staff writer 08/02/2006
Arturo Fernandez/Juice Photos
Ellen Bryant's round home at 4940 Urbandale Ave. in Beaverdale, above, and the small dining room, below.
The living room, above, and kitchen,
left, in Ellen Bryant's round house
Ellen Bryant's round home at 4940 Urbandale
Ave. in Beaverdale, above, and the small dining room, below. Arturo
Ellen Bryant outside her round home.
When her mother suggested that she look at them, Ellen Bryant laughed and declined at first.
A round house? Was she going to be the new "woman who lived in the shoe?" The "round house lady?"
But when Bryant, 27, checked out the inside of the circular brick building at 4940 Urbandale Ave., she was surprised and delighted with its charm.
"I love the uniqueness of it and that it's one of only a few around," said Bryant, who bought the home - her first - a little more than a year ago.
If you haven't seen the round houses that were built in the late '40s, drive to Beaverdale. Several of them are scattered around the neighborhood, some with additions that have increased their size, and a couple like Bryant's 696-square-foot abode.
"It's very cleverly done," said Cheryl Corbett of Iowa Realty, who helped Bryant settle the deal - a final price of $98,000 - with the older couple who had lived at the address for more than 28 years.
The tour doesn't take very long. About a third of the main level houses a family room, which Bryant brightened up with light paint and furniture, creating the illusion of a bigger room.
To the right is a small kitchen. Bryant said it has gotten a little cozy with parties she's held in the past.
The home has two small bedrooms separated by a detached bathroom, just big enough to cram in a bathtub, toilet and sink. Bryant turned the other bedroom into an office.
"Looking at it, it seemed smaller than my apartment at Iowa State," Bryant said. "It's perfect for one person, but too small for anyone else."
Bryant has done a lot with the place. She stripped the carpet and wallpaper, uncovered sophisticated wood floors and repainted the walls. The hardest challenge was getting the quarter-round - the decoration along the bottom of the wall - to bend around the curve of her home.
Bryant also took down multiple walls that divided the circular concrete basement into what must have looked like a pie. She now uses the underground level for laundry.
Since finishing all the renovations, Bryant has worked on the outside and enjoys sprucing up the landscape, gardening and seeing her neighbors and families walk by her and her round house.
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4940 Urbandale Avenue
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4948 Urbandale Avenue