House TalkN is a fun lookiloo at houses, houses, houses. It will answer pressing questions like, "When folks build a McMansion on a small lot, what are they compensating for?" or "Was the real estate agent drunk when they staged this house?" or "Why don't the Smiths' ever leave their drapes open when I am on a harmless walk-by?"

Monday, August 15, 2011

The "Castle House"

An all time favorite house on our family walks is known as "the castle house".  We all covet love it.
Conveniently, it sits next to a close family friend's house.  "We aren't snooping, we are simply on our way to the Devine's house!"  is the vibe I try to send out.  It is a bit fishy that I regularly have to stop and tie a shoestring...on my flip flop.

I was so excited to finally meet the homeowners, Bill and Ernie!  Take a lookiloo around and check out Bill and Ernies house insights...

What's your "how you met" story with this house?  Were you house hunting or did it find it's way to you?
"We were house hunting and had seen at least three that I didn't like and the realtor was driving us to another house that I wasn't going to like when we passed 908. It had a for sale sign in the yard, very over grown side and back yard and a falling apart look to it. I said from the back seat of the realtors car "What about that one?" She said she could show it but that it had been on the market two years (during the good times) and everybody in town had looked at it and walked away.  In fact the current residents had lived there a while with an option to buy and they were giving up. Just the house for us!"

Do you know the history of the house?  Have you seen old photographs or blueprints?  Any previous owners come knockin' for a tour?
"It was built in 1926 by the vice president of a savings and loan who sold it in 1932. His occupation was then listed as a commercial traveler (traveling salesman) so we think the depression was hard on him. The second owner added the adjoining lot to the property in 1932. Thankfully so, otherwise there would be no back yard. We only have a couple of old photos and none show the garage door so we will have to guess about replicating it. The blueprints were said to be with the house while it was being rented to students but the plans vanished during that period.  I dream about finding them.  The second owner's daughter and her daughter came during a dreary rain storm one fall and I had just brought in my "hoarder sized" collection of house plants and they were everywhere and I was very embarrassed and forgot all the questions I had wanted to ask."

The "glitter" in the paint is a gorgeous surprise!  How did that come about?
"The glitter is mica flakes. The original finish was a tinted stucco with the mica in the stucco mix.  By the time we got the house it had been painted several times. The area behind the shutters that we have not put back up yet did not ever get painted so we could see a large rectangle of what the original surface was like. For our most recent big project, we had the stucco stripped, repaired, and lime washed.  The incredible Polish craftsmen used a squeeze bottle to blow the mica into the wet lime wash."

Have you always been gardeners or did this property inspire you?
"My grandmother and mother had green thumbs.  I started hoarding house plants before I had any land to plant. I read a lot of friends gardening magazines when I lived in Chicago.  My practical education has been trial and lots of error. I think the property inspires me because I haven't planned anything.  I buy what looks interesting and then walk around the yard holding the plant until it says "here!""

Thank you for being so gracious!  I will continue to "tie my flip flops" and admire your castle!

"Thank you for the kind words!  Some days it feels like we are not much further along than when Bill and I drove past with the realtor 20+ years ago.  The most satisfying comment recently was just after the stucco project, someone walking by said to Bill, " I am glad you just  bought the property, the last owners really let it go to hell.""

(You may have noticed Bill and Ernies "castle" in the 
               background of our "HouseTalkN" slideshow!)

Link Par-taaay at:


  1. I can definitely understand why you stalk this house! It's so pretty and unique. I'm glad Bill and Ernie are restoring it to its former glory! Maybe they'll let "us" inside some day ... Or maybe not if they saw you scaling the fence :)

  2. That is such a great house story... I love the way the glitter reflects off the stone of the house... How neat is that?

    Jeanna @

  3. I love that first picture! It cracks me up to imagine you hiding behind some flowers to take a peek at the castle house. :) Maybe because that is something I would totally do. Haha!


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