BRITT | Bonnie and Jay Hiscocks weren’t in the market for a new home.
But the couple couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have an outdoor seating area and a remodeled kitchen, so they traded newer ranch-style house for a vintage two-story in Britt last February.
“(Those) really pushed it over the edge when we were listing our pros and cons,” Jay said.
Situated back from the road on 0.4 acres, the 1,700-square-foot house, 436 Third St. SW, features five bedrooms, two bathrooms, an enclosed wrap-around porch and a detached two-stall garage.
The house, built in 1890, has been modernized but retains several original characteristics: rectangular stain-glassed window in the living room, iron heat registers and woodwork.
“We like the old-style house that’s been upgraded,” Jay said.
Many of the house’s upgrades, including the heated ceramic tile floors in the kitchen and bathrooms, came in the early 2000s when Bonnie’s sister Karen Solien and her husband, Chris, lived in it.
The house, which was owned by someone else between the Soliens and the Hiscocks, sat empty for nearly a year before Bonnie and Jay and their 10-year-old daughter, Claire, and 4-year-old havapoo, Molly, moved in last winter.
“It felt like home pretty much right away,” said Bonnie, who grew up in Britt and whose family still lives in the area.
The first floor features a remodeled kitchen, dining room, living room and bathroom as well as Jay’s “man cave” adorned with University of Iowa and Chicago sports’ memorabilia.
There’s also an enclosed wrap-around front porch done in the late 1990s that Bonnie and Jay have contemplated opening to reveal one of the house’s unique features, an oval window near their front entrance.
“We don’t know how feasible that will be,” he said.
The second floor has a bathroom and four bedrooms, including a guest room and an office/craft room.
Although, Bonnie and Jay enjoy the house, there are several areas inside and outside they consider “in progress” until they determine what they’d like to do to make them their own.
Claire said her favorite space in the house is her room because it allows her to watch the Hobo Days parade from her window.
Because of the house’s location along the parade route, the Hiscocks hosted its first big party for family and friends during the weekend celebration, which was a lot of fun, Jay said.
“This house is just easier to entertain in,” he said.
Within the past year, Bonnie and Jay have hosted more family and friend gatherings, like Easter, than at their last house.
That’s in large part because of the kitchen — Bonnie and Jay’s favorite room in the house.
The kitchen, which is bigger than their last, features “all kinds of counter space and cabinet space,” Bonnie said.
“It’s spacious ... More than a few people can fit in it,” she said.
The house’s outdoor living area, which comprises a deck and circle patio, is also good for entertaining.
“We’ve never had an outdoor eating area in our years of marriage, so that was kind of fun to grill out and eat outside,” Bonnie said. “We sat by the fire a lot, too.”
She said the location is also great because it’s near the recently renovated Lions Park and Claire’s friends.
Bonnie, a nurse at Garner-Hayfield-Ventura Community Schools, and Jay, a local State Farm insurance agent, moved from the Iowa City area to Britt in 2010 to raise their daughter closer to family in “a community that had a sense of community.”
“We love it,” Jay said. “We’ll be here for quite a while.”