When Katie and Greg Roth found their multi-level home on the east side of Sioux Falls, it was perfect mainly because of one thing – it had two ways out to the yard. The couple, who have lived there for almost six years now, love the backyard so much, it helped inspire their lawn and garden art business, Rustic Prairie.
605 had the chance to tour their “rustic industrial” home, which they share with their two cats, Olive and Eden.
MUSIC & TRAVEL
Music is a big part of the couple’s lives. Their family room art consists of professionally framed posters from concerts and music festivals. They have around 60 currently framed, and have around 100 in the house and garage.
“We switch the posters out to mix it up,” said Katie.
The posters have a lot of memories and meaning, as they’re from shows and from local artists they found in the parking lots outside of concerts. Greg pointed to several Shangri La posters, which he is excited to attend September 7-8 at Harmony Park, Minnesota.
“Greg goes every year. It’s the same weekend as the Sidewalk Arts Festival, so then I have to stay to work the booth,” said Katie.
“I haven’t missed it in 12 years,” Greg smiled.
The couple, who loves to travel, tries to coincide an annual trip with a show, if possible.
“We went to the Grateful Dead’s 50th anniversary show in Chicago,” said Greg, as we worked our way upstairs to their photo hallway.
Displayed are years of trips and experiences, like a hot air balloon ride in Sioux Falls, Maine, San Francisco, and – most recently – Moab, Utah.
“We try to have photos up of all of the places we’ve been and things that we’ve done,” explained Katie.
“It was a clean slate when we moved in. There was no garden and no shed,” described Greg of their yard.
“We did most, if not all, of the landscaping,” said Katie.
The couple took on big projects every summer to create their backyard utopia to what it is now, which includes a garden, a chicken coop that displays flowers, a shed, and – their favorite hangout – the gazebo.
“And we’re still not done,” laughed Greg.
During one of the phases in 2013, Katie mentioned wanting “unique metal art” to accent the yard. After Greg stated he could “probably just make it for her,” she put him to the task.
“I borrowed a welder from work, and I pieced [metal flowers] together,” he recalled. “After that we did some numbers, and I bought my own welder. The business [Rustic Prairie] grew from there.”
Greg creates mostly large, metal flowers that can be placed in the lawn or garden, but also creates pieces like letters that can light up for home décor. Their work can be found at stores like Sticks and Steel in Sioux Falls and The Vintage Market in Beresford, or at art festivals, like the upcoming Sidewalk Arts Festival on September 9 in downtown Sioux Falls.
“We sell a lot through our Facebook page as well,” said Katie.
Greg is a mechanic full time at Billion GMC, and has to work nights and weekends during busy season to create enough pieces for the festivals and holidays. “I stay very busy,” he laughed.
While they don’t typically take on custom projects, Greg has created several for their yard, including a metal guitar, a chair, a steel Grateful Dead piece, and the metal logs for their gas bonfire.
When asked where this talent and craft began, he shrugged his shoulders and simply said, “I’m not really sure.”
“He says it’s because he worked on a farm as a kid, but I feel like it’s more than that,” said Katie with a smile.
One of their favorite things to do out back is to host a weekly “boys’ night” every Thursday.
“We like to have people over and have bonfires,” said Katie. “We have a keg tap in our garage, so they’ll sit out and have some beer.”
They also use their garden, which has tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, to can pickles and salsa.
“There are probably six guys from boys’ night that all have gardens, so we all bring it together and can salsa in the fall and have a salsa-making party.”
CREATING PIECES INDOORS
Greg has taken on quite a few projects inside of the four bedroom, three bathroom home as well.
A highlight includes the cat tree made out of a barn door, which doubles as shelving in the family room. All of the décor on the shelves are cat themed.
“[The cats] can crawl up behind it, and they actually use it, believe it or not,” said Greg.
Other DIY projects include a back table in the family room, a coat rack, and even their wedding picture frame. These ambitious experiments came about years back when Greg said his brother was getting rid of an old farm near Aberdeen. After “going junkin’,” they took home piles of materials they could use.
One of his first projects was wall shelving in the dining room, which he used with barn wood and piping.
“It’s just pipe that you thread, and now you can actually buy kits at Menards,” he said. “The tool that I used to do that I got from my grandpa, and they’re a pain to use to thread. Now they have electronic ones.”
More “finds from the Roth farm” are hanging doors in the living room.
“You see a lot of restaurants hang random items from the ceiling, and we have this tall ceiling,” said Greg, looking up.
Katie added, “I thought he was crazy. It took me a while to get used to it, let alone agree to it. But it goes with everything now.”
Considering he’s very busy as is, we asked Greg how he keeps up with these projects.
“After the arts festivals, he’ll take a break and work on personal projects,” said Katie. “He’s going to make me a mirror and projects like that when winter comes.”
The Roths love supporting other artists, like a table from Midwest Vintage Werks, a custom rug from Larchwood, Iowa, and a robot from the Brookings Summer Arts Festival.
Sprinkled in with all of the décor are special heirlooms and childhood memories.
When you enter the home and walk into the living room, the first thing on your left is a wooden piano.
“This was my piano growing up. I actually teach piano lessons on Wednesday nights,” said Katie, who is also a corporate sales manager at SONIFI Solutions full time.
The same room has a delicate violin displayed on the wall.
“We have pieces from stores, which are nice, but you can tell they’re from a furniture store… I just like being creative, too.”
“My grandpa was very musical,” explained Katie. “He had several violins, so when he passed away, I got one.”
She also has her grandfather’s radio, which they said still works.
Displayed in the kitchen is a set of her grandmother’s china.
“That’s one of those things where you don’t really use them, so we wanted them on display,” said Katie. “My grandma passed away when I was 5, so my mom held onto them and gave them to me as a wedding gift.”
Last, but not least, is her mother’s acoustic guitar that is located in the family room amongst the music posters.
It doesn’t just sit there, though, as Katie has taken up guitar lessons.
“I don’t play at all,” laughed Greg. “I listen to music all of the time, and it’s ironic I don’t play a lick of anything.”
Greg found and refurbished an old 1920s factory cart they use as a coffee table in the living room.
View their work at the Sidewalk Arts Festival September 9 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in downtown Sioux Falls. For more information, visit rusticprairie.com.