House Tour: Positively Quirky
The exterior of this home outside Granville, Ohio, hints at the one-of-a-kind design inside.
A tour with Monique Keegan quickly turns into a celebration of the home’s eccentricities. She runs her fingers along the dimples a pellet gun left in her study windows. She pulls open a secret tool cabinet built into bookshelves and points to a stack of the former owner’s vintage suitcases that now tower in the living room of the 1924 Tudor that she, husband Keith and son Maxfield call home.
Stonehill (named for its materials and location) began life as a simple wooden farmhouse. At some point, missionary and self-taught architect Arthur Darrow moved it to the current woodsy site. Cobbled-on additions of brick, stone and stucco reflect his Depression-Era ethos to make good practical use of leftover materials from his building projects at nearby Denison University and the local Baptist church.
Preserving the past
Original owner Arthur Darrow’s books and drawings remain in the study.
No strangers to old houses, Monique and Keith had renovated nine homes before investing in Stonehill. “The Darrows’ 98-year-old daughter lived here, and the house had been chopped into four different apartments,” Monique says. “When she moved out, the family wanted to sell, but they were overwhelmed by all the stuff.”
Twenty-four dumpsters later, the Keegans had a nearly empty house as well as some treasures. “Mr. and Mrs. Darrow were avid readers, so we saved books, and there were many trunks from their multiple travels and especially from Mr. Darrow’s trips to Burma as a missionary,” Monique says.
Vintage suitcases stack like sculpture in the living room.
Vestiges of Arthur Darrows' time linger throughout the house. “He kept stashes and used whatever was available,” Monique says, “which is why no two windows are alike.” Neither are the floors, a fact the Keegans chose to celebrate when they removed three interior walls to create an open floor plan on the main level. “We have oak, walnut and yellow pine, so our craftsman took extra flooring from closets to seam it all together.”
The living room has a tree house ambience thanks to woodsy colors and a leafy view. The antique telescope is a favorite flea-market find.
The dining room’s ceiling had to be reinforced to support the 6x6-foot metal light fixture that a local craftsman made from Monique’s sketch.
Throughout the renovation, the Keegans let the house’s natural materials, tree-houselike setting, rich history and quirky imperfections guide them toward neutral tones and Craftsman-style design. They painted all rooms the same soothing gray, then layered in an effective mix of vintage, industrial and contemporary pieces. Unique crafted items—like the dining room’s enormous steel lighting fixture and the entry hall’s leather tiles—further emphasize the one-of-a-kind design.
Keith Keegan made the cedar bed and shelf that doubles as a nightstand. A thick cableknit throw adds textural interest to the serene scheme.
Bar cart sparkle
A bar cart sparkles in front of an antique botanical wall hanging.
The home’s original kitchen was inefficient to the point that the range was in the tiny back entry. The Keegans designed a renovated kitchen with entertainment in mind. The custom worktable features a striking surface made from salvaged bowling alley flooring.
The Keegans left most windows unadorned, but simple Roman shades offer privacy when needed.
His-and-her vanities feature limestone counters and vintage mirrors. Old metal baskets corral towels.
An elevated tub lets bathers soak in the treetop views. A table adds elegance, as well as a handy spot to fold clothes from the adjacent laundry room.
A friend cut leather tiles to add visual warmth to the staircase wall.
To create a paneled wall in Maxfield’s room, Monique applied strips of quarter-inch milled wood.
The mudroom works smart with easy-clean slate floors and a flip-top bench for storage.
Easy indoor plants
Plants bring life to each room at Stonehill. Here are five of Monique Keegan’s low-fuss favorites.
1 Baby’s tears (Soleirolia soleirolii): Monique leaves pots of baby tears in a tray of water for minimal maintenance. They’re also ideal for terrariums and like low to medium light.
2 ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia): “I literally put these in basements, bathrooms and nooks that don’t get much light,” Monique says. “They’re like a succulent but even better because they don’t need light.”
3 Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata): Upright with stiff, variegated leaves, this plant thrives in medium light with water about every two weeks.
4 Bird’s nest fern (Asplendium nidus): These can be used in a container with no drainage or with a tray so they can be watered from below, Monique says. “They’re used to being on a forest floor, so they like the moisture and shade.”
5 Philodendron (pictured) These tropicals accept about any light condition and need watering only when soil surface is dry to the touch. “I like to take clippings and put them in vases and under cloches,” Monique says. “That’s just kind of my thing.”
Monique created a cozy guest room in the previously unfinished attic. The built-in bed frame has clever cutout spaces for storage bins.
Narrow steps lead to the fourth-floor attic, which Monique renovated as a surprise for Keith. The funky trapdoor is just one of the home's eccentricities that Monique preserved.
Arthur Darrow's tool cabinet hides behind a panel in his former office. "The hidden cupboard with all his tools is one of the reasons we love this place," Monique says.
A red chair in the stairway closet that Maxfield claimed for a Harry Potter inspired reading nook is the only piece of furniture Monique could salvage from the original house.
Salvaged doors open to the master bedroom and offer a glimpse to Monique's knack for blending industrial and vintage styles. The antique dresser is topped with a whimsical collection of old mirrors.
Vintage Toledo stools nestle next to a long island in the entertaining area of the kitchen. Behind the range, tumbled limestone continues the home's earthy feel.
Laundry room makeover
Monique took a "sad, scary and moldy" downstairs communal laundry room—"all tiled with gold ceramic tiles and Kelly green trim left over from the basement of the Baptist church project"—and turned it into a practical, stylish laundry space.
The pergola, a recent addition to the yard, provides the family with a year-round retreat. "We have little fires, and Keith grills," Monique says.