Our home is an Italianate-style brick home that we believe was built in the 1870s. It resides on the outskirts of a once prosperous rural town, Vandalia, Iowa. We own the surrounding seven acres, which is divided into our yard, garden, flower plots, and native virgin prairie.
Maintaining a house this old is not easy; the upkeep alone is significant work. We have renovated several rooms, including both bathrooms. We prefer to do as much of the work as we can on our own. We have a decent workshop where I do woodworking and welding.
By day, I am an architect at Substance Architecture in Des Moines and my wife, Amber, is a freelance producer and writer for Better Homes and Gardens and Do It Yourself magazines. Amber and I (mostly Amber) own and operate a flower farm, Savanne Flowers, out of our home as well.
What is your favorite room and why? It’s a toss-up between the library and solarium. The library is great in the winter because of the wood-burning stove. The solarium is great for watching wildlife while sipping coffee in the spring and fall.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? 1930s Chicago Continental Bathroom Scale
Any advice for creating a home you love? Make your own style, don’t assume a trend.
Thanks, Kevin Wagner!
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