Bright & Inviting

Homes: Bright & Inviting

Bright & Inviting

PJ Trautman and Phillip Curry moved into their smart midcentury modern home in June 2017.

Story: Bridget Broihahn

Photos: Stephen Haas and Robin Scholz

PJ Trautman and Phillip Curry moved into their smart midcentury modern home in June 2017. Since both are involved in the real estate industry, they knew there was good value in this Champaign home. It was a rare find.

“We had to do hardly any work to this home,” Trautman said. “It was in really good shape.”

Those who love midcentury modern homes know that they have many advantages. The most iconic advantage is that even if a midcentury modern is in a busy neighborhood this style of home will still have its guarded privacy, but yet let in the outdoors with floor-to-ceiling windows and lots of natural light. They achieve this by having the front façade constructed with tall walls that house narrow, almost transom-like, windows near the roofline. This lets in light but discourages views into the house. The backyard is a completely different story. The windows suddenly become almost as big as the walls themselves. They literally can be floor-to-ceiling. The views into the backyard, with the midcentury modern use of gardens, patios and screened-in three-season rooms, are nothing short of breathtaking. The family feels as if they are part of the outdoor landscape as a result. Plus, these homes use natural materials of wood and stone. This use of materials ties in the nature friendly feel.

“We have used the screened porch for entertaining for many gatherings already. It’s nice to have the privacy but yet be outside, “ Trautman said.

Trautman has been buying, converting and upgrading, and then reselling properties since 2009. This 2017 Central Illinois Business magazine’s Forty Under 40 recipient has been very successful in his career. Born and raised in Champaign, Trautman is a broker-Realtor, certified residential appraiser and property manager who understands the area. He is also currently on the board of directors of the Champaign County Association of Realtors.

Curry is originally from Marshall, Illinois. He studied marketing at Eastern Illinois University. Curry is also a broker-Realtor and leasing agent.

This couple knew they were on to something special when they made this lovely Champaign home their own. They enjoy entertaining and having gatherings in their friendly home. So, when it comes to the holidays, they more than enjoy this time as well. Even when they’re relaxing at home, or kicking back with their fur-babies Dexter and Joey, and enjoying each other as a family.

Trautman gave a tour of the kitchen, showing us the way that he and Curry transformed the kitchen area space. The space is open and friendly to the living area and a reading nook, as well as the midcentury modern calling card of openness with the outside views of flora and fauna. Although it is part of the family living area, the kitchen has a vastly separate color scheme from the family living area.

“We replaced the backsplash in the kitchen. With the cabinets and countertops, it’s very light, bright and white. Now, stand in the same spot, but turn around,” he said, pivoting from looking at the kitchen to looking at the family living area. “Now, see! The color scheme has totally changed! It’s warm and inviting.”

Although Curry and Trautman like to decorate, they did call in their friend, interior designer Kenneth Waterbury, to help.

“Kenneth has a great eye for style and for putting items together,” Trautman said. “He was helpful with our holiday décor, too! He is amazing.”

The entire floor plan in this Champaign home is cozy, yet uncluttered. Warm, yet crisp and clean. The home has a smart use of space, but it also feels very open. It is like a meeting of two ideologies: “open” and “cozy” have made a compromise. If that compromise were a home, this particular home would be it.

The holiday décor, the cozy area by the fireplace with the lavish Christmas tree and welcoming hearth fairly begged one to put on slippers, pour a mug of hot cocoa and read a Christmas novel in a comfy chair. Curry and Trautman wish you and yours and very happy holiday season and a successful New Year!