Our Story

Our Story~ So lets go back to the fall of 2004.  In a quest to find new antique stores, we drove from Tinley Park to Manteno IL.  When we exited the highway in Manteno, I remember the way the trees lined the streets and how my heart jumped when i first saw this magnificent house!  It was so majestic in the way it towered above the trees.
Well, we did our shopping in town and when leaving, we drove past the house one more time thinking "how lucky to be the person who lives in that home!" A year pasted and we decided to sell our townhouse and own an older piece of history.  At this point, I had forgotten about our Manteno dreamhouse, so we started the search for other Victorian homes.  After months of no success, I found one!  The next day we were up at 8am on our way to Manteno.  As we got off the interstate, I couldn’t shake the feeling of Déjà vu.  I knew I had seen this same tree-lined street.  Then it hit me!   I looked at Dave and said “Dave, do you think it's “THE house?”  Then I saw it.  My heart stopped.  IT WAS THE HOUSE.... my perfect house... my perfect vision of Victorian Elegance! Five days later we had a contract on the house and the day after Christmas we moved in making this the best Christmas gift ever!!!

Special Thanks

Special thanks to all who helped make our home what it is today!

Claudia from Stick it to your Walls - Orland Park, IL
     You are an amazing lady with unexplainable talent!  Thank you for making beauty from the most dreading  decorating task.

George Aaiden from Aaiden Contracting - Orland Park, IL
     You are a mircle worker! Thank you for dealing me asking for things that were not possible, but still finding a way to make it happen.

Chris Leer - Beecher, IL
     Thank you for helping transform our interior. Sometimes, I think you are more our contractor then our friend.

Mark Huffman (My Dad) - Suring, WI
      Thank you for transforming our unused third floor into my favorite place in the house.

Elder Valdez & Elder Kearl-The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
      When these two came walking into our yard one day and asked if they could help i was shocked but when they came back again a couple days later i was floored. Now i consider them friends and look forward to spending the summer with them
Thank you guys for just making the work we are putting into our house more fun, its great to spend time with two amazing and selfless people

My deep gratitude goes out to all who helped with the research the House's History;
  • The Geneological Department at the Kankakee library - Kankakee, IL
  • The County Deeds Office - Kankakee, IL
  • John Tamblyn - Wilmington, IL 
  • Ron and Jamie Bachus - Manteno, IL
  • Maggie Gorman - Manteno, IL
  • William Powers - Limestone, IL

Can you believe it!!??....


It seems like it was a lifetime ago we moved into this house
(only 5 years )
Of course you must know when i first saw this house i was blinded by what i knew it COULD look like
So blind i didn't see the metal columns, cover-all siding and destroyed detailing.
I looked right past the metal scroll hand rails and ugly closed in porches
What i saw was much prettier, I saw those porches opened up and all the detail being replaced.
I saw myself removing the Siding and uncovering the true beauty of this house.
Picking out historic period appropriate colors and bonding with my husband sitting on scaffolding.
The truth of it is this house is MY LIFE...its what I'm going to leave behind as my life's work
Its not enough to "Make it pretty again" I want it protected for years after I'm gone
(Stepping down from soapbox)
"Ahem" back to the painting (*blushes*) 

Here is a sneak peak at what we have done for the last 3 days

Our house base color is a cream

Robins egg blue and white trim
I'm still picking our my second accent color

Ive gotten so many paint samples
The man at Lowes paint department knows me by name now!

**To see more  click on  The Exterior*

Restoration of my bike?

This doesn't have to do with the house, but its still a restoration. This is my 1955 Schwinn Spitfire! I bought it at an antique shop and got the replacement parts on eBay.  First we took it apart and a really nice man in town sandblasted it for us. Then Dave painted it with car paint and I added Kitty's basket on the front.
Viola, the ultimate Princess bike. It is so great to ride this around town with Kitty in her basket. Becuase of the shape of the bike, I can even ride in a dress. One day, I was riding back from the grocery store and a man on a Harley stopped to tell me how cool my bike was.  I told him I liked his too!

Whoa, is that a pool?

Yup, it sure is !!!!!!!

I know a pool has nothing to do with restoration, but I thought we should take a break and treat ourselves to a little gift this summer

The Garden

My "Not So Secret" Garden

   I've always loved gardening and this year is all about outside projects.  What started as a 6x6 box turned into an 11 raised bed garden.  It's so overwhelming and I love it!

Until now my veggie garden has been a small space in the back corner of the yard.

BUT NOW!!!!!!

We've done a little work.

Dave built each box and painted them white.  I like the raised beds because they look organized.

We laid out some landscaping fabric and added gravel to make the paths neat and clean.

Dave dug all the fence posts by hand......
(willingly, i promise!)

The cross sections were Dave's genius money saving idea. 
My hubby is so smart!

Then the best part... the pickets!!!!  Aren't they just so darn cute? I have always wanted a picket fence.

What old fashioned girl doesn't?

I hand painted the words on each box.
 CUTE, right?!!!

This Garden is a place to relax, marvel at the flowers, and listen to the birds. 

Here is the garden at the end of August after having harvested and canned tons of
veggies and berries.

After discovering that the original owner, Olivene Senesac, was an avid gardener and had a tremendous Flower and vegtable garden, I cant help but wonder how many other things she and I would have had in common if she was alive today.

Stay tuned for a updates in the Garden!!!!

The Third Floor

Our third floor is fabulous!  It has hardwood floors, beautiful decorative wood walls and a few other unique traits. 
Lately, we've been using this floor for storage, but not for long.
It's going to become my crafting floor!  I scrapbook, sew, paint, and create just about anything that my creative brain can think up.
This will be my Creation Station!

To Do List:
1. Knee walls- for storage
2. Carpet- This cuts down on the noise.
3. Electrical outlets
4. Windows- restore and insulate
5. Custom sewing nook and scrapbook island
6. Bedroom area- because a 5 bedroom house is just perfect

 I got a very big surprise this week, My Dad came to visit. Of all the projects around the house we was most excited to help with the third floor.

We started by building "knee walls" for storage along the slanted walls.
This will have a hidden door to stash away all the holiday decorations
Great idea Dad!

My Luna had to wear protective eye wear too.

The knee walls were covered with bead board to match the existing walls

My dad lined it up perfect.
Its seamless other than being new wood,
 you would think its been there all along

Now for the turret room. My Dad framed out a built-in bench.
Now when we watch the parades and fireworks up there we will have a great place to sit.

Luna by the framed bench.

Luna is our little manager.

The finished window bench.

Now for storage... Dave and my Dad framed a large area not just for storage but also to enclose the chimney.
This is going to provide room for all holiday decorations.

We used an extra door from the house, i love this because it looks like it has always been there.

Customizing the sewing nook was my Dad's idea. All the features will provide total organization.

More Framing for the bedroom nook.

Two book shelves went on each side.

The bed frame was built with drawers and two built in side tables.

Dave is the official saw guy
( I hate the saw)

I Love the nail gun though!

My scrap booking island started as a drawing on the floor

And it turned into a awesome workspace.

With tons of storage.

This little nook is for the computer and a cutting station.
I had an idea for paper organization.

So while the boys were busy i made paper trays.

This can sort the paper by color

Its works perfectly!

Over in the sewing nook my Dad built a desk
and a built in cabinet for fabric storage
(its on the left wall, not easy to see in this pic)

When we realized a roll of carpet wasn't coming up that narrow staircase
Someone suggested carpet tiles
Well.....My Dad could install those!

I learned allot working with my Dad on this project.

Its really starting to come together

With the carpet done we can move on to more paint
and lighting

Just a few weeks later
We are almost done
Just a few more finishing touches and we can move along to the next project

The sewing nook all painted and trimmed

This is a built in fabric display made from the top of a china cabinet
Ive always thought stacks of color full fabric are so pretty
maybe because i can see what they will become

The corner shelves i just had to have (thanks dad)
I think all the angles and cubbies up here really give it allot of interest
(again thanks dad that was a good idea)

This is the entrance to the third floor
Spencer is right next to the staircase
I think it needs a railing!

Cute seating area
The little door opens to storage for holiday decorations

My favorite part! The tea station

The little bedroom nook is complete with built in storage under the bed

The big storage area hidden behind the door is really convenient

The built in bench in the turret
The dogs love it in there

Photo storage and scrapbook supplies are on this wall

The computer corner / paper storage area

And Ta daaaaa
The scrapbook island
I'm so glad my dad made me think about where
everything needed to go i think this made it super organized
and everyone who knows me knows
"Everything has a place and everything in its place"