This summer, Kim and I went to Bloomington’s Old House Society Home Tour. This was our second year to attend, and we had so much fun. It’s always great to get a peek inside old houses and spend a summer day exploring local neighborhoods.
Old House Society Home Annual Tour 2019
Last year’s tour showcased the Victorian era neighborhood around Franklin Park. Most of the homes were built in the late 19th century, but there were a few built in the early 20th century. We really wanted to see a beautiful Richardsonian Romanesque, but it was not included on the tour. Hopefully, we’ll get to see it someday.
This year’s tour focused on the homes in the Villa Maria neighborhood, and were built between 1909 and 1950. We visited six houses in all. There were so many interesting homes on the tour, from the very traditional Colonial to the ultra-Mod Lustron home.
Before I get started sharing some photos, we’d like to extend a big thanks to both the Old House Society and the homeowners who graciously opened their homes to strangers!!
The American Foursquare
Our first stop was this charming home. The American Foursquare is considered to be an early predecessor of the Prairie style of architecture. The home was built sometime between 1910 and 1913. While it may not look like the Robie House on the outside, you can definitely see some similarities in the interior.
The Craftsman Bungalow
This home was perfect inside and out. From the inviting front porch (with a swing, of course!), to the landscaping, to the Arts & Crafts interiors, to the second floor addition that added space without changing the roof line of the front.
This stately home, built in 1940, proves that you don’t need to follow the latest design trends to look good. It’s classical detailing, symmetry, proportions and simple color scheme make it timeless. No 10 Circles of McMansion Hell here. (Did you notice the shutters?? Not only are they correctly sized, but they look like they are operational!)
The Gothic Renaissance
The “Magic House” was our next stop, and it was such a fun juxtaposition to the white colonial just across the street. Built in 1928, this house had everything from a two story Great Hall, to Juliette balconies, to Gothic arched doors.
As architects, we had to check out the original blueprints.
The Arts & Crafts
We loved this cute house. The high roof slope and arched entry give it a bit of a Gothic feel, but it’s solidly in the Arts & Crafts style. The second floor bedrooms had windows on three sides, and were so light and airy!
In the basement, the block walls had been painted and graffitied. Many were dated 1929 and 1930.
The Lustron House was probably the most interesting house on the tour, simply because it was such a different style and I’ve never been inside one. This prefab, enameled steel home was built in 1950, and the Mid Century Modern interiors were outstanding!
Our last stop was a bit outside the Villa Maria neighborhood, at this Mission style home, built in 1908. (Right next to the old Mr. Quick site – which was a childhood favorite. Love that sign!) The decorative elements, such as the half round parapet, masonry arches, and the flared columns at the corners, really make this home quite different from all the others.
We were pleasantly surprised at the colors of the mosaic floor; you don’t see shades of green very often. And, it’s in great shape, considering its age.
And, that was our tour for 2019. Old house tours are a really great way to see inside interesting houses, learn about architectural styles, and see a level of craftsmanship that we don’t see anymore. If you get the chance to take one of these kinds of tours, then be sure to do it. You won’t regret it!
If you’re looking for more information about house styles, pick up a copy of A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia and Lee McAlester.
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