From skulls lining the original fireplace mantel to scattered vintage and antique pieces, the decor of Adam and Jessica Willhite’s bungalow brings a hint of the macabre into their daily lives.
“Our styles are both eclectic but each with a little bit of a different twist,” Jessica said. “We do kind of like things that … are a little bit mysterious.”
When they made changes, such as bringing heating and air into some rooms and repairing the chimney to their Craftsman home, which is on the May 19-20 Grant Park Tour of Homes, the couple found traces of the previous owners.
For example, when a layer of drywall was removed from the ceiling, Adam said he found old “gaudy” gold and silver wallpaper. Now a framed piece of the wallpaper haunts the living room.
“An old house like this leaves signs of what it was like back then,” he said.
Residents: Adam and Jessica Willhite and their dogs, Sophie and Gabby. Adam is a physician recruiter at Hayman Daugherty Associates and Jessica works in the behavioral health industry.
Location: Grant Park
Size: 1,900 square feet, four bedrooms, two baths
Year built and bought: 1932/2015
Architectural style: Craftsman bungalow
Favorite architectural elements: Front porch, original windows, heart pine floors, fireplaces and trim.
Renovations: The couple and members of their family rebuilt the front porch, which has brick front steps and columns, a stone walkway and a new front door. Other changes included repairing the chimney and fireplaces, which now are functional. They partially renovated the kitchen and they restored a clawfoot tub and added built-in storage in the master bathroom. Outside, they painted the home, stained the porches and landscaped. The lighting fixtures were replaced and a new HVAC system was installed. To add more storage, they floored in the attic and enclosed the space under the back porch.
Interior design style: Vintage modern eclectic
Favorite piece of furniture: The dresser in the master bedroom. It’s a family antique dating back nearly 125 years to a family farm in Kentucky.
Favorite outdoor feature: The front porch, which the couple said has become the social hub of our home. Neighbors casually stop by for a drink, and they said it has provided a way for them to meet people in the community who pass by and strike up conversations.
Resources: Furniture and lighting from Apt2B, West Elm, Macy’s, Highland Row Antiques and Shades of Light. Paint colors are Dolphin Fin by Sherwin-Williams (interiors), Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore (interior doors); French Grey and Iron Ore Sherwin-Williams (exterior).
Tip: Consider painting the window trim an unexpected color. They said they used a subtle red to stand out from the gray exterior.
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