Back in 1968, Jeff and Betty Mathers fell in love with a rustic house on K Avenue surrounded by 22 acres of timber. It was the perfect home for Betty, a well-known local artist, and Jeff, who enjoys the observation and study of birds as a recreational activity.
The house has pegged oak flooring, three bedrooms, three baths, library, kitchen, dining room, living room, family room, screened porch and a triangular wood deck that extends right out into the middle of nature. The living room has vaulted ceilings with 6×8-foot beams and rustic wallboards that were salvaged from an old barn in Steamboat Rock. The pegs used in the barn construction were incorporated into the beams and wallboards in keeping with the rustic design of the house. Special to Jeff and Betty is a harvest table and chairs that belonged to Betty’s parents. As a young girl, Betty helped pick out the dining room furniture when a new house was built on the family farm. Family-owned antique commode tables and a walnut drop-leaf table also complement the interior.
Only six of the 22 acres are pasture. The remainder is thick with trees including oak, basswood, hackberry, walnut, buckeye, shagbark hickory, burr oaks and linden. Betty uses leaves from the trees as well as numerous wildflowers and rare vines in a variety of art projects.
Betty has taught art since she graduated from college. She has a degree in jewelry and silversmithing and a minor in sculpture, but has taught many types of art media to all ages. During Jeff’s Navy career, he was stationed in Hawaii and Betty taught 2.5 years at Punahou School in Honolulu, the same school that Pres. Barack Obama attended. She later taught at Hoover High School in Des Moines for 22 years and currently teaches at The Montessori Children’s House in West Des Moines. Betty is a Master Gardener and has volunteered at the Des Moines Botanical Garden for 20 years. She belongs to The Herb Study Group that plants and cares for the herb and vegetable garden at Terrace Hill, and she helps care for the herb garden at the Dallas County Fairgrounds. She belongs to P.E.O., The Des Moines Area Quilt Guild and The Art Quilt Guild.
After a career as an electrician in the Navy and 20 years as a Navy reserve, Jeff is now retired.
Jeff and Betty grew up in the Creston area. They have one daughter, one son and five grandchildren.