Owners Pack History into Stone Cottages of the Mid-1800s
Byline: Deborah Donovan email@example.com By Deborah Donovan firstname.lastname@example.org
Antique stone cottages have fascinating interiors, histories and residents, right?
And you can step inside five in St. Charles and Geneva on Sunday, Sept. 18, as part of a weekend celebration by Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley.
The windows flush on the outside and set way back in the thick walls from the inside attracted Rebekah Brigham to the cottage that stone mason Robert Beith built in St. Charles in 1844.
After buying the home 18 years ago, Brigham antiqued the trim in the living room to make the detail stand out. And like most old-house projects, applying the glaze took longer than she had imagined. Think Q-tips.
The homeowner also stripped all the doors in the house, yet another time-consuming project.
Guests will also notice the incredible floor boards up to 24 inches wide. Of course, Brigham exposed them by pulling up carpet and linoleum.
"I was so excited when we got down to the original floors," she said.
Another detail that she loved was the limestone steps to a side porch, but the porch was falling down, so she replaced it with a den and set the limestone in paths around the front of the house. She left the window, peering from the den into the master bedroom, because she couldn't bear to part with the old glass.
Brigham decorated with antiques and furniture her father made that looks like antiques.
"Mom collected children's plates and rocking horses and toys," said Brigham of her late mother, Dorothea. "She had 50 some rocking horses. I could house one."
"Dad made several pieces of furniture. The china cabinet was made out of his old tree house. He braided this rug."
Other gifts from her fahter, Dwight Brigham who still lives in Colorado, are his paintings of the Geneva house and the home Rebekah grew up in. But Rebekah herself stitched those samplers hanging in the living room.
Rebekah Brigham, a designer at the Strawflower Shop in Geneva, seems to effortlessly display collections in her house, while demonstrating how to make the most of small spaces.
CDs are in an old pie safe, with quilts folded and stacked on top of it. Of course the computer hides in a cabinet.
Chocolate molds another of her mother's collections make a great display on an old baker's rack in the kitchen.
Rebekah faux painted the pumpkin-colored dining room with antique gold glaze, then added sayings around each door and window, such as "If life were perfect, there would be nothing to laugh about. Always laugh."
A visitor could miss the subtle decoration provided by old scoops nestling in a wooden box on the dining room table surrounded with mismatched chairs, of course. …