Couple finds more than just a house
Yes, the house is different from others in the neighborhood.
Yes, the floor plan is more open and the bedroom closets larger compared to most houses built in the early 1900s.
Yes, it's built of Indiana limestone, whatever that is.
But after only four years, Chris and Eileen Setti don't talk about what the house is as much as they talk about what their home means.
Lolling on the porch hammock in the summer. Poker parties in the basement "man cave." Neighbors and more parties, big family dinners, and tons of kids on the block.
Every time Eileen Setti pulls into the driveway, she still wonders, "Holy cow, how did we get so lucky?"
No matter what they say, the Settis weren't just looking for a house when they moved from Denver to Peoria. They were partial to old houses with what Chris calls "real architecture," but they could have bought an old, architecturally interesting house near the edge of town or outside of town.
No, the Settis were looking for more than a house. They were looking for a house with sidewalks and neighbors who used the sidewalks for afternoon strolls and baby strollers. It may sound trite, but the Settis were looking for real neighborhood as well as real architecture.
And so they can't talk about moving into the house without telling stories about its Uplands neighborhood near Bradley Park.
The couple has lived in Chicago and Denver. But they had visited Peoria often because Eileen is from Peoria.
"Every time we came here, we'd drive through neighborhoods," she said. "In the Uplands, people were always out in their yards, kids were always playing. It was noisy, you'd see people talking and there weren't a lot of 6-foot privacy fences. We just knew that was the atmosphere we wanted."
They agreed to move back to Peoria and live in the Uplands, or at least on the West Bluff.
Porches are the truest sign of the kind of neighborhood the Settis wanted. It's the wrap-around porch that sold Eileen on the house.
At the time, her husband was still in Denver. Eileen Setti, along with their oldest daughter, Kate, and the dog, was here on a house-hunting trip. Eileen Setti was supposed to come up with a short list of possibilities for Chris Setti to look at later.
"Then we pulled up to this house," she says. "I got out and said, 'This is it, I'll buy it.' "
The realtor hesitated and said, "Why don't we go in first?"
That's the first story in the scrapbook of memories they're amassing about the old house.
It was a Monday; the house had just gone on the market that Saturday.
The mad dash to strike the deal is the second story in the mental scrapbook. Eileen Setti wanted to buy the house because of the porch, but Chris Setti bought it, as he says, "sight unseen."
He still teases her about that episode. They thought there was a deck off the kitchen. There is not. They thought there were ceiling fans in every room. There are not.
"I had looked at so many houses in such a short time, I just got confused," Eileen Setti says.
The house is about 3,000 square feet, with two stories, and an unfinished attic. Previous owners had modernized the kitchen, installing dark wood cabinets and shelving that makes uniquely efficient use of cabinet space.
A built-in china cabinet in the dining room and the French doors between the dining and living rooms are clearly not original to the house.
However, their design and installation blend in well.
The Settis have had another daughter, Elizabeth, since they moved into the house. Photos of the two girls, ages 6 and 3, account for much of the artwork on the walls.
Upstairs, the four bedrooms are at each end of an open, courtyard-like space.
"It's become sort of a de-militarized zone between the girls' rooms," Chris Setti jokes. But it's also become a favorite gathering spot for the entire family. (They turned one of the bedrooms into an office for Eileen.)
The girls' bedrooms are connected by an old sleeping porch lined with windows on three sides. They use it as a playroom now but the Settis suspect it will become something else as their daughters grow older.
They envision the attic becoming something else as the girls get older - their master bedroom suite. With its dramatic roof lines and dormers, they can see an open loft-style suite.
"This is our future, $25,000 from now," Chris Setti says.
And 30 years from now also, because the Settis don't plan on leaving the house or the neighborhood.
Pam Adams can be reached at 686-3245 or email@example.com.