets up chairs for

guests; hay bales and blankets have also been used for

seating. Martin says the key to outdoor events is awareness

of guests’ needs, such as bottled water, fan-shaped

programs and themed décor that matches inside and out.

The farm often hosts one outdoor and one indoor

wedding and reception on the same day. Ms. Martin said

that great staff is the secret to juggling two events at once.

“Our people love what they do in providing an

extraordinary experience in an extraordinary space,” she

said. “Seeing the joy and amazement of guests makes it

exciting.”

(800) 247-5088 • 724 48th Ave., Amana

www.amanafurniture.com

IT JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER.

STYLISH HOME DECOR, FRESH NEW LINES OF UPHOLSTERED &

WOOD CRAFTED FURNITURE, AND MODERN TEXTILES.

COME SEE WHAT'S NEW IN OUR SHOWROOM.

(800) 222-6430 • 800 48th Ave., Amana

www.amanawoolenmill.com

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

11


HIGH DESIGN SPACES

Give&Take

12 LUREOF THE COUNTRY

Iowa City family creates a

modern farmhouse together

BY RUTH PAARMANN PHOTOS BY BRIAN DRAEGER


After moving eight times in 17 years

and with their construction business

thriving, the time was right for

Matt and Anne Boileau to build the

quintessential home for their family.

Matt, president of Boileau Construction,

wanted a place surrounded by large trees.

Anne, a family care physician at Mercy Hospital,

wasn’t wild about moving or being too far

out of town.

“I always wanted to be in the country,” said

Matt, a carpenter and builder by trade.

When working on a home northeast of

Iowa City, he told the owner he’d be interested

in the lot next door. When the lot became

available, Boileau jumped at the chance to

own a secluded wooded lot 10 minutes from

his wife’s work.

Following seven months of construction,

the family moved in the summer of 2016.

Fair Compromises

Boileau sketched out the shell of the home,

then he and his wife worked together on >

PAGE 12

In a rural setting of Iowa City, Matt

and Anne Boileau built a lovely home

where their family can grow.

PAGE 13

Their new home is a welcome retreat

for the Boileau family: Ethan, Dawson,

Faith, Anne, Matt and their dog, Joli.

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

13


14 LUREOF THE COUNTRY

creating a family-friendly layout. The

central kitchen and living room allow for

the kids and adults to occupy opposite

sides of the home.

While the design process went

smoothly, some details took some compromise

among the couple.

“I mentioned that I’d like to do

shiplap, and he didn’t know what I was

talking about,” Anne said. “I recorded

an episode of ‘Fixer Upper’ for him to

watch, and he said, ‘Let’s do the whole

house in shiplap!’”

Instead, they agreed to use shiplap

selectively on the main floor.

“Aesthetically, it has a completely

different look than standard drywall,”

she explained. “The knotty pine and all its character show through the paint.”

“Matt likes industrial and I like rustic with a touch of whimsy. We did a mix of styles

to keep the overall farmhouse feel,” Anne said.

To bring in a whimsical flair, she wanted a touch of wallpaper, which her husband

eventually got on board with in select rooms.

“It brought some of my wife’s fun and colorful personality into the spaces,” he said.

“After it was up, I was glad I took her suggestions.”

He wanted a wood-burning fireplace, which they placed in the living room, while

their master hearth burns gas.

Finally, he wasn’t sold on blue for the front door, but Anne and her friend, Kendra

Holtkamp of Refined Design Interiors, convinced him. She also blended both style

together throughout the process. >


PAGE 14

The kitchen island has

plenty of seating and

storage, including a

space for the dog

bowls. The Finishing

Touch, of Elgin, built

the hood and the

cabinets throughout

the home.

PAGE 15

A large, open layout

makes it easy for the

Boileau family to enjoy

each other’s company

and host gatherings.

800-397-3790 • R2Checking.com

BIGGER

DIVIDENDS &

CASH BACK

UICCU is proud to unveil the new R2 Checking Account. Earn

2.50% APY* on balances up to $20,000 AND get cash back on your

card purchases. Why settle for Free Checking when you could be

earning money with your account? Stop in or visit us at www.

R2Checking.com to learn more about this exciting new offer!

YOU CAN JOIN IF YOU LIVE OR WORK IN IOWA.

*APY is Annual Percentage Yield as of August 1, 2017. Rate is subject to change after the account is opened. 2.50% APY paid on balances up to $20,000. Requirements to earn

premium yield 1) Fifteen or more UICCU credit card purchases averaging at least $10 must post to the card between the first day of the month and the second to last day of the

month. Transactions posted on the last day of the month will be applied to the next month’s totals. 2) An ACH/Direct Deposit or ACH withdrawal of at least $100 must post and clear

the account (internal transfers excluded). If qualifiers are not met, 0.01% APY will be paid on all balances. Any points earned on the credit card will still accrue even

if these requirements are not met. Limit one account per individual. Credit card must be listed under the same account as the R2 Checking to qualify. Individuals may

choose either a Rewards Checking or R2 Checking account, but are not permitted to have both account types. Personal accounts only. Primary account holder must

be at least 18 years of age. $50 initial deposit required. May choose between e-Statements (free) or paper statements ($2.00 per month). Fees could reduce earnings.

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

15


Special Touches

Boileau crafted many features of the home

himself, from the mudroom coat and boot rack

to the hallway bench. He insisted on durable

white oak flooring, which he had worked with

in older homes, and picked up the siding nailer

himself to apply the shiplap in the living room

and master ceiling.

Family members and friends chipped in, too.

Jason Rekers provided the timber entry from Timberhawk

Construction, and Matt’s brother-in-law,

Danny Beasley, crafted the metal railing. Beasley

also provided the oak used in Matt’s office.

“My brother-in-law is a farmer and is very

handy, so he welded the stair rails for us. Kendra

helped design them to carry the Xs through

from the kitchen island,” Boileau said.

“Jason sourced the timber from a 100-yearold

barn from the lower Skunk River. He did

the timber framing in his shop and then built it

onsite,” he explained, noting that salvaged ceiling

boards from a Herbert Hoover family home

were also used.

Interior design was a collaboration between

Anne Boileau and Holtkamp with the help of

Heather Dewaard and Jenny Bimson from Dwell

Home Furnishings and Interior Design.

Most of the bedroom designs took inspiration

from Dwell’s linens. Such was the case with

the master suite, where Anne’s comforter was

complemented by “funky traditional” furnishings

to provide a mix of textures.

“With the vaulted ceiling, we wanted a large

four poster bed. This is a very unique style with

turned posts,” Dewaard said. “I loved mixing

that bed with the nightstands.”

“Neutrals in the main area of the home keep it

soft and muted. Downstairs is more playful with

colorful pillows and artwork,” she added. >

PAGE 16

Rusticity is a common

theme throughout the

home. Above is a trough

sink on a granite counter.

At left is Matt’s office with

a repurposed wood wall

and funky sconces.

PAGE 17

TOP: The master suite

features vaulted ceilings

with wooden beams and

a shiplap ceiling.

MIDDLE: Faith was able to

put the design features

she loves, such as the

desk, into her room.

BOTTOM: The master bath

features heated tile floors

and fixtures by Studio

H2O in Iowa City.

16 LUREOF THE COUNTRY


Family Favorites

Of course, everyone in the Boileau family has a favorite part of the house.

Dawson enjoys playing games and watching TV downstairs, and he and his dad

both like the firepit in the backyard. Faith loves her room, no doubt because

she handpicked features including the desk. Ethan enjoys the wood-burning

fireplace in the living room, which warms the house in the winter.

Anne is partial to the kitchen with its huge stove and wood hood that The

Finishing Touch built along with the cabinets. The island has seating for the

kids and features an expanse of beautiful, easy-care quartzite counters. A

walk-through pantry offers her a workspace and tons of open shelving.

“I like to cook and love having people over,” she said, explaining that Iowa

City is a good meeting point for her Quad Cities-based sisters, and her parents,

who live in Clear Lake. Matt’s family is from Iowa City, so they entertain often.

“And the kids have their own space, so when they have friends over, they

can be as loud as they want,” Anne added.

Now that the family has been in their new home for over a year, Ethan

sums it up simply.

“Once we got settled out here, it’s pretty nice.” |

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

17


HIGH DESIGN SPACES

The Skyline Ranch

Linn County acreage evolves into a

hobby farm with elegant country home

BY RUTH PAARMANN PHOTOS BY BRIAN DRAEGER

Before 2002, Julie and Len Tow had no intention of living in the country –

their home in Toddville was rural enough for them.

But then they found themselves outgrowing their home and wanted more land,

but weren’t having any luck finding a larger home on five acres that was

within 20 minutes of Len’s job at the Linn County REC.


They began looking for land

with at least 35 acres to meet

the Linn County building

requirements. Julie spied one

while taking their three children

to school in Alburnett. The Tows

purchased the original 40 acres

and moved into the existing

house. They bought 40 more

acres in 2003 and dubbed their

acreage The Skyline Ranch.

“We wanted five acres – we got 80,” said

Julie, a Cedar Rapids native who founded

Comfort Care Home Health Care.

They lived in the existing house for

about nine years and built a new house

in 2011.

“We’re lucky we were able to build

the house Julie always wanted,” Len

said. “She got her wish and I got mine to

get the ranch land.”

Embracing the Farm Life

While they settled into their new place,

many visitors mentioned how ideal the

property would be for horses.

“We didn’t know a thing about horses,

but people said they’d show us what

to do,” Julie said.

Soon, a Kirkwood vet tech student

was boarding her horses. Then, someone

else brought horses to board. Finally,

Julie bought horses for herself and

the kids. Today, nine horses live there

and their owners enjoy weekly rides on

two miles of riding trails that connect

with other local trails. >

PAGE 18

Belted Galloway cattle graze

in front of Julie and Len Tow’s

home, which they call The

Skyline Ranch.

PAGE 19

The Tow family from top to

bottom: Julie, Len, Parker, Karley

and Krissi. Len always wanted

a spiral staircase, and builder

Scott Hiserote appreciated how

much labor it saved.

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

19


One benefit – and responsibility – of having

80 acres is the ability to manage and produce

high-quality hay.

“Your plans change when you have to make

hay,” Len noted, while his wife added that they try

to make it fun by having a party for the crew.

Chickens were the next addition to the menagerie;

they now have several kinds.

“Lenny started bringing them home and said

they were mine for Mother’s Day one year,” Julie

explained.

A few goats and Belted Galloway cattle

followed. About a dozen of the “Oreo cookie”

cattle graze in the front field, and the goats help

control undergrowth in the woods. >

PAGE 20

TOP: The open kitchen and living room gives Julie an opportunity to be part of

the action. The kitchen was designed by Cabinet Studio to suit the family, their

love of entertaining and Julie’s love of cooking.

ABOVE: Vaulted ceilings and the stone fireplaces provide a country feel in the

screened-in porch.

LEFT: A richly stained boot bench is practical as well as beautiful.

PAGE 21

The open layout is complemented by a cozy space by the fireplace and piano.

20 LUREOF THE COUNTRY


The New Farmhouse

The Tows took the time to plan exactly what they

wanted in the new farmhouse. They had Ahmann

Design combine two different house plans into one,

shifting the garage location to maximize the views.

“Most house plans are designed for being in

town, so all the privacy is in the back of the home

and the garage is in front,” Len said. “This is the

opposite.”

While plotting it out with Scott Hiserote Construction,

they realized that the best position for

the home was not going to align with the compass

points. Len wasn’t sure he’d like a “crooked house,”

but they both love the way the kitchen, living room,

porch and deck let them watch birds, storms, lightning

and sunsets over the fields.

Each family member chose a feature for the

home. On the side deck, Len chose the spiral stairs

he’d always wanted. Their oldest daughter, Karley,

received a two-room suite upstairs. Inspired by

Parade homes, Krissi wanted a hidden door to her

room. Their youngest, Parker, got a soundproofed

gaming closet. Julie has a big kitchen with tons of

storage – room she needs for canning pickles and

green beans and entertaining.

“It was fun building it, because we lived in the

other house and we could see it going up. Every

night, when the kids got home, we’d come up together

to see the process,” Julie said. >

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

21


22 LUREOF THE COUNTRY

ABOVE: Master bed

and bath

BELOW: The lower

level entertainment

area provides two

levels — an upper bar

with all the trimmings,

designed by Cabinet

Studio, and an open

lower level with the

large TV.


While the Tows

didn’t have

an agricultural

background, they

have embraced the

farm life. The family

has horses and Julie

has several kinds of

chickens, including

adorable silky

chickens.

Big & Bright

With an open kitchen, dining and living room, it’s easy for Julie to cook meals

and still feel connected with her family and guests. She likes to bird-watch year

round, making the most of the deck for hummingbird feeders, suet and other

foods as the seasons change.

Just off the deck, the Tows have a bright, airy master bedroom with a view of

the woods and horizon.

“My friends ask how I can stand so much light with all the windows, but I feel

like I’m camping out,” Julie said.

When the weather is nice, the family brings company to the barn to hang out

and enjoy the horses, dogs, raised garden beds and the chickens, of course.

During the fall and winter, their walkout entertainment area and bar in the

lower level offers lots of space to watch Hawkeye football games. Board games

and a shuffleboard table provide winter diversions.

Whether they’re hosting friends or checking out the Milky Way, the Tows have

fully embraced the country lifestyle. And while they’re almost empty nesters,

their nest is rarely empty.

“Both of us have busy demanding jobs that are 24/7, so it’s nice to go home

and have a quiet place to relax and socialize,” Len said. |

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

23


WHAT’S

OLDIS

NEW

AGAIN

Salvaging items

saves the planet and

personalizes homes

BY RUTH PAARMANN PHOTOS BY BRIAN DRAEGER

24 LUREOF THE COUNTRY


Charming painted chairs.

Lovely embroidered linens.

Character-filled wooden

mantels. With quality old

pieces, something fresh and

new can be crafted. These

local salvage enthusiasts

have their finger on the

pulse of upcycling.

Shed Sale Specialist

Sarah Smith of Belle Plaine runs Nettianne’s in

Marengo, where she sells vintage finds and holds a

festive annual shed sale each fall.

“I get a kick out of finding things in a junk pile and

making it into something that has new life,” she said.

“I study them to figure out how they could spend life

in a whole new, purposeful way.”

Having grown up in a “crafty home,” Smith stockpiled

her finds for years. Her first sale was part of that

stash displayed on her front porch. She then hatched

a plan to do a barn-style market and invite other

vendors to sell their handiwork. >

PAGE 24

Shabby chic lovers should visit Gooselake

Creations, which is shown at its former

location across the street from their new shop

at 712 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids.

PAGE 25

Most salvage shops have a variety of antiques

as well as repurposed and repainted items.

650 Pacha Parkway, Suite 6

North Liberty

319-665-8300

CORRIDORKITCHENS.COM

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

25


Vintage Shopping Options

Gooselake Creations

712 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

www.facebook.com/gooselakecreations

Nettiannes

For sale dates, visit:

www.facebook.com/nettiannes

The Salvage Barn

2401 Scott Blvd., Iowa City

www.salvagebarn.org

26 LUREOF THE COUNTRY


“I wanted a little bit of old, a little vintage, some antiques

and some handmade things.”

Smith looks for items her grandma had at auctions, flea

markets and garage sales. People also know to call her

when a relative dies or needs to move.

“The best furniture is older furniture because it’s solid

wood,” she said, noting that many people appreciate the

quality and hate to throw it away. She is happy to salvage

what she can and help it find a new home.

Paint & Patina

Jeff Gerlits of Gooselake Creations in Cedar Rapids began

painting furniture in the 1980s, when he realized antiques

were declining as shabby chic style gained popularity.

“White was what people wanted, but that wasn’t me. I

went with black, which appealed to different people,” he said.

Gerlits specializes in distinctive, colorful painted

furniture and just started accepting quality consignments.

Rather than using pricey chalk paint, he swears by the >

PAGE 26

More typical finds at Gooselake Creations

include painted shabby chic and

repurposed items.

PAGE 27

In addition to the Gooselake Creations

offerings, Jeff Gerlits looks forward to

accepting consignments at his new location.

You Dream It, We Build It

Full Service Design / Build • DOE Net Zero

Ultra High Performance Passive House

Certified Green Builder • Aging In Place Specialist

Oak Tree Homes is Iowa’s expert on healthy,

energy efficient, and green building. We have

provided an unparalleled building experience

throughout Eastern Iowa since 2006 and our long

list of satisfied clients speaks for itself!

DESIGN | BUILD | REMODEL

www.oaktreehomesiowa.com

563-732-5340 | Wilton, IA

info@oaktreehomesiowa.com

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

27


PAGE 28

In Sarah Smith’s

capable hands,

an old egg

basket became

a light fixture

and a hardware

counter became

a kitchen island.

Sherwin Williams brand for creating better quality finishes.

He also offers many other vintage items like rugs, dishware,

lampshades, candlesticks, upholstered furniture, mirrors, clocks,

tables and more.

“I find stuff everywhere. I have pickers and customers who

bring me items and I go to auctions.”

In addition, he has partnered with a woman who makes decorative

pillows and an electrical engineer who assembles one-of-akind

upcycled lamps.

“I coached him to develop a more rustic, industrial look to mix

old with new and give people the light fixtures they’re looking for,”

he said.

Preserving History

In Iowa City, the Salvage Barn helps preserve history while

diverting materials from the landfill. The organization began as a

partnership between the Friends of Historic Preservation and the

city of Iowa City.

“The materials we save are higher quality and longer lasting

than new products, as they are from old growth wood. How can

we justify throwing it in the landfill?” said Alicia Trimble, executive

director of the Friends of Historic Preservation, which oversees

the barn.

The Salvage Barn features items from homes that are at last 50

years old. People can donate items, or a building owner can call

and a team of volunteers will remove them, including old radiators,

tubs, woodwork, doors and more.

If you need a piece of trim for your old house, this is a great place

to look. Want a vintage door? They have dozens. Paneling to create a

stylish wood bar? An old sink? You never know what you’ll find.

The Salvage Barn also runs a tool library, perfect for DIYers. For

a $25 membership, members can check out tools for a week. >

28 LUREOF THE COUNTRY


Cleaning and Preserving Items

“Many salvage items just need a good cleaning,” said

Smith, who often uses water and wire brush on farmfresh

items. “If there’s rust, you can easily spray a clear

coat over them.”

“Lead paint is to be respected, but it is not necessary

to fear it,” Trimble said. “It can be abated or encapsulated

safely.”

She explained that peeling paint from before 1980

has the greatest chance of being an issue because the

chips can be ingested. Test kits are available to confirm

the presence of lead paint. The keys to safe removal

are using appropriate masks designed for lead and the

proper tools. If it is not peeling, encapsulating it in two

coats of latex paint should be sufficient, she said. |

HOME

LIFE

HEALTH

TrueNorth offers real solutions that are designed with

you in mind.

Don’t leave your priorities to chance. At TrueNorth, we specialize in

developing plans that help you manage your personal risks to meet your

unique insurance needs.

truenorthcompanies.com

Proud to be Eastern Iowa’s

Paint Experts Since 1900!

Sarah Smith’s

recommendation

for incorporating

vintage pieces into

your home:

“Everyone needs to pick stuff

that they love. My house is a

complete mix of decorating

styles: farmhouse, industrial,

classic, vintage, bohemian…

There aren’t any rules to

decorating anymore. This

makes your house comfortable

and feel like home.”

We offer Klinger Paint, Pratt & Lambert,

Benjamin Moore paints and stains and have

an interior design service to help with color

selection and more!

333 Fifth Avenue SE | Cedar Rapids

319.366.7165

www.klingerpaint.com

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

29


HOME

SWEET

MAN CAVE TREND

FUELS POST-FRAME

BUILDING BOOM

BY EMERY STYRON

PHOTOS BY GREINER BUILDINGS

SHOME

When Shawn and Michelle Redlinger began

talking about building a house on their Washington

County acreage, like many young couples, they

weren’t ready yet for their dream home.

30 LUREOF THE COUNTRY


Builders of Quality

Custom Homes

Michelle, executive director of the Washington

Chamber of Commerce, started telling people they

would build a shed that would be their home – a

“shome,” she called it.

The Redlingers put up a 40-by 72-foot metal

building that includes 1,000 square feet of living

space, a natural interim solution since Shawn is

general manager for Greiner Buildings in Washington.

Meantime, Michelle’s term, “shome,” took on a

life of its own.

Shawn’s boss, Matt Greiner, began using “shomes”

to market the “man caves” that account for 25

percent of his post-frame building business. The

Redlingers, who were married in their post-frame

home, received for a wedding gift a sign reading

“Home, Sweet Shome.”

Going upmarket

The man cave trend of the past 15 years has had a

big impact on the post-frame industry, Greiner said.

The metal-sheathed structures were mainly thought

of as agricultural machine sheds until people started

to also use them for offices in the 1980s. They

weren’t considered “cool buildings” until after 2000,

when builders began adding architectural details

and “really nice stuff on the inside,” he said.

Post-frame structures are known for economy

and 16- 18-foot walls with a clear span, giving them

capabilities a typical residential garage can’t match.

You can park a tall RV inside or build a mezzanine

in one end for two levels of living space. Many of

Greiner’s clients combine a mega garage or shop

with relaxed sleeping, recreation and dining quarters

for either their main home or a getaway. >

PAGE 30

Shawn and Michelle Redlinger’s “shome”

in Washington County provides them with

1,000 square feet of living space as well as

acreage and a pond to enjoy the outdoors.

PAGE 31

The Redlingers’ living space includes a

cozy loft that is used as a television room.

Celebrating 20 years in business

Proud Partners of Iowa City HBA

Kevin McCreedy & Tim Ruth

319.648.2166 mccreedyruthconstruction.com

mary@mccreedyruthconstruction.com

LUXURY INTERIOR DESIGN & OUTDOOR LIVING

Furniture

Artwork

Accessories

Wall Textures

Lighting

Fire Tables

Outdoor Furniture

Complete Interior Design

319-366-2520

4850 ARMAR DR. SE

CEDAR RAPIDS IOWA

www.aragallery.net

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

31


Comforts of Home

John Thorp, of Muscatine, was seeking “a home away

from home” in his building completed last month.

“We were looking for a nice place to have a retreat,”

he said. “We love to hunt and be outside and in

the timber. We call it the cabin.”

It’s a cabin, however, with all the comforts of home,

including three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths,

hardwood floors, a floor-to-ceiling fireplace and a

screened porch. There’s room for grown children and

grandchildren.

Thorp’s getaway is at a different location from his

home, but Jeff Miller’s shome is just 100 feet from

his Washington County home. “We do a lot of family

gatherings,” Mr. Miller said. “We built this instead of

finishing our basement.”

A Rustic Look

The 24- by 32-foot gathering space is paneled with

car siding stained to look like old barn wood. A textured

concrete floor and ceiling finished with old tin

completes the rustic look. Rather than bedrooms, the

space has couches that fold down into beds.

In the shop space, there’s room for a basketball

hoop, an elevated display of pedal cars, a work area

and room to park a camper.

“We enjoy it a lot,” said Miller, who finished the

shell provided by Greiner Buildings. Greiner can do a

turnkey job or, as in Miller’s case, install the perimeter

walls, roof, awnings, porches, main entry doors

and soffit.

Turnkey projects for the “real fancy places” are

in the $120-130 per square foot range, Greiner said.

Shome features often include vaulted ceilings, stained

concrete floors that look like marble and extra tall

handcrafted cabinets. Even under the mezzanines,

ceilings can be nine feet high.

Does the builder of man caves have one of his

own? “I wish, but I personally do not,” Greiner admits.

He and his wife built a new house in a residential

neighborhood 13 years ago, before the trend took off.

“We are looking at a property in town that is a

couple of acres,” he said. “I would love to do one next

door to a new house.” >

PAGE 32

John Thorp’s garage in Muscatine houses his big-boy toys

while his “cabin” provides him and his family a home away

from home, including a kitchen area and screened-in

porch overlooking the timber.

PAGE 33

Jeff Miller’s man cave is just 100 feet from his Washington

County home. The 24-by-32-foot rustic gathering space is

paneled with car siding stained to look like old wood, and

the concrete floor is stained to look like marble.

32 LUREOF THE COUNTRY


SHC ad 2017.indd 1

9/26/17 11:37 AM

Dream ‘Shome’

The Redlingers have enjoyed man-cave living with

a view of their acreage and pond, but with a toddler

in the shome, the one-bedroom unit “can get awfully

tight in a hurry,” Shawn said. They look forward to

having another child and building the home of their

dreams next door.

Then, Redlinger can work on his other dream of

outfitting the shome in typical man-cave style with

“big screen TVs everywhere” and a pool table.

“Once we build a house, I’ll have my own little

party shack,” he said.

The woman who came up with the term, “shome,”

may have something to say about that. |

Interior Design | Furniture & Accents | Gifts

331 Kirkwood Avenue | Iowa City

351-4653 | Hours: M-F 10-5 | www.designsurroundings.com

Specializing in

custom homes,

remodels 319.533.3190 and

additions

scotthiseroteconstruction.com

shccr@msn.com

scotthiseroteconstruction.com

319.533.3190

319.533.3190 BBB

Serving Cedar Rapids for over 25 years

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

33


A Rustic State of Mind

Get your country on with looks that capture a rustic feel.

BY RUTH PAARMANN

ROUND METAL

FIREWOOD HOLDER

Leaning toward an industrial look, this

firewood holder provides an artful touch to

a functional item. Available in two sizes.

INQUIRE WITH:

Heather Dewaard

Dwell Home Furnishings and Interior Design

www.dwellhomefurnishings.com

DRIFTWOOD

COCKTAIL TABLE

A base of weathered driftwood makes

for a stunning conversation piece.

INQUIRE WITH:

Jean Phipps

Surroundings Interiors

www.designsurroundings.com


CURVED EXPOSED

TRACK DOOR

These custom-built quartersawn oak

doors provide a “barn door” style at the

entrance of a home gym.

Interiors Gifts Lifestyle

INQUIRE WITH:

Lori Wiles

Lori Wiles Design

www.loriwilesdesign.com

It’s good to be home.

New homes, remodels

or renovation

319.447.6019

allancustomhomes.com

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

35


RECLAIMED

WOOD

Complete with a vintage patina

and years of distressing, beautiful

reclaimed barn wood completes

a masculine bathroom.

INQUIRE WITH:

Lori Wiles

Lori Wiles Design

www.loriwilesdesign.com

CRACKLE FINISH

NATURE ART

The homeowner’s nature

photography was enlarged onto

antiqued canvases. This style

complements the rustic touches

throughout the home.

INQUIRE WITH:

Kennon Springer

Interior Perfection Furniture

Store & Design

www.interiorperfection.com


LIVE EDGE

MIRROR

A rough, “live” edge of natural

wood juxtaposes rusticity and

sophistication in one piece.

Live edge dining tables are also

available.

INQUIRE WITH:

Jean Phipps

Surroundings Interiors

www.designsurroundings.com

Nov 4 - Feb 11, 2018

An original exhibition featuring

beaded bags, Czech garnets, and

stunning pins from Madeleine

Albright’s collection that will

dazzle visitors.

Lead Sponsor

Western Fraternal Life

(319) 362-8500 | NCSML.org

1400 Inspiration Place SW | Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

37


DANISH

FARMHOUSE

PENDANT

LIGHTS

In the Spanish island home

of Nani Marquina, owner

of the Nanimarquina rug

company, pendant lights

from Ikea add simplicity to

the rustic theme.

INQUIRE WITH:

Chris Gnade

Design Ranch

www.designranch.com

KILIM

RUG

Mash up rustic pieces

with European

modernist flair in a

spare, rustic room for

a stunning impact.


Thinking about BUYING or

SELLING a HOME? Call me!

Brad Oppedahl, REALTOR ®

Your home, my expertise!

319-360-2181

BradO@Skogman.com

411 1st Avenue SE Cedar Rapids IA 52401 • Licensed to sell in the state of Iowa

STONE RIVERBED

MOTIF SHOWER

A flowing riverbed of smooth stones

runs through a slate backdrop in this

custom shower.

INQUIRE WITH:

Kennon Springer

Interior Perfection Furniture

Store & Design

www.interiorperfection.com

Purchase Your Home Today!

The Metropolitan is conveniently located

across the street from the McGrath

Amphitheater/downtown and is the home of

luxury owner-occupied condominiums.

www.hobarthistoricrestoration.com

LUREOF THE COUNTRY

39

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines