Connie’s House At Lake Okoboji

Iowa’s Great Lakes are in Northwest Iowa and West Lake Okoboji is the largest spring water fed lake in the group. The water looks like this –

Nice and clean for a lake and very desirable to live on. From lakeside this is Connie and Roy’s house. The original cottage was dubbed “the house of work” by Connie ‘s three boys – haha!

Read more here

I started taking pictures as soon as I parked my car. Isn’t this an enticing entry?

When I got there Roy was mowing the lawn.

Connie’s gardening touch is evident here, too. When you look thru the glass door you can see through to the lake- I love that feature.

Dining and living room.

Betty was glad to see me.

A Cherie Saffiote wall quilt in the kitchen.

The master bedroom is on the ground level with a door out to the porch.

TV Room

The low cabinet in front of the tall one is there temporarily. Just off to the left is a porch where Connie sews.

There are plans to winterize this porch and make it part of the house with heat in the floor and new windows. It would be a cozy place to sew in cold weather, wouldn’t it?

Just this spring they have had contractors working in the basement. A small kitchen will be added as well as a living room, bedroom, storeroom, workroom and two bathrooms with linen closets and clothes closets. You’d have to be on the tour to follow this new construction but see all these walls and ceilings? Connie has painted this entire basement, every single room and closet as well as ceiling 3 – let me say that again -THREE – coats!!!!!! It looks impossible to me!

And all you’re seeing here is the living room/kitchen area!

On to the upstairs – this quilt hangs in the stairway.


Landing at the top of the stairs.

Two of the three bedrooms.

Downstairs is an activity/art room that Connie says doesn’t get used much because all the kids want to do their art in the dining room where everyone else is – so typical.

Heading outside to the lake. Houses are close together because lots are typically narrow. Running feet on the lake used to be $10,000 per foot and that was years ago – don’t know what it is today – certainly more than that.

Sitting area at the top – Okoboji has very high banks in so many of the areas.

We take the elevator down to the dock. Betty doesn’t think a thing of getting on with us!.

A landing to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.

Dock area.

We return to the top via the elevator and since I’m not fond of heights, I dared to take this photo looking down.

Walking back around the house I noticed the other neighbor has put her ponytail palms outside and they’re beautiful!

And as we returned to the backyard I took pictures of the landscaping.

And that concludes our tour. We left to go for lunch – it was a Saturday in summer and this is what the traffic around the lake is like.

We ate lunch at a place on the lake called The Okoboji Store and I was evidently so anxious to eat that I forgot to take pictures. After lunch we went to several antique malls and gift shops. In the first antique mall I spied these black dolls like we used to make years and years ago when primitive country was just getting popular.


On to the Barn Swallow which used to be our favorite home dec store but has now changed into kids toys, books, costumes, games and artwork, towels, adult books, picture books AND there are always a couple cats in residence as rescues. I love that the owners do this – there’s a cat room that they spend the night in but during business hours they roam the store in hopes of someone falling in love with them and taking them home.

I think this guy’s name was Teddy.

I really loved both of these pieces of art but where would I hang them?

I was so tempted to buy some books but contained myself.

Back to Connie’s house and a trip to the bathroom before taking off. This quilt was on the wall

And this rug was on the floor. I made this rug for Connie years ago, maybe when the house was new, and it still looks great. Should we make a rug this summer? Anybody in?

Such a fun day and Connie graciously hauled me around to all the places I remember from years ago. Thanks, Connie! I loved it all!

94 thoughts on “Connie’s House At Lake Okoboji

  1. Diana

    Thanks for sharing these photos. Connie’s lake house is perfect. Looks very relaxing and welcoming.

    1. Mary Hawk

      Wow, it’s perfect and I can also see all the work that has gone I to it. How far is okoboji from you?

  2. Kim J LeMere

    Connie, your home on the lake is lovely and I really enjoyed your beautiful yard and all those quilts. Mary thank you for taking us along.

  3. Diane Bauer

    Thank you for the tour of Connie and Roy’s gorgeous lake home!!! Both gardens and home are beautiful!! The elevator down to the lake is interesting! My grandparents had a lake home in MN when I was young and I remember the steep steps down to the lake with a sitting area about half-way down. I so wish we still had that house in our family!!!

  4. Jean

    Wow! What a wonderful visit! I am so thrilled that you both let us accompany you! Everything was just gorgeous! Thank you so much!

  5. Duana

    I am totally enthralled with her home! She has such a sense of style,doesn’t she? Thanks for sharing with us. Would love to make a rug, but not sure about making the frame?

  6. Linda Rouse from Oconomowoc WI

    Wow, what a house and land! Just beautiful. Ok, this is the dumb question, is that really an elevator or just steps? I have never seen such a thing and I grew up on lakes all my life.

    I gave my frame away after I made 3 rugs.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Linda Rouse – it’s really an elevator and Connie encourages her grandkids to use it instead of the steps because it’s safer.

  7. Karel

    Connie’s house is so inviting and relaxing!! LOVE all the quilts!! Between gardening and sewing she is very busy!! Thanks for the “tour”!!

  8. Brenda archambault

    WOW! Two beautiful houses, beautifully decorated, beautiful gardens, beautifully kept, beautiful quilts and designs, how do you do it? Mary and Connie, you could be the richest women in the world if you would bottle and sell your energy tonic.
    I’ve been working on the scrap backing for my bulls-eye quilt and don’t have much mojo to keep going. The last year has been draining and all I want to do is sit, feet up, read or work on a small stitching project. Need a case of your tonic, please!

  9. Vickie L. Devore

    Tons of thanks to both of you for sharing and picture taking. The time I spent looking was like a short vacation for me (and I can’t swim, but love hostas, among others).

    So appreciate your time you share.

  10. Sheryn Lewis

    Great home! Does anyone know what kind of leather chairs are in the living room photo with the flag above the couch? Thanks!

  11. Cynthia Sabinske

    I so enjoyed the tour and her beautiful Lake home, the quilts, etc! Thank you for sharing ! How soon would you do rug, I would have to ‘get ready’! Will have to take day trip to Okoboji soon!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Cynthia Sabinske – hmm, I was going to say July 1 but were already busy on July 1 with the Dirty Dozen. I’ll look ahead and post it.

    2. Marilyn Holder

      Loved the tour of Connie’s — inside and out — and the quilts everywhere. Stars and more stars which is one of my favorites. I am ready to do a rug…everything ready and just needing a push forward!

  12. Launa

    So enjoyed the delightful tour. Wonderful plants, flowers and decor! Thanks for sharing.
    53o out in the rain here today. Seems good to see sunshine on NASCAR at Sonoma today.

    1. Marian F Stever

      Connie’s place is worthy of House and Garden! Just beautiful. Quilts are gorgeous. Thank you, Mary, for the tour…so enjoyable on the rainy, cloudy Sunday in June.

  13. Sue Jacobson

    Thanks for the great tour, Mary! We enjoyed being with Connie & Roy in their Garner home Friday. And now this. What beautiful homes, quilts galore, and a great couple! Larry wants to visit for a ride on the elevator!!
    I do enjoy your blog!! And yes to a rug this summer.
    By the way- because of you I now wear my hair curly some of the time!😀
    Enjoy summer! Can’t believe we are so close to the Fourth!!

  14. Ann in Va.

    Thanks the beautiful house tour. WOW! Loved all the quilts on display. Very dreamy place.

  15. Ellie Lively

    Thanks for the tour! What a lovely spot! I can’t believe the amount of work she must put in to keep her gardens so lovely and then she quilts too! I’m with Brenda Archambault, please send me a case or even two of whatever you two take to maintain your energy!

  16. Sharon Cervenka

    Love the house tour! Plus the house as well, who wouldn’t?!!! After seeing some of her quilts, I am motivated to finish some UFO’s. Thanks for sharing!
    Just curious, what is the name of the star quilt in the hallway?

  17. PJ

    Wow what a lovely home, I spent many summers at Okiboji as a child n into adulthood but have not been there in quite some time!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  18. Linda Baker

    I would like to put in my reservation for the room with the red bedspread and star quilt at the foot. Haha! What a beautiful home, does Connie spend her summers there?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Linda Baker – Friday night thru Tuesday usually. Roy is still working part time at the dental office.

  19. Sue in Oregon

    Agreeing with everyone concerning the energy tonic. I’ll take some too. How much for postage? lol
    I love Connie and Roys lake home. and all the wonderful photos you took for us to go on the tour. So much fun to see it. I have never been to the midwest except when we flew to Chicago and that was a long time ago.
    I love the rug, Mary, but it is going to be plenty for me to keep up with The Dirty Dozen plus the things we do in the Quilt Club I belong to.
    Thanks for the great tour.

  20. Judy Knorr

    Do you know why Connie’s neighbor’s pony tail palms have the leaves cut off? I have a very old plant but have never cut off the leaves.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Judy Knorr – I don’t know – are you supposed to prune those older leaves when they get very long?

  21. Patti in W Barnstable

    Thanks for the tour! So many beautiful quilts. What a fun day.

  22. Janet Orr

    Wowzers! What a beautiful home on the lake! It is just perfect. Everything is perfect – the house, the landscaping/gardens, the quilts used for decorating, the dog, the upgrades being made. I just love that little sewing porch.

    Friends of mine used to have a “cabin” on Clear Lake. A group of us would retreat there every spring. Unfortunately it had to be sold due to age related health issues. It sold within minutes of being listed. 1st couple in the house paid cash for asking price. I really miss our retreats there. I hope Connie and Roy enjoy their cabins for many, many more years.

  23. Sharon Lowy

    That home looks like a dream come true to me! So peaceful and festive.

  24. Denise

    I so enjoyed the tour. I’m always inspired by the quilts the two of you display.

    I still have the same rug a third of the way done. It was started several years ago. I need a good nudge to continue on with it or start over.

  25. Fiona at Ice Bear Quilts

    Thank you for the tour of Connie’s beautiful lake house, Mary. Fabulous.

  26. Deb Harridon

    Loved the tour of Connie’s lake home and gardens. Perfect place to get away. Thank you for taking me, Mary. I wish, now, that I had purchased a rug frame and have it a try. You all have fun with them, this summer. Just about done with binding for Canadian baby quilt w/ dragonflies quilted in honor of her late aunt. Hope to mail, tomorrow, after I also make and attach my label.

  27. Kathy Hanson

    What a wonderful day with Connie that you had! She and Roy have a gorgeous home and what a lovely place to spend time! it was fun to see Betty there and see that she was happy to see you! The shops that you visited there were so unique and fun to see what they had to sell. How wonderful to have kitties for adoptions as well. Thank you for the tour – I feel like I was there with both of you! Thank you!!

  28. VA Mann

    Wow! Thank you for the tour! Gorgeous house, Connie. Looks so calm and peaceful there.

  29. Elaine Kopischke-Trejo

    Amazing home!! Thanks for the tour. And yes I’d be interested in rug making.

  30. Diane

    What a delightful tour! Such a beautiful home. I am originally from NW Iowa and have also made a few trips to Okoboji. Many years ago though, I’m sure it’s changed tremendously. A rug sounds good! I can’t tell you how many times I watched you gals at the Des Moines Quilt Shows making rugs. I bought the book and that’s as far as I got.

  31. Donna Sproston

    Just wow! Thank you for the great photos, and thanks to Connie for inviting us in. I love seeing all the quilts you gals have made and decorated with. Such inspiration. We have friends that meet their six children and spouses plus countless grandkids and spouses at Okibogi every summer for a week of boating, water skiing, and celebrating family. They say it is a special place. I can see why.

  32. Linda Hanlley

    Hi Mary – Thank you so much for tour of Connie’s fantastic home and thanks to Connie also. I would be really interested in making a rug but I never have. Could you tell me what I would need and also about the book that someone above mentioned. I will need all the help I can get. Thank you very much.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Linda Hanlley – I will post that information in tomorrow’s post.

  33. RitaScott

    Mary and Connie thank you so much for the tour and pictures. It is such a lovely home and place to go to relax by the water. There is something about being near the water that just lets you forget about the rush of things we have in this world. Thanks again.

  34. Diane, Squeak's Mom in Central Ohio

    Wow–I love the house, the lake, the furnishings!! Too bad it’s so far from Ohio. Thanks for the tours of both of Connie’s homes.
    I have many flannel strips cut and my background strips cut, too, for a rug. I’d like to focus on the Dirty Dozen for a couple of months and then start the rug later? I love my first one. Your book and DVD are so easy to follow:)
    The rain has let up for a while; we had soooo much. Everything is beautiful, though. We will not have much corn in Central Ohio this year which is very sad for the farmers.
    Sat. 6/29 we’ll celebrate our 49 1/2 anniversary with the family:)

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane – I’ll keep the rug in mind. I think having your anniversary celebration in the summer is a gift for all you guests who won’t have to travel in the winter – what a great idea.

  35. Joann Baxter

    Up until 3 years ago I lived north of Spencer, about 20 minutes south of The Great Lakes. I loved seeing the photos. I did not realize the Barn Swallow changed their inventory. And I know exactly where you took the picture of the traffic. Connie’s home and yard look beautiful. Thank you for sharing, and taking me down memory lane.

  36. Norma Gebhardt

    I am wondering if there are any quilt shops close to Lake Okojobi. This might be a wonderful road trip in the fall. I have the quilt shop book from a few years ago, but I wouldn’t want to get into closed quilt shops. lol

      1. Linda Thompson

        There is a sewing shop with more quilt fabrics as time goes in Spencer on Main Street…perhaps 20 miles south of West Okoboji. And, there is a charming little quilt shop with a ton of civil war type fabrics in Estherville right on highway nine a couple blocks east of the bridge. Have fun in our little shops. New babies, losing valuable leases on buildings, retirements, have taken a toll on our shops in the area in the last few years. Estherville is 17 miles east of Spirit Lake. We can’t miss the Old Bowling Alley in Sherburn Minnesota while it is still open.

  37. Karen Gaither

    Mary, thank you for sharing the pictures of Connie’s lake house. It is as stunning as her house in Garner. The yard & view of lake is is amazing. Both houses could be in Country Living or Better Homes Garden! Thanks Connie for allowing Mary to share all the pictures.

    Do you know the name of the quilt on the master bed? Doesn’t look like a typical Connie quilt, but I love it! I am half way thru Jen Kingwell Long Time Gone, using most of her fabrics plus grunge. It has been out of my comfort zone for sure after 32 years of mostly reproduction fabrics. I am liking the brighter colors, for some things. My first Gypsy Wife is in Reproduction and second is Halloween fabrics.

  38. Katie

    Thank You for sharing Connie’s summer’s great the quilts and all the Peaceful..🤗
    Katie in Gilbert, AZ.

    I think you needed to buy the dog Art work..

  39. Jan Behm

    Wow! Connie has 2 huge houses! That’s a lot to take care of especially with lovely gardens at both places! I thought you had a TON of energy but she must have that much & maybe more. I don’t know how you 2 do all you do! I feel like a sloth compare to you ladies! And you even get quilts made & read books & & & & &!! I wanna be like you & Connie! But I’m just a sloth, I guess! LOL!!!

  40. Martha Engstler Gettysburg

    Fabulous plus. This should be in House Beautiful or Better Homes and Gardens. Thank you for sharing pictures. I had an aunt & uncle that had a cottage on Lake Pepin that was high above the Mississippi River but only steps to get down to the water. Ugh!

  41. Paula Philpot

    I have my first quilt still on the frame from s e v e r a l years ago so I need to finish it….I guess I will be in! Paula in KY and I loved the tour

  42. Pat Smith

    I so enjoyed the pictures of Connie’s lake home at Lake Okoboji. The quilts were stunning, and like others, I don’t know where either of you get energy for all you both do. In April we were on a bike trip in The Netherlands and 5 women from Okoboji were on the trip too. They were such nice and fun ladies having such a good time. I’d love to get to see them again at Okoboji and hope we can make it work sometime. I’ve never made a rug and don’t have any idea what I’d need. I’m sure you’ll school us on that.

  43. Patricia

    What a wonderful tour and such a beautiful home and soothing setting. That elevator intrigues me. I am not sure how it works. Is it a pulley system or more sophisticated? Even though I have house envy, maintaining two homes is quite the challenge. I enjoyed it and Connie was a good sport to share her summer retreat. Do they ever go in the winter?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Patricia – they don’t go much in the winter but wouldn’t that be fun to be there at Christmas?

  44. Linda Thompson

    Beautiful home! I have looked at this home with all the stairs probably a thousand times from below! Thank you for a chance to see it at eye level, with more than just a hint of the outside! As gorgeous as the whole of West Okoboji and all the lakes area!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Linda Thompson – you must live on or near the lake and have a boat. I love to take slow boat rides close to the shore to look at the houses. Connie and I drove around – some of the houses are huge!!!

  45. Jennie Cruzan

    A beautiful house and the landscape was out of this world. So inspiring to see beautiful quilts decorating a home. would be onboard making a rug. Thank you and Connie for all you do.

  46. Kathy Schwartz in SW MN

    Beautiful home and gardens. About 50 years ago we took our youth group to the amusement park in Lake O. I rode on the roller coaster and never went on another one! All the kids loved it and all of the rides. I don’t know if that is still there. I can’t believe that traffic! That spring fed lake is something special. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy Schwartz- I also hate roller coasters! Isnt the one at the park one of the last wooden roller coasters anywhere? I think so. It’s still there.

  47. Susan Boyd

    Love going along with you on all of your excursions and day-to-day life. You are so inspiring — encourages me to get going!
    Would love to make a rug. Like many others, don’t know what it entails or what I need. Looking forward to today’s post to find out!
    Thank you for all you share with us!

  48. Kerry Coburn

    Love All the pictures. Yes yes let’s make a rug!!! We just purchased our first (new to us) RV trailer that my husband will be living in while out of town for work in the northern states. He bought a rug or two but it would make it more homey if I hand made one.
    What book or pattern do I need???
    Kerry 😊

  49. Sharon Geiger

    Why don’t they live there year round? What a beautiful home and area!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sharon Geiger – Roy is still working Wednesday thru Friday in Garner.

  50. Nancy Sturgeon

    Seeing Connie’s lake house is a real treat! I had no idea there were beautiful lakes like this in Iowa. Love, love all the quilts, but especially love the red quilt on the wall in the stairway. Is there a general name for this pattern? What a beautiful home and lake. Nancy

  51. Jody Randall

    Loved the lake house tour. Question – How does Connie and you for that matter hang your quilts? I’m not seeing rods and like how these are flat against the wall. I have a couple Hang It Dang It’s but those are for smaller quilts and give the same appearance.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jody Randall – Connie uses lots of tiny nails across the top of the quilt. I use staples. And part of the effect comes from very low loft batting – nothing puffy!

  52. Caryn Goulden

    Thanks for the fun tour of Connie’s lake house. Love all the quilts and the landscaping. The shops look like so much fun. I feel like I’ve been on a vacation!
    Yes to making a rug! I’ve only ever made crocheted rugs with fabric scraps or rug yarn—this is twining, right?

  53. Holly in Two Harbors

    Thanks for sharing the photos of Connie’s beautiful house! What fun to take a tour from my comfortable chair. Such a beautiful place to escape to.

    I remember going to Lake Okoboji when I was very young and my family lived in Worthington, MN. I have a picture of myself rolled up in a blanket on the grass, just enjoying the day. It would have been in the mid-fifties, long before all those houses were there. It was always an occasion to visit the big lake.

    I’d like to do the Dirty Dozen, but I’m currently doing the same thing in the APQ UFO challenge that runs through December. I’m thinking of picking a dirty half-dozen and starting in January-just pulling my own numbers. I don’t think I can keep up with finishing two projects in a month and the other projects I have going besides. If I get over-ambitious I’ll end up burning out, I think., much as I love to sew.

  54. Karen

    Loved the , such a beautiful home. The quilts make it look so welcoming. Please, please, please do show us how to make those rugs! I need a few for my mountain home, and would love to be able to make those.
    I look forward to reading all your posts, and seeing the pictures you post. Thank you!

  55. Polly Perkins

    Thanks for the tour. I have heard about the lake house and remember the book you published that had string quilts at the lake house. I will have to dig it out. I think I have some fabric I bought way back when to do one. As soon as I get my neck collar/brace off and can move my neck I will search for it. Only 3-1/2 weeks but no nerve pain is so worth it.

  56. Gayle Lacey

    Hi, Mary. Love your blogging because you are ‘real’! Thank you for the tour of Connie’s lake house. I know the winters in northern Iowa are brutal, but please tell her if she needs a house sitter during the winter months I’ll volunteer! Such a peaceful area … it was relaxing just being inside the photos. Would you mind asking Connie the name of the Cheri Saffiote quilt pattern, if she remembers? I know Cheri is gone but I would love to find that pattern. So glad you have a big ❤️ for animals.

  57. Pat Book

    Love the tour of Connie’s and Roy’s lake home and gardens outside. Brings back a lot of memories living there at one time. There’s nothing like the clear water in Lake Okoboji. I don’t know how you keep up both yards, flowers, and plants. Look gorgeous as usual. Now the next time I’m in Okoboji, I’ll know what your house looks like from the outside.

  58. Julie D

    Oh, how I would love a lakehouse!! Connie your lake home is beautiful! Love the quilts, your decorating inside and out!!! Thanks for sharing all of those pictures! Wonder if she knows Jim and Judy Koenig that live in Milford. Jim resurrected a famous boat from Lake Okoboji that is in a museum there. I guess he gave a talk last week about the expedition. They are both retired teachers from Charles City and Judy taught with my mom for many years. Her elevator reminds me of the Fenelon Elevator in Dubuque–it’s fun to ride it!

  59. Janine

    Connie, your lake house is so pretty. The exterior paint colors are gorgeous, and it just gets prettier on the inside! Thank you, Mary, for the photo tour. I had always heard about the lake house but had a very different picture in my mind. The lake is incredible. And I’m with all the other people commenting – where do both of you all find the time to accomplish all you do? I think I’m busy, but you all are busy times ten. Love all your modern quilts, Connie – perfect for that space.

  60. Felicia Hamlin

    Wow, Mary, you took some great pictures of Connie’s beautiful home. Thank you, Connie. I can’t believe how clear that lake water is. Connie’s quilts are gorgeous, but so are yours and I recognize the quilt on the master bedroom, you showed it to us a while back. I don’t know if I could ride the elevator, but it could be fun! I think we have been in Okoboji once, a long time ago.

    Bill’s parents lived by a lake north of Brainerd, it was so nice and my two older kids have good memories of visiting there. After he died, she sold a house for a laughable price, we wished we could’ve the money to buy it. Thank you for the tour, Mary.

  61. Wendy P

    What a lovely home. So many quilts. I would love to learn how to make a rug.

  62. Heather K

    Thank you for sharing all the photos of Connie’s lake house- it seems like it’s still the house of work!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Heather K – yes, it is still the house of work but with lots of play, too!

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