What it's like to live in the house from "American Gothic"

So, in the famous Grant Wood painting "American Gothic", there's a little white farmhouse in the background.

It turns out you can rent it and live in it. That's what the writer Beth Howard did from 2010 to 2014 — and the rent was only $250 a month!

She wrote a piece describing what it's like to live in such an odd piece of artistic history:

I laughed when I saw it. It was exactly as Grant Wood had depicted it, his brush strokes capturing every last intricate detail of "the world's second most famous White House" — the front porch and its carved posts, the screen door, the vertical lines of its board and batten siding, the roof shingles, and, of course, the churchy window. In real life it was so much cuter than I expected. At 700 square feet, it was the ultimate Tiny House, like a beach cottage with a view of a cornfield instead of an ocean. [snip]

As meticulously as Grant Wood portrayed the outside of the American Gothic House, I can, with great intimacy, describe every quirk of the inside. And the quirks are many.

Take the upstairs Gothic window, for starters, reaching nearly six feet from floor to ceiling. It is bolted shut, unlike the identical Gothic window on the back side of the house, which is hinged to allow the top half to fold down and then swing open in order to move furniture in and out. Even at 5 foot 5, I had to duck when climbing the stairs. [snip]

I was terrorized by tornado warnings, lightning strikes, clanking pipes and, worst of all, six-foot-long bull snakes living in its recesses (there were close encounters in the bathroom and the basement). They are nonvenomous, excellent mouse catchers, and they are illegal to kill in Iowa. If you can catch them.

Here's what the house looks like these days, courtesy a CC-licensed photo taken by Carl Wycoff …

(Public-domain image of "American Gothic" via Wikimedia