Welcome to the Midwest.
Story by CAROL MCGARVEY
Photography by Mirza Kudic
Featured in Autumn 2023
No way. Their kids said they would never leave their native New York. Roots were deep. Both had lived there during their entire lives.
But Jean and Richard Nold surprised everyone, probably even themselves, when they moved to the Never-Never Land of Iowa. Where are you going? What is there? Why are you going?
With three children, each of them parents of three children, the couple took a tough look at their situation. “Our kids live all over the country—a daughter in Iowa and twin sons in Connecticut and Illinois, and they are not moving back to Long Island,” Jean says. “So we must move closer to them.”
And they did.
“You know what?” asks Richard. “The phrase ‘Iowa Nice’ is real. We have never met such great people. We love it.”
They worked with their daughter, Jennifer James, an interior designer who owns James Ireland Design, who did lots of leg work before her parents’ move to the Midwest. “We ended up building a freestanding home in a 55-plus community in Clive,” she explains.
WORKED WITH DAUGHTER
“We had lived in an older home on Long Island for many years, so we had a major clean out,” Richard says. Their home sold in 20 minutes. They got rid of most of their furniture and moved here with their dining room set, a bed, a coffee table, and two display cabinets. With Jennifer’s design help—and lots of phone calls and photos back and forth, they purchased new pieces for their new home, which has 2,100 square feet. It was a fresh start from the beginning. Many new accessories came from Trieste of West Des Moines.
On this end, Jennifer made some changes to the house plan, adding a huge pantry with double doors, removing a wall so that the open-concept idea would make the living area seem much larger, and adding more electrical outlets. They also added a pergola to the outdoor patio area.
When they could not find a comforter they liked, Jennifer made one for them, and she also created colorful drapes for the den.
The home is now a transitional style with some traditional touches. The beautiful kitchen with a lovely island accommodates their family and guests with barstools and the dining room furniture. The den at the front of the home has a sleeper sofa, and there is a separate guest room with an ensuite bathroom.
On the other side of the home is the primary bedroom, large enough for a king-size bed. Closets and a laundry room are nearby.
The couple has embraced their new lifestyle. Richard volunteers with Meals from the Heartland, sells popcorn and peanuts at Principal Park for the Optimist Club, and builds bunk beds for children for the nonprofit organization Sleep in Heavenly Peace. During this fall he was on a combine during harvest season with a new friend. He also is a greeter at Dowling Catholic High School.
Jean also has volunteered with the Optimist Club and has joined the community’s book club, birthday club, and coffee get-together. Both are in the monthly dining club. The community also has a clubhouse and a pool for residents. There is even a corn hole baseball team. Jean is on the social committee, and Richard is on the architectural and landscape committee. Needless to say, they have jumped in. “There are so many great people in this community,” Richard points out.
WHAT IS A POTLUCK?
They also learned a new language, as in “what is a potluck?” They now know, and Jean has purchased a Crockpot for making meals for potluck gatherings.
How was it for Jennifer to have her parents as clients? “I was nervous at first, but they have turned out to be one of my easiest clients.”
How was it to pick up and move halfway across the country? “It was a bit overwhelming,” Richard notes. “But as smoothly as the move went, it was meant to be.”
“I had to leave my brothers there, so there were a number of sleepless nights,” Jean admits.
Now if Richard could just find some New York-style pizza and bagels. But, as he points out, there is one great thing: “The cost of living here is so low. I love it.”
Welcome to Iowa, Jean and Richard. We are glad you came. •
- Interior Design James Ireland Design
- Accessories Trieste