By Colin Ludlow
In the near future, you should take a quick stroll off campus. If fortune is kind, you will find yourself at a rather quaint residence marked 1030 East Street. Considering the kempt appearance, the intact fence and the distinguishing trellis, you may mistake it as the home of a visiting professor or a quiet local family. However, you should quickly enter the lot and receive approval from its stalwart angel statue, for she guards a hidden gem of East Street, known lovingly as Goat Rodeo House.
Taking inspiration from Yo-Yo Ma’s album “The Goat Rodeo Sessions,” residents Amber Gruner ’13, Jenny Peek ’13, Aditi Roy ’13 and Dana Utroske ’13 have tuned their home to a harmony of classical culture and downhome ingenuity. Upon entering the abode, you will be confronted with a startling lack of smell. Indeed, Grinnell’s trademark musk of skunk-and-vomit is absent from this particular home, replaced only with a peculiar sensation of belonging.
As you move through the house, you should take the time to admire the décor. The walls are adorned with eclectic artwork of unquestionable taste. They are a sharp contrast to vintage details of the house such as the architecture, the laundry chute, the hand-cranked doorbell and the chandeliers lighting each room of the house. The risky combination is successful, and the house offers an inviting atmosphere that is both familiar and avant-garde.
Your first right will bring you to the largest room of the house. Deep, rich red walls frame the living room in warmth and welcome. One must only contemplate which one of the three couches to rest upon before jumping into a rousing conversation with one of the charming housemates. As you recant your daily adventure, your eye might be drawn to one of the home’s inflatable house pets. Originally meant as a birthday present for one of Roy’s relatives, a clerical error brought these creatures to Grinnell. They were quickly adopted into the home and only strengthened the theme of the Goat Rodeo.
Moving forward, you will be faced with a vintage hutch, an immaculate glass cabinet and a grand wooden table. You have discovered the dining room/art studio/game room. It is here that the residents let loose with wild craft-making sessions and debaucherous rounds of board games. On a whim, however, the mood will change to candlelit dinner parties amongst the house’s closest friends as they laugh, debate and enjoy each other’s company.
A quick trip through the surprisingly large and clean kitchen will lead you to the basement. Here, the residents of Goat Rodeo House have been clever. Equipped with a humble bed-sheet and a projector, the lowest level of the house has become a personal movie theatre. Guests may relax atop an adorable couch carefully chosen from the street. With popcorn and wine, the group can be theatrically entertained within the comfort of their own home.
Before leaving, you should take a trip outside to see the screened-in porch. Though harsh November winds attempt to mask its potential, one can easily imagine spending many a starlit night here, casually planning one’s future while sipping on glasses of bacon Hawkeye. Divine.
Altogether, the residents of Goat Rodeo House have prepared themselves a humble, yet impressive retreat away from the chaos of Grinnell’s academic battleground and party scene. Here they can take the time to relax and humbly promote their own culture, conversation and family amongst friends.