For about five years, I’ve loved this house from afar.
I first encountered it when I met my husband. During our early dates, we would take long walks around his hometown of Streator, and I developed the habit of pointing out which houses I liked.
Each time we passed this one, I would pause for a second longer than I did for others and think, “Now that’s a house for a writer.”
Known as the Moon House, the Queen Anne-style home was built in 1892 by Ammon B. Moon. (If that isn’t a great name for a literary character, I don’t know what is.) The Moon family is rooted in Streator’s history, and the house maintains much of its old-time feel.
It’s the kind of house that inspires a person’s imagination to run away. It’s the kind of house that encourages fantasies and daydreams.
It’s the kind of house that is now for sale.
The husband and I have (slowly) begun the process of searching for a home to buy and call our own. Last night I was browsing Zillow.com for Streator listings, I came across my beloved Moon House. Even though I’ve known for a few months that it’s been on the market, I deliberately avoided the listing. I didn’t want to know the price. I didn’t want my heart to break at not being able to afford it on a writer’s wages.
But Zillow sprang it upon me by surprise: $99,000.
Not outside the realm of possibility, but still a bit higher than the budget we set for ourselves.
I went to bed with my mind firmly rooted in fantasy. With six bedrooms, the Moon House offers plenty of space for a master bedroom, rooms for two to three children, a library, and an office. The turret room would be the perfect place for a writing desk. (Plenty of sunlight, plenty of inspiration. I write best during the daylight hours.)
And I asked myself, $99,000 isn’t so bad, right? Maybe the owner is open to Rumplestiltskin-like negotiations. Here’s $85,000 and a promise of my firstborn.
(Just kidding, future firstborn.)
As I drifted off to sleep, I fell back on hoping for a fairy godparent to slip a lottery ticket into our hands that could give us a $15,000 boost to get the house of a writer’s dreams. If Cinderella could get a dress, coach, coachmen, glass slippers, and the works, surely it couldn’t be too hard for a fairy godparent to rustle up a scrap of paper with a few numbers.
Alas, I don’t live in a fairy tale.
In the daylight, I’m a bit more realistic. Think of the utility bills to heat the home in harsh Illinois winters. Imagine the extra time it would take to clean a house that size. We’re only two people right now; we can always start small with a three-bedroom starter home and upgrade when we need the space and don’t just want the space. There’s a family out there that needs this house, right?
Logic and reason don’t do much to mute the imagination, though. I can’t help daydreaming of a life spent writing behind those walls. It’s a home that sings its siren tune to creative people, saying, “Come to me. Create with me.”
In the reality of daylight, I’ve accepted that the Moon House is outside of our price range. Dropping $15,000 from the price is an unreasonable offer to owners who have invested so much in restoring and maintaining this home, which may soon qualify to be added to the National Register of Historic Places.
But I have one dream for this house. I hope whoever buys it has a creative spirit. I believe there’s an author or artist out there who deserves a house like this. And I believe the house deserves a creative spirit or two who will draw inspiration from its character and setting.
I’ll be envious of the owner, but I’m willing to set that envy aside … as long as the buyer invites me over for book club.
- A few more glimpses inside the Moon House (all photos in this post are from the Zillow listing):