Recent Posts

Posts on this website may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read my disclosure policy. Thank you for your support of this website and our family.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My Favorite Condos in The Roosevelt




I promise, this is the last blog post about The Roosevelt.  (Go ahead and check out #1 and #2 if you haven’t already…I’ll wait.)

But this is my favorite post, because it showcases my favorite units.

If you’re just tuning in, The Roosevelt is a 90 year old school, renovated into 20 condos.  There are 10 two bedroom units, 7 three bedroom units, and 3 one bedroom units.  Each unit has laundry, gorgeous windows, architectural salvage, plenty of storage and loads of charm. I toured the building once, when work was almost complete on the final set of condos.  Then, I toured again and took a bazillion pictures.  (I shared many of them here.)

I saved these two units for last, because they are my favorite.  I think, if I ever write a novel, the heroine will live in one of these condos, and probably have the most glamorous job in Central Iowa (not that I know what that is, but that’s a detail I can figure out later.)

Anyway, without further ado, the condo(s) of my dreams.



This unit had three bedrooms, two of which were up stairs.  Maybe I’ve been living under a rock (or just in regular apartments and houses) but I was so surprised when I walked in and saw that there was a 2nd story within this condo, making it more like a townhouse than apartment.


The reclaimed fireplace, with chippy sage paint (matching the exposed concrete pillars in the kitchen) called my name. 


And the antique built-in cabinet at the unit’s entrance was amazing. (Apparently, I was in so much awe that I failed to get a great picture of the cabinet.  You can see it on the left side of the photo below.  And take note of the greenish concrete pillars.)


The bedrooms in this unit didn’t have any exterior windows, but they had skylight type windows that let in natural light, and GORGEOUS closet doors.  Plus, in the landing (not shown) was a little nook perfect for an office, crafting space, or, yes, a play room for kids.roosevelt5

Now, this was the unit that made my friend Sarah and I gasp and giggle like school girls.  It was, quite possibly, the most amazing home I’ve ever been in, even if it was a condo in an old school!

Starting in the kitchen, the cabinets were painted an antique green, and the kitchen included a kegerator and reclaimed wood bar.


The living room featured a gorgeous tile fireplace with custom built in bookshelves on either side.

IMG_1690The kitchen, and an exposed brick wall opposite the entryway, divided the living room from the rest of the space.IMG_1706

Upstairs, there was a small office nook, and if I remember right, there were two bedrooms and two baths in this unit.


A couple more pictures from the building…the exposed brick in the stairways was gorgeous, and I love the original water fountain.  The natural light and salvaged details in this renovated school were so cool!


Check out my other blog posts about The Roosevelt:

The Ultimate Repurpose: Behind the Scenes of a 90 Year Old School Remodel

Tour The Roosevelt: Tour several NEW condos in an OLD school

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I wish someone told me…


I’m struggling to put into words my interpretation of this quote.  So instead, I’ll leave it here for you to interpret yourself.

Ira Glass Creative Quote

(This printable is free for my newsletter subscribers.  Sign up below and after you confirm your subscription, you will receive an email with a link to download this free printable – without the watermark - and more than two dozen others.)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Blogger Book Club: The Tipping Point, The Domestic Diva Mystery Series, Small Blessings, The Secret Life of Book Club, I’m Having So Much Fun Here Without You


Amazing, I read a lot last month!  And my house was a mess most of the time.  I wonder if there’s a correlation. Surely not.

Anyway…here are this month’s book reviews (The Blogger Book Club book is at the end of this post.)

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference 

Very interesting, not very helpful.

This non-fiction book appealed to the psychology and sociology lover in me.  In it, Gladwell outlines several examples of epidemics and what led them to become so.  I listened to the audio book, and was pleased that it was relatively short.  However, the book did not include much in the way of actionable suggestions for anyone trying to create an epidemic.  (Like, say, for example, how to push my blog over the tipping point so that I can be the next Pioneer Woman or Young House Love.)


The Diva Runs Out of Thyme (A Domestic Diva Mystery)

Nancy Drew for Martha Stewart Wanna-be’s

This book was not life-altering or thought provoking, but I loved it.  It was a fun mystery (as in, not gruesome or really scary) and I loved the setting.  The main character is a “domestic diva” and she reminded me of all my DIY blogger and food blogger friends.  I’m definitely planning on reading more in the series.



Small Blessings: A Novel

Title didn’t fit, but the book was great.

This was an interesting book, full of interesting, almost unbelievable twists.  But somehow, the characters were  believable, and really made the story come alive.  It was, in essence, a story about how we’re all crazy in way or another (or maybe 3 or 4 ways) and that we all have obstacles to overcome.  Happily, all the characters came out okay in the end.



*I received a copy of this book from the author, a fellow blogger, to review.  All opinions are my own.

The Secret Life of Book Club

Slow start, but worth the read

After a slow, sort of confusing start (I had trouble keeping the four main characters straight) I loved this book.  As each chapter went on, we learned more about the characters and their problems. My favorite plotline at the beginning was Kate’s, as it was a bit romantic.  But Paula’s story really surprised me, and Iove the way it worked out!  I was really impressed by the depth and breadth of knowledge that the author must have, because there were so many unique experiences in the story!

Official Blogger Book Club Pick:

I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You: A Novel

Sort of depressing.  Wonderful setting.

So…I sort of missed that this book was a novel.  And thought that it was a memoir.  An odd memoir.  Once I figured out it was a novel, it was much more digestible, and a lot less depressing.  And I came in to it expecting chick lit, which this was not.  It’s sort of like the time I took my cousin to see Rent and she thought it was about a big, happy Italian family.  When your expectations are so far off base, it’s hard to reconcile it all.  But, I do LOVE Paris.  And all of France, really.  And I’m not going to lie…I totally pictured the Parisian townhouse as one of the condos I shared last week.


Be sure to check out the reviews from Kirby, Carmen, Cassie and Jessica!


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tour The Roosevelt: Old School, New Condos (in Central Iowa)


I posted a couple weeks ago about The Roosevelt, a 90 year old school turned into 20 brand new condos.

And then I got permission to come again and take pictures of the finished condos.


Just as I expected, the condos were A.MAY.ZING. Architectural salvage, reclaimed fireplaces, antique built-in cabinets, and exposed brick walls combine with gorgeous details to make one-of-a-kind residences.architectural salvage

This unit was high on my list of favorites.  I LOVE the dark stained wood cabinets….condos for sale

and windows…

school building aparments

And this little, brick nook would make a perfect office.

exposed brick school apartment

The condos were like something from tv or movies…one of those amazing apartments where the young professionals live in NYC.  Like in Friends.  Or 27 Dresses.  Or How I Met Your Mother.

This condo was “garden level” but you never would have known.  LOTS of windows and natural light, with an open floor plan, made it bright and homey.

adaptive renovation school condos

My friend, Sarah, and I kept trying to picture our families living in these condos.  We decided that the little nook to the left of the fireplace was probably supposed to be an office, but it would be a great place to store toys!

This unit also included a walk-in pantry closet and mudroom with custom built-ins.  And a wide hallway, leading to the bedrooms, would be perfect for a desk, bookshelves, or (again) toy storage.

condo with character in old school

This is another garden level unit.  It wasn’t my favorite, but it was still very neat. 

the roosevelt school renovation

I LOVE the exposed brick in the dining room area, and the kitchen was very nice.

roosevelt school ames iowa

But my favorite thing in that unit (not shown, because it was impossible to photograph) was a GIANT storage area under the building’s stairs.  We joked that the closet under the stairs would have been a luxurious place for Harry Potter to get away from the Muggles.

One last unit – and then I’m saving my favorites for later this week!

condo in old school

This unit had clean lines and a bit more modern feel.  The stained concrete floors need some warming up with rugs, in my opinion, but I love the exposed concrete pillars and beams, the antique built in cabinet, and the exposed brick wall in the one of the bedrooms.

school renovated into condos

The Roosevelt is close to downtown Ames, Iowa, with lots of great shops and restaurants.  It’s in a beautiful, old neighborhood and is surrounded by half a block of green space. Each condo owner has one parking spot in the attached garage and a storage locker in the building.  And inside each unit, there is a full laundry, plenty of closet space, and gorgeous bathrooms. The building has state of the art geothermal heating.

So, what do you think? Could you picture yourself living in one of these condos?

I’ll share my two favorite units later this week!  In the meantime, check out my other post about The Roosevelt (with photos of some other units) and The Roosevelt’s website.


Shared at: Funky Junk Interiors

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

20 Master Bedroom Makeovers for your Hump Day Snow Day

It’s Hump Day.

And a snow day for my kids (even though the snowstorm hasn’t started yet – we’re expecting 8 inches by evening.)

If you’re snowed in like me, I have the perfect distraction to keep you from dwelling on the fact that average temperatures in Iowa are supposed to be in the upper 30s, not the teens and subzero windchill we’ve had lately. (I’m not bitter at all.)

I chose my favorite 20 master bedroom makeovers on Hometalk, and put them on one handy clipboard for you to browse.  I promise, these warm and cozy rooms will make you forget that winter seems to go on forever. And the rooms are FULL of DIY projects you can do at home!

Head on over to check them out!

*Don’t forget to sign up for my new email newsletter! The first edition goes out tomorrow morning!

Master Bedroom Makeovers

Monday, February 23, 2015

New! Email Newsletter

Email NewsletterI’m sort of random.  And I jump from one idea to the next daily (and sometimes hourly) which makes it hard for you, my readers, to predict what’s coming next.

I have been sending out an email every time I publish a new blog post, which is usually two or three times a week.  But because my blog is so random, and some weeks I feel like posting more frequently, I’m going to start a weekly e-newsletter instead.

The newsletter will be sent out on Thursdays and include:
  • a summary of the week’s posts
  • a couple of featured posts from my blog archive
  • a favorite turkey recipe
  • a question for my readers
  • a link to all the free printables on my blog.
My goal is to provide you with weekly inspiration and food for thought, without overwhelming your inbox.  We’ll call this my “something for everyone” initiative.

If you’ve already subscribed to my email list, you don’t need to do anything.  Just open up your email on Thursday morning and you will see the brand new newsletter! (You’ll no longer get an email every time I post – just once a week.)

If you haven’t subscribed, simply enter your email below, confirm your subscription, and you will be signed up for the email newsletter AND have access to all the free printables on my blog.

And if you’re wondering what these free printables are, here’s a small sample:

Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter at the bottom of this post!

*I promise, I'll never share your email address with anyone, and you can always unsubscribe later if you want. (I don't know why you'd want to, but you DO have the option.)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sunday Mornings on the Farm, Grace, and Free Printable Encouragement


I have a confession.

We don’t attend church nearly as often as we’d like to.

And it’s because of our farm.

You see, Bart has work to do every morning.   And some mornings, it’s a lot of work. When our barns are full, he has 4 to 6 hours of chores every single morning.

We have a hired man who works Monday – Friday.  But Bart believes, as the owner of the farm, that HE should be the one to give up his weekends to work.  And so, while he may have help with those chores Mon-Fri, on Saturdays and Sundays, he’s on his own.

Which means that I’m on my own, with two little boys for Sunday School and church.  And I’m sorry, friends, but I just can’t do it every week.   I decided one morning, after screaming at my children to get them out the door on time for Sunday School, that it’s just not worth it.  It wouldn’t matter what they learned in Sunday School that day after getting off to such a rough start.

And so, I’m working hard to give myself some grace.  In a perfect world, we would attend church every week as a family, but I’m okay with the fact that we don’t do that often right now.  My boys are young, and honestly, the church service must sound like a foreign language to them.  My youngest is naturally very active and always has been.  Asking him to sit still (and quiet!) for an hour is like asking him to cook Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s just not possible. And, let’s face it, while I’m working hard to shush my boys and keep them quietly distracted, I’m not getting much of anything out of the church service, except frustration.

I’ve decided, quite frankly, that having a mother who models Jesus’s love and patience is more important than learning to sit still and quiet for an hour.  If I could do both, I would. But I am an imperfect mom (aren’t we all?) and I just can’t do it every week.

The older members of our church are always telling me how much they love seeing kids in church, and that the boys’ noise doesn’t bother them.  And I want to ask them if they’ll sit with my kids, so that I can worship God without distractions.  Because some weeks, I need church.  I need to hear the pastor’s words and sing the Doxology with my whole heart. And I can’t do that when I’m reminding a 3 year old to use his whisper voice.

Other parents have told me that their kids sit still in church from a young age because they were taught to.  They made church a routine and the kids learned at an early age how to behave.  Sorry, friends, but I don’t buy it.  Kids are different.  Your child may sit still because they are more naturally inclined to do so.  But for my little Hurricane Isaac, it’s not appropriate to expect him to do so.  In fact, ask any preschool teacher if they would make a three year old child sit still and quiet for an hour.  They will answer, without a doubt, that it is not developmentally appropriate to expect that.  Yes, practice helps.  But no matter how many times I hand a newborn a pair of scissors, they will NOT learn how to cut a straight line. I know, from my experience as a teacher, that trying to teach a child something that is beyond their reach is frustrating for both parties.grace perfection watermark

And so, this is the phase of life we’re in. My husband is unable to attend church with our family most Sunday mornings, and I’m unable to remain patient and loving while trying to force my youngest child to do something that is completely inappropriate for his age and temperament. 

This phase is not ideal, but it’s also not permanent.  In a few more years, our oldest son will help Bart chore (right now, when he “helps,” chores end up taking more time, not less) and things will be different. 

But for now, I know that God forgives me for all of my shortcomings, and I’m trying hard to do the same.

In the end, on Sunday mornings, that’s all that matters.

(Well, that and whether or not the turkeys are cared for.)


(To download the printable above WITHOUT my website address on it, please subscribe to my email newsletter.  After you confirm your subscription, you will get an email with a link to download ALL of my free printables, without a watermark. THANK YOU for subscribing to On the Banks of Squaw Creek.)