My love affair with old houses began when I was in high school. It was quite unexpected, really. I was working on a very important goal at the time … when I turned 16 I vowed to have a date every Saturday night until I graduated. That meant hair, make-up, and clothes were high on my priority list. Cupid shot me with his bow and arrow but my love intention was not a well-muscled young man … oh no … it was a classic beauty with great bones.
This is the house that started my love affair with historic homes. She’s the reason I currently live in a house built circa 1875. I tried living in a brand new house once but felt like I was cheating on my true love. The house pictured here was the home of Dillu Ann Ashby of Geneva, Illinois. I first stepped into this stunning home with my friend Patty, a neighbor of the elderly Mrs. Ashby. She was introducing us because Mrs. Ashby needed a housekeeper and I wanted to help her.
Every Saturday morning I cleaned Mrs. Asbhy’s beautiful home, polishing the rich wood of the staircases by hand (yes, there were two staircases – a grand one in front and a smaller one in back), washing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees because she thought it would get cleaner that way, and finally enjoying lunch together in her elegant dining room after I was done. Mrs. Asbhy was quite the character, drinking her bourbon from a tea cup in the butler’s pantry while no one was looking and driving a collector’s 1965 red convertible Mustang around town with the top down even though it was cool outside.
Mrs. Ashby lived alone in this big old house although her family lived nearby. She rarely used the screened in porch. The room directly above was the summer sleeping room and was kept shut off during the winter. I grew to love this house and thought about the people who first lived here. Ever since, I’ve loved older homes. After Mrs. Ashby passed on, I heard her daughter moved into the house.
Back in the day, this house served as the carriage house for the Ashby House. Dillu Ann told me at one point this house sat further back on the property but the it was moved up closer to the road and sold separately from the main house. I don’t know about you, but I think this is one fine looking carriage house. It’s probably been added onto over the years.
Across the street from Mrs. Ashby’s house is the home of my childhood friend, Patty. Patty has since grown up and moved into her own home, but her mother still lives here. This home is quite charming both inside and out. Our parents have been best friends forever so I’ve known Patty since birth. While Patty grew up in this adorable older home, I grew up in a 1960′s Brady Bunch style quad level house.
This is one of my favorite homes in Geneva and I’m sorry to say I’ve never been inside. If you’re the owner and happen to be reading my blog, I would love for you to invite me over!
How wonderful to have so many windows circling the lower level room. If I lived here, I think this room is where I’d spend most of my time, enjoying all that natural light streaming in. Do you see the back porch to the left? I can just imagine sipping iced tea on a summer afternoon while perched in a rocking chair back there.
Another lovely historic home with a white picket fence and our country’s flag flying outside. When you think of the good ole days, doesn’t a house like this come to mind? My parents moved to this quaint town of Geneva, Illinois shortly after they were married and my dad had graduated from Wheaton College. It’s a neat and tidy town and was the primary reason my fastidious mother moved here.
This Victorian beauty has so many features I admire, like the bay windows (there are more bay windows on the side). The trim on the door is painted to make the details pop, as well as the molding under the soffit. I would love to explore the third level with the two charming windows. They just don’t make houses like this anymore.
And now for something completely different … this house reminds me of a chalet type dwelling. Doesn’t it have wonderful detailing and a great color combination? I can totally see myself living in this home.
This section of Geneva is near the historic shopping district known as Third Street. Some of my favorite stores line the sidewalks of Third Street. I know that I’m truly blessed to have grown up in this idyllic setting, even though we didn’t live in the historic area of town.
This gorgeous home is a little confusing to me. It sits on a corner lot and I’m taking this photo at the corner where the streets intersect. So where’s the front door? You would think it’d be on one of these two sides but all I see are windows. Lots and lots of glorious windows!
The front door is up on that porch and faces the neighbor’s yard. I think perhaps the neighbor’s house was built many years later and that piece of property was actually the front yard of this magnificent home. Geneva is known for its variety of historic homes so I suppose it should be no surprise that I have a magnetic attraction to them. But who knows? Maybe if I’d grown up in an old home, I’d be more attracted to Brady Bunch style homes. How about you? Do you have a favorite architectural style?