Old Charm

Appears in the July 2024 issue.

Preserving an 1870s home near Wheaton College

Outside the Wheaton home

As off-campus housing options go, the restored 1872 Italianate Victorian home at 319 East Franklin Street in Wheaton, now on the market for $1.288 million, is probably a bit out of range for most students at nearby Wheaton College. But for those prospective buyers with the means—not to mention a keen eye for history and a penchant for campus proximity—it certainly beats dorm living.

Foyer of the Wheaton home

That’s thanks in large part to a massive 2015 overhaul that helped bring the living space up to the standards of modern luxury living, though notably calculated to avoid sacrificing the assets of the original structure. This melding of old and new means that while the historic hand pump out back and gas lighting fixtures inside remain (though are no longer functional), the cedar siding has been fully replaced, the wood floors throughout are all new, and the high-capacity kitchen is now built for entertaining in the 2000s instead of the 1800s.

The kitchen in the Wheaton home

Though he opted to keep the original bay windows in yet another nod to history, owner Paul Condrell decided to add extra-large windows and skylights wherever possible elsewhere in the rebuild, giving the home what he believes to be its most stunning feature. “The natural light is such a big part of this home now,” Condrell says. “People who come to view it during the day or early evening are always blown away.”


Photos: Leslie Lemons Photography