The cedar-sided home at 203 W. Larue St., Streator, looks exactly like a home should look in the Northwoods.
A large wood-burning fireplace with floor-to-ceiling stonework, the stone grotto around the kitchen stove and two bedrooms in a loft area overlooking the living room all help to create a log cabin feeling.
Four generations of Rita Girard's family have lived in the five-bedroom home. Along with her parents, Rita and her husband, Terry, all lived together while they raised their three children, Tracy, Tammy and Trenton. Rita now lives in the home with her grandson, Zachary, and Tracy.
“We have a large family that lives in the area, so we always had a full house of cousins, aunts and uncles visiting,” Zachary said. “And most of our friends practically lived here because it's just such a comfortable place.”
Rita said the huge stone fireplace was the reason they bought the home in 1983.
“I always wanted to live in a log cabin home, and the fireplace reminded me of one,” Rita said. “All the improvements we've made throughout the 36 years were our ideas. The outcome is that while it's very open, there's still a lot of privacy.”
Everything was designed with family in mind. The loft has two large bedrooms with a half wall that looks down into the living room. A full basement features a laundry area and a fifth bedroom.
“My parents lived here and helped out with the kids,” Rita said. “I was employed at McDonald's for 23 years and managed it for 14 of those years. So, our arrangement was perfect. Someone was always home for our kids. And actually, a lot of our kids' friends called this their second home.”
“When we were in high school, my friends and I would come home for lunch, watch soap operas, then go back to school. Every one of my friends loved this house.”
Rita designed a pantry area on the other side of the stove that also serves as a main floor laundry. A dryer sits on top of the washer in one part, and pantry shelves fill the remaining pantry section.
“It's harder for me to use stairs, so now it's a lot easier for me to do laundry,” Rita said.
As a family home, its location is ideal. It’s a quick walk to Streator High School, about one block away.
What are some of the best things about living in the home?
Without hesitation, everyone said it was family memories created within its walls.
“When my great-grandma lived here, the meals were always great,” Zachary said. “My aunt was always over to visit my grandma and we also had a lot of cousins come by. It was a comfortable and busy home.”
And as you might think, the worst part of selling the home is leaving the site of all of the memories.
“It's hard to be in the kitchen and not remember my dad having lunch ready when we came home from school,” Tracy said. “And when (great) Grandma cooked, all my friends loved to come here to eat.”
Rita is considering a move to Indiana. And, of course, family will be nearby.
“Actually, we'll be moving about 50 to 60 miles away from where I grew up,” Rita said. “And yes, we'll be close to my brother and other family members. While I love this home, I'm getting older, and it's time for me to find a smaller place.”
While it’s time for her to move on, she’s confident the house is ready for a new family to move in.
“This home is a great place for kids," Rita said. "There's a lot of room for storage, and it's convenient to (get to) everything in town. Our neighbors are very friendly and it will be hard to leave, but we're looking forward to another chapter for our family.
“Honestly? I think the home’s next owner will love it here.”
• THE FIVE-BEDROOM HOME at 203 W. Larue Street, Streator, is priced at $94,500. The home is listed by Broker/Realtor Beckie Chismarick, RE/MAX Country. Call Chismarick at 815-672-9099 or 815-257-3183.