I am excited to share another story from the series "HouseTalkN With..." - a lookiloo at how local movers and shakers live. While we all enjoy the aesthetics of homes, what really counts is how we live in them. I have teamed up with fellow house nut and journalist, Julie Wurth, to explore how local folks make their houses a home.
"YOUSE IN THE HOUSE!"
There's Poppy (also known as Dum-Dum, because she looks like Scooby-Dum), Mr. Pants on the Ground (he's built low), Lulu and Bobee. Plus two cats named Wiggle-lee and Diggle-lee, and Jumpy the frog.
And don't forget the giant Victrola dog statue looking out the front window.
The picturesque stone cottage on Willis Avenue is full of surprises, not least of which is the ultra-modern addition put on by the previous owners. Throw in splashes of bright color, art work, and funky touches like a doll chandelier, and this house is anything but traditional.
The right word might be "fun."
Jilll and Jeremy Youse bought the house last year from Krannert Center Director Michael Ross and his wife, designer Taya Ross. (You can see their tour here) Jeremy Youse is a dermatologist at Christie Clinic, and Jill Youse is founder of the International Breast Milk Project, which facilitates breast milk donations for orphaned and undernourished children in Africa and preemies in the United States.
The couple met at Truman State University in Missouri, and later moved to Rochester, Minn., where Jeremy worked at Mayo Clinic.
The Youses rented a house when they first moved to Champaign in 2011, but everywhere Jill turned people kept telling her she had to look at the Ross house.
The Rosses had raised eyebrows in the neighborhood with their copper-clad addition a few years back.
"It evokes strong emotions. People love it or hate it," Jill says.
She wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but was undeterred.
"I thought it was a barn. Turns out it's more of a sculpture I get to live in," she says.
The Rosses chose copper because of the aesthetic and strength complementations to the stone. The exterior has since faded to a deep brown, and trees and other landscaping are starting to mask the addition from the street.
Out back, the addition forms a courtyard anchored by a beautiful weeping cherry tree. It's divided into multiple entertaining areas -- a small hot tub/pool (formerly a fish pond), a cozy seating area, and a dining area with a custom stone table and wrought-iron chandelier, all designed by Taya Ross.
"It's such a nice thing to have the old with the new," says Jill, who kept many of Taya's furnishings.
|By Jodi Birdwell|
|By Stella Youse|
Downstairs, Jill is still trying to decide what to do with the front room. One day, a large dining room table takes center stage, surrounded by random chairs and fabric swatches.
She thinks the table would be great for entertaining, or for working on her computer, or for the kids to spread out with their homework. She's not a fan of couches; no one, she argues, likes to sit together on couches.
A few days later, the table is pushed in front of the front window, the chairs are gone, and Jill is thinking dance floor or ping-pong table.
"I don't want to have another sitting room full of pieces I walk by and look at," she says.
Other personal touches are evident: stunning photos of her children (and the dogs). A large metal flower sculpture in Stella's room. A small blue alligator by the pool, an ode to the full-size pale green one left by the Rosses in the sun room.
Jill says her style is still evolving, but it's obviously not far from Taya's, who says she can't imagine "a more perfect person" for the house than Jill.
"This is the first time I've bought a piece of furniture that wasn't off Craig's List," Jill says with a smile. She she still likes scoring a "find" on Craig's list but also loves Champaign's "Checkered Moon." "I like color," Jill says, pointing to the rug in the light-filled dining room. Anchoring a white wood dining table, the rug is full of color and pattern -- and also hides the dirt, she notes.
And that's it in a nutshell. The house is elegant and artistic -- but playful. All the dogs and kids keep it from looking too much like an art gallery.
|Doggie and kiddie footprints keep it real|
UPDATE: Julie wrote an interesting piece explaining more about The International Breast Milk Project. Come on over and join the discussion: News-Gazette.
Link Par-taay at: