By Angela Holmes

When Cedar Rapids native Beth DeBoom saw a demolition notice on the door of a historic house in the New Bohemia District that had been severely damaged by the flood of 2008, it tugged at her heart.

So, she bought the property at 1301 Third St. SE for $3,000 from the city of Cedar Rapids and got to work – a lot of work.

The house, filled with rotten wood, dirt-covered floors and boarded-up windows, became known as the “heart house” after an oversized heart was placed on its front during the renovation.

“We want people to know somebody cares,” said Ms. DeBoom, who is president of the Save CR Heritage preservation group.

After restoring the once-condemned space over the course of three years with the help of friends and family, Ms. DeBoom opened salvage shop Little House Artifacts on the first floor this spring.

She planned to rent out the upstairs space as an apartment, but couldn’t bear the thought of renters putting their own belongings in it long-term. Since opening as an Airbnb rental space in March, the “heart house” has been booked solid, Ms. DeBoom said.

Visitors not only appreciate the quaint space, they also enjoy the proximity to the New Bohemia District, which has become a regional hub of culture and entertainment.

The “heart house” will be one of the stops on the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District’s inaugural Room with a Brew event, planned from 5-8 p.m. on Sept. 23.

The event will feature tours of four urban living spaces in the district, as well as stops at four popular bars and eateries.

“People love pub crawls and looking at housing” said Jennifer Pruden, executive director of Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District. “We wanted people to get a chance to get inside of the housing and see what urban living is all about. It is very pedestrian-centric with bike lanes, restaurants and shops.”

Nate Holler of Intrepid Real Estate in Cedar Rapids said there is more demand than available living spaces in the area.

The neighborhood includes a mix of empty nesters who want to scale down, and young professionals who want to live within a vibrant community.

Room with a Brew will start at the Artisan Sanctuary, 45 16th Ave. SW in Czech Village, where participants will receive a tour map and tasting glass. Participants are then free to tour the living spaces and restaurants at their own pace.

Room with a Brew

When: 5-8 p.m. Sept. 23

Where: Locations in New Bohemia District and Czech Village

Tickets: $15 person or $25 for a pair

More information:


Heart House Airbnb

1301 Third St. SE

Water Tower Place

900 Second St. SE

This six-floor warehouse loft conversion has commercial space on the first floor and condominiums on the remaining floors. Condos feature exposed brick walls, concrete pillars and views of the city. Other amenities include a green roof with grills and seating for relaxing or entertaining, a guest suite for overnight visitors, secure access and on site management.

The Row Houses on Second

1008 Second St. SE

The six row houses developed by 3rd Ward Development have between 1525 or 1650 square feet of living space and either one two bedrooms plus an office and a private drive-under garage. Construction of the condominiums were finished in fall 2015 and were all occupied by December.

NewBo West

1612 C St. SW

The former Diamond Vogel paint store on the corner of 16th Avenue and C Street SW received a facelift – and a second story – in 2015 by Bob Schaffer, who also owns Czech Cottage across the street. The addition on the building built in 1951 includes 10 two-story apartments which are all occupied. The main floor is divided into 3,000 square feet of retail space.


Sauce Bar & Bistro

1507 C St. SW

Tasting of locally brewed beer or Kirkwood wine, 50 percent off appetizers, featuring BBQ pulled pork fries and chicken wings

Lion Bridge Brewing Company

59 16th Ave. SW

Samples of Workmen’s Compensation and Kundera Kolsch; updated fall menu available

Little Bohemia

1317 Third St. SE

Tasting of Czech beer (five options), $1 samples of Czech goulash over dumpling

Bata’s Restaurant

1006 Third St. SE

Two 2-ounce samples of the following options: Millstream: Oktoberfest; Lion Bridge: Bridge Beer; or Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio wine