Editor’s note: This article is one of a series of articles provided by the Champaign County Preservation Alliance and leading up to the annual Historic Home & Garden Tour. This year’s tour is an opportunity to visit eight homes, a couple museums, a garden, a church, a business and a railroad car. The tour is 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 29 and 30 in Urbana. Pre-sale tickets are available at local banks and retailers, and a complete list is available at www.ccpapreserveohio.org
The Woods home, located at 112 Lafayette Ave., is a two-and-a-half-story structure with some of the finest woodwork and art glass in Urbana. It has been lovingly renovated and restored by the current owners, who completely re-imagined the first floor, breaking through walls in order to make the home work for a modern family. But they didn’t do a TV-style rip-out-everything-historic re-model. They have honored the building’s history by keeping all the character and charm of the early 1900s.
The house is built in the Colonial Revival Style, and in the Georgian sub-style. The Colonial Revival became popular in the U.S. after the St. Louis World’s Fair, where most of the structures were in the Colonial Revival style. Colonial Revival had many sub-styles (Spanish, French, Georgian, Adamesque, etc.) and this house follows the symmetry and adornments of the Georgian. Note the projecting porch with Ionic columns and the pediment front gable with a triple window.
The woodwork is in wonderful, original condition. Note the wainscoting, the staircase, and the hand-carved closet door featuring a profusion of buckeye leaves. On the staircase landing is a magnificent set of art glass that filters in the light from behind.
House History: This 2,620-square-foot house is in the Sower, Hunter & Barlow Addition and was built circa 1900. The first owners were William A. and Eleanor Nutt. Mr. Nutt was engaged in the grain business. Mr. Nutt had four daughters, Bessie, Lilley, Harriett and Hazel, the subject of a two-column article in the Urbana Daily Citizen recording every detail of Lilley’s wedding to Ross Warnock in September 1920. (“… The bride wearing white descended the staircase and was married in the Music Room – the bridesmaids wore a rainbow of muted colors …”) The daughters were regularly featured in the society pages of the newspapers of Urbana.
The house stayed in the Nutt family 58 years.
The Woods family has repurposed the first floor rooms to meet modern needs. The music room has become the dining room, the library has become an office, and the former dining room is now the family room.
The Woods house illustrates how an older house can be updated to meet modern needs without losing its historic charm.
Info from Champaign County Preservation Alliance.