On one of Pleasant Hill’s shortest blocks, a small ranch-style home stands out from its neighbors.
Beyond the flawless front yard landscaping is the walk down the driveway, each side meticulously manicured with small trees, ground cover and large tin buckets full of summer color. Still walking toward the two-car garage, you sense from the pergola on the left and sound of a trickling stream somewhere, that what you are about to see on the right will be well worth the slow stroll so far. It is.
You view instant beauty, calmness and creativity that pops everywhere. It’s absolutely gorgeous.
Mike and Carol Allstead have lived in their two-bedroom ranch since 1967. She’s still working full time. He’s retired — well, at least from work outside the home. The backyard he manicures is full of interesting finds — an amusement park airplane from the 1930s he’s hung from a tree and put seasonal flowers in, an antique wire bed he’s buried in the dirt and planted rows of annuals to mimic a quilt. Two augers planted in the dirt are home to clematis. There is a fireplace mantel along the privacy fence and an antique silo they use for storage. The stepping stones to reach all this beauty are seamlessly placed.
“You’ve got to buy the unusual stuff,” says Mike.
The couple drives to Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Ames and farther to visit various flea markets, antique stores and even individuals who share the same interest.
Inside, the couple has redone the kitchen with white cupboards, granite countertops and a built-in nook which holds an antique candy machine.
“This house is perfect,” says Carol. “It’s manageable for us.”
Once upon a time, when their three kids were all little, she dreamed of a bigger home. Now she’s glad they stayed.
For a slew of years, there were 104 kids, 30 mopeds and three backyard pools, all on this short Pleasant Hill block. As their son, Jason reminisces of the fun of moped gangs, his mother simultaneously shakes her head and says it was horrible!
It’s a much quieter home now; the couple’s focus has changed a bit. Carol likes to scrapbook. Mike’s got the backyard. And together, when not traveling for interesting finds, they enjoy staying home creating even more family memories with the grandchildren.