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.”

Adam and Jessica Willhite purchased their 1932 Craftsman bungalow in 2015. Adam is a physician recruiter at Hayman Daugherty Associates and Jessica works in the behavioral health industry. They live with their two dogs, Sophie and Gabby.
Photo: Text by Marena Galluccio/ Photos by Christopher Oquendo

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.

Design consultants: Balance Design (interiors), Chimney Mike’s (fireplace restoration)

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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