A Colorful Queen Anne Victorian For Sale in Iowa

by hookedonhouses on May 29, 2011

File this house under “They don’t make ‘em like this any more.” The stunning Queen Anne Victorian was built in 1897 in Osceola, Iowa, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s known as “The Banta House” and was designed by the popular Victorian-era architect George Barber.

The house, which features 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 3 fireplaces, and 3 porches, is on the market for only $300,000. It has been restored, but it needs some decorating help. As I was looking through the photos, I was plotting how I would redo everything. Take a look and see what you think!

It has only had two owners since it was built, which is pretty amazing for a house of its age (114).

This is called “The Greeting Room.” I like the sound of that.

The front parlor is completely dominated by the wallpaper, which really needs to go.

The kitchen has old-time charm. I’m sure it would need some judicious updating, but I wouldn’t want to see it go too modern here.

The listing says the house has 2,423 square feet, which surprises me. It looks larger than that from the outside.

The formal dining room has potential with the big windows and the fireplace, but I’d love to see the carpet pulled up.

One of the bedrooms, where the third fireplace can be found:

One of the four baths:

This room seems to have a bridal theme to it. Love all the windows and the light coming in:

The basement has exposed-stone walls:

The architect George Barber sold about 20,000 house plans during his career, marketed worldwide through mail-order catalogs. Over four dozen Barber houses are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You can learn more about him and see photos of other houses he designed here.

Thanks to Amanda for finding this one. She says, “I am dying to know what is behind that attic dormer window above the tower.” Me, too! For more photos and information, check the listing by Mary Erickson at Re/Max.

Hooked on Cool Victorians? Click here to see more, including…

Restored Victorian in Bucks County New Hope PAA Farmhouse in Pennsylvania

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Luciane at Homebunch.com May 29, 2011 at 8:35 am

Oh, my! Julia!!! This is so beautiful! So charming! There’s so much I’d do with it. I truly love this home!

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend.


Luciane at HomeBunch.com

Luciane at Homebunch.com May 29, 2011 at 8:36 am

By the way… I just thought this… This house reminds me a little of that house of the kid’s movie “Up”, you know? So cute! :-)

Luciane at HomeBunch.com

Catherine May 29, 2011 at 8:42 am


Kim-HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs May 29, 2011 at 8:44 am

Beautiful :)

Jenny Allworthy May 29, 2011 at 9:07 am

Wow! This one is breathtaking Julia! I have been blogging about Victorian period dramas recently and this house made me want to swish around on that porch in one of those gorgeous hoop-skirt and bustle creations. It looks like it has been well preserved and would only need a loving touch to bring it up to date and back to life. It has great “bones”.

Thanks for another fantasy house!

Karena May 29, 2011 at 9:13 am

I love to see these beautiful Victorian ladies restored!! My sister lovingly completed one in Paola KS a few years back.

Have a great weekend Julia!

Art by Karena

Handy Man, Crafty Woman May 29, 2011 at 9:26 am

wow, that square footage looks wrong to me too…although the rooms seem much smaller than I thought they’d be. It’s in great condition; it’s really been renovated and also taken care of!

Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating May 29, 2011 at 9:26 am

Wow, that house is so beautiful and charming! I have no idea what I would do with it, but my head is spinning with ideas. I’m usually not a fan of stained wood trim, but I kind of like it in this house. It just seems to fit. That bedroom did crack me up though, with the wallpaper border and matching comforter. That would probably be the first room I’d want to get my hands on, immediately followed by the front parlor.

Glenda Harder May 29, 2011 at 9:33 am

The Victorians wallpapered every room, even the ceilings. The patterns were much darker than we like today and a little too busy for my taste. Possibly the floors are so much lighter than the trim because it is a different wood. I would hate to see the kitchen go modern. I think there is plenty of room in it to add today’s conveniences without losing it’s Victorian charm. It is beautiful! I wish I could move it to my corner of the world. Thanks for sharing.

Susan @ pinkportugueseroses May 29, 2011 at 10:27 am

I don’t know how feasible this would be..but… I would make it into a B&B. It would make a great place to host weddings. They really have kept it well. Yes, a few color changes and carpet removal….but otherwise, pretty wonderful!

MaryMG May 29, 2011 at 10:34 am

I LOVE the kitchen, just the way it is! And the bath, with all that wood! I just love unpainted wood. Such a beauty! I live in Des Moines and would be willing to take a drive to see it in person. Thanks so much for sharing!

Kelly D May 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

I think the kitchen is perfect! I love George Barber homes. :)

Dane May 29, 2011 at 11:15 am

What a beautiful house! You can see there is a free standing garage with loft as well. It looks like there is a good size of property with the house. They just don’t build them like they used to.

What really floored me is the price: $300,000. You couldn’t buy property and build a house half that size with the quality of materials, basement, high ceilings, garage etc. ANYWHERE!

We should all pool our coffee change and buy it ;)

The Texas Peach May 29, 2011 at 11:18 am

What a beautiful Victorian home! It does need some updating, but it should be done carefully in order to maintain the charm of the home. I would definitely get rid of all of the wallpaper, and the carpet in the dining room. I absolutely love the exposed stone walls in the basement, and the “greeting room”!

Miss Charming May 29, 2011 at 11:46 am

This home looks to be in wonderful condition. I would change some colors but wouldn’t want to do any drastic changes to this victorian beauty. (Why aren’t there any homes like this in my neighborhood? And at that price!)

Spring May 29, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I might have to move to Iowa.

Janelle May 29, 2011 at 1:00 pm

That wallpaper in the front parlor is giving me a headache. It reminds me of those seemingly abstract patterns where you have to focus and unfocus and cross your eyes and move closer or away from the page and maybe, just maybe, you might find the hidden image. What’s the hidden image in the wallpaper — “Strip me!!!”?

StuccoHouse May 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Not my style, but the parlor wallpaper is very Victorian appropriate for a house where someone has done a proper period restoration.

Lisa May 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm

LOVE this!! Ever since I was a kid I’ve wanted a Victorian like this. I have 4 kids, 3 of which are girls, and I can see them loving that attic!!!

Deb in Oz May 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I can’t believe how cheap this house is to buy! If I lived close by I’d snapple it up. I’d get rid off all of the carpets and wallpaper, both of which I loathe, first, then start from there. Such a cool project!

susie May 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Wow, this house is stunning, absolutely stunning. My maternal Grandparents were both from Osceola, Iowa. I’ve been to that part of Iowa many, many, many times. I was pleasantly surprised at the interior of the home. (You should see some of the run down homes in surrounding towns and countryside. It’s heartbreaking.) I would get rid of the wallpaper and carpeting. The woodwork is beautiful and the house has been lovingly maintained. It’s in incredible shape.

Kim May 29, 2011 at 4:50 pm

What a gorgeous house! If the cabinets are falling off of the hinges, I would try and restore them because they are in great shape. Then I would take down the wallpaper and takeout the carpet. Other than that, the house is in great shape.

Jessica May 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm

I love it!! And I loved seeing your sweet little face in ‘the follows’…thank you!

This home needs a new owner with a very delicate touch…especially in the kitchens and baths. I’d have to tackle anyone who’d make it look “builder-ie” by removing the character and adding newer, sterile finishes…which is so criminal in any historic home. It looks like it wouldn’t take to much really to fix it up, just a little care and thoughtfulness…the bones are so beautiful…very ‘Meet Me In St. Louis’.
xo J~

Holley May 31, 2011 at 5:40 am

Exactly what I thought–I’m expecting to see Judy Garland singing in the “Greeting Room!”

Darla May 29, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Well I’ll be darned – a house in Iowa! How cool.

betty in munich May 30, 2011 at 2:51 am

Please to the person that buys this place….don’t paint the woodwork white….

coffee mug in hand May 30, 2011 at 5:50 am

Gorgeous house but that wallpaper is making me sick.

Ricki Jill Treleaven May 30, 2011 at 8:43 am

Oooooo, Julia! This one has me written all over it…I could make it spectacular if I had the $$$ :D

Awesome post. Thank-you.

Patience May 30, 2011 at 9:58 am

What would I do with it? I’d start by hiring someone to strip the wallpaper. I know that it’s authentically Victorian to have dark, busy wallpaper, but we don’t have to embrace that look, do we? I thought the purpose of all that dark wallpaper was because coal fires and gas lighting made the walls horribly dirty. If the Victorians didn’t have those problems, they may have preferred light, clean spaces.

Maybe it’s just the photo, but the kitchen seems very narrow and cramped. I might be tempted to bump it out onto the porch, or even annex the porch–if that’s a side porch and not the front–for a more spacious, open kitchen.

The carpet, of course, must go. I know people love to preserve natural wood finish. I would definitely hesitate before painting the trim white in this house, but all that dark wood seems oppressive to me. I’d probably paint all the walls white and leave the trim and hope that lightened things up. And maybe choose painted furniture and white-slipcovers on chairs and couches to brighten things up and break up all that wood.

Emily W. May 30, 2011 at 10:30 am

Ugggg…… that is like my dream house, what I have always wanted and so cheap too!!!!! can you feel my frustration??? I would change a few things but not much.

Destiny May 30, 2011 at 11:49 am

What would you do with this house if you could get your hands on it?

I would love it, simply love it…

Nita May 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Beautiful Victorian. Looks like it may need a new roof, which would be expensive. I would have all wood floors and add a lot more color everywhere. The Victorians used wallpapers all over their homes, a lot were geometric, surprisingly. I think when you buy a Victorian home, it looks silly to have modern furniture in it, so I would use Victorian couches and chairs or covered couched, slipcovered. But, lots more color, as the Victorians loved color.

Maggy May 30, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Julia, I’m w/ you as far as the updating goes! Good eye, asking about the flooring .. something a bit darker would be more fitting, I think.

I like some of the kitchen, too .. some of those cabinets match the paneled door; such rich wood patina! Can’t get that these days.. but some of the other cabinets look newer, don’t you think?

Wonderful home; can’t believe that it’s only had **2** owners! That’s practically unheard of! Looks like it’s been beautifully maintained, which is no small feat for a home that old! (Egads .. the exterior painting alone must have cost a small fortune!)

nanne May 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm

what a great house!! it has everything, just needs a little direction. i love the brick wall in the kitchen and the stone wall in the basement.

nanne in columbus, indiana

Michelle Gonzales May 30, 2011 at 5:48 pm

OMG!!!! i LOVE this home!!!! the only thing i would do (seeing it from pictures) is take off the wallpaper and take the brick out of the kitchen! is there a shower in any of the bathrooms?


btw…i just stumbled across your web page and i fell in LOVE with it!!!! i often stare at homes while my husband drives. im from albuquerque, new mexico and moved to columbus, OH just recently. the homes here are AMAZING!!!! thanks for piquing my interest! :D

Dean May 30, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Love it! And you’re right–they don’t make them like this anymore!
Overall, I like the interiors as are, but this house is definitely wallpaper-challenged. In the kitchen, I wouldn’t touch ANY of the woodwork (ditto for the whole house,) and would replace the counters. Pull up any carpet and replace any light colored flooring with medium-to-dark (preferably vintage). I’m also amazed this place has had only two owners.

E. George May 31, 2011 at 1:18 am

Hi Julia this house is beautiful BUT the wallpaper has to go and the carpet sorry….. Leave the woodwork alone it’s beautiful. Love the kitchen and bathroom. I do love the Georgian style where do you have those and do you like the style? Regards Esther from Sydney with lots and lots of rain. I have 8 Plumeria trees they have grown well so far I do hope they survive this winter.

Holley May 31, 2011 at 5:44 am

I would leave the woodwork alone as well and repaint. The kitchen cabinets are so pretty I would not harm them in any way. Just add some nice period furniture, remove the carpet and it is all good.

I would love to see the attic as well.

I wonder if the Queen Anne style will ever come back into fashion enough for us to see whole developments of this style!

Lindsay May 31, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Wow, I might have to road trip to Osceola! Des Moines isn’t too far…. :) Love the outside, the inside I prefer a more contemporary look but I have always loved the detail of Victorian houses. But for being as old as it is, it is extremely well kept. There are lots of older homes that are very run down around our state, as a previous poster said :(

Juju at Tales of Whimsy... May 31, 2011 at 4:54 pm

What a breath taking place!

Caterina B June 1, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Wonderful house, minus the decor, that is! Just by reading this post I have discovered that the “Jeremiah Nunan” house in Jacksonville, Oregon, was also one of George’s designs. It was number 143 in his portfolio. My hubby lived in the house when he was a teenager. His parents paid a song for it and even then, back in the late sixties, made some money on it when they sold it, but……nothing like what is being asked for it now! You can see it by Googling the “Jeremiah Nunan House.” I would recommend to you posting a photo of it here on your blog. It’s now a B and B and wedding venue and it’s gorgeous.

Ms V June 2, 2011 at 10:57 am

Beautiful house with huge potential for someone far braver than me !
I reckon it would be far too creepy at night to live in !

Robin Feltner June 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm

The outside of this Victorian is swoonfully gorgeous. The inside falls flat, but wow, the outside is spectacular.

Josh June 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I would love to get my hands on this beauty. I could work some magic inside and really increase the value by making it show better. They need a stager for sure.

Maaike Quinn @ Life with FlyLady June 4, 2011 at 3:09 am

What a great and slightly eerie place to play hide and seek :D

Brenda June 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I grew up on Osceola and have been in this house. There are rumors that this house was once used as a stop for the underground railroad. It is truly breathtaking and my childhood dream home. The pictures do not do this house any justice.

suem August 20, 2011 at 11:49 pm

how did you get in this house? this is my family’s house.

Did you know Frank Eli Manning, or any of the Fowlers?

threadbndr June 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Hopefully the fact that it’s on the Register will keep anything like “paint the woodwork” or “rip out the kitchen” from happening.

This is one of the houses that should be kept period, I think. I might stip the wallpaper, but only to add back a slightly lighter period/reproduction design.

The attic is probably a sewing room attached to the servant’s quarters – good light. A house this size would have had a ‘staff’, even in the midwest. Or possibly a nursery with an attached bedroom for the nanny.

Bonnie August 15, 2011 at 9:20 am

This house belonged to my husband’s great, great aunt. His dad was raised in this house by his aunt, Mary Banta. Mary’s sister, my father-in-laws, mother died and Mary helped raise him. My husband has been in and played in the house as a child. He said that the door in the kitchen lead to the attic, which is where they all played.
It is such a beautiful house with lots of memories. We would love to purchase it and keep it in the family but I can’t see that happening right now.

suem August 18, 2011 at 9:30 am


Bonnie is my sister-in-law. how funny. yes, this is our house.

suem August 18, 2011 at 9:37 am

the doors in the kitchen went t0 the basement or outside. the scary door was upstairs. which led to the attic.

Chris DiMattei September 28, 2011 at 10:34 am

Bonnie & Suem,
Would either of you happen to have any old or historic photos of this home? I am researching and documenting the architect of this grand home, and I would love to include any historical documents or photos you might be aware of, in my documentation. I would be very interested in any original drawings, plans, specifications, or correspondence by the architect. Thanks.


suem August 18, 2011 at 9:25 am

This is my Dad ‘s house. Ed and Mary Banta! and no one pronounces it right. it’s no b anta, it’s “bawta:.

C.A. Detwiler December 31, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Searching Banta (the way pronounced in Indiana)
Did your dad come from Indiana
Did gr-grpa’s son go to Iowa after returning from Civil War?
My Banta history book only goes back to the 1890′s.
Does anyone know why to urge to move to Iowa?
What business were the Banta’s in?
One branch of the family went to Florida then to Pennsylvania and started the Banta Refrigerator Co. Have misc. info on that branch.
Does anyone know who to contace at the Iowa National Reg. of Historic Homes ? Thanks,,,,CD, Indiana

suem September 9, 2011 at 2:08 am

if anyone still wonders, that awful wallpaper was not part of the house as I knew it.

And, sorry, I meant to say Bawnta, Bahnta. It is not Banta, with the harsh sounding ‘a’.

The attic was filled with family belongings, trunks full of clothing, old toys. And, yes, it was fun to explore.

Virginia July 30, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I spent the night in one of those rooms as a child. My family was moving away and we had sold our house and had nowhere to stay that last night. The people living in it, who were friends of my parents, invited the whole family to spend the night. First time I had a room to myself. The basement was used as an office for the gal living there. I remember the little hedgehog door stop that she used. I believe she was the realtor that is selling the house now.

Lorraine Formato July 18, 2013 at 6:28 am

….what a beautiful house/home. My fiancĂ© and I are selling our Circa 1800 Victorian in Rahway, NJ….move-in condition and oh so beautiful. If interested in receiving details on this rare beauty, please call Lorraine 908-868-2222.

Thank you and enjoy your day!

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