by Leona Jaeger
I don’t think I’ve met a single soul who doesn’t love the idea of a sunny day, a barely-there cool breeze, an icy lemonade (or iced tea or mint julep) and a huge porch on which to sway lazily away in a cozy rocking chair. If you’re one of the souls I just described, then you are going to be swayin’ in porch heaven! Welcome to the Kittles Homes — for sale on CIRCA!
Not far from downtown Sylvania, the Kittles Home was built around 1890 by James Hezekiah Evans and his wife Therissa Ziegler Evans. At age 16 James joined the Confederate army of the Civil War and fought until its end. Afterwards he became a successful farmer and was also in the mercantile and banking businesses. They had 9 children (sadly, 3 of them died very young), and it was their youngest daughter Grace who married Peter Kittles. Peter Kittles was a lawyer and later founded the National Bank of Sylvania. He died young, however, at the age of 46 and Grace never remarried. Grace Kittles, or “Miss Grace” as she was known in her community, was very active in her church and community and well-respected, as was her husband.
The house has played a special part in the community over the years. It served as a kindergarten for the town’s children while still a residence; the upstairs was used by several townspeople when first married, and the long-time mayor remembers sharing his first kiss on the front steps. (See? Those porches hold some romantic magic—the mayor eventually married his sweetheart!). And “Southern hospitality” isn’t just a saying—this lovely home has welcomed bridesmaids’ luncheons, baby showers and Christmas parties galore.
The home’s exterior is a gorgeous neoclassical design with clean, crisp edges and grand columns. The symmetrical layout allows for a huge wraparound porch—this means there is plenty of room for other julep-lovers to sway alongside you. (The first floor porch is so huge, I’m pretty sure you’ll need a GPS system to get from one end to the other—or a tram). If the towering columns aren’t enough to draw your eyes upwards, then maybe the majestic second floor balcony will.
The interior of this classic beauty has so many touches that I love. Eight fireplaces (yes, I said eight—five downstairs, three upstairs) throughout the home have lovely mahogany mantles; tall, with graceful columns that adorn the sides—a wonderful accompaniment that enhances the already tall ceilings. Five of the eight fireplaces have a beautiful jade green glazed tiles surrounding them and adds such a rich feel.
Two sets of working pocket doors add a nice touch to the lovely parlor. Another touch I found interesting that I don’t recall seeing in other homes is wainscoting set at a diagonal. Simple but eye-catching, it adds a unique texture to the walls’ spaces.
The home has been beautifully maintained throughout it’s history and touches like fluted door moldings capped with rosettes, pocket doors, original hardware on doors and transoms, and hardwood floors as glossy as glass make it more than enviable.
You’ll notice, too, that there is a good old-fashioned claw foot tub, which I adore! (Don’t get me wrong: a spa tub is nice and all, but I’ll take a lovely claw foot tub with a snowcap-like mass of bubbles any day!)
The only thing that would make this home perfect is a modernized kitchen — oh wait! It has that, too! I guess that means this home is perfect. Perfectly lovely, historic, romantic… just perfect!
Curious to see more? Check out the listing on CIRCA!
AUTHOR LEONA JAEGER
From the sturdy practicality of a colonial saltbox, to the lavish details of a High Victorian, Leona believes that each old home holds a beauty, solid craftsmanship, and history that is a mystery and wonder to be explored and appreciated. Leona’s dream is to find a huge farmhouse with high ceilings, wide-planked floors (complete with hidden artifacts under a loose plank), a wraparound porch, and enough acreage to house a horse or two, some dogs, cats, goats, and a ring-tailed lemur. In her spare time she can be found with her face pressed and distorted against the car window, ogling the fantastic old homes in the surrounding areas of Pasadena, California where she lives with her loving husband (who patiently peels her face off the windows and tells her to breathe) and her vivacious 9-year-old daughter.