This Is What a 1870s Italianate Farmhouse in Iowa Looks Like on the Inside (& We Approve)

This Is What a 1870s Italianate Farmhouse in Iowa Looks Like on the Inside (& We Approve)

(Image credit: Kevin Wagner)

Name: Kevin Wagner, wife Amber, two cats, Fjell and Fritz, a farm dog, Finn, and several chickens
Location: Vandalia, Iowa
Size: 2500 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, owned

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.

The library features lots of books and a woodstove.
(Image credit: Kevin Wagner)

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.

(Image credit: Kevin Wagner)

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.

Amber's Umbrella Collection
(Image credit: Kevin Wagner)

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.

The woodstove!
(Image credit: Kevin Wagner)
Bathroom
(Image credit: Kevin Wagner)

What's the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? 1930s Chicago Continental Bathroom Scale

A post shared by Kevin Wagner (@kwagneer) on

We're currently finishing a total reno down to studs without a contractor, under $5k
(Image credit: Kevin Wagner)

Any advice for creating a home you love? Make your own style, don't assume a trend.

(Image credit: Kevin Wagner)

Thanks, Kevin Wagner!

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