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Loving the flaws of an old home

Published: Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 10:06 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 9:18 a.m. CST

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MORRIS – “You have to love the flaws of an old home.”

That's what Barb Behrens and her husband Gary have been doing exactly this for 20 years at 619 Vine St., in Morris. The Behrens’ American Four Square will be featured on the Home for the Holidays Housewalk, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 30.

This beautifully restored historic home was built in 1900. The welcoming front porch leads you into the foyer, where you’ll be taken by the stunning woodwork, all stripped and refinished by Gary. The open foyer features a repurposed hutch, gorgeous stairway and painted floor. A colorful, stained glass window allows light to stream into this area.

The Behrens’ three children Casie, Andrew and Kendel, grew up in this home and now love to come for frequent visits.

The oak stairway with intricate details leads to the open foyer on the second floor and four bedrooms. Each room is stylishly decorated with bold colors and accents. Barb, who owns a drapery business, made all the “one of a kind” drapes, valances and cornices throughout the home.

The large upstairs bathroom has the original, claw-foot tub. The creative sink was a creation of Gary’s: He used the base of an antique sewing machine, balanced a thick piece of green glass on top and then mounted a vessel sink. This unique addition to the room serves as both art and function. A whimsical chandelier hangs from the ceiling along with a crystal light fixture over the sink that Barb made. A small, fringed-bottom boudoir chair in the corner came from Ruby Begonia’s in downtown Morris. Barb explains that she prefers to shop in Morris and boasts many pieces throughout her home from Shugie’s, The Thoughtful Spot, Whimsy and The Front Porch.

The dining room hosts a stunning, original fireplace with ornate scrollwork, granite and a mirror. The original hardwood floor was taken up in this room, exposing the plank pine floor beneath. This rustic looks makes the room feel comfortable and inviting. Chad Shenberg refinished these floors, as well as all the other original hardwood floors in the home. The antique dining table has covered chairs that match the drapes also made by Barb.

To fully experience this amazing home, plan to visit the Behrens on the Home for the Holidays Housewalk. Tickets can be purchased at each home, at the tea or at downtown retailers.

The house walk ticket also is entry in the grand prize drawing, which will feature a .23-carat diamond pendant from Harrington’s, a $250 Grundy County Chamber gift certificate, dinner at Chapin’s, wine tasting for two at Montage Spirits and Gifts, a collection of gift certificates from area merchants and a complimentary stay at Morris Holiday Inn Express.

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